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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for February 18

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.

Thursday brings another full slate of Madden sims to the DraftKings Dream Stream with six games scheduled throughout the afternoon and evening. The featured three-game classic slate gets underway at 6:00 p.m. ET when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Arizona Cardinals in a battle of the birds in the desert. At 8:00 in primetime, the Jacksonville Jaguars travel to the virtual Big Apple, where they’ll clash with the New York Giants, and we close out the slate with a nice “Madden After Dark” matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

As in all these Madden sims, it’s important to know that each roster is not impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs, injuries, suspensions or illness 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 Thursday Night Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $250 FREE Contest


Quarterback

Stud

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Carolina Panthers, $8,000 — Mahomes is the only QB with a 99 overall rating in the Week 1 ratings used for these sims. Mahomes has been outstanding throughout these contests, averaging 24.9 DKFP per contest on 285.8 passing yards per sim and 147 total touchdowns in 54 sims for an average of 2.7 touchdowns per contest. He has passed for multiple touchdowns in eight straight sims with a total of 24 over that stretch. He has over 23 DKFP in all but two of those eight contests and has gone over 29 DKFP in three of those games. Mahomes and the Chiefs beat Carolina in Week 9 in the real world, but they haven’t faced them so far in these Madden 21 sims. The Panthers’ secondary has struggled, though, so I don’t think they’ll have much shot of slowing down Mahomes. The X-factor Superstar should be poised for another monster game in this matchup and is worth paying up for if possible.

Value

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals, $6,800 — The only other QB on this slate besides Mahomes who is averaging over 20 DKFP per sim is Wentz, who gets the benefit of still working with his Week 1 rating that doesn’t reflect how much he struggled this season. Wentz has thrown 90 touchdowns in 45 sims and averaged 246.4 passing yards per contest. He had 15.32 DKFP in the Eagles’ first game against Arizona but has been playing better than that recently with over 18 DKFP in nine of his past 12 contests, highlighted by a five-touchdown, 31.56-DKFP performance against the Packers. Wentz can be a little boom-or-bust, but his ceiling is high enough that he makes the best option if you decide to pivot away from Mahomes and hope to match his production with a lower-priced play.

Other Options — Teddy Bridgewater ($6,600), Gardner Minshew II ($6,300)


Running Back

Stud

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $7,800 — Barkley has been solid in these sims as the clear focus of the Giants’ offense. He should be able to find running room against the Jaguars’ shaky defense. The Quadfather has 41 touchdowns in his 44 sims rushing for 75.3 yards per sim and adding 4.3 catches for 32.1 receiving yards per game as well. He had 20.3 DKFP when the Giants beat the Jags four sims ago and has over 18 DKFP in eight of his past 10 sims, in which he has averaged a robust 24.2 DKFP per contest. He has an extremely high ceiling and has been fairly reliable due to his consistently heavy workload.

Other Options — Miles Sanders ($7,400), Chris Thompson ($6,600)

Value

Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles, $6,300 — This slate is a tricky one because there are absolutely no cheap value options at RB who are consistently involved. All six teams use a single running back as both RB1 and third-down back, so there aren’t any opportunities to target a timeshare. The cheapest of the six starting RBs is Drake, who has been very good in these sims as Arizona’s go-to option in the backfield. He has scored 33 touchdowns in his 44 sims, averaging 52.7 rushing yards and 25.2 receiving yards per contest. He had one of those touchdowns and 16.2 DKFP in his first matchup against the Eagles, and he has been consistent with over 11 DKFP in seven straight sims. While he isn’t a cheap play, he has outproduced the other cheaper RBs and can help you save a little salary at this spot.


Wide Receiver

Stud

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Carolina Panthers, $8,000 — Hill always seems to be in a great matchup due to his 99 speed rating and has consistently turned in big games throughout Madden 21. In his 54 sims, Hill has scored 51 touchdowns while averaging 95.2 yards per sim on 6.4 catches per contest. His steady volume has resulted in him rarely busting and regularly posting over 20 DKFP. He has reached that level in six of his past nine games and went off for 56.3 DKFP in one of those contests with four touchdowns against the Saints. Hill has been the most productive WR in all of Madden 21, so you have to consider paying up for him even though he’s $8K on this slate.

Other Options — DJ Chark Jr. ($6,400), DeSean Jackson ($5,800)

Value

Marquise Goodwin, Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals, $4,900 — Goodwin doesn't quite match Hill’s 99 speed rating, but he comes pretty close. Hill is the only player with a 99 speed rating; the Raiders’ Henry Ruggs is second with a 98 speed rating, and Goodwin is right behind the two of them with his 97 speed rating. The COVID opt-out in real life has been productive as the Eagles’ WR3 in these sims and uses that speed to produce big plays. Goodwin can be boom-or-bust and is coming off a down game with just one catch, but he usually is more involved than that, averaging 3.7 catches per contest. Goodwin had four catches for 93 yards and 14.1 DKFP in his earlier matchup with the Cardinals, and he offers some solid production from under $5K with plenty of big-game potential as well.

Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Carolina Panthers, $4,400 — Without much salary relief at RB, getting cheap WRs will be key to lineup construction, and fortunately, there are some good options around $4K. Robinson has been very productive as the Chiefs’ WR3 and has scored a touchdown in five straight sims while producing over 12 DKFP in each of those contests. He had four catches and 12.8 DKFP in his most recent sim against the Jaguars. He has 17 touchdowns overall in his 54 sims and has multiple catches in 91% of those games, making him a great option at this price point.

Other Options — DJ Moore ($5,000), Darius Slayton ($4,100), Larry Fitzgerald ($4,000), Chris Conley ($3,200)


Tight End

Stud

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Carolina Panthers, $6,300 — Even though Mahomes has been very focused on Hill, he still finds opportunities to get Kelce involved as well, giving the big TE lots of upside if you can afford his salary. Kelce has at least five catches in four of his past five sims and had a monster nine-catch, 32.3 DKFP performance two sims ago against the Rams. He has been held under 10 DKFP in a few games recently, so he isn’t the most important of the Chiefs’ options to fit under your salary cap, but he definitely comes with a higher ceiling and better chance to get there than any other TE available.

Other Options — Zach Ertz ($5,700), Evan Engram ($5,400)

Value

Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, $4,700 — Eifert has been very reliable in these sims as one of Gardner Minshew’s favorite targets. He has hauled in 4.7 catches for 44.6 yards per sim. His regular volume makes him a stable investment, and he also comes with solid upside, posting over 19 DKFP in two of his past three sims. He has reached double-digit DKFP in eight of his past 12 sims and has averaged 12.9 DKFP per contest over that stretch. He doesn’t score a ton of touchdowns, with just 15 in his 45 sims, but he gets enough PPR work to still be a solid option.

Other Option — Ian Thomas ($4,100)


DST

Stud

Jaguars DST at New York Giants, $2,900 — The Jaguars’ defense has been solid lately with multiple sacks in seven straight sims, including a two-sack, 3.0-DKFP performance against the Giants a few sims ago. In that game, the Jaguars held New York to just 10 points, and they should be able to produce a solid total again in this rematch as long as they keep Saquon from going off.

Value

Eagles DST at Arizona Cardinals, $2,600 — On a slate with so many stars to pay up for, you may want to go super-cheap on DST. The Eagles allow you to do that while still offering some upside against Kyler Murray ($7,200), who isn’t as good in these sims as he was in real life this past season. Philadelphia had four sacks and 5.0 DKFP in its earlier matchup with Arizona and has forced 14 turnovers to go with 77 sacks over 45 sims. The Eagles aren’t one of the elite units at forcing turnovers, but they do have a pretty solid unit overall and should be able to produce in this road matchup.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $4K Thursday Night Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $250 FREE Contest


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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.