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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for September 11

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Friday’s three-game Madden Stream DraftKings slate, which starts at 6:00 p.m. ET.

The NFL season kicked off with a Thursday Night Football win for the Chiefs, and DraftKings’ Dream Stream is back with a full slate of Madden 21 sims to help you get through Friday as we approach the first NFL Sunday of the season. There are six games on tap, but for this post we’ll be focusing on the featured three-game classic slate that kicks off at 6 p.m. ET. The first matchup is the Steelers headed to the virtual West Coast to take on the Rams followed by Bills WR Stefon Diggs ($7,100) getting a revenge game against the Vikings in primetime at 8 p.m. ET. The final game of the night should also be a good one, as the action wraps up with a meeting of the 49ers and the Ravens on Madden After Dark. Make sure to take a look at the newly updated depth charts and X-factors for Madden 21 along with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page.

Check out the daily DraftKings Madden Stream contests lobby with paid contests for real cash prizes now available alongside free contests. Each simulation will be played out computer vs. computer via an online Madden Stream using Madden 21. In this format, you can enjoy watching the game stream on the DraftKings YouTube channel, the DK Live app (download here) or right here in this post.

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Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers, $8,500 — There isn’t really any QB on this slate that comes close to touching Jackson’s potential production based on his past performance and his overall Madden ratings. He’s on the cover for a very good reason and has averaged over 25 DKFP per sim while no other QB on this slate has averaged more than 18. Only Josh Allen ($6,700) is within 10 DKFP of his average. Jackson has done a lot of his damage on the ground with an average of 96 rushing yards per game and has scored a pair of rushing touchdowns to go with his six passing scores. He has over 21 DKFP in each of his four sims in Madden 21 and should still be the top QB to play even in a tough matchup against San Francisco’s highly-rated defense.


Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams, $5,500 — There really isn’t a favorable matchup for any of these QBs since all six of the defenses in play are stacked with playmakers. If you’re going to pivot off of Jackson, I think the best option would be to go super-cheap with Big Ben and hope to catch a flier while paying up at other spots. Roethlisberger has topped 200 yards passing in three of his four sims and produced 24.0 DKFP in his best game against Cleveland. The ceiling is definitely there for the veteran, but the Steelers struggled in their two most recent sims managing just one touchdown in eight quarters against the Chiefs and Ravens. After starting strong, he faded to just 4.18 DKFP and 9.08 DKFP in those two contests. He isn’t going to add rushing yardage, so he’ll need to throw touchdowns to reach the upside of his boom-or-bust potential.

Other Options — Josh Allen ($6,700), Jared Goff ($5,700)

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Running Back


Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills, $7,800 — Cook is a pricey option in the backfield bud has continued to be a beast in these sims and hasn’t lost a step since the update to Madden 21. He has produced over 19 DKFP in each of his four sims and average 23.3 DKFP per contest. He has scored five touchdowns in four games and continued to be very involved as a receiver with 15 catches in those contests. He is the centerpiece of all the Vikings do on offense and should be lined up once again for a heavy workload against the Bills.

Other Options — Mark Ingram II ($7,000)


Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $6,400 — In reality, the Rams’ backfield is shaping up to be a timeshare and Brown’s role remains very undefined. In simland, though, he’s the workhorse back with all the third down and power back responsibilities in addition to his RB1 spot. He has been very good in the role in three games for the Rams, averaging 23.0 DKFP per sim. He ran for an impressive 153 yards against the Steelers and then had seven catches against the Cardinals, posting 26.6 DKFP and 28.0 DKFP, respectively. Brown’s role as a receiver out of the backfield gives him a high ceiling and makes him a “Cook lite” option at just over $6K.

Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams, $4,000 — So far the picks have been skewed a little pricey, so I’ll add an extra selection here to highlight a cheaper option at RB. Samuels continues to serve as Pittsburgh’s third-down back and has at least three catches in each of the Steelers’ four sims. He had a touchdown and 14.2 DKFP against the Bengals in his best game and has averaged 7.9 DKFP per contest, which is a solid return for such an affordable play.

Other Options — Raheem Mostert ($5,600), Devin Singletary ($5,200)

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Wide Receiver


Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills, $6,900 — With such good defenses across the board, there are lots of tough WR matchups for the top options on the board, but Thielen can sometimes avoid that one-on-one coverage from the shutdown corners since he does move around the formation quite a bit and play a lot of snaps out of the slot. Thielen has gotten a very consistent workload in his four games so far with at least six catches in each game and a total of 262 yards. He only has one touchdown but has posted over 15 DKFP in each of his past two contests. Minnesota will need him to step up in the real world and in simland with Diggs now in Buffalo.

Other Options — JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,000), Stefon Diggs ($7,100)


Miles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers, $4,300 — Boykin is a sleeper I like a lot for real fantasy football this season, and he also has been pretty good in these sims as the Ravens No. 3 WR. He was completely shut out of one sim but has scored touchdowns in each of his other three games with over 11 DKFP in each of those outings. The volume isn’t nearly the level you can get with the top options, but the second-year WR has big-play ability and gets plenty of attention in the end zone.

Van Jefferson Jr., Los Angeles Rams vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $3,000 — The latest update to the Madden depth charts moved Jefferson ahead of Josh Reynolds as the Rams’ No. 3 WR. That change should result in his first fantasy points in Madden 21 as the Rams take on the Steelers. In that WR3 spot, Reynolds had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in three games and was involved in every contest. How Jefferson will do in the role is a total unknown, but the second-round rookie from Florida does have more speed than Reynolds with his 90 speed rating and should be able to make plays after the catch.

Other Options — James Washington ($4,500), Justin Jefferson ($3,300)

Tight End


Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings, $5,000 — While George Kittle ($6,000) is also obviously a good play, don’t overlook Knox who also has a very high ceiling. Knox exploded for 10 catches, 151 yards, a touchdown and 34.1 DKFP in his second sim in Madden 21 against the Dolphins. He was also involved against the Jets with 9.2 DKFP before a quiet game against the Patriots in his most recent contest. He gets enough volume to be a solid play against the Vikings, who have struggled to defend TE in these sims to this point.

Other Option— George Kittle ($6,000)


Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers, $4,100 — I’m still waiting for Andrews breakout contest, and I’m hoping he comes through soon. He has been very quiet overall in his four sims in Madden 21 with 13 catches for 86 yards and no touchdowns. His ratings indicate he should be much more productive, and his QB Lamar Jackson even has a superstar trait that should boost his production as well. While it hasn’t happened yet, I still think there’s a super-high ceiling with Andrews, and he’s very affordable as one of the top options in what should be a good offense.

Other Options— Eric Ebron ($4,600), Tyler Higbee ($3,500)



Ravens DST vs. San Francisco 49ers, $3,200 — Baltimore’s defense has thrived with Calais Campbell up front and been one of the best units in Madden 21. They have produced an impressive shutout of the Steelers, a defensive touchdown, and a massive 15 sacks in just four games. They had double-digit DKFP in each of their two most recent contests and will look to rise to the challenge as they host San Francisco in the late game.


Rams DST vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $2,800 — The Rams paid Jalen Ramsey this past week setting up their defense to build around the shutdown corner and Aaron Donald for seasons to come. That duo makes them a force in Madden as well. They had three sacks and 12 DKFP against the 49ers in their best game in Madden 21 and have averaged 4.7 DKFP per contest. The Steelers do have some firepower in their offense but have struggled to score in their two most recent games, showing they can also be limited by a good defensive effort.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.