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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for January 15

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.

Start your weekend off right with a busy Friday night of Madden sims on the DraftKings Dream Stream. The featured three-game classic slate gets underway at 6:00 p.m. ET with a matchup between the Washington Football Team and the New Orleans Saints in the virtual Superdome. We’ll stay in the NFC South for the primetime matchup as well, with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8:00 p.m. ET. At 10:00 p.m. ET on Madden After Dark, we’ll get a look at another NFC playoff team as the Green Bay Packers roll into virtual Philly to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the nightcap.

As usual, it’s important to note that each roster is not impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs, injuries, suspensions or illness in these sims and that the highest-rated options have been placed at the top of the depth charts. The roster for each team includes all player movement that occurred prior to Week 1 of this season and uses the Madden 21 ratings from Week 1 of this season.

For more details, you can find the game settings, depth charts, abilities and X-factors for each team in Madden 21 along with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page. There were a few tweaks to the X-factors and Superstars in the latest December update, so be sure to check the depth charts of each team.

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.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $4K Friday Night Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest



Quarterback

Stud

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $9,100 — Jackson is the most expensive player on the slate by over $1,000, but he definitely deserves consideration at your QB spot since he has been on fire lately and comes with unmatchable upside. Jackson has rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of his past nine sims, averaging 129 rushing yards per game over that stretch and scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. Just that production would make him a top option, never mind that he is also adding passing production on top of that. He has over 27 DKFP in six straight sims including a pair of games with over 40 DKFP. The Madden 21 cover athlete has lived up to the hype, and he’ll look to keep rolling in this matchup in Tampa Bay. This will be the first time he has faced the Bucs in these Madden 21 sims, but he has been incredibly productive regardless of the defense he is facing.

Other Option — Aaron Rodgers ($7,200)

Value

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens, $6,500 — Brady will have to try and help the Bucs keep up with the Ravens, so he’ll have to be ready to put points on the board. Brady doesn’t bring any rushing potential, obviously, which makes him touchdown-reliant for big totals as a passer. He posted over 22 DKFP in two of his past four games, with good numbers against the Panthers and Titans, and he doesn’t usually totally bust with double-digit DKFP in 30 of his 35 sims (86%). While he doesn’t come near approaching Jackson’s ceiling, Brady is the best cheap pivot if you go away from Jackson and decide to pay up elsewhere.

Other Option — Dwayne Haskins Jr. ($5,600)


Running Back

Stud

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. Washington Football Team, $7,600 — Kamara had been on an impressive role since getting his X-factor back in a December update. He did, however, slip up with just 6.3 DKFP in his most recent sim, which was against the Bucs. Before that down game, he had posted over 11 DKFP in 16 straight sims including nine games with over 20 DKFP. He ran all over the Falcons for 168 yards and 36.2 DKFP two sims ago and also had big games against the Bucs and Bears in the Madden Holiday Season. He has faced Washington twice in these Madden 21 sims, producing 24.5 DKFP and 18.8 DKFP in his two contests against them. Kamara has been more involved as a receiver in his recent contests, with multiple catches in each of his past 18 sims. In his 39 Madden 21 sims, he is averaging 3.9 catches for 29.4 yards per contest and has scored seven times as a receiver in addition to his 28 rushing scores. His increased production as a dual-threat out of the backfield gives him a higher ceiling and also makes him lower risk against Washington.

Other Options — Miles Sanders ($7,100), Aaron Jones ($6,600)

Value

LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens, $4,000 — Two of the most reliable value RB plays in Madden go head-to-head in this contest as McCoy will take on the Ravens and J.K. Dobbins ($4,200), who is another regular in this spot. I’m going to lean towards McCoy in this matchup since he is a little bit cheaper, and I do think the Bucs will be playing from behind, leading to more passing-down opportunities for McCoy. He has averaged 3.1 catches for 21.8 receiving yards per sim and added four rushing touchdowns to help him average 7.8 DKFP per contest. He didn’t get much going in either of his two most recent games, but he had over 9.0 DKFP in three of his prior four games, including 16.1 DKFP against the Chiefs, when he scored his fourth touchdown of the sims. McCoy does give the bulk of the timeshare in the backfield to Leonard Fournette ($5,500), but he is still involved enough as a third-down back to offer nice production at just $4K and allow you the salary you need to stock up other spots.

Other Option — J.K. Dobbins ($4,200)


Wide Receiver

Stud

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints vs. Washington Football Team, $6,800 — Even though he is the only WR in the Week 1 ratings used for these sims with a perfect 99 overall rating, Thomas has been a little inconsistent from game to game in these contests. While Washington’s defense is excellent in Madden, like in real life, they do sometimes give up big games to WRs, and I like Thomas’s potential in this early matchup. Lately, he has been solid, with double-digit DKFP in three straight after posting a 1.8-DKFP dud in the Madden Holiday Season championship. He did have a strong tournament prior to that with over 20 DKFP in the Saints’ playoff wins over the Bucs and Eagles. Thomas had seven catches for 81 yards, a touchdown and 21.1 DKFP against Washington in their first meeting in these Madden 21 sims but was limited to just two catches and 5.0 DKFP in the rematch. He has a high ceiling and is the best elite option on the board, but he does remain a little boom-or-bust, depending on the target distribution from Drew Brees ($6,000)

Other Options — Davante Adams ($7,200), Chris Godwin ($6,500)

Value

Devin Funchess, Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles, $5,700 — Since the COVID-19 opt-outs have been added back in, Funchess has been an extremely productive WR2 for the Packers and has actually outproduced Davante Adams ($7,200) on a regular basis. Funchess has averaged 4.3 catches for 62.6 yards per sim in his 29 games in Madden 21 while also scoring 16 touchdowns. He hasn’t found the end zone in five contests since going off for 24.8 DKFP and two scores against the Bears in the Madden Holiday Season divisional round. He seems overdue for a trip to the end zone and should be in a favorable matchup since the Eagles lack depth in their secondary. Funchess has multiple catches in 28 of 29 sims since moving into the role as WR2, so he is a very reliable option as well as bringing a high ceiling.

Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens, $3,600 — Since the Bucs don’t have Antonio Brown in this version of their roster, Miller remains the WR3 for Tampa Tom. Miller has at least three catches in four straight sims and has averaged 9.7 DKFP over that span. He scored his fourth touchdown of the sims at the start of that run and also had double-digit DKFP against the Titans. Miller has a nice 94 speed rating to go with his 69 overall rating, so if he is able to get in space he can make big plays. Since I expect the Bucs to have to throw a lot in this contest, I think he’ll end up a great play under $4K, although there is bust risk with so many other pass-catchers in play for Tampa Bay.

Other Options — Emmanuel Sanders ($5,300), Marquise Goodwin ($5,200), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,400)


Tight End

Stud

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers, $5,200 — Ertz has stayed locked in with Carson Wentz ($6,800) in these sims despite the Eagles’ struggles in real life. Ertz has averaged 5.2 catches for 55.5 yards per contest with 15 touchdowns in 33 sims. He has double-digit DKFP in three straight and eight of his past 10 contests. He has been very reliable while also bringing a high ceiling, which he showed off with 13 catches and 36.7 DKFP in a recent matchup with the 49ers.

Other Option — Rob Gronkowski ($4,500)

Value

Jeremy Sprinkle, Washington Football Team at New Orleans Saints, $4,000 — Sprinkle lost most of the passing work to Logan Thomas ($2,500) this season in real life, but he has been a very solid pass-catching option for Washington in these sims. Sprinkle has 12 touchdowns in 33 sims and found the end zone in each of his previous two matchups with the Saints, finishing with 11.4 DKFP and 12.7 DKFP in those two contests. He has multiple catches in 30 of his 33 sims (91%) and should be able to catch enough passes to be a strong PPR play with a good ceiling as these teams face each other for the third time in Madden 21.

Other Options — Jared Cook ($4,400), Marcedes Lewis ($3,800)


DST

Stud

Saints DST vs. Washington Football Team, $3,000 — The Saints have piled up 78 sacks in their 39 sims while forcing 14 turnovers. They had 5.0 DKFP the last time they faced Haskins and Washington and should be able to limit the Football Team from putting many points on the board in this contest. They have multiple sacks in eight of their past nine sims and should be able to get after Haskins and force mistakes in this favorable matchup.

Value

Packers DST at Philadelphia Eagles, $2,700 — The Packers also have some playmakers in the pass rush and have been able to get 67 sacks in their 35 sims. They only have eight takeaways and three defensive touchdowns, but they usually limit their opponents enough to be a solid value play. The Eagles have been inconsistent as an offense in these sims, so this could be a good spot for the Packers’ defense to step up as a value.

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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.