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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for January 5

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

While everyone eagerly anticipates the upcoming Super Wild Card Weekend, the DraftKings Dream Stream is ready to go with a full week of six Madden sims every day throughout the rest of the work week. The featured slate gets underway this Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. ET with a nice NFC matchup featuring the Green Bay Packers visiting the Atlanta Falcons. At 8:00 p.m. ET in primetime, we head to virtual Cali for an in-state rivalry game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers, and we close out the night with the Los Angeles Rams visiting the Buffalo Bills on “Madden After Dark.”

As usual, it’s important to remember 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 Early Bird Special [$2K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest



Quarterback

Stud

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers, $6,900 — Even though Ryan doesn’t offer the elite rushing potential of Josh Allen ($7,800) in these sims, I think he’s the way to go on this slate if you’re paying up at QB. He has been a very reliable option at the helm of the Falcons’ offense and has great options to work with at WR. Ryan has thrown a total of 67 touchdowns in his 33 Madden sims while averaging 263.4 passing yards per contest. He has thrown for multiple touchdowns in five of his past six games, producing over 16 DKFP in each of those games. He has also shown his high ceiling during that stretch with a pair of four-touchdown performances that resulted in 27.62 DKFP against the Cowboys and 33.96 DKFP against the Jaguars. The only other time he has faced the Packers in Madden 21 was all the way back in the preseason tournament when he led the Falcons to a 21-14 upset in virtual Lambeau Field with 211 yards, two touchdowns and 16.34 DKFP. Ryan and Allen are the only two QBs on this slate producing over 19 DKFP per contest, but based on their matchups and the slight discount in salary, I’m leaning towards Matty Ice on this slate.

Other Option — Josh Allen ($7,800)

Value

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $5,500 — Since he is healthy in simland and has a fully healthy team around him, Garoppolo and the 49ers are offering a glimpse into what could have been if their season hadn’t been wiped out by injury and COVID-19 issues. Jimmy G has been boom-or-bust in these sims, averaging 230.7 passing yards per game over his 30 sims in Madden 21 while throwing 39 touchdowns. Even though he’s averaging just over one score per game, he has been hot recently with multiple scores and over 16 DKFP in three of his past five games including a nice three-touchdown, 27.48-DKFP performance against the Rams in the Madden Holiday Season. He brings that kind of ceiling into this matchup as well and has one of the better matchups on the board. He threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns in his first meeting with the Chargers in these sims and comes in with over 12 DKFP in five straight despite being the cheapest starting QB on the board.

Other Option — Justin Herbert ($6,600)


Running Back

Stud

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $7,100 — Mostert has been another big beneficiary of being injury-free in simland and has been a dominant force out of the backfield for the run-heavy offense in virtual San Francisco. Mostert didn’t get much going in the Madden Holiday Season but still has scored 31 touchdowns in his 30 Madden 21 sims while producing 77.6 rushing yards and 25.8 receiving yards per contest. Mostert had 187 rushing yards and 31.2 DKFP in his first game against the Chargers and has the highest ceiling of any RB on the slate. He gets all the work in the 49ers' backfield and typically gets enough carries to finish with a big total. He is a heavily-featured part of his team’s preferred game script, which relies on running the ball often and playing solid defense to create low-scoring contests. When the 49ers are at their best, Mostert can pile up yards in a hurry, and he should be able to do that again in this rematch against Los Angeles.

Other Options — Austin Ekeler ($7,400), Aaron Jones ($6,500)

Value

Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills, $5,900 — Five of the six teams on this slate use their RB1 as their third-down back, resulting in the same RB on the field for almost all their snaps. Those five workhorses are all over $6K, but if you can’t afford to spend all the way up for two of those studs, the Rams offer the only timeshare on the slate. Henderson has been the team’s third-down back and been consistently more productive than RB1 Malcolm Brown ($3,300), who is extremely touchdown-dependent. Henderson has gotten his chances to score since the virtual Rams use so much shotgun formation, and he has produced six rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns in his 24 sims since stepping into this third-down role. Henderson has also been a major PPR contributor over that span, averaging 5.0 catches for 36.1 yards per sim. He has at least seven catches, at least 60 yards and over 13 DKFP three of his past four games, and he should be able to stay hot against the Bills, who have an elite secondary, which could force Jared Goff ($6,300) to check down to Henderson even more often.

Other Option — Malcolm Brown ($3,300)


Wide Receiver

Stud

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers, $6,800 — Jones has been one of the most reliable WRs in Madden 21 and has made the most of his 97 overall rating from Week 1. Jones is averaging 4.9 catches for 80.6 yards per sim and has scored 20 touchdowns in his 33 contests in Madden 21. One of those scores came in his first meeting with the Packers when he produced four catches, 49 yards, a touchdown and 14.9 DKFP. Jones has hit the 100-yard bonus 12 times in his 33 sims including in his most recent matchup, producing 109 yards, a touchdown and 26.9 DKFP against the Panthers. While the matchup against X-factor Superstar CB Jaire Alexander isn’t an easy one at all, Jones should be able to find enough space to work if the Falcons get creative with their formations since Alexander doesn’t usually shadow the opposing WR1. Jones has at least four catches in seven straight sims with five touchdowns over that span, so his volume and red-zone potential make him the top WR on this slate.

Other Options — Davante Adams ($7,200), Deebo Samuel ($6,200)

Value

Josh Reynolds, Los Angles Rams at Buffalo Bills, $4,500 — Since I think the Bills’ secondary will key in on shutting down Cooper Kupp ($5,600) and former-Bill Robert Woods ($6,000), I expect Goff will have to rely on his other pass-catching options like Henderson and Reynolds. The Rams rely almost exclusively on three-WR sets both in Madden and in real life, so Reynolds gets plenty of snaps and opportunities to make plays. He has 12 touchdowns in his 27 Madden sims with a catch, averaging 3.3 catches for 47.8 yards per sim. He had three straight games with over 12 DKFP before a down game in his most recent contest against the Seahawks. He has the upside to go for over 100 yards or grab a touchdown to return great value in the right matchup since the targets are almost always there for him.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers, $3,500 — Gage is the Falcons’ WR3 and primary slot option and has turned that role into 3.6 catches for 38.2 yards per sim to go with his eight touchdowns in 33 contests. He has only hit for over 20 DKFP twice, so his ceiling is limited, but he is very consistent for an affordable option like this and has produced at least 6.0 DKFP in 70% of his contests. If you like the rest of your lineup and have under $4K remaining at WR or flex, Gage is a great way to round out your roster without taking on a ton of risk, since he rarely busts and can offer solid production in what could be a high-scoring game in the dome in virtual Atlanta.

Other Options — Devin Funchess ($5,400), Kendrick Bourne ($4,200)


Tight End

Stud

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $5,600 — When the 49ers’ passing game is having success in these Madden sims, it’s usually due to a heavy dose of Kittle, who is the highest-rated TE in the ratings used for these contests with his 98 overall rating. Kittle has had a few duds where the targets just weren’t there for him, but normally, he gets plenty of looks. He has at least five catches in seven of his past nine games including each of his three most recent sims. In one of those games, he went off for 112 yards, two touchdowns and 35.2 DKFP against the Rams, and he’ll look to put up a similar game against the other team from Los Angeles in this matchup.

Other Option — Hayden Hurst ($4,800)

Value

Lee Smith, Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Rams, $3,300 — Smith will be in that same matchup against the Rams that Kittle just exploited, and he makes a great cheap play even though he doesn’t have nearly Kittle’s ratings and upside. Smith has been the top TE for the Bills for their past 24 sims and has produced 3.3 catches for 33.9 yards per sim while scoring three touchdowns. He had a great run of five straight games with at least four catches and at least 8.0 DKFP that came to an end in his most recent matchup against the Jets, but I think he’ll bounce back to be a great value play at barely over $3K in this matchup with the Rams.

Other Option — Tyler Higbee ($4,000)


DST

Stud

Chargers DST at San Francisco 49ers, $3,000 — Even though they have to deal with a healthy 49ers offense, the Chargers’ defense has come up with enough big plays to still be a nice play in this spot. They have averaged a slate-high 5.6 DKFP per game as a defense by forcing 22 turnovers in 32 sims while piling up 79 sacks and scoring three defensive touchdowns. The Chargers have multiple sacks in nine straight sims and should be able to force Jimmy G into mistakes if they get pressure on him in this contest while also containing Raheem Mostert.

Value

Falcons DST vs. Green Bay Packers, $2,800 — While getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers ($7,200) probably won’t result in turnovers like they might with Garoppolo, the Falcons have still been a solid enough defense to consider if you have to save a little salary. Atlanta has forced 21 turnovers in 33 sims with three defensive touchdowns and a safety to go with 71 sacks. They have been better at home, where they have put up 5.6 DKFP per sim, and they make a solid play against the Packers, who they have 5.0 DKFP against in their first meeting.

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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.