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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for February 23

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.

Get ready for some more Tuesday Night Football on the DraftKings Dream Stream, which is lined up for another full six-game schedule throughout the day. The featured three-game classic slate kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET with a matchup in virtual upstate New York between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. At 8:00 p.m. ET, the Houston Texans visit the Detroit Lions, and the final game of the day features two teams from the NFC West going head-to-head as the Arizona Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers on Madden After Dark.

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 Early Bird Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $250 FREE Contest


Quarterback

Stud

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans at Detroit Lions, $7,700 — Even though he’s the most expensive option in play at QB and there are two other rushing options with good upside in Kyler Murray ($7,200) and Josh Allen ($7,100), Watson is just too good to pass up in this smash spot against the Lions’ woeful rushing defense. Watson has averaged 73.9 rushing yards and 201.2 passing yards per sim, and he has thrown for 67 touchdowns while rushing for 19 more in his 46 contests. Watson is averaging 24.0 DKFP per contest, and the matchup is good enough that he should be able to outproduce that average. He hasn’t faced the Lions yet in these sims, but Detroit has given up huge games to Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson and Murray recently. The Lions are beatable through the air but especially struggle to contain rushing QBs, so look for Watson to threaten for and maybe even get the 100-yard bonus on his way to a huge game in the Motor City.

Other Option — Kyler Murray ($7,200), Josh Allen ($7,100)

Value

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans, $6,400 — Stafford has a good ceiling on the other side of this sim as well since he gets a favorable matchup against the Texans’ struggling secondary. Stafford doesn’t typically offer any production on the ground but has had some good passing games while averaging 241.0 passing yards per game and throwing 70 touchdowns in 45 contests. Stafford has thrown multiple scores in seven of his past nine sims, highlighted by a four-touchdown, 26.96 DKFP performance against the Rams (ironically). He has by far the best matchup and highest upside of any of the cheaper options on this slate, so go with him as a pivot if you think Watson will struggle or will be too chalky.

Other Option — Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,700)


Running Back

Stud

Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, $6,700 — While the Bills have an elite secondary, they have struggled against the run and have given up big games to Bell specifically in their previous meetings. Bell is still the primary ball-carrier in New York since these rosters are from Week 1, and he also serves as a very involved third-down back catching passes out of the backfield. In his 47 sims, Bell is averaging 29.1 receiving yards on 4.4 catches to go with his 56.3 rushing yards per sim. He had 12 catches in his most recent game against the Bills on his way to 20.2 DKFP and also posted 20.7 DKFP in their previous matchup before that. He has been rolling lately with over 15 DKFP in four straight and eight of his past 10 sims.

Other Options — Raheem Mostert ($7,400), Kenyan Drake ($6,800)

Value

D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans, $4,300 — The Lions use Swift as their third-down back in these sims, and the rookie has shown nice upside as a value option due to consistent involvement and big-play ability. Swift has averaged 3.6 catches per sim and has produced 23.0 receiving yards and 14.5 rushing yards per game. He has at least 6.9 DKFP in seven of his past 11 contests, highlighted by a 25.4-DKFP outburst against the Raiders. Swift should be able to find space to work against the struggling Texans, as long as he gets the targets from Stafford in the game flow.

Other Option — Devin Singletary ($6,200), Duke Johnson ($4,100)


Wide Receiver

Stud

Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans, $6,300 — The top two most expensive WRs on this slate are both from the Lions, which shows how bad this Houston secondary is expected to be. Kenny Golladay ($6,600) is the WR1 but Jones has been the more productive option lately since the targets have been going his way. Jones is coming off a monster game against the Cowboys that resulted in 34.4 DKFP on 10 catches for 154 yards, and he has over 19 DKFP in three straight contests. He has basically matched Golladay in terms of receptions, but Golladay has been better at finding the end zone. Both make good plays in this contest depending on where Stafford focuses, but since I don’t think they’ll need to air it out with deep shots, the focus will be short-to-mid routes, which sets up Jones to shine.

Other Options — Kenny Golladay ($6,600), Will Fuller V ($5,300)

Value

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, $4,900 — The 49ers use Samuel as their WR1 in these sims, but he still has his ups and downs since the passing game is definitely a secondary option to Raheem Mostert ($7,400) on the ground. Samuel still has a very attractive ceiling which he showcased two sims ago against the Lions with 10 catches for 97 yards, a touchdown and 25.7 DKFP. He crashed back to earth in his most recent game, though, with just one catch and 2.9 DKFP. Despite a few booms and busts, he does usually end up with around 10-to-15 DKFP. He’s averaging 12.1 DKFP on 4.3 catches for 55.4 yards per sim. He has scored a total of 14 touchdowns in 45 sims including one in each of his two most recent matchups against Arizona when he posted 20.9 DKFP and 11.0 DKFP despite both contests being fairly low-scoring overall.

Chris Hogan, New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, $4,400 — While Hogan is exploring a professional lacrosse career in real life, in simland, he continues to be the Jets’ WR2. His production can fluctuate due to inconsistent QB play, but he has shown a high ceiling for an option that is still this cheap. He has over 11 DKFP in five of his past six contests including an 11.9-DKFP game against the Bills in his most recent contest against them. In their prior meeting, Hogan was even better, going for 112 yards and 19.2 DKFP. If the Bills focus X-factor Superstar CB Tre’Davious White on Jamison Crowder ($5,000), it should allow Hogan room to work and allow him to deliver great value at this price point.

Other Options — John Brown ($4,500), Danny Amendola ($4,100), Larry Fitzgerald ($3,600)


Tight End

Stud

Chris Herndon, New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, $4,800 — Another way for Sam Darnold ($6,300) and the Jets to avoid going head-to-head with White and the Bills’ solid group of CBs is to focus on TE Chris Herndon, who has also been very involved on a regular basis. In these sims, he is averaging 4.9 catches for 49.8 yards per contest and has scored a solid total of 13 touchdowns. He has faced the Bills four times and had at least three catches in each meeting. Buffalo has given up some big games to TEs, so Herndon could be poised for a surprisingly good night even though I think he’ll be a lot less popular than George Kittle ($5,500) and T.J. Hockenson ($4,900), who cost more.

Other Options — George Kittle ($5,500), T.J. Hockenson ($4,900)

Value

Darren Fells, Houston Texans at Detroit Lions, $3,700 — Fells has also been a consistent PPR contributor in these sims, averaging 4.1 catches and 9.6 DKFP per contest. He only has nine touchdowns in 45 sims, which is a low total for such a big target, but he does have the raw skills to convert red-zone chances if given the looks. While the Texans’ WRs can be boom-or-bust and take targets from each other, Fells is usually pretty consistent and has at least three catches in nine straight sims.

Other Option — Lee Smith ($3,500)


DST

Stud

Bills DST vs. New York Jets, $3,200 — The Bills posted 14 and 12 DKFP in two of their previous four matchups with the Jets, so there’s definitely a possibility they will be able to deliver another big number against their division rival. Buffalo’s defense has totaled 88 sacks and 37 takeaways in 47 sims, producing 5.5 DKFP per contest. I like their playmakers and their matchup against the Jets’ offense, which can sometimes look as lost in Madden as they did in real life this past season.

Value

49ers DST at Arizona Cardinals, $2,700 — In the other divisional matchup, the 49ers should be able to hold the Cardinals in check since they get back all those players they lost to injury and illness in real life. Nick Bosa leads a very solid pass rush, which has kept Murray in check and helped San Francisco average over 7.0 DKFP per sim in its three earlier contests with Arizona. The 49ers don’t make quite as many big plays as the elite options, but they typically play low-scoring contests, making them a low-risk value pivot on this slate.

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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.