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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for January 23

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

On the eve of the Conference Championships, the DraftKings Dream Stream is ready to roll out a full six-game schedule on Saturday. The featured three-game classic slate kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET as the Detroit Lions take their chances in Sin City visiting the Las Vegas Raiders. At 8:00 p.m. ET, the always-productive Kansas City Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts in the first of two AFC matchups under the lights. In the nightcap, the Houston Texans head to virtual Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots in the “Madden After Dark” matchup.

As usual, it’s important to note 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.

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Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts, $8,200 — As is almost always the case in these sims, Mahomes is a star QB you can build around on this slate. He has piled up an impressive 103 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing scores in his 43 sims for an average of 2.6 touchdowns per game. He has also led all QBs with 288.7 passing yards per game. He has over 20 DKFP in 12 straight contests and just posted 347 yards, three touchdowns and 28.78 DKFP in his most recent contest, which was against the Giants. Mahomes and the Chiefs will be facing the Colts for the first time in these Madden sims, but he has proven he can take apart any secondary and post big numbers. Mahomes has been the most consistent QB on this slate and also comes with the highest ceiling. There have been times when I’ve faded him due to him being too chalky, but I don’t think the matchups set this up to be a spot to deploy that strategy.

Other Option — Deshaun Watson ($7,900)


Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at Las Vegas Raiders, $6,200 — Stafford and the Lions could be a nice source of salary relief across the board in their matchup with the Raiders, who have been very beatable. Stafford just threw for 267 yards, two touchdowns and 18.68 DKFP against Las Vegas in his most recent sim and should have success in this rematch as well. He has averaged a solid 231.5 passing yards per sim while throwing 52 touchdowns in 35 contests. He has over 18 DKFP in three of his past four games and Detroit comes in on a nice three-game winning streak. He definitely doesn’t have the same ceiling as the elite options above, but if you decide to pivot off Mahomes to pay up elsewhere, Stafford is a solid salary-saving option.

Other Option — Philip Rivers ($5,600)

Running Back


Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs, $6,600 — Almost every team on this slate uses a timeshare in the backfield, so most RB options come with some risk. Hines is the Colts’ third-down back, but not the RB1 since Marlon Mack ($4,500) handles the early-down work. Hines has still been great in these sims, though, since the Colts use so much shotgun formation and Rivers relies on checking down to his RB. Hines has at least four catches in four straight games, reaching double-digit DKFP in each contest. He had a massive two-touchdown game against the Bengals for 35.4 DKFP and has found the end zone 21 times overall in his 35 sims. Since the Colts may be playing from behind and have to throw the ball a lot, I think Hines will again be a frequent target out of the backfield and end up as one of the best RB plays available. He definitely has the highest ceiling of the RB options if you can find a way to make his salary work under the cap.

Other Option — Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($5,700)


D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions at Las Vegas Raiders, $4,400 — All the timeshares on this slate provide lots of value options to consider at the position. Swift gets a great matchup to attack as he faces the Raiders for a second straight sim. He had 10 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the teams’ last game and finished with 25.4 DKFP. While that level of production isn’t the norm for Swift, he has had multiple catches in eight of his past 10 games with over 7.5 DKFP in five of those games. The matchup makes him a very attractive option based on his recent success, and I think he’ll end up a good value play once again.

Other Options — Jalen Richard ($4,900), Duke Johnson ($4,200), James White ($3,900)

Wide Receiver


Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts, $8,200 — Hill has been the top WR in Madden 21 and is averaging an impressive 22.5 DKFP per sim. He has found the end zone 37 times in 43 sims, but most of his production is tied to his volume. He has averaged 6.5 catches for 94.5 yards per contest. He has at least seven catches in four straight games with four touchdowns over that stretch and three games over 100 yards. His best performance during that stretch was a 40.9-DKFP game against the Steelers when he had 189 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts’ secondary has been one of their biggest problems in Madden, and they have been vulnerable to giving up big plays to speedy WRs. Hill should be able to beat them deep at least once in this contest, especially if Mahomes remains so focused on feeding the Cheetah.

Other Options — Kenny Golladay ($6,700), Brandin Cooks ($6,500)


Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Detroit Lions, $4,700 — While Hill has the only perfect 99 speed rating in the Week 1 Madden rankings used in these sims, Ruggs is the closest player to him and the only player with a 98 speed rating. He used that speed to go off for 120 yards, a touchdown and 25.0 DKFP against the Lions in their last meeting and has been boom-or-bust throughout Madden 21. He has multiple catches in 34 of the Raiders’ 35 sims, so the volume is usually there, it’s just whether or not he can break free that decides how big his total ends up. He has 12 touchdowns in those 35 contests while averaging 3.7 catches for 52.9 yards per sim.

Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions at Las Vegas Raiders, $4,300 — Amendola hauls in nice volume out of the slot for the Lions and has at least five catches in three straight games after totaling 54 yards on six grabs for 11.4 DKFP against Vegas in their last game. Amendola is averaging 3.6 catches per game, and he provides nice PPR potential even though his ceiling isn’t quite as high as Ruggs’ ceiling since the rookie brings so much more big-play potential.

Other Options — T.Y. Hilton ($5,600), N’Keal Harry ($4,400), Parris Campbell ($3,500), Damiere Byrd ($3,200)

Tight End


Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts, $6,200 — Kelce leads a stacked TE group on this slate which includes some of the highest producing options in all of Madden 21. Kelce is clearly still the top option, though, since he is averaging 6.0 catches for 73.4 yards and 17.3 DKFP per game. He has scored 23 times in 43 sims and is overdue for a touchdown after three straight sims being held out of the end zone. He still had a good game against the Giants, though, with nine catches, 80 yards and 17.0 DKFP. Despite a few down games, he has still been able to post over 15 DKFP in five of his past eight contests, and he’s the best TE available if you can afford his salary. Getting Kelce isn’t quite as high of a priority for me as rostering Mahomes and Hill, but all three Chiefs superstars are always solid plays.

Other Options — Darren Waller ($5,300), T.J. Hockenson ($5,200)


Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs, $4,300 — If the Colts do have to air it out and throw a lot to keep up with Mahomes, Burton should be busy. Kansas City’s defense has given up big games to TEs and Rivers relies heavily on Burton in the red zone and all over the field as a check-down option. Burton has averaged 4.8 receptions per contest since taking over as TE1 and has scored seven touchdowns while averaging 51.2 yards and 11.3 DKFP per sim. He has had a few monster games with over 20 DKFP, and he has that kind of potential if he gets high-volume targets in this matchup. He’s a solid pivot off of Kelce and can also get a great play at this price in your flex spot.

Other Option — Devin Asiasi ($3,900)



Patriots DST vs. Houston Texans, $3,000 — The Texans have a great QB in Deshaun Watson, but they have been turnover prone in these sims which sets the Patriots up well in the late game. New England has 63 sacks and 41 takeaways in 38 sims to this point and has scored nine defensive touchdowns. The Patriots dominated the Dolphins on Wednesday in the snow for 19 DKFP, and they have double-digit DKFP in four of their past seven matchups. The Patriots forced five turnovers and finished with 24 DKFP the last time they faced the Texans and even had a decent 5.0 DKFP in their first meeting with Houston. They’re by far the best option on paper of the teams on this slate, and they don’t cost that much more than the other DST play.


Chiefs DST vs. Indianapolis Colts, $2,800 — You’re probably best avoiding the Colts, Lions and Raiders DSTs on this slate, but Kansas City’s defense could be a solid pivot off of the Patriots. The Chiefs have totaled 85 sacks and 31 takeaways in their 43 sims and have also scored five defensive touchdowns. One of those scores came in their most recent sim, when they had 13 DKFP against the Giants with four sacks and two fumble recoveries. The Chiefs have gotten multiple sacks in 16 of their past 17 games and have at least 4.0 DKFP in five of their past seven.

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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.