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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for January 21

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

It’s another full day of Madden sims on the DraftKings Dream Stream today, featuring a three-game classic slate to provide you with some Thursday Night Football and another great chance to get in on some fantasy football. The first game of the three-game classic slate kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET when the Las Vegas Raiders host the Detroit Lions. At 8:00 p.m. ET, the primetime matchup features a pair of NFC playoff teams as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head to virtual SoCal to take on the Los Angeles Rams. On “Madden After Dark,” we close out the slate with what should be a fun matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills.

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 $6K Thursday Night Special [$2K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest


Quarterback

Stud

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys, $7,600 — Allen was one of the players getting new superstar traits in the December update from EA Sports, and he has gotten a nice boost from his increased escapability in the pocket, becoming one of the best QB plays in Madden 21. He has run for at least 50 yards in eight of his past nine games while averaging 26.5 DKFP per sim over that stretch. He hasn’t faced Dallas since that update but did manage 23.24 DKFP against them when they met earlier in these Madden 21 matchups. While he still isn’t on the level of the elite plays like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, he does have the highest upside on this slate and should be in an excellent place to reach that potential against a shaky Cowboys defense.

Other Option — Dak Prescott ($6,700)

Value

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $6,400 — Goff has thrown multiple touchdowns in four of his past five games and had over 300 yards passing in the other contest. He has averaged 20.6 DKFP over that run, highlighted by a pair of games over 24 DKFP. He and the Rams will be facing the Bucs for the first time in these Madden sims, but remember that this Bucs secondary isn’t quite as good as the real-life version has proven to be towards the end of the season. Tampa Bay has been a pretty good matchup for opposing QBs, and Goff has a fully healthy group of speedy WRs to work with. He hasn’t been as consistent as Prescott or Allen but does come with more upside than any other cheap option on this slate.

Other Option — Derek Carr ($5,800)


Running Back

Stud

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills, $7,700 — Zeke feasted on the Bills in their first matchup, running for 165 yards, three touchdowns and 42.9 DKFP. He can totally dominate when he’s in the zone like that, and the Cowboys typically do a good job getting him a heavy workload. Elliott has over 19 DKFP in four straight and in eight of his past 10 matchups and has produced at least double-digit DKFP in 35 of his 37 sims in Madden 21 (95%). Since there is typically so much volume for him, he rarely completely busts and his involvement as a receiver also raises his floor. Zeke is averaging 2.9 catches for 19.8 receiving yards in addition to his 85.4 rushing yards per contest.

Other Option — Devin Singletary ($5,300)

Value

Jalen Richard, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Detroit Lions, $4,900 — There are multiple backfield timeshares in play on this slate, and several of the third-down backs are solid plays to consider. Richard leads the way based on his typical volume in Vegas’ passing game. He has averaged 3.2 catches per sim but has at least four catches in seven of his nine most recent sims including in four each of his past four. Over those nine games, he has averaged 10.5 DKFP and has found the end zone three times. Richard doesn’t get many rush attempts with Josh Jacobs ($5,000) handling early-down work, but he does get enough looks in the passing game to break off a big play or at least provide solid PPR production against the Lions, who have given up big games to pass-catching RBs in their past sims.

Other Options — Josh Jacobs ($5,000), LeSean McCoy ($4,400)


Wide Receiver

Stud

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions at Las Vegas Raiders, $6,700 — WR doesn’t have a reliable top-shelf talent on this slate, but there are some star WR1s that come with very high ceilings if they get volume. Golladay has been getting that kind of volume lately from Matthew Stafford ($6,600) and had at least five catches in five straight sims before cooling off a bit against the Cardinals in his most recent contest. He had at least 12.0 DKFP in each of those five games and has reached that total in eight of his past 10 sims. Golladay has scored 19 touchdowns in his 33 Madden 21 sims and is averaging 4.2 catches for 63.7 yards per game. Against the Raiders' poorly-rated secondary, he has a chance to go off for a monster game if Stafford locks in and feeds him enough targets.

Other Option — Stefon Diggs ($7,000), Cooper Kupp ($6,200)

Value

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $5,300 — Woods came up empty in the first half of his most recent sim against the Bears, but he made up for lost time with a monster second half, hauling in six passes for 108 yards, two touchdowns and 31.8 DKFP. He could have had an even better day since the Hail Mary he hauled in on the final play of the game came up one yard short of giving him his third touchdown of the day and also tying the game. Woods has been a very solid option for Goff and the Rams in these sims and has found the end zone 12 times while averaging 4.5 catches for 54.5 yards per sim. The Bucs have been prone to giving up big plays over the top in Madden 21, and if that trend continues, Bobby Trees should be poised for another big total.

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys, $3,000 — Beasley isn’t an option I normally consider, but I do like the matchup against his former team on this slate. He’s available at the minimum salary but has caught at least one pass in 34 of the Bills’ 35 sims in Madden 21. In his previous matchup with Dallas, he had 11.4 DKFP on three catches, 24 yards and a touchdown to deliver on his revenge game narrative. He also has been doing good work recently with double-digit DKFP in three of his past five games. Beasley does have some bust potential since Allen can sometimes run more than throw, but he also brings solid potential upside to this favorable matchup in Dallas.

Other Options — Tyrell Williams ($5,800), Danny Amendola ($4,300), Scotty Miller ($3,500)


Tight End

Stud

Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Detroit Lions, $5,300 — In the early game, both teams have solid TE plays despite their sporadic success passing the ball. Waller gets a slight edge for me over Hockenson since he gets a little more consistent QB play and offers more of a downfield threat compared to Hockenson, who usually provides more PPR production as a possession receiver. Waller has also posted better results lately with over a dozen DKFP in two of his past three sims. For some reason, Waller has also been much better at home than on the road and is averaging 14.9 DKFP at virtual Allegiant Stadium. If Derek Carr ($5,800) and the Raiders take advantage of the mismatch on Waller, they should be able to pull out a comfortable win at home against Detroit, so I expect Carr to go to Waller early and often in this matchup.

Other Option — T.J. Hockenson ($5,200)

Value

Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills, $4,400 — Jarwin’s salary has dropped quite a bit since he was over $5K just a few sims ago, and he remains a key part of the Cowboys’ passing attack. He had five catches for 24 yards and a touchdown on his way to 13.4 DKFP against the Bills in their first meeting, and he should be able to find space again in this rematch. Buffalo has an excellent secondary and often shuts down opposing WRs, but the Bills’ defense has struggled against TEs, which leaves the door open for Jarwin as a very nice value play at TE or in the flex spot.

Other Option — Lee Smith ($3,500)


DST

Stud

Bills DST at Dallas Cowboys, $2,900 — That Bills secondary has made the DST a very solid unit in Madden 21, and the Bills lead all the defenses on this slate with an average of 5.1 DKFP per contest. In their 35 sims, they have 59 sacks and 31 takeaways and have returned three of those turnovers for defensive touchdowns. They did give up a big game to Zeke in their first meeting with Dallas, but recently they have been shutting teams down, producing 6.0 DKFP or more in four straight before getting crushed by the Falcons in their most recent sim.

Value

Buccaneers DST at Los Angeles Rams, $2,800 — The Bucs do give up big plays in these sims, as mentioned above, but they also have a strong pass rush and could end up forcing Goff into bad decisions. Tampa Bay has totaled an impressive 90 sacks in its 37 sims along with 17 takeaways. Oddly, the Bucs haven’t had a single defensive touchdown yet, but they have still been able to average 4.5 DKFP per sim even without those big plays. They have also been hot lately with at least 9.0 DKFP in two of their past three contests.

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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.