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Madden Stream Picks: Jets vs. Browns DraftKings DFS Showdown Strategy

Zach Thompson preps you for Wednesday’s 12 p.m. ET Madden Stream contest between the Jets and Browns with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

With real-life sports in the midst of an extended time out, DraftKings has been helping to fill the void with some very entertaining simulated sports action. Each day, there are six Madden Streams and eight free contests, with a single-game Showdown for each game along with a pair of classic contests. Each of the simulations is 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 or right here in this post. Follow along to watch your fantasy team rack up some big fantasy points.

Another wild weather Wednesday kicks off at 12 p.m. ET with a snow game between the Jets and the Browns. This will be the 33rd sim for each team, and the Jets enter this contest 16-16 while the Browns have been a little worse at 13-19. The first time these teams met in the sims, the Jets walked away with a 14-11 win. Can they get another win to climb back over .500 or will the Browns be too tough to handle in front of the Dawg Pound in snowy Cleveland? I’ll give you my pick to win and my favorite fantasy options for the $1K FREE Contest (NYJ vs CLE) below.

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Showdown Strategy

New York Jets

Especially in the snow, the Jets’ gameplan will likely be built around Le’Veon Bell ($8,400), who still has an 88 overall rating despite being downgraded to just Superstar after being one of the 50 players with an X-Factor at launch. He still has the superstar abilities of “Spin Cycle” and “Arm Bar,” which make his spin and stiff-arm moves more powerful and effective. He has rushed for over 2,000 yards in his 32 sims and almost always adds in a few catches to his average of over 65 rushing yards per sim. He had success against the Cleveland defense in their first matchup with 108 yards and 18.7 DKFP even though he didn’t find the end zone. At this price point, he definitely deserves a look as a flex play at least.

Working alongside Bell, QB Sam Darnold ($10,400) has been solid, averaging just over 15 DKFP per sim. He only had 9.08 DKFP in his most recent sim against the Bucs and hasn’t gone off for a huge game in a long time. Darnold has just a 74 overall rating, and Madden characterizes his “Sense Pressure” as “Paranoid”, which makes him a little jumpy in the pocket. He has some solid options in the passing game and has a good matchup, but I expect the Jets to lean more heavily on the run game, which would limit his ceiling.

When Darnold has had success throwing, WR1 Robby Anderson ($9,000) has been the main option. He has a high ceiling due to his 94 speed rating, which could give him a significant advantage in his matchup if he’s lined up against CB Greedy Williams, who has a 73 overall rating and 68 awareness rating. He had a touchdown and 11.4 DKFP against the Bucs in his most recent sim and now has 14 scores on the sim season.

WR2 Jamison Crowder ($6,200) also had double-digits against the Bucs with 10.7 DKFP. He didn’t find the end zone but has 12 touchdowns on the season, which has helped keep his average just under 10 DKFP. He has been very boom-or-bust and didn’t have a catch in the first meeting between these teams, finishing with -0.2 DKFP from a -2 yard rush. He actually has a very solid 80 overall rating and does have upside, but his utilization is inconsistent. Part of the reason for Crowder’s absence sometimes is that WR3 Demaryius Thomas ($5,000) has been stepping into a larger role. He only has a couple of touchdowns all sim season but actually averages just about the same production as Crowder. He has a 90 speed rating and 78 overall rating while also being strong on the ball with an 83 catching rating and an 88 spectacular catching rating. I like him a lot as a cost-saving play at $5K.

Another player who has been a bit part of the passing game at times is TE Ryan Griffin ($5,800), who had a hot start but has been quieter lately as the Jets have struggled. Both he and Crowder could get a boost from Darnold needing to throw shorter passes in the snow, but I still prefer the upside and big-play potential of Thomas to both of them.

Another value I like a lot in this matchup is the Jets’ DST ($3,400), which has been one of my favorites to play in these sims. The difference-maker for the Jets has been safety Jamal Adams, who started the season with the Superstar ability “Enforcer” and added the X-Factor “Reinforcement” and second Superstar ability of “Under Pressure.” Adams has a 92 overall rating, and can force a fumble on any play. He has led the way to 26 defensive fumble recoveries in 32 sims for the Jets’ DST, who also has nine interceptions, averaging more than one takeaway per contest. The Browns have struggled with turnovers at times, so the Jets’ D should be in a good spot with the weather only adding to the upside. Of the two kickers, I’d slightly prefer Sam Ficken ($4,000) over Austin Seibert ($4,200), but I like the Jets DST more than either kicker.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns were one of the better teams as far as Madden ratings when the game launched at the start of the season, and they actually had a handful of players with Superstar or X-Factor status. However, the ratings and abilities were adjusted during the season, and rosters from the end of the season is what is used in these sims. At that point, Cleveland only had two players with Superstar status. Nick Chubb ($9,600) actually didn’t have Superstar abilities to start the season but was added and has the X-Factor of “Freight Train,” which he can activate along with the Superstar abilities of “Arm Bar” and “Bulldozer.” Chubb has an outstanding 92 overall rating and 92 speed rating, giving him a blend of power and speed that gives him a very high ceiling. The big issue with building around Chubb is that he doesn’t have the full-time role in the Browns’ backfield. He loses a lot of work in these sims to RB2 Kareem Hunt ($3,200), who is the Browns’ third down back. Chubb had been the better of the two options and has a higher ceiling, but Hunt is so much cheaper and still has an 88 overall rating and a 90 speed rating. He has the potential to break out, but especially against a solid Jets’ run defense, I’m avoiding the Cleveland backfield.

The only non-QB with a salary over $10K in this matchup is the Browns’ other remaining Superstar, Odell Beckham Jr. ($10,200), who has been red-hot lately. Despite losing his X-Factor in-season, he still has a 90 overall rating with a 94 speed rating and a perfect 99 spectacular catch rating. He had the best game by any WR in the sims with four touchdowns, 239 yards and 57.9 DKFP against the Falcons two games ago and followed that up with 16 DKFP against the Jaguars in his most recent contest. He has 27 touchdowns in his 32 sims and is averaging almost 75 yards per sim. He can still be boom-or-bust, but the Jets’ secondary has been very burnable, so I think OBJ will keep feasting.

Beckham’s recent success has left the other WR without much workload. Jarvis Landry ($6,800) has an 84 overall rating and a 90 catching rating, but he has been only involved sporadically and usually when the other team doubles OBJ. He is almost always involved with a few catches but is averaging under 10 DKFP per sim. There’s actually more value potential in the WR3 Damion Ratley ($4,900), who has only a 69 overall rating but does bring upside due to his 93 speed rating. He had a solid game with over 50 yards against the Jaguars but also has a tendency to disappear at times.

The Browns got a huge game from TE David Njoku ($7,400) in that sim against Jacksonville. He went off for 39.3 DKFP on 12 catches for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He has nine scores on the sim season now and four of those have come in his past four sims, in which he has averaged 24.25 DKFP per sim. He and OBJ make the Browns a great passing attack when they’re at their best and should both be in pretty good matchups in this contest.

With both OBJ and Njoku cooking lately, Baker Mayfield ($10,600) has been outstanding. He became just the second QB in any of these sims to throw six touchdowns, when he had 45.22 DKFP against the Falcons and followed that with three more scores and 21.12 DKFP against the Jags. He has over 19 DKFP in four straight sims and usually piles up the yardage. He has just a 76 overall rating and the lowest awareness rating of any starting QB. However, he has shown he can overcome that and still be a very productive play against iffy secondaries, and he’ll face another one in this matchup, making him my much-preferred QB option.

The Browns’ DST ($3,800) has been one of the lowest-producing DSTs in these sims, so I’m not going with them or Seibert in this one. If I was looking a flier value worth a look, I’d probably check out TE2 Ricky Seals Jones ($1,600), who gets involved with a catch or two in most of Cleveland’s sims.

The Outcome

For your Captain’s Pick in this contest, you have to consider Odell Beckham Jr. ($15,300 CP), even though he costs so much to build around. David Njoku ($11,100 CP) is a cheaper option who could work as well if the target distribution is more even, and even Baker Mayfield ($15,900 CP) could make sense in that scenario against a Jets secondary prone to give up big plays. On the other side, Le’Veon Bell ($12,600 CP) would be my favorite Jets option in the Captain’s Pick spot, although going with the Jets’ DST ($5,100 CP) and stacking high-priced flex options is also an interesting strategy that could pay off if we get bad Baker as a result of the snow or just his inconsistency.

In the snow, I don’t trust the Jets’ offense to put up points even against the Browns’ DST. I also don’t trust the Jets secondary to be able to keep OBJ in check, and I think he’s set up for another solid performance. His big-play potential should make this contest a fun one to watch in the snow, and I think ultimately he’ll be too much for the Jets to slow down.

Final Score: Browns 27, Jets 17

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Depth Charts



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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.