Week 8 in the NFL gets underway with a Thursday Night Football matchup from the NFC South between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons, but before kickoff of that contest, the DraftKings Dream Stream will have a trio of Madden sims to start your fantasy football weekend. The action kicks off at 12:00 p.m. ET with a matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions. At 2:00 p.m. ET, The Baltimore Ravens host the Houston Texans in a fun matchup of dynamic QBs, and the final matchup of the day gets underway at 4:00 p.m. ET, featuring the Miami Dolphins rolling into virtual Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans.
The roster for each team includes all player movement that occurred prior to Week 1 of this season and you can find the depth charts, abilities and X-factors for Madden 21 along with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page. The rosters have also been adjusted to get the best players on the field and will not be impacted by any COVID-19 opt-outs or injuries.
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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Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans, $7,800 — The middle game of the three-game set features the two elite QB plays on the slate in Jackson and Deshaun Watson ($8,200). Jackson has the better average of the two dual-threat QBs with 23.4 DKFP per contest and the better matchup since the Texans’ defense has given up plenty of big plays in these sims. Jackson has averaged 89.8 rushing yards in addition to his 153.4 passing yards per contest and thrown 17 touchdowns while rushing for eight more. He had over 24 DKFP in three straight games before slowing down with just 17.86 DKFP against the Vikings in his most recent contest, but he should be able to bounce back against Houston. Jackson always brings an elite ceiling due to his rushing potential and has hit the 100-yard bonus on the ground six times in 16 games, including each of his three most recent sims.
Other Option — Deshaun Watson ($8,200)
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions, $6,500 — Brees’ salary has bounced back a little from when he was a total bargain under $6K, but he still has some nice value potential in this matchup against the Lions. After a rough stretch, Brees has returned to form with over 16 DKFP in three of his past four games including 28.84 DKFP in a nice upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He had 301 yards and three touchdowns in that game, and he followed it up with another multi-touchdown performance in his most recent sim against the Giants. The Lions’ secondary has been rough in the Madden 21 sims and has given up plenty of points in almost every contest. Since this matchup will be indoors at virtual Ford Field, Brees should be even more on point thanks to his “Indoor Baller” superstar ability, which gives him easier zone targets when playing indoors.
Other Option — Ryan Tannehill ($6,000)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins, $7,900 — In this soft matchup against the Dolphins, King Henry should reign supreme due to his heavy workload and ability to break big plays. He is coming off a strong 111-yard performance against the Steelers, which resulted in 23.8 DKFP, and has reached the 20-DKFP plateau seven times in his past nine games. He has scored a total of 15 touchdowns in 16 sims and is averaging 86.4 rushing yards and 30.6 receiving yards per game. Since the move to Madden 21, Henry has taken over as third-down back and been an absolute beast thanks to a boost of 5.3 catches per game to give him some PPR production to go with all his yardage and touchdowns. The Titans’ preferred game script is to play from ahead and give him plenty of touches throughout the game, which is a likely scenario for this matchup with Miami.
Other Options — Alvin Kamara ($7,600), Matt Breida ($6,500)
J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans, $4,300 — Dobbins is still the third-down and power back for Baltimore and has been productive in those roles that he assumed at the latest roster update. Dobbins has scored a touchdown in each of his past two sims and has now found the end zone four times in 11 games. He is averaging 2.2 catches for 18.6 yards per contest in addition to his 16.2 rushing yards per game. Dobbins has over 6.0 DKFP in eight straight games and usually finds a way to get involved enough to be a nice affordable play. He doesn’t have an extremely high ceiling since Mark Ingram II ($4,700) still gets a lot of work as well, but he does get enough work to be a nice value play, allowing you to spend up in other spots.
Other Option — Mark Ingram II ($4,700), Duke Johnson ($4,500)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions, $7,100 — Thomas is fully healthy and has had no issues in simland, and his perfect 99 overall rating has helped him be one of the top options in all of Madden. Thomas had a slow game in his most recent sim against the Giants, but before that he had reeled off six straight sims with at least 11 DKFP, including two contests with over 30 DKFP against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thomas has at least four catches in 16 of his 18 sims and has hauled in nine touchdowns while averaging 5.3 catches for 83.7 yards per game. The Lions top CBs are Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant, who have overall ratings of 84 and 83, respectively, meaning they should present a favorable matchup for Thomas to put up another big game.
Other Options — DeVante Parker ($6,700), Kenny Golladay ($6,400)
Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions, $4,700 — Even though he is the WR3 on the depth chart, Smith is often lined up opposite Thomas since Emmanuel Sanders ($5,100) slides into the slot. Smith has made the most of his opportunities across from Thomas, averaging 3.8 catches for 44.4 yards per sim while scoring a total of five touchdowns in 17 games. He has at least five catches and over 60 yards in three straight sims and should be able to continue his strong production with Brees playing better and such a favorable matchup on this slate.
Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints, $3,800 — Amendola has been productive out of the slot for the Lions in his 15 sims in Madden 21. He has multiple catches in 14 of those 15 games and is averaging a solid 9.1 DKFP on 3.5 catches for 34.9 yards per contest in addition to five touchdown catches. Two of those scores came in Detroit’s most recent contest, when Amendola had six catches, 58 yards, two touchdowns and 23.8 DKFP. He has that kind of upside, but his real value is that he is almost always involved and won’t be a total bust very often despite his salary under $4K.
Other Options — Corey Davis ($5,600), Emmanuel Sanders ($5,100), Adam Humphries ($3,400)
Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans, $5,400 — The Titans have been very generous throughout these sims to opposing TEs, even though their defense as a whole has been pretty strong. Gesicki has become a go-to option for Miami’s offense since Tua Tagovailoa ($7,000) took over at QB 12 sims ago. As a result, Gesicki has hit for double-digit DKFP four times in his past eight games including a pair of games with over 20 DKFP. He hasn’t hit the 100-yard bonus yet but has been a valuable possession option catching 4.0 passes for 44.4 yards per sim and scoring five touchdowns. He and Tua should find space to work over the middle against the Titans.
Other Options — Jared Cook ($5,000), T.J. Hockenson ($4,800)
Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins, $4,200 — Smith has been slowed by an ankle injury in real life but is 100% healthy and ready to go in simland. He has multiple catches in all but one of his 16 sims and is averaging 10.1 DKFP on 4.2 catches for 39.2 yards per game. His production has been pretty similar to Gesicki’s, but he has been less boom-or-bust with a lower ceiling but also more consistent production.
Other Options — Mark Andrews ($4,400), Darren Fells ($3,700)
Titans DST vs. Miami Dolphins, $3,200 — The Titans’ defense is an underrated unit, and they have been very strong at home in these sims. In their 10 home games, they have nine takeaways, 26 sacks, three touchdowns and a 7.1 DKFP per sim average. They have not fared quite so well on the road, but since they’ll be at home when they take on a rookie QB in Tua, I think they’ll be the top DST on the slate.
Ravens DST vs. Houston Texans, $3,000 — While the Texans do have playmakers, they have also been turnover-prone in these sims so far and could create a solid opportunity for the Ravens’ defense to be a nice alternative to the Titans. Baltimore has been very good against the run with X-factor Calais Campbell up front and have been able to pick up 33 sacks, five interceptions and a defensive touchdown in their 16 sims. They’re averaging a solid 4.3 DKFP per contest despite not recovering a fumble yet, which shows how effective they are at limiting their opponents production and picking up opportunistic sacks.
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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.