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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for December 12

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Saturday’s three-game Madden Stream DraftKings slate, which starts at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Even though it seems like we just started the Madden Holiday Season on the DraftKings Dream Stream, we’re already to teams playing their second game in the short season this Saturday, which features six more divisional round matchups. Make sure to check out the standings and the stat leaders along with the special offers each day on the main Holiday Season page. In Saturday’s offer, each entry in the $12K Holiday Season Special will get 500 crowns if the Pittsburgh Steelers get the win over the Baltimore Ravens in the 6 p.m. ET sim. There’s also a $3K first place prize in that contest, so make sure to get your $10 entry in.

The featured slate starts with a version of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry that won’t get rescheduled three times due to COVID-19 since it’s a Madden sim, and the Steelers need a victory after losing their first game of the tournament to the Cincinnati Bengals. Those Bengals are back in action at 8:00 p.m. ET, visiting the Cleveland Browns in the other AFC North matchup. In the late game, the focus will shift to the AFC South as the Houston Texans host the Tennessee Titans. Both teams lost their first game, so while it’s not a “loser goes home” matchup, it’s pretty close since it will be very difficult for a team to make the knockout stage of the Holiday Season after starting 0-2.

As usual, remember that each roster is not impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs, injuries, suspensions or illness and 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 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.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $12K Holiday Season Kickoff [$3K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest.

Put your DraftKings daily fantasy football skills to the test against Jim Cramer, his followers and other members of the DraftKings Playbook community! Check out the new Cramer’s Cash Contest and enter your lineup in a rake-free contest for Week 14.



Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans, $7,900 — There are two elite options in play on this slate in Watson and Lamar Jackson ($8,100). Even though Jackson has an immensely high ceiling and has gone off for a few monster games lately, I actually like Watson a little better due to his consistency and matchup. Jackson started these sims with a stinker against the Browns, totaling just 5.6 DKFP with 47 rushing yards, 47 passing yards and no touchdowns, and now he gets a tough matchup against the Steelers. Watson gets a much more favorable matchup against the Titans and has at least 23 DKFP in three straight sims and seven of his past nine. He has been a little better at passing than Jackson in these sims and he still offers great rushing production as well, although not with as high of a ceiling. Watson has averaged 198 passing yards and 73.7 rushing yards per sim and thrown for 36 touchdowns while adding 13 more on the ground. He and the Texans beat the Titans, 24-14, in their only other Madden 21 matchup and he should be able to find room to produce a big game against the Titans, who gave up the best QB performance of the Holiday Season to this point against Gardner Minshew II.

uOther Option — Lamar Jackson ($8,100)


Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $6,200 — Mayfield actually outproduced Jackson in the Browns’ 10-7 loss to Baltimore to open the Holiday Season with 12.6 DKFP despite the wind, which was definitely part of the offensive challenges for both teams. In his 26 Madden 21 sims, he has thrown 40 touchdowns and added three more on the ground while averaging 17.9 DKFP per sim, and he has been even better with 19.8 DKFP per contest in his 12 home games. He had a slow start following the move to Madden 21 but has been playing much better lately with over 19 DKFP in four of his past six games. He does usually chip in some rushing yards, although not on the level of Jackson or Watson, but they do help boost his value if the passing game bogs down. In this matchup with the Bengals, he could end up being a cheap alternative at QB that brings solid returns and also allows you to stock your skill spots with higher salaries.

Other Option — Ryan Tannehill ($5,600)

Running Back


Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, $8,900 — Henry has been a beast in these sims, averaging 23.4 DKFP per contest and scoring an amazing 32 touchdowns in 27 sims. He had a receiving touchdown and 22.2 DKFP in the Titans’ loss to the Jaguars to start the Holiday Season, giving him at least one score in 14 of his past 15 contests. He should be able to tear up the Texans’ defense, which has been one of the most favorable matchups throughout these Madden 21 sims. Henry is almost always on the field in Madden 21, which has led to him being very involved as a pass-catcher, averaging 3.9 catches for 26.3 receiving yards per game in addition to his 88.2 rushing yards per sim. He’ll look to produce in both ways again in this contest and has a very high ceiling and low risk as a result of his workhorse role at the center of the Titans’ offense.

Other Options — Nick Chubb ($6,200)


J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $4,600 — Henry is the only full-time back on the slate with the other five teams all using timeshares. Dobbins is both the third-down and power back for the Ravens, and he scored their only touchdown in their first Madden Season game. He finished that contest with 9.3 DKFP and has at least that many points in three of his past four games. Since becoming the primary receiving back, he is averaging over two catches per game, and he has been able to find the end zone eight times in his 22 sims since that roster update. He’ll be in a tough, physical matchup with the Steelers, but he still offers very nice value at just over $4.5K with the potential for PPR and touchdown upside.

Other Option — Kareem Hunt ($5,200), Duke Johnson Jr. ($4,300)

Wide Receiver


Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans, $6,300 — Since Will Fuller V ($5,300) isn’t suspended in these sims, Cooks hasn’t gotten huge volume in every one of his Madden 21 sims, but his speed and big-play potential give him a high ceiling in this matchup with the Titans. Cooks is coming off a monster game against the Colts, when he opened Holiday Season with eight catches, 148 yards, two touchdowns and 37.8 DKFP. He actually had an even better game against the Browns earlier in the Madden sims, producing 47.2 DKFP, and he has reached at least 18 DKFP in four of his eight games dating back to that monster performance. He had a touchdown and 12.5 DKFP in his first meeting with the Titans, and he should be able to keep things rolling in this favorable matchup. I like playing him and Watson since I could definitely see them going off for a big game as a big-time QB-WR stack.

Other Options — JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,100), Odell Beckham Jr. ($6,100)


John Ross III, Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns, $5,800 — In real life, Ross is on IR and was barely used even before that with the emergence of Tee Higgins ($3,000), but in these Madden sims, Ross and his 96 speed rating continue to be a high-upside play. Ross had two touchdowns against the Steelers in the season opener and produced 29.6 DKFP. He has over 20 DKFP in four of his past eight games and can get to the 100-yard bonus quickly since every touch has the potential to result in a break-away big play. He can be a little boom-or-bust since he does normally rely on big plays, but his upside makes him a nice option under $6K in this matchup.

Willie Snead IV, Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $3,600 — Snead has multiple catches in 14 straight sims and usually gets involved as the Ravens’ WR2, working primarily out of the slot. He doesn’t have the blinding speed or high ceiling that the above two options bring, but he does get consistent volume and has hit for double-digit DKFP in four of his past 10 sims. He had a touchdown and 12.9 DKFP in his previous matchup with Pittsburgh, so I like him as a very affordable value play in the rematch.

Other Options — Rashard Higgins ($5,000), A.J. Brown ($4,600), James Washington ($3,400)

Tight End


C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns, $4,600 — While Eric Ebron ($5,300) and Jonnu Smith ($5,000) are more recognizable names that definitely come with good upside in their matchups, I think Uzomah is an even better play in this matchup with the Browns, who have been a very favorable matchup for TE throughout these Madden sims. Uzomah and the Bengals have faced Cleveland three times, and in every contest the big TE has over nine DFKP, averaging 12.1 DKFP on 4.7 catches for 54.0 yards per contest. In his 26 sims overall in Madden 21, he has averaged 4.3 catches for 47.3 yards per sim while scoring a total of nine touchdowns in those contests. He should be in a good place to produce again while also offering a little salary relief compared to the other top options.

Other Option — Eric Ebron ($5,300), Jonnu Smith ($5,000)


Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $3,600 — I’m a little surprised that Hooper is the cheapest starting TE on this slate since he has good ratings and has shown that he can put up fantasy points. He is averaging 3.5 catches for 36.9 yards per sim and has found the end zone five times. He had five catches against the Ravens in the Holiday Season opener and finished with 9.5 DKFP in that low-scoring affair. If the Browns are able to put up a big number against Cincinnati, Hooper could be a key to their passing game. If he has a big game, he’ll be a great value stack with Mayfield.

Other Option — Darren Fells ($4,200)



Titans DST at Houston Texans, $3,000 — The Texans have big-play options and can put up points, but they have also struggled with turnovers and allowing sacks, making them a good matchup for opposing DSTs. The Titans have 53 sacks in their 27 sims and had a pair of sacks against Houston in the teams’ first meeting. They have also forced 17 turnovers and scored four defensive touchdowns, and since Watson has 24 turnovers in 27 games, they should be able to get a takeaway or two in this matchup with the Texans with the real possibility of a return score as well.


Ravens DST vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $2,800 — The only time the Ravens and Steelers have faced off in simland, Baltimore’s defense was dominant in a 34-0 shutout, producing 26 DKFP with eight sacks and a defensive touchdown. The Ravens haven’t always been that great of a DST, which is why they’re a value option, but they have been good lately with at least 6.0 DKFP in three of their past four games. They have forced 11 turnovers in their 27 sims and piled up 54 sacks to go with a safety and three defensive touchdowns.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $12K Holiday Season Kickoff [$3K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest.

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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.