There’s some great Thursday Night Football coming your way on the DraftKings Dream Stream with the featured classic slate scheduled to kick off at 6:00 p.m. ET. The first of the three matchups on the slate features a pair of dynamic young passers as Joe Burrow ($6,000) takes on Kyler Murray ($6,800) as the Arizona Cardinals visit the Cincinnati Bengals. At 8:00 p.m. ET, the Minnesota Vikings host the Denver Broncos, and we close out the night with a Madden After Dark contest between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles, kicking off at 10:00 p.m. ET.
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.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals, $6,800 — There are no super-elite QBs on this slate leaving us a solid group of balanced options. Murray has the highest ceiling of the six starting QBs in play due to his rushing potential and has a very favorable matchup against the Bengals. This will be the third time he has faced Cincinnati in these Madden 21 sims, producing 23.14 and 24.46 DKFP in those two previous contests. He has over 23 DKFP in four straight sims coming into this matchup as well, including an impressive 39.16 DKFP game against the Eagles three sims ago. He had two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in that contest and has totaled 48 passing scores and 17 more on the ground in his 47 sims. Since I think he’ll be able to post a good rushing total and multiple touchdowns in this contest with the Bengals, he’s my favorite QB option and comes at a nice price under $7K.
Other Option — Carson Wentz ($6,500)
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles, $6,200 — Ryan offers an interesting contrast to Murray, since the Falcons’ veteran is a steady producer with a totally different skillset. He has rushed for a total of -13 yards in his 50 sims so won’t be delivering any rushing production. However, he still makes sense as a fantasy play since he is averaging 18.0 DKFP per sim with 94 touchdowns in those 50 contests and an average of 251.3 passing yards per game. He hasn’t faced the Eagles yet in Madden 21, but he has shown solid upside with over 19 DFKP in five of his past 10 contests. His ceiling isn’t quite as high as Murray’s, but he is a much safer play than the three starting QBs that are cheaper than him on this slate.
Other Option — Joe Burrow ($6,000)
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos, $8,100 — Cook has been an absolute beast in these sims, scoring 55 touchdowns in 46 sims and averaging 24.1 DKFP per sim, more than any other player at any position on this slate. He has at least one touchdown in five straight sims and has over 22 DKFP in four of those games. As the focal point of Minnesota’s offense, he usually gets a large workload as both a rusher and a receiver, making him productive regardless of game script. Cook should be able to gallop past the Broncos, who have a good pass rush in these sims but have given up big games to opposing RBs.
Other Options — Todd Gurley II ($7,500), Miles Sanders ($6,900)
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Arizona Cardinals, $5,500 — It’s a great slate for RBs with excellent top options in Cook, Gurley and Sanders, but there is also a good chance to save some salary and go with Gio if you’re looking to pay up for pass-catchers. Bernard has been the Bengals third-down back throughout these Madden 21 sims and has averaged over 10 DKFP per sim. He is averaging 4.3 catches for 31.4 yards per contest and usually gets a few carries. He has produced double-digit DKFP in five of his past seven games with at least 7.0 DKFP in each of his past 11. Bernard had 17.2 and 2.6 DKFP in his previous two matchups with the Cardinals, demonstrating both his upside and his volatility. Since I think this should be a pretty high-scoring contest, look for Bernard to be a solid play under $6K.
Other Option — Phillip Lindsay ($5,900), Melvin Gordon III ($4,500)
John Ross III, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Arizona Cardinals, $5,700 — Though he’s far from a stud in real-life fantasy football, Ross has been excellent in these sims due to his 96 speed rating. He has scored 19 touchdowns in 47 contests, averaging 3.9 catches for 57.1 yards per sim. in his most recent sim, Ross had 100 yards and a touchdown for 24.0 DKFP against the Packers and lit up the Cardinals for two touchdowns and 23.6 DKFP in their most recent game. He has that kind of upside in this rematch although he can be a volatile option since he is big-play reliant.
Other Options — Julio Jones ($6,700), Courtland Sutton ($5,300)
Marquise Goodwin, Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons, $5,100 — Another high-speed WR with a high ceiling, Goodwin is the Eagles’ WR3 and works out of the slot. His 97 speed rating trails only the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill and the Raiders’ Henry Ruggs in all of Madden 21, and he has been a huge asset to Philadelphia's passing attack in these sims. Goodwin has over 17 DKFP in three of his past six matchups including 18.1 DKFP on over 100 receiving yards in his most recent sim, which was against the Bucs. The Falcons have been vulnerable to speedy slot options in these sims, so Goodwin should be set up for success.
Tajae Sharpe, Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos, $4,500 — Sharpe is the Vikings’ WR2 in these sims even though he ended up finishing the season on the Chiefs’ practice squad. He’s been a pretty reliable producer with double-digit DKFP in four of his past six sims, averaging 12.3 DKFP per contest over that stretch. He’s relatively affordable since the Vikings’ passing game has been very inconsistent over these sims, but he comes with solid production potential in this matchup with Denver.
Other Options — Jerry Jeudy ($4,800), Russell Gage ($4,300), Larry Fitzgerald ($4,000)
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons, $5,100 — Ertz is the only TE on this slate averaging double-digit DKFP, and he has been very productive with 14.0 DKFP on 5.5 catches for 59.2 yards per sim. He has at least six catches in six of his past seven sims and comes with both a high floor and a high ceiling due to his regular volume. He’s significantly more productive and more consistent than any other TE in play, so don’t overthink it if you have the salary to spend.
Other Option — C.J. Uzomah ($4,300)
Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles, $4,000 — Hurst doesn’t have nearly the ceiling that Ertz does, but he has been a consistent PPR option for Atlanta. He has at least three catches in 10 of his past 11 games and has over 5.0 DKFP in each of those 10 contests. Even though he doesn’t have the upside that Ertz does, he is more reliably involved than any WR or RB in this price range, so if you have to go cheap at a flex spot, Hurst makes sense.
Other Option — Noah Fant ($3,900)
Falcons DST vs. Philadelphia Eagles, $2,900 — The Falcons are the only DST on this slate averaging more than 5.0 DKFP per sim, and most of that production has come as a result of a solid pass rush. In 50 sims, Atlanta has produced 101 sacks to go with 29 takeaways and four defensive touchdowns. The Falcons put up 15 DKFP in their most recent sim, which was against the Rams, and they have at least 7.0 DKFP in four of their past six contests.
Broncos DST at Minnesota Vikings, $2,600 — The Broncos’ pass rush has also been effective with Superstar X-factor Von Miller healthy and leading the way. Denver has 87 sacks in 46 sims with two safeties and four defensive touchdowns helping it to average 4.5 DKFP per sim. While Dalvin Cook usually proves to be unstoppable, the Broncos should be able to hold Kirk Cousins ($5,700) in check and put up a solid total despite being the most affordable defense on the 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 vieddw(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.