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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for January 7

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.

While there is no more Thursday Night Football on this season’s schedule in the NFL, the DraftKings Dream Stream is ready to go today with a full six-game schedule including three nice matchups on Thursday night’s featured slate. The contests on that slate lock at 6:00 p.m. ET when the Los Angeles Chargers welcome the Minnesota Vikings to virtual SoFi Stadium. At 8:00 p.m. ET in primetime, the Washington Football Team will take on the Las Vegas Raiders, and we close out the night with a preview of one of the Wild Card matchups coming up this weekend as the Indianapolis Colts take on the Buffalo Bills. This game will be simulated in virtual Indianapolis instead of Buffalo, but it will still give us a look at how these two teams match up.

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.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $5K Thursday Night Special [$2K to 1st] and your FREE fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest



Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts, $7,300 — While Josh Allen in simland hasn’t been as good as Josh Allen in real life, he’s still the best option on this slate and has been playing well lately since getting superstar traits in the December player adjustments. He does have a perfect 99 throw power rating in the Week 1 ratings used for these sims, but his accuracy rating is still low since it doesn’t reflect the dramatic improvement he has shown this season. Allen has over 17 DKFP in four straight sims and in six of his past seven. His main fantasy value has come through his rushing production, and he finished his most recent sim with 99 yards rushing, falling just short of the 100-yard bonus which he has successfully claimed in four of his 31 sims. He has averaged 154.9 passing yards and 68.5 rushing yards per contest in Madden 21 and added 11 rushing touchdowns to his 35 passing scores. The Colts’ secondary has allowed some big sims, and Allen and the Bills rolled past them 31-14 in their previous Madden 21 matchup. In that contest, Allen posted 19.52 DKFP with two passing touchdowns and 64 yards rushing. With Allen using his new Superstar traits so successfully, I think he’s in a great spot to go off in the late game.

Other Option — Justin Herbert ($6,400)


Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders at Washington Football Team, $5,800 — The three more affordable options at QB on this slate are all under $6K, and Carr is the one that comes with the most upside despite a tough matchup with Washington’s defense. Carr is averaging a very solid 248.2 passing yards over his 30 Madden 21 sims and has thrown 47 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He had 26.78 DKFP and 14.04 DKFP in his two earlier sims against the Football Team, throwing for over 250 yards in each contest. The yardage is almost always there for Carr in these sims, regardless of game script, making him a relatively safe play with only a few total busts. He doesn’t add much on the ground, though, so he can be very touchdown reliant. If he does throw for multiple scores against Washington in this matchup, he’ll be a great value and allow you to stack the rest of your roster with higher-priced playmakers.

Running Back


Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers, $8,900 — Cook is the most expensive play on this slate at any position, but he's still too good to pass up if you have the salary to spend at RB. Cook has scored 39 touchdowns in his 30 Madden 21 sims while averaging 98.8 rushing yards and 3.6 catches for 29.5 receiving yards per sim. He has at least 24 DKFP in five of his past seven sims, including a ridiculous 51-DKFP performance against the Giants. He has not faced this Chargers’ defense yet in the sims, but he is virtually matchup proof since he can pile up so many points as either a rusher or a receiver. He is the ultimate playmaker in space and is definitely a high-priced building block to set as one of the cornerstones of the foundation of your lineup.

Other Option — Austin Ekeler ($7,100), J.D, McKissic ($6,700)


Jalen Richard, Las Vegas Raiders at Washington Football Team, $4,500 — Richard is the third-down back for the Raiders and gets a lot of chances when they rely on shotgun formations, which they may need to do even more than normal in this matchup due to Washington’s pass rush. Richard had a touchdown, four catches and 13.6 DKFP in his first meeting with Washington but only managed 4.4 DKFP in the rematch. He has multiple catches in nine straight games, averaging 3.9 catches per sim over that span and scoring a pair of touchdowns. If he gets into the end zone, he’ll be a great value play, but he can also be a solid play even if he doesn’t if he continues to get so much PPR production. Richard had 16 catches in his three games in the recent Madden Holiday Season and will look to continue that level of involvement as the Raiders visit virtual Washington.

Other Options — Devin Singletary ($5,900), Josh Jacobs ($5,200)

Wide Receiver


Tyrell Williams, Las Vegas Raiders at Washington Football Team, $6,700 — Williams has been a key part of the Raiders’ offense in simland since he is healthy and atop the WR depth chart. He has averaged a solid 15.7 DKFP on 4.4 catches for 73.1 yards per sim while scoring 16 touchdowns. He didn’t score in either of his first two matchups with Washington but did post over 60 yards receiving in each contest. He had over 80 yards receiving in three straight sims before being held under that mark in his most recent contest against the Bears. Like his QB Carr, the yardage is usually there for Williams, the question is whether he finds the end zone or not. If he does, he can be the top WR on this slate, and he’s my favorite stud play at the position due to his consistency.

Other Options — Stefon Diggs ($7,100), Adam Thielen ($6,000)


Tajae Sharpe, Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers, $4,900 — Sharpe has been solid in these sims as the Vikings’ WR2 since WR1 Adam Thielen spends a lot of time in the slot leaving the top outside route for Sharpe to run. He has at least four catches and at least 9.9 DKFP in five straight sims, which is great consistency and solid production for a WR priced under $5K. Sharpe is getting ready for a playoff run on the Chiefs’ practice squad in real life, but on this slate, he’s one of the best midrange options available and makes a lot of sense to slot into one of your WR or FLEX spots.

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills, $3,900 — While Sharpe and Williams bring nice consistency, Campbell brings huge upside even though he has been boom-or-bust. His ceiling is extremely high due to his 94 speed rating, and he has been getting decent volume recently in these sims as the Colts’ primary slot option. Campbell has at least three catches in nine straight sims and is averaging 9.0 DKFP over that stretch. He also has even more big-play potential that he hasn’t hit yet if he is able to get into space. The Bills have a great secondary, but they typically leave their top CB Tre’Davious White on the outside. If that’s the case in this matchup, Campbell could be targeted often which will give him a chance to shake free for a big play and make for a great return on his minimal salary under $4K.

Other Options — Terry McLaurin ($5,200), Steven Sims Jr. ($5,000), Hunter Renfrow ($3,400)

Tight End


Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills, $5,000 — One element of gameplay that Madden seems to have nailed is how much Philip Rivers ($6,100) relies on his TEs for pass-catching production. While a timeshare makes them hard to use sometimes in real life, in Madden, Burton is the go-to TE1 and often gets tons of targets. He had 10 catches for 93 yards, a touchdown and 25.3 DKFP in his most recent sim and has been able to produce double-digit DKFP in seven of his past eight sims, including each of his four most recent contests. Burton had only two catches in his first meeting with the Bills, but Buffalo has been prone to giving up good games to opposing TEs. I think Rivers will go his way early and often in this matchup, making him a very solid play at $5K.

Other Option — Darren Waller ($5,400)


Jeremy Sprinkle, Washington Football Team vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $4,200 — Sprinkle is actually my favorite TE play on this slate due to his great matchup with the Raiders and how involved he is in the Madden version of Washington’s offense, which is still led by Dwayne Haskins ($5,500). Sprinkle had six catches for 64 yards and eight catches for 75 yards in his two earlier matchups with Vegas and has averaged 4.1 catches per contest over his 31 Madden 21 sims. With so much volume and a great matchup, he’s a great play at this affordable price point.

Other Option — Lee Smith ($3,200)



Chargers DST vs. Minnesota Vikings, $3,000 — Even though they’ll have to deal with the fantasy beast that is Dalvin Cook, the Chargers’ DST is a solid play on this slate since Kirk Cousins ($5,200) has struggled so badly in these sims. The Chargers have been consistent throughout the sims and get a huge boost from having X-factor superstar Derwin James healthy, which he wasn’t at all in real life this season. Joey Bosa also brings plenty of pressure for these Chargers and they have been able to total 80 sacks in their 33 sims to go with 23 takeaways and three defensive touchdowns.


Washington Football Team DST vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $2,700 — The Washington Football Team has averaged 6.2 DKFP per sim, more than any other DST on this slate, but this DST is still available for a very affordable salary. The Football Team comes in off a pair of great performances against the Giants and Seahawks in which the defense posted multiple takeaways and double-digit DKFP. When Washington faced Las Vegas earlier in these sims, it produced 5.0 DKFP and 8.0 DKFP and has at least 5.0 DKFP in nine of its past 11 contests making it a reliable way to get some good value under $3K in your DST spot.

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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.