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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for September 4

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 divisional play-in round of the DraftKings Madden 21 Tournament wraps up this Friday night before the knockout round of the playoffs gets underway on Saturday. The round robin for each division has been packed with drama, and we’ll close things out with a three-game main slate starting at 6 p.m. ET. The first game concludes the NFC West action as the Rams visit the Cardinals, and then we turn our attention to the NFC South. The Falcons and Saints are both an impressive 2-0 and will move on to the knockout stage, but they play for seeding purposes in the Superdome at 8 p.m. ET. The last game of the round is a Madden After Dark matchup between the Panthers and Buccaneers, who have both been eliminated and will be playing their last game for a while until we return with non-tournament play.

You can find all the latest standings throughout the tournament here on Playbook and keep up with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page, where you can also find the new depth charts and X-factors for the teams in Madden 21.

Check out the daily DraftKings Madden Stream contests lobby with paid contests for real cash prizes now available alongside free contests. Along with single-game Showdown contests focused on each individual game, there is an early slate of games that includes Madden Stream games at 12 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET, followed by the featured slate, which focuses on the sims at 6 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET. 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.

Set your DraftKings lineups for Friday night here: Madden Stream $4K Friday Night Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $1K FREE Contest.


Quarterback

Stud

Matt Ryan, ATL at NO, $7,100 — Ryan will take on Drew Brees ($6,700) in a matchup of the top two QBs on the board, and I’m going with Matty Ice even though Brees has the X-factor and higher overall ratings. Brees has been pretty underwhelming in his two Madden 21 sims, scoring just 6.44 DKFP and 12.78 DKFP in the Saints’ two wins. Ryan has had to carry more of the load for Atlanta and has stepped up with 297 yards and four touchdowns for 27.78 DKFP against the Bucs and 21.36 DKFP on 234 yards and three more scores against the Panthers. Both those games were at home, but he’ll still be in a dome for this matchup as he leads Atlanta down to the Big Easy to take on the Saints. Both QBs have good options in the passing game, but so far Ryan has done more with them and will look to continue his good production while taking his team to a high seed for the next round.

Other Option — Drew Brees ($6,700), Tom Brady ($6,500)

Value

Teddy Bridgewater, CAR vs. TB, $5,500 — Bridgewater has looked pretty solid in his first two sim games as starter for the Panthers. This will be his first home game of the sim tournament, and he comes in off a good game after throwing for three scores against the Falcons in his most recent contest on his way to 22.88 DKFP. Bridgewater gets a very favorable matchup against a Bucs’ secondary that has been beaten badly in each of their first to contests in the tournament.

Other Option — Kyler Murray ($6,200)


Running Back

Stud

Alvin Kamara, NO vs. ATL, $8,000 — So far in these Madden 21 sims, Kamara has been a cross between a cheat code and the Tecmo Bowl version of Bo Jackson. He definitely deserves that new contract if he puts up numbers in real life like he has in his first two sims. He had 30.4 DKFP in his first game on 112 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and two catches for 22 yards, and then he followed that up with 32.2 DKFP on 163 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown and three catches for 39 yards. Kamara should continue to dominate given his exceptional ratings across the board. The only hesitation is that Brees is likely to get increased touchdowns at some point which could result in a little regression for Kamara. However, we’ve seen the AI commit to the run game more often in Madden 21, so Kamara is worth paying up for if you can find a way to make his $8K salary work.

Other Option — Christian McCaffrey ($6,300)

Value

Malcolm Brown, LAR at ARI, $5,200 — There are some solid cheaper options at RB if you can’t make Kamara’s hefty price tag work. Brown has been very good in the Rams’ first two games and ran for 153 yards and a touchdown against the vaunted 49ers defense in his most recent sim for a solid 26.6 DKFP. He can also be heavily involved as a receiver out of the backfield as he showed in his first sim on Madden 21 with eight catches for 50 yards to finish with 14.4 DKFP. Brown gets a good matchup against Arizona and should be able to post good numbers as the Rams try to secure a spot in the NFC playoff picture.

Other Options — Todd Gurley II ($5,400), LeSean McCoy ($4,000)


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Wide Receiver

Stud

Michael Thomas, NO vs. ATL, $7,700 — If you’re paying up at WR, there are really two obvious but excellent choices. Thomas is the only WR in Madden 21 with a perfect 99 overall rating and Julio Jones ($8,200) has started this tournament with back-to-back performances with over 20 DKFP. Since this game is in New Orleans and the Saints have a better secondary, I’m going to go with Thomas, who is also slightly cheaper than Jones. Thomas only had three catches in the rain against the Bucs but was able to still produce 124 yards, showing how high his ceiling could be if his workload increases a little bit if the Saints air it out a little more in the Superdome.

Other Options — Julio Jones ($8,200), Robert Woods ($6,400)

Value

Robby Anderson, CAR vs. TB, $5,600 — The buzz out of training camp has been that Anderson looks outstanding and could be Bridgewater’s go-to option in the Panthers offense. In simland, Anderson has also looked outstanding with a total of 10 catches for 108 yards and three touchdowns in his first two sims. He had 14.8 DKFP against the Saints and 24.0 DKFP against the Falcons, so he should have a big day against the Bucs as well. His high speed rating makes him a big play threat, but he is showing he can also be very involved as a possession option in the red zone.

Scotty Miller, TB at CAR, $3,900 — Miller is another WR getting some hype in real life but also producing in these sims. He had an incredible start to his sim season with Tom Brady, catching 10 passes for 117 yards and 23.7 DKFP against the Falcons. He came back to earth against the Saints with just two catches for 15 yards in the rain, but I think he’ll bounce back and be a solid play under $4K in this matchup against the Panthers.

Other Options — Calvin Ridley ($5,300), Curtis Samuel ($4,500)


Tight End

Stud

Rob Gronkowski, TB at CAR, $5,700 — Gronk seems rated too highly to many Madden ratings experts, and lots of his previous skills in the game seem to have been carried over with very little accounting for him taking a full year off. Whatever the case, he’s a really good Madden option and should get plenty of volume from Brady in Madden 21. He had five catches for 46 yards, a touchdown and 15.6 DKFP in the Bucs’ first game and followed that up with three catches for 28 yards and 5.8 DKFP against the Saints. The whole Tampa Bay offense was a mess in that one, though, and I think he’ll be able to turn things back around against a Panthers DST that is still adjusting to losing Luke Kuechly as their 99-overall middle linebacker.

Other Option — Jared Cook ($4,900)

Value

Hayden Hurst, ATL at NO, $4,700 — Hurst has enjoyed his newfound home in Atlanta in these sims so far, showing off a nice connection with Matt Ryan and catching a total of seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. He seems to be ready to step into Austin Hooper’s heavy volume and makes a nice play under $5K if you need to pay a little less at TE or are looking to go with two-TE and put one in your flex spot.

Other Option — Maxx Williams ($3,800), Ian Thomas ($3,400)


DST

Stud

Rams DST at ARI, $2,900 — Even with DeAndre Hopkins ($7,200), the Cardinals’ offense has struggled in their first two sims, and now they face a tough test as they take on the Rams, who have Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey as key X-factor defenders who can make big plays. Los Angeles has three sacks and a fumble recovery in their first two games and dominated the 49ers in their most recent game for 12 DKFP. They struggled against Seattle in the opener but have the dynamic playmakers to produce big points against an Arizona offense that hasn’t really found a rhythm yet.

Other Option — Saints ($3,000)

Value

Buccaneers DST at CAR, $2,600 — The Bucs had three sacks and a pick for 6.0 DKFP against the Saints in the rain in their most recent contest. While their secondary still looks like it will give up big plays, their front-seven is pretty solid and should be able to make some big plays by getting pressure on the QB. I think you’re probably better off paying up for the Rams or even the Saints, but Tampa Bay is a solid play if you don’t have the salary for those options.

Other Option — Falcons ($2,700)

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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.