A Thursday Night Football matchup between the Jaguars and Dolphins begins Week 3 in the NFL, but before we get to kickoff, the DraftKings Dream Stream has three Madden 21 sims on the schedule this afternoon. Each game has single-game Showdown contests available in addition to a three-game classic slate that includes all three games. That three-game classic kicks off at 12 p.m. ET, when the Browns pay a visit to the Panthers in virtual Carolina. At 2 p.m. ET, the Falcons take on the Colts before we head to virtual Jacksonville for a preview of the Thursday Night Football, all-Florida matchup to close out the sims for the day.
The roster for each team has 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 also been adjusted to get the best players on the field and will not be impacted by any 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.
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Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts, $7,100 — The Falcons have been one of the best teams since the move to Madden 21 and have continued to play well after claiming the championship in our Madden 21 tournament. Ryan has averaged 20.2 DKFP in his 10 sims with 23 touchdowns and not a single turnover. He has thrown three or more touchdowns four times, giving him a high ceiling, and has also been very consistent with over 15 DKFP in five of his past six games and eight of 10 overall. Ryan and the Falcons’ passing game have a very favorable matchup against the Colts, who don’t have any CBs with better than an 80 overall rating.
Other Option — Tua Tagovailoa ($6,400)
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons, $5,800 — The Colts haven’t been as consistent or as successful as the Falcons have been, but Rivers has shown more upside than any other bargain QB on this slate. Just two sims ago, Rivers led the Colts to an upset of the Cowboys with 311 passing yards, two touchdowns and 24.74 DKFP. He struggled in his most recent sim, though, managing just 8.88 DKFP against the Raiders. He only has seven touchdowns in his six sims but is averaging 211.5 yards per game. The yardage has been there, for the most part, but he needs his passing touchdowns to trend up if he’s going to be a regular fantasy option. He has been a boom-or-bust play to this point in the sims, but he has a high enough ceiling to still be the top QB play under $6K.
Other Option — Baker Mayfield ($6,100)
Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts, $6,600 — Gurley has been very good in his 10 sims with his new squad in Madden 21. He has scored 10 touchdowns in those games while averaging 62.1 rushing yards and 3.6 catches for 26.0 receiving yards per contest. His 18.7 DKFP average is the highest of the RBs on this slate. He has been relatively quiet in his two most recent sims, but he has flashed a very high ceiling with over 25 DKFP in four of his 10 sims. He has only hit the 100-yard bonus one time but can go off with multiple touchdowns since he gets plenty of volume as both rusher and receiver, especially in the red zone.
Other Options — Christian McCaffrey ($7,000), Nyheim Hines ($6,300)
Matt Breida, Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars, $4,400 — Breida moved into Miami’s RB1 spot two games ago and has been a huge success since stepping into the expanded role. Against Washington, he ran for 121 yards and caught three passes on his way to 21 DKFP. He followed that up with five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown while also running for 68 yards against the Panthers on his way to 25.2 DKFP. Coming off those two strong performances, he has great upside at an affordable price. He also gets a great matchup against Jacksonville, so make sure to have the Dolphins’ new RB1 in your lineup.
Other Options — Chris Thompson ($5,600), Kareem Hunt ($3,700)
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts, $7,700 — I mentioned the mismatch that the Falcons will look to take advantage of against the Colts’ CBs, and Jones should be able feast in this matchup. Since Jones has a 97 overall rating, he’ll have a rating almost 20 points higher than any CB trying to cover him. His 99 awareness rating, 92 speed rating and 96 catching rating should give him a massive advantage and create plenty of opportunities for big plays. He has eight touchdowns in his 10 sims in Madden 21 and is averaging just under 90 yards per contest. He has hit the 100-yard bonus in exactly half of his games as well, helping him average a robust 20.4 DKFP per sim.
Other Options — DJ Chark Jr. ($6,700), Calvin Ridley ($6,200)
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons, $5,100 — Campbell has been a big-time playmaker for the Colts in simland and will be unaffected by his injury in real life. He has a 94 speed rating and can make big plays since he features as the Colts’ slot receiver. He had a touchdown in his most recent sim and is averaging four catches per contest. He had a monster game in his Madden 21 debut, catching eight passes for 146 yards, a touchdown and 31.6 DKFP. While he hasn’t regularly been able to reach those numbers, he does have that high ceiling and could go off if this game turns into a track meet.
Chris Conley, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins, $3,500 — Conley has appeared in all but one of the Jaguars’ sims and has averaged 3.3 catches for 46.0 yards per game in his six games. He had five catches for 65 yards and 11.5 DKFP in his earlier matchup with the Dolphins and should continue to be a great value play as Jacksonville’s WR3 in this matchup.
Other Options — Jarvis Landry ($5,300), Zach Pascal ($4,200)
Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars, $4,600 — Gesicki has been very involved in Miami’s passing game and would be averaging double-digit DKFP if he had been able to get more touchdowns. He has just one score in eight sims but has still been productive with 35 catches for 366 yards, averaging 45.8 yards on 4.4 catches per contest. He has adjusted to Tua at QB no problem over the past two games and continues to be a virtual lock for multiple catches in every contest.
Other Options— Tyler Eifert ($4,900), Hayden Hurst ($4,300)
Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers vs. Cleveland Browns, $4,000 — The Browns struggle to defend TEs both in real life and in the Madden 21 sims, so whichever TE goes up against them is usually worth considering. Thomas has averaged 4.0 catches for 39.7 yards per sim for Carolina, numbers which are just just a touch below Gesicki’s averages with Miami. The matchup is a good one, though, and Thomas has been able to post over 9.0 DKFP in three of his past four sims. Even though he isn’t involved in the Panthers’ real-world offense, he is involved enough in simland to be a very good play at only $4K in this contest.
Other Options— Austin Hooper ($3,500), Trey Burton ($2,900)
Panthers DST vs. Cleveland Browns, $3,100 — The Panthers have forced five turnovers in their six sims and piled up eight sacks, a safety and a pair of defensive touchdowns. They had a very nice 12-DKFP performance against the Dolphins in their most recent sim and have a good matchup against the underachieving Browns. Carolina has at least 5.0 DKFP in three of their past four and would offer a solid return on investment if they end up in the same range in this contest.
Falcons DST at Indianapolis Colts, $2,700 — The Falcons’ DST has a higher average than the Panthers’ DST, but it has been a much more boom-or-bust unit. They have forced eight turnovers and piled up 29 sacks but have produced 5.0 DKFP or fewer in six of their 10 sims. The upside, though, is that they have also produced double-digit DKFP in three matchups against the Bucs, Saints and Seahawks. They’re much more volatile of a play than the Panthers, but they are the best play under $3K since they have the potential to hit for a good total.
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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.