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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for December 18

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.

Start your weekend out right with six more Madden sims this Friday on the DraftKings Dream Stream, as the Madden Holiday Season continues to close out the regular season and set up what should be an exciting playoff round. To see who has advanced and which teams have already been eliminated, check out the standings. You can also check out all the stat leaders from the season games so far and the special offers from featured contests on the main Holiday Season page. Today’s offer is an especially juicy one: if you play in the $10K Holiday Season Special and Aaron Rodgers ($6,900) throws one or more touchdown passes, you get $5 DK Dollars.

The featured slate on Friday night kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET with a matchup between Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are 2-0 and in good shape to advance to the playoffs but haven’t clinched yet. If they win, they advance, while the Vikings can still get in as well depending on the results of the 8:00 p.m. game between the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions. We could have a three-way tie at 2-1 if Minnesota and Chicago both win, or a three-way tie at 1-2 if Green Bay and Detroit win. It will be fascinating to see how it all plays out with so many scenarios on the table. After the NFC North is wrapped, we’ll turn to the NFC South, where we already have two teams locked into the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints are both 2-0 in divisional play and will advance, but this game is still very important for seeding purposes in addition to having plenty of excellent fantasy options to consider.

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 $10K Holiday Season Kickoff [$2K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest.

Play in the $10K Holiday Season Special, and if Aaron Rodgers throws 1 or more touchdown passes, you get $5 DK Dollars.

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 15.



Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, $7,100 — At first glance, it seems crazy that Trubisky is the most expensive QB on the slate that includes Aaron Rodgers ($6,900), Tom Brady ($6,200) and Drew Brees ($6,400), but the numbers support him being the best play on this slate since he has been so good in these Madden sims. In Madden 2020, he was outstanding and a regular feature in my picks, but he hasn’t been quite as consistent in Madden 21. He still has a high ceiling, though, and he is a good play in this matchup against the Lions. Trubisky has done most of his damage in these sims as a rushing threat, producing 65.0 rushing yards per sim and adding 11 rushing scores to his 33 passing touchdowns over 28 sims. He has over 22 DKFP in six of his past seven games and has reached over 24 DKFP in each of his three most recent contests. In his only previous matchup with the Lions in Madden 21, he led Chicago to a huge 34-3 victory and posted 22.98 DKFP. Trubisky’s added rushing element and this great matchup make him worth paying up for even though he’s the only QB with a salary over $7K.

Other Option — Aaron Rodgers ($6,900)


Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, $6,200 — The Bucs didn’t advance in the preseason tournament, but they have already clinched a postseason berth with a 2-0 start after beating the Falcons and Panthers. They have also shown they can beat the Saints in simland, picking up a 35-21 victory earlier in these sims behind four touchdown passes and 25.62 DKFP from Brady. While Brady obviously doesn’t bring the rushing potential that Trubisky provides, he has still been very good in these sims, throwing 41 touchdowns in 27 sims in Madden 21 while averaging 250.3 yards per contest. He’s a solid play with good upside, especially if this game turns into a high-scoring contest in the virtual Superdome.

Other Option — Matthew Stafford ($5,000)

Running Back


Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, $8,900 — The Vikings rely heavily on Cook to carry the load both as rusher and receiver. He had five catches in his first game against Green Bay and finished with 20.3 DKFP in Minnesota’s 20-16 defeat. He has at least 18 DKFP in 20 of his 27 sims (74%) including each of his past four in a row. He went off for a massive 51.0 DKFP against the Giants a few sims ago, but he probably won’t quite reach that ceiling in this matchup since Green Bay’s run defense is solid. I do think he’s lined up for good PPR production, though, and should be able to continue his run of good results as the Vikings try to advance by beating the Packers. Cook is much more expensive than even the other elite plays on this slate, but that’s due to his consistency and his average of 25.4 DKFP per sim, which is over 6.0 DKFP more than any other RB on this slate.

Other Options — Alvin Kamara ($7,200), Aaron Jones ($6,900)


LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, $4,600 — There are some solid value RBs on this slate who share work in their respective backfields. The most consistent of the bunch has been McCoy, who serves as the Bucs’ third-down back while Leonard Fournette ($5,200) handles the early-down work. McCoy has at least three catches in five straight games and has at least 7.0 DKFP in six of his past seven. McCoy was held without a catch in Tampa Bay’s most recent contest against the Saints, but his regular involvement and opportunity make him an excellent salary-saver at RB.

Other Options — Tarik Cohen ($5,000), D’Andre Swift ($4,400)

Wide Receiver


Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $6,800 — Thomas is the only WR in Madden 21 that has a perfect 99 rating in the Week 1 Madden ratings we are using for these sims. He has been solid but not spectacular in these sims so far, averaging 18.1 DKFP on 5.3 catches for 85.2 yards per sim. Thomas has a very high ceiling but his volume can be inconsistent since teams tend to lock in multiple defenders against him and Drew Brees ($6,400) spreads the ball around. When he’s in single coverage, he can have huge games, though, and has at least 22 DKFP in six of his 13 most recent contests. He beat the Bucs for three catches, 124 yards and 18.4 DKFP in their first meeting but was held to six catches, 28 yards and 8.8 DKFP in the rematch. Tampa Bay’s secondary has been vulnerable to big plays, and Brees should be able to lock in and find his X-factor superstar WR, who brings a higher ceiling than any other WR on this slate.

Other Options — Davante Adams ($6,500), Adam Thielen ($6,100)


Devin Funchess, Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings, $5,800 — Funchess is a very solid option under $6K and has stepped into a very productive role as the Packers’ WR2 since COVID-19 opt-outs were added back into the mix. Funchess has posted exactly 68 yards receiving in each of his first two games in the Holiday Season while scoring three touchdowns and producing 16.8 DKFP against the Lions and 24.8 DKFP against the Bears. He has 16 touchdowns in his 24 games for Green Bay, averaging 4.4 catches for 64.4 yards per sim and providing a nice complement to Adams, who usually draws heavy coverage on the other side. Funchess has been especially effective as a red-zone target lately with five scores in his past four games.

Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, $3,800 — With no Antonio Brown on the Bucs’ roster in these sims, Miller is still locked in as the team’s WR3. While the volume in this offense gets spread around to all the top targets, Miller is usually involved with multiple catches and has the ability to go off for a big number. He has multiple catches in each of his past four sims and had multiple catches in both of his early games against the Saints. He is coming off a solid 13.6 DKFP against the Panthers, and in that game, he scored his third touchdown of the Madden 21 sims. For under $4K, he brings nice potential against the Saints.

Other Options — Chris Godwin ($5,400), Allen Robinson II ($5,000), Marvin Jones Jr. ($4,400)

Tight End


T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears, $4,900 — Hockenson has gotten consistent high volume in his Madden 21 sims, averaging 4.9 catches per game over his 28 sims. Hockenson had nine catches, 116 yards and 23.6 DKFP in his first matchup with the Bears, who have excellent coverage options on the outside but can sometimes be beaten over the middle, where Hockenson usually thrives. He has over 11 DKFP in seven of his previous 10 contests and is the top TE option on this slate.

Other Option — Jimmy Graham ($4,400)


Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $4,100 — Cook is averaging the second-most DKFP of the TEs on the slate, but he’s surprisingly affordable as the No. 4 TE in terms of salary. He was shut out against the Falcons in the Holiday Season opener but has at least three catches in the other nine of his previous 10 contests. He had three catches for 88 yards in his most recent game against the Bucs, and he comes with a very high ceiling at this salary. I like the idea of going with both him and Hockenson since they have great value compared to the WRs and TEs available in the same price range.

Other Option — Marcedes Lewis ($3,300)



Bears DST at Detroit Lions, $3,000 — The Lions’ offense has been a mess in these sims and should be a good matchup for Chicago’s defense. The Bears have been impressive, compiling 65 sacks in 28 sims to go with 12 takeaways and three defensive touchdowns. They totally dominated their earlier matchup with Detroit with two takeaways, nine sacks and a slate-breaking 26.0 DKFP.


Packers DST vs. Minnesota Vikings, $2,800 — The Packers have several players with superstar traits on their DST and have allowed 21 points or fewer in six straight sims. They have fewer sacks and takeaways than the Bears but have still been solid with 61 sacks in 30 contests. Kirk Cousins ($5,300) has been mostly ineffective in Madden 21, so the Packers should be able to key in on Cook and limit the Vikings’ scoring in this important divisional contest.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $10K Holiday Season Kickoff [$2K 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.