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Madden Stream Picks: Texans vs. Ravens DraftKings DFS Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Wednesday’s 8:00 p.m. ET Madden Stream contest between the Texans and Ravens with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

We’re all in need of some entertainment during these times of the unknown. DraftKings is doing their part by offering Madden simulations with a variety of teams going at it. For this piece, we’ll focus on the Texans vs. Ravens matchup, which will take place at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 22.

Set your free to play DraftKings lineups here: Madden Stream $5K FREE Contest [5 Entry Max] (HOU vs BAL)

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices


Houston Texans

I’ve written up or called a boatload of Houston’s simulations and there’s not another time I can remember Deshaun Watson ($10,000) not being the most expensive player on the team’s roster. I mean, why wouldn’t he be? The duel-threat QB has been about as consistent a fantasy asset as possible in these streams, averaging a slate-best 22.0 DKFP per game and managing to exceed 19.0 DKFP in 27 of the Texans’ 37 matchups. Sure, we can debate the merits of using the data from prior contests in a stand-alone setting, but when something has happened 73.0% of the time, I’m willing to suggest that it’s not a coincidence. That confidence stems partly from Watson’s ability to scramble, as the pivot has racked up four rushing touchdowns in his past six starts.

On the other hand, DeAndre Hopkins ($10,200) has actually been struggling as of late. Well, “struggling” like only DeAndre Hopkins can. The Clemson product has just one 100-yard receiving performance to his name in Houston’s past 18 simulations; a span of time where Hopkins has managed to eclipse the 18.0 DKFP plateau on but a single occasion. Again, this is a first-world problem, but any cracks in a player’s viability get bigger when they become their team’s highest-priced asset. Considering that you’re likely to want to stuff both quarterbacks into as many lineups as you can this evening, I might try to be most cost-effective when it comes to the Texans’ receiving corps. Will Fuller ($7,000) always has a high ceiling and is coming off a nice showing against the 49ers on Sunday. Darren Fells ($6,800) is as expensive as he’s ever been in one of these streams, yet the TE has hauled in 27 passes in his last five starts. Or, maybe, you want to go extreme bargain hunting with Keke Coutee ($1,800), as the slot threat doesn’t have to do much more than his 7.3 DKFP average to bring back value.

Then, as always, we get to Lamar Miller ($8,800). Recently, DraftKings has been a little bit more fluid with its pricing, which led to the RB possessing price tags of $5.8K and $6.8K last week. While that alone didn’t necessarily make Miller enticing, it was a mid-tier salary that I was willing to use as a variance play - especially in a five-entry contest. Alas, we’re now back up over $8K. It’s just impossible to have any confidence in Miller when having to pay this much for his services. The veteran has only exceeded 20.0 DKFP three times in these simulations and he’s registered a paltry seven rushing touchdowns with Watson vulturing most of the squad’s goal line work. I guess I could see myself having 20% exposure in the primetime slot, yet it might be wise to avoid Miller altogether. It’s a strategy that generally works out.

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Baltimore Ravens

So, not to reveal too much too early, but there’s a 100% chance that I’ll be Captaining Lamar Jackson ($10,600) in two or three lineups on Wednesday night. I get that that isn’t exactly a contrarian stance, but there’s literally nothing that could sour your opinion of the reigning MVP on this slate. No QB - aside from maybe Patrick Mahomes - has as much upside as Jackson, a fact evidenced by the Louisville product having exceeded 28.0 DKFP in nine total simulations and 30.0 DKFP in three of the Ravens’ past four. That’s the beauty of Jackson in Madden, he’s basically been playing like virtual 2004 Michael Vick and when you roster him it’s like getting access to a quarterback and a running back simultaneously. To that point, Jackson’s racked up six 100-yard rushing games and 21 rushing touchdowns. Combine all this with the knowledge that the 23-year-old salary has never been lower in a stream and you can understand my excitement.

The one area where Jackson doesn’t thrive is passing yards, as the QB has failed to surpass the 250-yard threshold in 35 of Baltimore’s 36 streams. This is pretty much the standard trade-off you get when Jackson scrambles on so many of his drop backs, but the trickle-down effect of this trend is that it limits the upside and volume of the Ravens’ receivers. To put this all into context, the aforementioned Coutee has exactly 100 receptions as we head into Wednesday’s slate, where Marquise Brown ($9,200) has only 118 catches to his name. That’s why Jackson’s generally been more valuable on an island and why fading expensive Baltimore targets like Brown and Mark Andrews ($8,400) usually works out. Still, while Seth Roberts ($4,600) does represent a stable floor and a palatable price tag, I do want to make sure I get some level of exposure to Brown on this slate. The man they call “Hollywood” has caught 37.0% of the Ravens’ passing touchdowns and he’s managed to eclipse the 20.0 DKFP plateau six times. He makes the most sense as a stacking option with Jackson.

Finally, there’s Mark Ingram ($9,800). While it obviously isn’t a high bar to clear, Ingram is the most enticing RB in this matchup, as he’s mustered 15-plus DKFP in 11 of his 36 appearances in these simulations. The only issue, once again, is the presence of Jackson. I already mentioned that the Madden cover athlete has registered a whopping 21 rushing TDs in these streams, which is exactly 11 more than his teammate. In fact, Ingram hasn’t found the end zone on a running play in Baltimore’s past seven games. The key here is just to consider game script before inserting Ingram into too many lineups. For instance, Ingram is viable in a build where you’ve Captained Watson, but if you’ve spent the extra money to put Jackson at 1.5x value, you’re banking on the QB, not the RB, scoring the touchdowns. At least that’s how you’ll maintain the most upside.


This is a slate that sort of forces your hand when it comes to the Captain’s spot. Not only do we have two quarterbacks that are almost their team’s entire offense, but we also have two three-down running backs, limiting the value towards the bottom of the player pool. Still, by making a couple sacrifices at the top of the pricing list when it comes to receiver, you’ll have more than enough salary to fit either Lamar Jackson ($15,900 CP) or Deshaun Watson ($15,000 CP) in comfortably.

Final Score: Baltimore 24, Houston 20

Set your free to play DraftKings lineups here: Madden Stream $5K FREE Contest [5 Entry Max] (HOU vs BAL)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.