There’s more wild weather on the way this Wednesday on the DraftKings Dream Stream as adverse conditions impact all six Madden sims on the schedule. There are many ways to play both free and paid contests, but in this post, we’ll focus on the featured three-game classic slate. Those contests begin at 6:00 p.m. ET with a matchup between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns, which will take place in windy conditions at virtual MetLife Stadium. At 8:00 p.m. ET, the Pittsburgh Steelers roll into virtual upstate New York for a snow game against the Buffalo Bills, and we close out the day with Madden After Dark in the rain as the Cincinnati Bengals travel to the Left Coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers.
As in all these Madden 21 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.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $6,900 — Even though the Steelers are a tough defense and have playmakers at every level, they have been beatable enough in these sims that Allen is still my favorite stud QB play. The Bills’ signal-caller offers dual-threat production, averaging 66.8 rushing yards per sim to go with his 157.6 passing yards per game and totaling 77 touchdowns in 50 sims, with 18 of those coming on the ground. He only had 12.06 DKFP in his first matchup with the Steelers, but that seems like an outlier given his recent run of success. He has over 17 DKFP in three straight sims and in 19 of his past 23 contests. Rain games tend to help running QBs more on the ground since passing is more difficult and the defense can often lose their footing when chasing a shifty QB like Allen. Even if there are a few turnovers involved, I think Allen has the highest ceiling and the lowest risk of the six starting QBs on the slate, so he makes sense to build around if you have the salary.
Other Option — Baker Mayfield ($7,000)
Daniel Jones, New York Giants vs. Cleveland Browns, $5,800 — Playing QBs in wind games is a high-risk strategy, but Jones is very underpriced for this favorable matchup against the Browns and has shown a high ceiling despite some inconsistency in Madden 21. Jones threw for 291 yards and a touchdown while running for a second score on his way to 22.64 DKFP in his first sim against the Browns, and he has seven rushing touchdowns to go with his 69 passing touchdowns in 48 sims. He has averaged 17.0 DKFP per contest over those 48 games, which is the best of the three cheaper starting QBs by a wide margin. He’s less secure than Allen but does have a high enough ceiling to be a solid pivot play if you don’t have the salary available to get up to one of those top two options listed above.
Other Option — Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,700)
Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $8,000 — There are two stud RBs on the slate with Mostert and Saquon Barkley ($8,200) checking in with much more success in this sims along with a much higher salary than the rest of the RB plays. Mostert has produced 19.7 DKFP per sim and has a slightly better matchup than Barkley as he takes on the Bengals. This will actually be the first time he faces Cincinnati in these sims, but his always-heavy workload should give him plenty of opportunities to find holes in the porous Cincinnati front line. He had over 35 DKFP in two of his past three games with monster performances against the Panthers and the Cardinals, and he has over 20 DKFP in nine of his past 13 contests. Weather games typically give the 49ers even more reason to go rush-heavy in their game plan, and Mostert will likely be both busy and productive given this matchup.
Other Options — Saquon Barkley ($8,200)
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns at New York Giants, $5,000 — Hunt shares time in the Browns’ backfield with Nick Chubb ($5,500) but has been relatively reliable give his role as the third-down back. Since downfield passes may be impacted by the wind, the Browns may try to work around that by giving Hunt more targets coming out of the backfield. He has averaged 3.3 catches per sim for 25.7 yards per contest to go with eight touchdowns. He has at least 8.0 DKFP in nine of his past 12 games, so he’s actually pretty low-risk for a RB in a timeshare. The Giants’ defense has not been great at stopping RBs in general and specifically RBs when working as receivers, so I think Hunt is the best value RB in play on this slate.
Other Options — Giovani Bernard ($5,400), Jaylen Samuels ($4,900)
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns at New York Giants, $6,600 — OBJ has been a very volatile option in Madden 21, but he went off against the Giants for nine catches, 173 yards, two touchdowns and 41.3 DKFP in his first sim against his former team. While we can’t confirm or deny that Madden 21 considers Narrative St., we can definitely say that it’s a matchup that he should be able to exploit against the Giants’ lowly-rated CBs. Overall, Beckham is averaging 3.6 catches for 68.4 yards per sim and has scored 26 touchdowns in 48 games. He has produced over 100 yards and over 24 DKFP in four of his past five games dating back to his monster 277-yard game against the Chargers in which he dropped a slate-breaking 53.7 DKFP. His upside is too significant to pass up since there aren’t any consistently reliable elite options on the slate.
Other Options — Stefon Diggs ($6,700), JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,100)
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants vs. Cleveland Browns, $5,400 — The G-men use Shepard as their top outside WR in most formations since WR1 Golden Tate ($4,400) does a lot of his work out of the slot. Shepard has thrived in that role, averaging 3.4 catches for 51.2 yards per sim and adding 16 touchdowns. He has double-digit DKFP in 11 of his 15 most recent sims but his busts do tend to be brutal when they happen. I don’t see him totally disappointing against the Browns’ below-average secondary, though, so he’s my favorite mid-range target on this slate.
James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, $3,900 — If you’re really looking to dive into the WR bargain bin, Washington is an option that makes sense under $4K since he usually gets involved for the Steelers and has multiple catches in 13 of his past 15 sims. If the Bills use Superstar X-factor CB Tre’Davious White to lock down JuJu Smith Schuster ($6,100), the Steelers will need Washington to step up and make some plays. His 91 speed rating and 77 overall rating make him a solid WR3, and Ben Roethlisberger ($6,100) usually spreads the ball around to all his top receiving options.
Other Options — Deebo Samuel ($4,600), Rashard Higgins ($4,500), Darius Slayton ($4,000)
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, $4,500 — Ebron has been another one of Big Ben’s successful pass-catching options, and this matchup against the Bills should play in his favor as well. Like Washington, he could find more space if the Bills focus their top cover options elsewhere. Buffalo has been fairly generous to opposing TEs as a result of that playing out on a regular basis, and Ebron beat the Bills for six catches, 58 yards and 17.8 DKFP in their first meeting in Madden 21. He has been a little quiet lately with under 10 DKFP in four of his past five games, but that has also lowered his salary to where he’s a great value as well as offering a very high ceiling.
Other Options — George Kittle ($5,400), Evan Engram ($5,100)
C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco 49ers, $4,200 — Uzomah could get more work than usual due to the rain and the 49ers’ elite CBs taking the Bengals’ WRs out of the play for rookie QB Joe Burrow ($6,200). Uzomah has been a steady piece of the Bengals’ offense in these sims, with at least one catch in all 49 sims and an average of 4.0 catches for 40.9 yards per contest to go with his 12 scores. He has at least four catches in five straight games and in seven of his past nine, and that regular PPR work makes him a relatively safe play at this price while also giving him attractive upside if he gets into the end zone.
Other Option — Lee Smith ($3,700)
Steelers DST at Buffalo Bills, $2,900 — The top two defenses go head-to-head in the primetime game, but I’m leaning toward the Steelers since they have the advantage over the Bills in sacks (103 to 92), defensive touchdowns (nine to six) and takeaways (40 to 38) despite playing one fewer contest than Buffalo. The Steelers could also get a chance to force fumbles from Josh Allen, who has had some turnovers issues when running due to his lower carry rating than many RBs and WRs. The Steelers have multiple studs throughout their defense giving them big-play potential, especially in the snow in Buffalo.
Bengals DST at San Francisco 49ers, $2,700 — Things get a little scary at DST once you get past those top two options, so if you have to go cheap, check out the Bengals even though they do have a tough task in slowing down Mostert. Cincinnati is coming off a five-sack game against the Cowboys that resulted in 7.0 DKFP and has piled up 93 sacks in 49 games while forcing 19 turnovers and scoring three defensive touchdowns. Even at their best, the 49ers aren’t an offense that piles up a ton of points, so there’s low risk with rolling with the Bengals in the rain, making them my favorite play of the four bad options if you pass on the Bills and Steelers.
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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.