The DraftKings Dream Stream is ready to roll out the first Madden 21 sims of the new year with a three-game short slate of Madden sims on Saturday. The action gets underway at 12:00 p.m. ET when the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Detroit Lions. At 2:00 p.m. ET, the team from Washington state will travel to virtual Washington D.C. as the Seattle Seahawks take on the Washington Football Team. The final matchup of the day will be an AFC East matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
As usual, it’s important to remember that each roster is not impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs, injuries, suspensions or illness in these sims and that 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 uses the Madden 21 ratings from Week 1 of this season.
For more details, 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.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team, $8,000 — Wilson has been one of the top QBs in all these sims, averaging 24.5 DKFP per sim over his 31 contests. This will be his first meeting with Washington in these sims, and the Football Team defense has been one of the toughest matchups for opposing QBs. Still, he is so much better than the other QBs on the slate that he’s definitely still worth considering even at $8K. He has averaged 183.8 passing yards and 73.2 rushing yards per sim while scoring 49 passing touchdowns and 17 rushing touchdowns. He had a couple of down games in the Holiday Season playoffs, but he posted 28 DKFP in four of his previous five games heading into the knockout round, including a massive 40.9-DKFP game against the Lions. Wilson has an extremely high ceiling and even his down games are much better than an average game for the other top options in play.
Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions, $6,000 — The Lions have been a very favorable matchup for QBs, as evidenced by that massive game given up to Wilson. Minshew and the Jaguars beat Detroit as well by a 17-7 score in their previous sim meeting. Minshew had a passing and a rushing score in that contest and finished with 17.82 DKFP. In the Holiday Season, Minshew had a pair of huge games with 28.88 DKFP and 26.5 DKFP but also had back-to-back down games with 8.66 DKFP and 3.84 DKFP in his final two contests. Minshew has been wildly up-and-down, but he does have a high ceiling and a favorable matchup. He’s a high-risk, high-reward play to build around if you don’t want to pay all the way up to $8K for Russ.
Other Options — Cam Newton ($6,200), Matthew Stafford ($5,600)
Chris Thompson, Jacksonville Jaguars v. Detroit Lions, $6,200 — Thompson is the Jaguars’ RB1 and third-down back in these sims and typically gets a heavy workload. He had over 100 yards rushing against the Lions in their previous meeting and totaled 22.0 DKFP even though he didn’t have a touchdown. Thompson is averaging 3.6 catches for 23.4 yards per sim in addition to his 52.5 rushing yards per contest. He has double-digit DKFP in six of his past eight games and should be able to post a big game in this matchup.
Other Option — Le’Veon Bell ($7,300), J.D. McKissic ($6,800)
James White, New England Patriots at New York Jets, $4,300 — White is the Patriots’ third-down back and usually gets involved as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. He has averaged 3.2 catches for 19.0 yards and also scored eight touchdowns—four rushing and four receiving. He can be a little inconsistent due to workload, and he did have a down game against the Jets in their recent meeting in the Holiday Season. However, he had 11.1 DKFP in his earlier matchup with the Jets, so it isn’t a matchup he is doomed to fail in. White has double-digit DKFP in 12 of his 32 sims (38%) and has at least 6.0 DKFP in 23 of those contests (72%). His high floor and solid ceiling make him a very good play at just over $4K.
Other Options — Carlos Hyde ($4,500), D’Andre Swift ($3,900)
N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots at New York Jets, $5,600 — There aren’t any of the top-tier WRs on this slate, but there are a few options that have very high ceilings. Harry has been very good at times in these sims and just posted 27.4 DKFP against the Jets two sims ago in the Madden Holiday Season. In that game, Harry hauled in six catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. He posted double-digit DKFP in three of his past four sims but has been boom-or-bust due to inconsistent volume. His ceiling makes him worth a look at this salary, though, since the other more expensive WR plays on this slate also come with lots of bust potential.
Other Options — D.J. Chark Jr. ($5,900), Jamison Crowder ($5,700)
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions, $5,200 — When Minshew has posted big games, his main target has often been Westbrook, who can make plays coming out of the slot for Jacksonville. Westbrook had double-digit DKFP in six of seven sims before quiet games in his two most recent contests as Minshew struggled a bit. He had five catches and a touchdown for 15.6 DKFP against the Lions in their earlier meeting and has the potential to go off for a big game if he gets high volume in this rematch.
Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team vs. Seattle Seahawks, $4,700 — McLaurin is another slot WR with a high ceiling if he gets volume in his matchup. McLaurin just received Superstar abilities in the December update and continues to work as Washington’s WR1 with his 94 speed rating and 82 overall rating. McLaurin would be outstanding if he got consistent QB play, but Dwayne Haskins Jr. ($5,300) is still Washington's starter in these sims. He still has a high ceiling if Haskins gets him in space, and the Seahawks have been beatable out of the slot in these sims. He’s far from a can’t-miss WR, but there aren’t really many of those on this slate, so I think he’s worth the risk to get the upside.
Other Options — Breshad Perriman ($4,800), Chris Conley ($3,800)
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars, $5,000 — Hockenson has been very consistent, averaging 4.9 catches for 54.7 yards per sim. He has only scored seven touchdowns in his 29 contests but still gets enough PPR production to be one of the more reliable pass-catchers on this whole slate, regardless of position. Hockenson had four catches for 25 yards in his previous meeting with the Jags but has exhibited an even higher ceiling with over 11 DKFP in three of his six games since that meeting.
Other Option — Chris Herndon ($5,300)
Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team, $4,000 — In real life, Olsen is dealing with a foot injury, but in simland, he has been the Seahawks’ top TE throughout these contests. He had six catches for 47 yards, a touchdown and 16.7 DKFP in his most recent sim against the Bucs and has produced over 9.0 DKFP in four of his past seven sims to raise his average to 10.4 DKFP per contest. He has at least three catches in eight of his nine most recent contests, so his volume is pretty consistent in these sims making him a nice lower risk play at only $4K.
Other Option — Devin Asiasi ($3,700)
Seahawks DST at Washington Football Team, $3,100 — The Seahawks have been the best defense in Madden 21 and have recovered 31 fumbles in their 31 sims while also piling up 70 sacks to go with four interceptions, five defensive touchdowns and a safety. They have produced 7.3 DKFP per sim and have at least 9.0 DFP in three of their past four coming into this matchup with Haskins, who has been shaky at times and downright awful at other times.
Jaguars DST vs. Detroit Lions, $2,700 — If you’re looking to pivot off of the Seahawks’ DST, you can attack the matchup against the Lions, who only had seven points in their previous game against the Jags. Jacksonville had three sacks and 7.0 DKFP in that matchup and also posted 7.0 DKFP in the team’s first matchup following the Madden Holiday Season, a 17-14 loss to the Browns on Wednesday. They’re much riskier and less productive overall, but this matchup gives them enough upside to make them the best non-Seattle option.
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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.