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

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Saturday’s six-game Madden Stream DFS slate, which starts at 12:00 p.m. ET.

With real-life sports still in the midst of an extended time out, DraftKings continues to provide some great sports simulations to fill the void. Each day there are six Madden Streams with eight free contests to be a part of. You can play a single-game Showdown for each contest along with an all-day, six-game classic contest and a three-game late slate contest. Each simulation will be played out via an online Madden Stream using Madden 2020 with rosters and ratings from the end of the 2019-20 season. 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. Follow along to watch your fantasy team pile up fantasy points.

Saturday’s six-game slate starts at 12 p.m. ET with a matchup between the Panthers and Bengals in virtual Cincinnati. The 2 p.m. ET game features Washington and Arizona meeting in the desert before the first half of the day’s contests closes out with a 4 p.m. ET matchup between the Falcons and Jets. The second half gets underway at 6 p.m. ET when the Steelers host the Titans. The primetime matchup is a juicy one between the Ravens and Patriots in what should be a good AFC matchup. The final game of the day should also be a good one as the Eagles fly west to take on the Rams in a solid NFC showdown.

With those 12 teams providing lots of good options across the board, there are multiple ways to assemble your squad for this all-day slate. I’ll give you my favorite plays at each position and price point below. For more information, check out the Madden info page for all the data on player ratings, special abilities and what you can look forward to coming soon.

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Lamar Jackson, BAL at NE, $7,600 — Jackson looked awful in his first matchup against the Patriots, managing just 3.72 DKFP on 163 yards passing and getting picked off three times. However, that matchup was before the quarters were expanded and the mode was changed from simulation to arcade. Jackson’s ceiling is too high to ignore even though he struggled in the first go-around. He has averaged 21.0 DKFP in his 35 sims and is averaging over 60 yards on the ground to go with over 160 passing yards per sim. He has rushed for 20 touchdowns in addition to his 44 passing touchdowns and all that scoring has helped him reach over 18 DKFP in six of his past eight games. He has an extremely high ceiling as he showed against the Saints two sims ago with 38.32 DKFP, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns.

Other Options — Matt Ryan ($7,200), Carson Wentz ($6,800)


Sam Darnold, NYJ vs. ATL, $5,800 — Darnold has been inconsistent from game-to-game but has also had some high points that make him a solid consideration at under $6K. His boom-or-bust nature is demonstrated by his past two sims in which he produced just 7.92 DKFP against the Raiders with under 100 yards passing followed by 25.84 DKFP with 246 yards and four touchdowns against the Broncos. Darnold had 298 yards, three touchdowns and 24.22 DKFP against the Falcons in the teams’ first meeting and should be more likely to boom than bust based on matchup. He also has over 17 DKFP in three of his past four contests and five of seven.

Other Option — Ryan Tannehill ($6,500), Dwayne Haskins Jr. ($5,400)

Running Back


Devonta Freeman, ATL at NYJ, $7,600 — Even though the matchup isn’t great, Freeman is still a solid play against the Jets since he gets so much volume as the Falcons’ primary RB. Freeman has been very involved as a rusher and receiver and has piled up 28 touchdowns in 36 sims. He has over 12 DKFP in three straight and in eight of his past 11. He also had a good game against the Jets in the teams’ first meeting with 18.4 DKFP, mostly on his four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. He’s averaging 17.4 DKFP per sim always has a high ceiling and a low floor.

Other Options — Todd Gurley II ($6,800), James White ($6,200)


Chris Thompson, WAS at ARI, $3,600 — Thompson is the RB3 for Washington but he always is very involved in the offense since he is the third-down back and gets lots of playing time in pass-heavy formations. He is producing a healthy 7.5 DKFP per contest after posting 18.0 DKFP in Washington’s 13-7 upset win over the Panthers. Thompson has that kind of high ceiling and gets involved in every contest, so he’s a solid value play to allow you to spend big at other spots.

Other Option — Miles Sanders ($6,000), Gio Bernard ($4,700)

Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.

Wide Receiver


JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT vs. TEN, $7,500 — JuJu has at least two catches in 35 of the Steelers’ 36 sims. His best game during that entire span came in this matchup when he faced the Titans 10 sims ago. He finished with nine catches for 194 yards, a touchdown and 37.3 DKFP. He’s a tough matchup in the slot for any defense, but the Titans had no answers for him at all in the teams’ last meeting. Smith-Schuster has 21 touchdowns and is averaging over 65 yards per sim with 4.5 catches per contest.

Other Options — Julio Jones ($8,500), Terry McLaurin ($5,900)


Brandin Cooks, LAR vs. PHI, $5,000 — Cooks has averaged 4.3 catches per sim for an average of 56.2 yards per game. Even though he is the WR3 on the Rams, the team relies heavily on three-wide sets that get him on the field regularly. He had 19.3 DKFP against the Titans in his most recent sim and 17.5 DKFP the first time these two teams met. His speed gives him a high ceiling against an Eagles secondary that has been very beatable on the outside, where Cooks typically lines up. He does have competition for targets but if he gets the looks against Philly he also has a very high ceiling.

John Ross III, CIN vs. CAR, $3,700 — Ross’s 97 speed rating has made him a favorite of many players in Madden and given him a high ceiling. He showed that off two sims ago with 130 yards, two touchdowns and 32.0 DKFP but came back to earth with just 3.1 DKFP against the Chargers his last time out. He has been boom-or-bust but usually gets involved with at least a catch or two which is also an opportunity for him to break a big play. He should have a good matchup against the Panthers’ secondary that has allowed big plays, and he’s extremely affordable at under $4K.

Other Options — Corey Davis ($3,900), James Washington ($3,200)

Tight End


Ben Watson, NE vs. BAL, $5,700 — Watson has been one of the standouts among all the players in all the sims and has averaged 15.0 DKFP per contest. He has over 100 yards and 20 DKFP in each of his past two sims to bring his average up to 5.3 catches for 67.2 yards per sim to go with 13 touchdowns. Even though he doesn’t score a ton, he always seems to pile up yardage. Even in the shorter, simulation-mode game against the Ravens he had five catches, 94 yards and 14.4 DKFP, so with more time and bigger plays he has an even higher ceiling this time around.

Other Options — Zach Ertz ($6,000), Vance McDonald ($5,200)


Delanie Walker, TEN at PIT, $4,400 — Walker is more volatile than the elite options but still comes with very nice upside. He went off for 13 catches for 143 yards, a touchdown and 35.3 DKFP against the Vikings a few sims ago and was even better with 42.5 DKFP against the Browns a few sims before that. However, he has dropped off with a pair of games under 8.0 DKFP in his past two sims, both games the Titans ended up losing. Walker is averaging 4.3 catches for 48 yards per sim but has produced at least 10 DKFP in 15 of his 36 sims (42%).

Other Option — Jordan Reed ($4,100), Charles Clay ($3,500)



Panthers DST at CIN, $2,900 — The Panthers’ DST has been very good all sim season long and has been led by Luke Kuechly and his 99 overall rating. Carolina has a great matchup against the offensively-challenged Bengals, who the Panthers had 10.0 DKFP against in the teams’ first meeting. Carolina has recovered 32 fumbles in 36 games and has added 77 sacks and a handful of defensive TDs to propel the unit to 6.8 DKFP per sim.


Jets DST vs. ATL, $2,800 — New York has been one of the best defenses in our Madden sims and has continually caused turnovers for the team’s opponents. The Jets have piled up a massive 43 takeaways, highlighted by 31 defensive fumble recoveries, in 36 contests while adding 72 sacks, two safeties and seven defensive touchdowns. New York’s 7.5 DKFP average is the highest on the slate and the Jets surpassed that with 12 DKFP in the teams’ first matchup with Atlanta.

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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.