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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for September 3

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

Thursday Night Football gets it’s official start in reality next week but DraftKings will get a head start on the action with more of the third and final games for each team in the Madden 21 Tournament on this Thursday. At 6 p.m. ET, the featured slate kicks off with the Colts and Jaguars wrapping up the action from the AFC South. The final two games of the day are from the AFC North, featuring a matchup between two undefeated squads in the 8 p.m. ET game featuring the Steelers and the Ravens. Both Baltimore and Pittsburgh will advance to the knockout round, but this game will have a big impact on their seeding. The final game of the night is the Browns and Bengals meeting in virtual Cincinnati at 10 p.m. ET. Both teams have already been eliminated, but they’re still playing for pride and fantasy points on Madden After Dark.

You can find all the latest standings throughout the tournament here on Playbook and keep up with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page, where you can also find the new depth charts and X-factors for the teams in Madden 21.

Enter your lineup in the daily DraftKings Madden Stream contests with paid contests for real cash prizes now available alongside free contests. Along with single-game Showdown contests focused on each individual game, there is an early slate of games that includes Madden Stream games at 12 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET, followed by the featured slate, which focuses on the sims at 6 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET. 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 lineups for Thursday night here: Madden Stream $4K Thursday Night Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $1K FREE Contest.

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



Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. PIT, $8,500 — The man is on the cover of the game for a reason, and he has made that apparent in his first two sims in Madden 21. He had 25.28 DKFP against the Bengals on 227 passing yards, 62 rushing yards, and a pair of touchdowns (one rushing and one passing). His second contest was much closer, but he and the Ravens pulled out a narrow 17-14 win in Cleveland with Jackson posting 28.26 DKFP on just 59 yards passing but two passing scores while racking up 149 yards on the ground. He is such a dynamic talent and can be a threat to produce in multiple ways, so he’s a great option to build around at QB even though the Steelers’ defense will be his toughest test in Madden 21 to this point.

Other Option — Ben Roethlisberger ($7,000)


Baker Mayfield, CLE at CIN, $6,300 — Mayfield has a great matchup against the Bengals and has thrown two touchdowns in each of his first two sims in Madden 21. He hasn’t gotten great play from his star WRs yet, but they have the skillset and advantage to go off against Cincinnati’s suspect secondary. Mayfield has also scrambled for over 20 yards in each of his two contests, which indicates he has the potential for more production on the ground and could even add rushing scores at some point. He’s a boom-or-bust play but has a better ceiling and a better matchup than any of the other non-elite plays

Other Option — Gardner Minshew II ($5,900)

Running Back


Leonard Fournette, JAX vs. IND, $5,800 — Despite being cut in real life, Fournette has good ratings in Madden 21 and has been the centerpiece of the Jags’ offense in their first two Madden 21 sims. He has scored three rushing touchdowns in those two contests with a total of 110 yards and an average of a solid 15.0 DKFP per game. He is going to lose some playing time in Madden 21 in passing situations to Chris Thompson ($3,700), but Fournette still has enough power-speed blend to put up very good numbers against the Colts, who have struggled against the run.

Other Options — Mark Ingram ($7,100), Marlon Mack ($6,200)


Kareem Hunt, CLE at CIN, $4,300 — It’s not a great slate for RB options since there are so many timeshares in play. In fact, Mark Ingram is the only RB on this slate who serves as his team’s RB1, third-down back and power back. However, there are some second backs who do get involved as receivers. Hunt has actually had four catches in each of his two sims against the Steelers and Ravens while also running for over 20 yards and producing 6.4 DKFP and 9.2 DKFP even without the advantage of scoring a touchdown. His PPR points and high rating give him solid upside at just over $4K, and he’s a solid way to save salary at RB to spend in other spots.

Other Option — Nyheim Hines ($3,900), Jaylen Samuels ($3,400)

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Wide Receiver


JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT at BAL, $8,300 — The Steelers could be poised for a successful trip to the knockout round if JuJu keeps cruising like he has in these first two Madden 21 sims. Smith-Schuster has hauled in three touchdowns in his first two contests in pool play while catching a total of 16 passes for 201 yards. He had 36.6 DKFP against the Browns and followed that with a strong 20.5-DKFP performance in a much lower scoring 14-9 win over Cincinnati. Smith-Shuster’s 91 speed rating and great route tree make him a great option for Big Ben even though he doesn’t have an X-factor or superstar abilities.

Other Options — DJ Chark Jr. ($7,500), Odell Beckham Jr. ($6,700)


Parris Campbell, IND at JAX, $4,400 — I’m excited to see Campbell on the field in real life this season after injury robbed us of most of his rookie season. Campbell has one thing going for him in these sims: speed. He was given a 94 speed rating in Madden and stepped in as the Colts’ slot receiver. New Indy QB Philip Rivers ($6,400) made Keenan Allen a star out of the slot for the Chargers and has been locked in on Campbell as well. In his first sim of Madden 21, Campbell exploded for 146 yards, a touchdown and 31.6 DKFP showing off a high ceiling. He came back to earth in his second contest but still did catch five passes for 25 yards, a touchdown and 13.5 DKFP. If the volume continues to go his way, he’ll be an awesome value under $4.5K.

Rashard Higgins, CLE at CIN, $3,300 — Higgins has a good matchup against the Bengals and has moved up the depth chart to the WR3 role in Madden 21 for the Browns. Higgins had two scores against the Steelers for 20.3 DKFP but only managed one catch for 11 yards in his second game against the Ravens. He is high-risk, which is why he’s so cheap, but he has also shown more upside than the other options under $4K.

Other Options — Marquise Brown ($5,300), Dede Westbrook ($4,000)

Tight End


Mark Andrews, BAL vs. PIT, $4,900 — Andrews should be the go-to option for Jackson in the Ravens’ offense in these sims like he is in real life for the Baltimore superstar. He has caught four passes in each of his first two sims in Madden 21 and put up 6.6 DKFP and 6.3 DKFP. He hasn’t found the end zone or broken big plays yet, but has the potential to go off based on his ratings. He has an 86 overall rating with a 92 awareness rating, an 86 speed rating, an 86 catching rating and an 80 catching in traffic rating.

Other Option — Eric Ebron ($6,000)


C.J. Uzomah, CIN vs. CLE, $4,000 — The Bengals lost Tyler Eifert ($4,500) this offseason to Jacksonville, but his replacement Uzomah has played well so far in these updated sims. He has been a frequent target of rookie QB Joe Burrow ($5,700) and has hauled in four catches in each of his first two contests with 58 and 33 yards against the Ravens and Steelers, respectively. The Browns have struggled against TEs in sims and in real life, so look for Uzomah to return solid value in the late game.

Other Option — Austin Hooper ($4,600)



Steelers DST at BAL, $3,100 — Even though they have to try and contain Jackson, the Steelers’ DST has enough playmakers to still be a solid play. They have an X-factor in T.J. Watt and superstars in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Cameron Heyward. So far in Madden 21, they had a fumble recovery and sack for 4.0 DKFP against the Browns in their first sim and followed that with four sacks and 8.0 DKF against the Bengals. They have the playmakers to make the splashy plays needed for fantasy success, but they are a little risky since Baltimore does have the ability to put up points.

Other Options — Ravens ($2,900)


Bengals DST vs. CLE, $2,600 — Cincinnati has a good matchup at home against the Browns, and Baker Mayfield has proven to be turnover-prone at times. They didn’t get anything much against the Ravens in their first Madden 21 sim but did have a pair of interceptions, two sacks and 7.0 DKFP against the Steelers in their second contest. If you decide to go with a punt play at DST, they are the cheapest option but can still make some plays as well.

Set your DraftKings lineups for Thursday night here: Madden Stream $4K Thursday Night Special [$1K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $1K 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.