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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for January 8

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.

With the first-ever Super Wild Card weekend around the corner and two awesome triple-headers ready to roll this weekend, the DraftKings Dream Stream is ready to start the party early with a full six-game schedule on Friday. The three-game featured slate gets underway at 6:00 p.m. ET with the New England Patriots taking on the Cincinnati Bengals in a rematch of a sim from last week. At 8:00 p.m. ET in primetime, the high-powered offense of the Kansas City Chiefs will have a great matchup as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Then on “Madden after Dark,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Tennessee Titans in a matchup of two playoff teams that will both be in action this weekend.

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 $5K Early Bird Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest



Quarterback

Stud

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $7,900 — Mahomes is the only QB in Madden 21 with a perfect 99 overall rating in the Week 1 ratings used in these sims, and he has been the most productive passer in the sims to this point. He just led the Chiefs to a Championship in the 2020 Madden Holiday Season and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in seven straight sims. He has over 20 DKFP in each of those seven sims and has topped 300 yards in five of those contests. In his 38 sims in Madden 21, Mahomes has been able to produce 99 total touchdowns, and he’ll be looking to reach triple-digit touchdowns in this contest. This will be the first time the Chiefs have taken on the Jaguars in Madden 21, but the matchup is definitely one that Mahomes should be able to excel in since the Jaguars have struggled defensively throughout these sims. The only danger is that the game will get so lopsided that the Chiefs won’t have to throw the ball or be as aggressive as if the game was close and competitive. Still, his ceiling is impossible to ignore since he should be able to pile up plenty of fantasy points against the hapless Jags.

Other Option — Ryan Tannehill ($6,300)

Value

Cam Newton, New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals, $5,800 — Newton threw for 216 yards and a touchdown last week against the Bengals and posted 14.64 DKFP. If the Chiefs blow out the Jaguars and Mahomes doesn’t produce a huge number, it will make more sense to pivot to a cheaper QB like Newton. He has at least 14 DKFP and at least one touchdown in four of his past five games. He hasn’t demonstrated the type of high ceiling that the elite QBs like Mahomes have shown off in Madden 21, but he has been the second-most productive QB on this slate and gets a great matchup against the Bengals.

Other Option — Joe Burrow ($6,000)


Running Back

Stud

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $6,400 — Edwards-Helaire is the third-down back, the power back and the RB1 for the Chiefs, and he usually gets a solid workload as both a rusher and receiver out of the backfield. If the Chiefs are comfortably ahead, they could give CEH even more work than normal. He has at least three catches in four straight sims, including his two-touchdown-reception performance in the Holiday Season Championship when he put up a massive 22.8 DKFP. He has six double-digit DKFP performances in his past nine games and makes a ton of sense on this slate if the game script leans strongly in Kansas City’s favor.

Other Options — Derrick Henry ($7,500), Chris Thompson ($6,800)

Value

LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Tennessee Titans, $4,400 — McCoy is the Bucs’ third-down back in these sims and is almost always involved enough in the timeshare to be a good bargain play. He has over 9.0 DKFP in three of his past four contests and scored a touchdown in his most recent sim against the Chiefs. He has found the end zone four times in his 33 sims while averaging 3.2 catches for 22.3 yards per contest in addition to his average of 19.1 rushing yards. He has multiple catches in nine of his past 11 contests and is a relatively low-risk play at just over $4K in this first matchup between the Bucs and Titans in the Madden 21 sims.

Other Option — James White ($3,900)


Wide Receiver

Stud

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Tennessee Titans, $6,200 — On this slate, I think it’s more important to pay up for Mahomes, Travis Kelce ($6,200) and maybe even Derrick Henry ($7,500) rather than to pay all the way up for Tyreek Hill ($8,100). It’s not that I don’t think Hill has a matchup advantage; it’s just that I’m not confident that the Chiefs will take enough deep shots if playing from ahead. One nice stud option that you can pivot to is Godwin, who has a very high ceiling out of the slot for the Bucs. Godwin is boom-or-bust at times but should find success against the Titans, who have struggled to defend slot WRs throughout Madden 21. Godwin had over 100 yards in back-to-back sims against the Panthers and Saints and had posted over 19 DKFP in three of his previous four sims before struggling to just 2.0 DKFP in his most recent contest. He should be able to bounce back in this matchup and costs almost $2K less than Hill.

Other Option — Tyreek Hill ($8,100)

Value

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $5,400 — Brown is the Titans’ top WR and should be able to get loose for big plays against the Bucs’ secondary. He went off for 124 yards against the Cowboys for 20.4 DKFP in his most recent sim and has put up double-digit DKFP in five of his past six contests. He has actually been even more consistent than Godwin, although he doesn’t have quite as high of a ceiling.

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots, $4,600 — Boyd is a solid option out of the slot for the Bengals and had five catches, 44 yards and 9.4 DKFP against the Patriots two sims ago. He has multiple catches in 13 of his past 14 sims and has hit for at least 15.0 DKFP in six of those contests. Since the Patriots typically leave top CB Stephon Gilmore on the outside, Boyd should have an easier matchup once again out the slot and be able to produce a good total.

Other Options — N’Keal Harry ($5,200), Dede Westbrook ($5,000), Demarcus Robinson ($3,800), Damiere Byrd ($3,300)


Tight End

Stud

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $6,200 — The Jaguars have been pretty bad against every position in these sims but have been especially beatable by TEs. Kelce joined Edwards-Helaire as keys to the Chiefs’ championship by reeling in 10 catches for 134 yards, a touchdown and 32.4 DKFP against the Saints. He has at least three catches in an amazing 23 straight sims and never really busts. In this fantasy-friendly matchup, the Chiefs will likely try to control the ball and run the clock out, and if they play from ahead there should be more targets for Kelce over the middle.

Other Option — Tyler Eifert ($4,500)

Value

Devin Asiasi, New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals, $3,800 — With all the expensive Chiefs you have to try and fit under the salary cap, you may need to go ultra-cheap at your flex spot. Asiasi has been consistently productive in these sims and just had four catches, 41 yards, a touchdown and 14.1 DKFP against the Bengals two sims ago. He followed that up with 12.7 DKFP against the Jets and has reached over 12 DKFP in five of his past 12 contests. While that production won’t break the slate, his supremely affordable salary can help you afford the players who can go off for monster numbers, and he still chips in some solid production of his own.

Other Option — C.J. Uzomah ($4,100)


DST

Stud

Patriots DST at Cincinnati Bengals, $3,000 — New England’s defense has forced 32 turnovers in 33 sims in Madden 21 while also producing 57 sacks, a safety and eight defensive touchdowns. They held the Bengals to 13 points in their meeting last week with four sacks, a fumble recovery and 10.0 DKFP. They have now hit double-digit DKFP in three of their past four sims and should be able to dominate against rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow ($6,000) again in this rematch.

Value

Chiefs DST vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $2,800 — The Chiefs’ defense is also in a very favorable spot and has also been playing well, although it hasn’t made quite as many big plays as the Pats’ defense. The Chiefs have forced 28 turnovers in 38 sims with 73 sacks and four defensive touchdowns. The Jags’ offense has been very inconsistent from game-to-game, and they were held under 20 points in three straight contests, averaging just 10.7 points during that span before breaking through for 28 points against the Lions in their most recent sim. The Chiefs' defense is much stronger than Detroit’s, so they should be able to hold Gardner Minshew II ($5,600) in check.

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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.