We’re all in need of some entertainment during these times of the unknown. DraftKings is doing its part by offering Madden simulations with a variety of teams going at it. For this piece, we’ll focus on the Lions and Falcons game that’ll take place at 6 p.m. ET Saturday evening.
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The settings for this and all other Madden games are as follows:
Game Style: Arcade
Event Type: Exhibition
Even Teams: Off
Quarter Length: 8 minutes
Accelerated Clock: On
Play Clock: 20 seconds
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It’s been hard justifying paying up for Matthew Stafford ($10,800), who is the second most expensive player in this game. Over his past five games, he’s averaging just 12.1 DKFP and hasn’t thrown more than one touchdown in each of those games. One could argue that this WOULD be the game to do so as the Falcons’ secondary is nothing special. To his credit, Stafford has had a tough stretch of games as of late which included the Packers, Patriots and Ravens in three of his past four. However, when you consider Matt Ryan is only $600 more, it really makes it tough to use Stafford in this game.
When Stafford has been throwing the ball, he’s been connecting well with Marvin Jones Jr. ($7,400), who is much cheaper and is averaging almost the same number of DKFP as his quarterback. Jones is making 4.2 receptions per game for 52 yards and has scored 15 times. Getting that type of volume at a mid-tier price point is hard to stay away from. Jones ends up being one of my favorite plays in this game and someone I would strongly consider using. Kenny Golladay ($9,600) is much more expensive but is the WR1 on the depth chart. He’s averaging 3.8 receptions for 55 yards and 10 touchdowns scored. He’s another player I’m having a hard time paying up for, especially when you can use Julio Jones in this game. T.J. Hockenson ($6,200) has seen his salary drop more and more as of late, but it’s because of his lack of production. His volume is wildly inconsistent and it has him averaging 3.9 receptions and only 45.5 yards. He hasn’t scored very often either, making him a tough sell even at his current salary. We’ve seen some life from Danny Amendola ($5,000) lately, averaging 9.5 DKFP and a touchdown over his past five games. If he’s going to continue to make four receptions per game, which he has in three of his past five, he’s worth his cheap salary.
J.D. McKissic ($2,200) has been a strong play to use at the running back position, especially at his laughable salary. He’ll catch out of the backfield and has turned those into four touchdowns while rushing for another. He’s a much, much stronger play than Kerryon Johnson ($6,400), who has scored less than 3 DKFP in, wait for it, FIVE STRAIGHT GAMES.
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Matt Ryan ($11,400) is the quarterback I’m looking to pay up for in this game. Like the Falcons, the Lions do not have a strong secondary to worry about, so Ryan shouldn’t have much issue getting the ball through the air to his receivers. He enters this game averaging 249 yards with 55 touchdowns thrown and only eight interceptions. He has a very safe floor and has posted at least 18 DKFP in five straight games with multiple touchdowns thrown in all of them. With a solid group of receivers surrounding him, Ryan is by far the superior option at this position.
Pairing Ryan with Julio Jones ($10,400) can be difficult and Jones will draw the toughest matchup against Darius Slay in coverage. However, we’ve seen some huge games from Jones and very recently at that. He’s gone over 100 receiving yards in two of his past three games while scoring in both, which is a perfect example of the type of ceiling he possesses. It’s always risky investing so much in one player, but Jones is also the highest-rated player in this game at a 97 overall. It’s not just Jones that has done well in this offense either, as Calvin Ridley ($6,600) continues to be such a strong mid-tier option. His 15 touchdowns at his salary really are eye-opening to go along with an average of 3.6 receptions and 57 yards per game. You’re getting quite the trio if you’re able to use Ryan, Jones and Ridley in the same build. Russell Gage ($4,400) is not seeing a ton of volume, but he’s gone for over 100 yards in two of his past four games, including a 129-yard performance against the Chargers his last time out. It once again shows how well Ryan spreads the ball around, even with some of his value pieces. Austin Hooper ($8,000) hasn’t done much as of late but this could be a very interesting spot for him. The Lions are extremely poor against tight ends and Hooper will very likely see low ownership because of a lack of consistency and high salary. He’s someone to keep an eye on if you want to mix up your Falcons stack a bit.
Devonta Freeman ($8,800) continues to be too cheap for the amount of workload he receives. Even with how well Ryan performs, Freeman is still averaging 17.6 DKFP, which is massive for a running back in these simulations. Freeman is averaging 92.2 scrimmage yards per game with 21 touchdowns scored. Those split up to 14 on the ground and seven through the air, giving him a massive ceiling each and every game.
The Falcons certainly bring a number of strong captain options to use and that’s where my attention will primarily be. You can go so many ways here, but I think Devonta Freeman ($13,200 CP) is the strongest overall candidate. He does so much in this offense that it’s hard not seeing him succeed in this matchup. If you wanted to mix up your lineup a bit, Marvin Jones Jr. ($11,100 CP) should be a low-owned captain with plenty of upside.
Final Score: Lions 21, Falcons 27
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.