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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for March 5

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.

While the NBA starts their All-Star break, there’s still plenty of action on the DraftKings Dream Stream this Friday with six Madden sims on the schedule. The later three games make up the featured classic slate, which kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET. The first matchup on the slate features the Cleveland Browns visiting the Green Bay Packers, followed by the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading to Houston to take on the Texans in the primetime matchup at 8:00 p.m. ET. The final matchup of the day also has some intriguing fantasy options in the Battle of the Big Apple as the New York Jets host the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Madden After Dark.

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.

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Quarterback

Stud

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $7,800 — Watson has the highest ceiling of the QBs on this slate due to his great dual-threat potential. He had over 20 DKFP in seven of eight games before his most recent sim, which was a disappointing 8.26-DKFP performance against the Titans. He got all the way to over 40 DKFP in two of those games against the Broncos and Lions, running for at least 120 yards in each of those matchups and scoring three touchdowns in each sim. On this slate, he will have a more difficult matchup against the Bucs’ run defense, but he did have 24.08 DKFP in his earlier matchup with Tampa Bay, running for 78 yards and a touchdown in addition to his 157 passing yards with another touchdown. Watson has had some down games, but there’s no other QB that offers nearly as much potential since he carries almost the entire offensive workload for Houston.

Other Option — Aaron Rodgers ($6,800)

Value

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans, $6,600 — Brady has thrown multiple touchdowns in four straight games with over 16 DKFP in each of those contests. He doesn’t produce any rushing yards, obviously, but does typically get plenty of passing yards, averaging 254.6 yards per sim. In his 54 sims, TB12 has thrown 81 touchdowns, though, and whenever he throws multiple scores, he’s a solid midrange play. He only had one score in his first matchup with the Texans for just 13.96 DKFP, but Houston’s secondary has been awful overall in these sims, so Brady should be able to put together a big game in this rematch.

Other Option — Daniel Jones ($5,800)


Running Back

Stud

Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets vs. New York Giants, $7,000 — The top two RBs on the slate go head-to-head in the late game, but of the two, Bell has the better matchup and comes with a solid discount compared to Saquon Barkley ($8,200). Bell is also almost always heavily involved in the offense, getting plenty of volume as both the RB1 and third-down back. He has at least five catches in five straight sims and is averaging 4.5 catches for 29.1 receiving yards to go with his 57.2 rushing yards per contest. He has found the end zone 27 times in 51 sims, but he didn’t need to score against the Giants in their first meeting in Madden 21 to produce a very solid 19.9 DKFP. While finding the end zone would obviously boost his production and helps raise his ceiling, his consistent workload has helped him put up more than 11 DKFP in 18 straight sims. He should be able to keep rolling against the Giants, who don’t have many playmakers on defense and have struggled against RBs in these sims.

Other Options — Saquon Barkley ($8,200), Aaron Jones ($6,800)

Value

LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans, $4,200 — McCoy continues to be heavily involved in the Bucs’ offense in these sims since he serves as the third-down back to complement Leonard Fournette ($4,600), who serves as RB1. McCoy had four catches in his most recent sim and is averaging 3.1 receptions per contest since stepping into this role in the latest roster update. McCoy doesn’t have a high ceiling but is a relatively safe play at this salary since Tampa Bay relies so heavily on pass-focused formations which he is a part of.

Other Options — Kareem Hunt ($5,000), Duke Johnson ($3,800)


Wide Receiver

Stud

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns, $6,500 — Like the top two RBs, the top two WRs on the salary chart go head-to-head on this slate when Adams’ Packers host Odell Beckham Jr. ($6,200) and the Browns. Of the two, I’m going with the slightly more expensive option since OBJ will have to deal with X-factor Superstar CB Jaire Alexander, while Adams gets a much more favorable matchup against the Browns’ weaker secondary. In their previous meeting, Aaron Jones ($6,800) shredded Cleveland for four touchdowns and 48.2 DKFP, leaving little work for Adams, who finished with three catches for 58 yards. He has been a little up-and-down in these sims, but when he’s on he has a very high ceiling, which he flashed with 11 catches for 146 yards, two touchdowns and 40.6 DKFP just three sims ago in a favorable matchup with the Browns. Adams is in a similar smash spot in this contest, but he’ll need the volume to produce. When he gets the chances, he usually turns them into big games and is averaging 15.1 DKFP on 4.5 catches for 66.6 yards per contest.

Other Options — Chris Godwin ($6,100), Sterling Shepard ($5,300)

Value

Golden Tate, New York Giants at New York Jets, $4,500 — While the Giants have cut Tate in real life and made him an intriguing free agent, he’ll continue to be the WR1 in these sims, working primarily out of the slot. Due to the routes he runs from there, he doesn’t typically get many big gains deep down the field, but he does get good PPR work and a solid workload. He had five catches for 91 yards and 14.1 DKFP in his first game against the Jets and has at least five catches in 20 of his past 31 sims dating back to that contest. He has 11 touchdowns in his 47 sims overall and has averaged 10.1 DKFP on 4.3 catches for 44.7 yards per sim. He has only hit the 100-yard bonus twice in those sims, but his high reception volume and favorable matchup make him a great option at this salary.

Chris Hogan, New York Jets vs. New York Giants, $3,700 — Even though this isn’t a lacrosse sim, Hogan makes a lot of sense at this bargain salary since he usually gets involved for the Jets as their WR2. Hogan had two catches, a touchdown and 13.2 DKFP in their first meeting, and he should again be involved enough to be a great play under $4K. He comes into the contest having hauled in multiple catches in 18 straight sims.

Other Options — Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,800), Rashard Higgins ($4,600), Scotty Miller ($3,600)


Tight End

Stud

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans, $4,600 — Gronk hasn’t been quite as good as he used to be in earlier Madden versions, but his high ratings have made him very effective as one of Brady’s go-to options. He has hauled in at least four passes in 12 of his past 14 sims and beat Houston for five catches, 82 yards and 13.2 DKFP in their first sim in Madden 21. The Texans’ secondary struggles against almost every position, but Brady focuses on different receivers in different games. Whether it’s Mike Evans ($5,700) or Chris Godwin ($6,100) getting most of the work, Gronk is almost always there as a secondary option and gets especially involved when the Bucs are in the red zone. His volume makes him a steady option and his touchdown potential gives him a high ceiling.

Other Option — Chris Herndon ($4,500)

Value

Marcedes Lewis, Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns, $3,600 — Lewis plays ahead of Robert Tonyan ($2,500) in these Madden sims and gets plenty of attention from Aaron Rodgers ($6,800) in most contests. Lewis has scored a dozen touchdowns while averaging 3.4 catches for 36.2 yards per sim. He isn’t quite as consistent as Gronk, but he did show a high ceiling with 36.2 DKFP against the Cardinals just four sims ago. At only $3.6K, he is a great value option at TE or even in your flex spot if you go with two TEs.

Other Option — Darren Fells ($4,000)


DST

Stud

Jets DST vs. New York Giants, $3,000 — The Jets aren’t one of the elite options in Madden 21, but they’re at the top of the next tier below that and have averaged 5.6 DKFP per contest. Against the Giants, the Jets posted 4.0 DKFP earlier in Madden 21 with a fumble recovery and a sack. In their 51 sims overall, they have forced 30 turnovers while piling up 107 sacks. If they are able to get pressure on Daniel Jones ($5,800) again in this rematch, they should have another solid day.

Value

Packers DST vs. Cleveland Browns, $2,900 — The Packers have solid playmakers throughout their defense and have 110 sacks in 53 sims to help them average 4.5 DKFP per sim. They had 8.0 DKFP in their first meeting with the Browns, producing two sacks and an interception while only allowing 10 points. Green Bay’s pass rush has been especially effective lately with 10 total sacks in their past three sims and 17 DKFP in their most recent contest, which was against the Bears on Wednesday.

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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.