It’s another great Friday of simulated football on the DraftKings Dream Stream with three Madden sims set to kick off this afternoon. For each simulated game, there are single-game Showdown contests available in addition to a three-game classic slate, which will be the focus of this post. All three of Friday’s games involve teams from the AFC South. The first game of the day features the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Las Vegas Raiders in a matchup that gets underway at 12 p.m. ET. At 2 p.m. ET, the Los Angeles Rams go on the road to take on the Tennessee Titans, and we close the day of action with a 4 p.m. ET stream of the Buffalo Bills taking on the Houston Texans in a rematch of last year’s playoff matchup.
All the rosters have been updated to include player movement before Week 1 of this season, so make sure to take a look at the new depth charts, abilities and X-factors for Madden 21 along with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page. The rosters have been adjusted to get the best players on the field and will not be impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs or injuries.
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.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills, $7,300 — Watson is always worth a look when the Texans are on the slate since he brings a high ceiling with his dynamic dual-threat production. He is averaging 72.3 rushing yards per sim with a rushing touchdown in addition to his six passing touchdowns and 179.5 passing yards per sim. He has averaged 19.1 DKFP per contest and posted a pair of sims over 24 DKFP. He has been significantly better in his limited sample size at home, averaging 24.1 DKFP in Houston, and I think he’ll be able to find room to run against the Bills’ defense in this home matchup. One concern is that Watson has lost seven fumbles in his six sims, but his playmaking ability gives him a high enough ceiling to look past the turnover trouble and give him the starting nod Friday.
Other Option — Josh Allen ($6,700)
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders, $5,800 — Rivers had a huge game in his most recent sim, throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys’ solid secondary on his way to 24.74 DKFP. He has reached over 15 DKFP in three of his five Madden 21 sims and has a dynamic group of playmakers as pass-catchers. Rivers has also had a few clunkers in these sims, but I don’t think the Raiders’ defense is going to be able to shut him down. Rivers and the Colts are still looking for their first non-divisional win in Madden 21, and I think they’re in a good spot to pick it up on the road in Las Vegas. The Colts’ strong offensive line and the Raiders’ beatable secondary make this a situation in which Rivers should find success.
Other Option — Ryan Tannehill ($6,400)
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Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Rams, $7,500 — Henry’s role has expanded in Madden 21 since Dion Lewis is now in New York and Henry has taken over third-down responsibilities. He has been very involved in the passing game with at least five catches in four of his five sims, and he has at least 21 DKFP in three of those five games as a result. Despite the fact that he has not hit the 100-yard rushing bonus in any of his Madden 21 sims, King Henry has still managed to average a robust 18.7 DKFP. In Madden 21, the Titans still prefer to rely on running the ball and playing solid defense, which usually leads to big workloads for Henry. Since he almost never comes off the field anymore, he has a sky-high ceiling in his new every-down role.
Other Options — Malcolm Brown ($6,900), Devin Singletary ($5,800)
Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans, $3,800 — While Henry monopolizes work in the Titans’ backfield, the Rams have shifted the opposite direction, going to a timeshare with Henderson in a new role as third-down back in the latest roster update. In his first game in that role, Henderson produced 15.9 DKFP running for 24 yards and two touchdowns while also catching a pass for five yards. While he probably won’t score multiple touchdowns again, it’s clear the Rams like to use the formations that involve him in the backfield which gives him nice upside. I expect his receptions to trend up depending on matchup, and I love the high ceiling he brings at this very affordable price tag.
Other Options — Nyheim Hines ($5,500), Duke Johnson ($3,500)
Tyrell Williams, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Indianapolis Colts, $8,200 — Since injuries don’t impact simland, Williams is back in his spot as the Raiders’ WR1 and has been a beast in his Madden 21 sims. In his four contests, he is averaging a crazy 29.2 DKFP after posting a massive 52.0 DKFP against the Bears in his most recent contest. He finished that game with 224 yards and three touchdowns on eight receptions. While that monster game is an outlier, he has posted over 25 DKFP in three of his four contests and has six total touchdowns in just four contests. His upside is enormous, and his ratings give him big-play potential every time he gets the ball in his hands. The Colts’ secondary doesn’t have a shutdown CB, so Williams should feast again in what I think will be a high-scoring contest to start the day.
Other Options — Cooper Kupp ($6,300), A.J. Brown ($6,100)
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders, $4,900 — Campbell’s 94 speed rating makes him a dynamic option for Rivers out of his slot for the Colts and gives the second-year WR a very high ceiling. He showed that ceiling off in his first Madden 21 sim with 146 yards, a touchdown and 31.6 DKFP. While he has failed to produce another big game like that, he does have multiple catches in every Madden 21 contest and is averaging 4.4 catches for 51.6 yards and 12.6 DKFP over his five sims.
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills, $3,700 — Cooks is the Texans’ WR1 and available for under $4K, so he deserves a look against the Bills, even though Buffalo has an excellent secondary. Cooks has only totaled 13 catches for 117 yards in his five sims in Houston, but he has found the end zone twice. Since the most recent roster update, we’ve seen many WR1s getting more consistent usage, and Cooks’ ratings would indicate he should be able to make plays if he gets increased volume. He has an impressive 94 speed rating, an 88 catching rating and an 86 awareness rating. He ended up with four catches and a touchdown for over 12 DKFP in two of his past three games and seems to be trending in the right direction.
Other Options — Corey Davis ($5,300), Henry Ruggs III ($4,100)
Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Indianapolis Colts, $6,200 — Waller is a high-priced option at TE, but there’s a very good reason for his salary: volume. Waller has averaged 5.4 catches per sim in Madden 21 with over 50 yards in three of his past four contests. He’s averaging 11.6 DKFP per sim without even scoring a touchdown yet. If he gets a score or two against the Colts, he could be in for a monster game, and the workload should continue to come his way since the Raiders run a pass-heavy offense in Madden.
Other Option— Darren Fells ($4,600)
Lee Smith, Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans, $3,500 — Despite what the salaries seem to indicate, Dawson Knox ($4,300) is not the starting TE for the Bills in the most recent roster update. Smith took over before Buffalo’s most recent sim and posted a solid three catches for 55 yards in his debut against the Eagles. Smith’s 73 overall rating gives him a slight edge over Knox, and he has strong possession receiver ratings despite lacking Knox’s speed to break big plays. In Smith’s first start, the Bills’ offense didn’t score a single point, so his production could definitely rise if the team as a whole is more effective.
Other Options— Jonnu Smith ($4,200), Trey Burton ($2,500)
Bills DST at Houston Texans, $3,200 — The Bills should be able to force turnovers against the Texans, especially with the fumble issues Watson has been having. Buffalo also has five interceptions in Madden 21 from its elite secondary. The unit has averaged 4.8 DKFP per sim with five sacks and those five takeaways in five sims. I expect the final game of the day to be the lowest scoring of the three contests on the board since both teams have solid defenses and like to run the ball a lot, resulting in fewer plays and drives per quarter since the clock keeps moving.
Rams DST at Tennessee Titans, $2,600 — The Rams’ defense is led by two elite playmakers in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, and the defense has exactly matched the Bills with an average of 4.8 DKFP per contest over their first four sims. In those contests, Los Angeles has picked up seven sacks and a pair of defensive fumble recoveries along with a defensive touchdown. They have at least 5.0 DKFP in two of their past three sims and are in a pretty good matchup against the Titans, who have gone 0-5 in Madden 21 sims while only averaging 16.2 points per game.
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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.