The DraftKings Dream Stream continues to provide plenty of fantasy football action as we move into what should be an exciting and fascinating NFL offseason. There are six sims scheduled for this Thursday with the featured classic slate kicking off at 6:00 p.m. ET. The first game will feature the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Indianapolis Colts, followed by another pair of dome teams facing off when the Detroit Lions visit the Atlanta Falcons at 8:00 p.m. ET in primetime. On “Madden After Dark,” we close out the slate with a matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs from virtual Arrowhead Stadium.
As in all these Madden sims, it’s important to know that each roster is not impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs, injuries, suspensions or illness 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.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings, $7,900 — Mahomes is by far the most productive QB on this slate and has been outstanding in these Madden sims as the only signal-caller with a 99 overall rating. He has thrown for 128 touchdowns in his 51 sims while adding 11 more scores on the ground and averaging 286.4 passing yards per contest. He tore up the Saints in his most recent sim earlier this week, totaling 38.76 DKFP on 364 passing yards and five touchdowns. This will be his first matchup with Minnesota in these Madden 21 sims, but the Vikings’ defense has struggled to limit opposing TE and slot receivers, which should set up another monster performance for Mahomes.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions, $6,200 — Especially with a tasty matchup against the Lions, Ryan is the best pivot off of Mahomes among the QB options on this slate. There isn’t any option that has nearly as high a ceiling as Mahomes, but Ryan has been relatively consistent with 85 touchdown passes and 255.4 passing yards per game over his 45 Madden 21 sims. Ryan had exactly two passing touchdowns in each of his first three matchups with the Lions in these sims, posting over 15 DKFP in each of those contests and averaging 19.1 DFKP. Ryan is averaging the second-most DKFP of any QB on this slate and has been the most consistent non-Mahomes play that is available.
Other Option — Jared Goff ($6,000)
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs, $8,100 — The best way to limit Mahomes in these sims is to keep him on the sidelines by running the ball and controlling the time of possession. Cook gives the Vikings a chance to do that since he usually carries such a heavy load in their offense. He has turned his giant workload into 91.4 rushing yards and 3.8 catches for 32.2 receiving yards on his way to 24.3 DKFP per contest. He has scored an impressive 49 touchdowns in 41 sims and had over 16 DKFP in 15 of his previous 16 sims before a down game last time out against Dallas. He should bounce back in this one with another big game, though, and he comes with a very high ceiling. The biggest risk in rolling with Cook is that if the game gets lopsided the Vikings may be forced to abandon the run, but even then Cook would probably get enough PPR work to still be a good play.
Other Options — Todd Gurley II ($7,200), Nyheim Hines ($6,200)
Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts, $5,000 — While this is a little high for Henderson’s salary, he has been very productive as the Rams’ third-down back, so he’s worth considering as a mid-range play against the Colts. Henderson has over 9.0 DKFP in 11 of his past 14 sims dating back to three straight games with over 19 DKFP against the Panthers, Cardinals and Texans. In those games, he did most of his damage as a receiver out of the backfield with over five catches in each contest. If he gets that kind of volume in this contest, he’ll be a great play at $5K, and he also brings some touchdown potential since the Rams often operate out of the shotgun even in the red zone. In his 36 sims, he has 15 touchdowns and has averaged 4.4 catches for 33.4 receiving yards per contest.
Other Option — D’Andre Swift ($4,200), Malcolm Brown ($3,300)
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings, $8,400 — Hill’s 99 speed rating and Superstar X-factor traits make him almost unstoppable in these sims, and the Vikings’ CBs have no one that can come close to matching up against him. Hill caught four touchdowns in that recent sim against the Saints, totaling a massive 56.3 DKFP with eight catches for 213 yards. He is now up to 49 touchdowns in his 51 sims including nine in his past four contests. He has also produced over 80 yards in seven of his past nine games and continues to be dominant both from a volume (6.5 catches per sim) and yardage (14.8 yards per catch) perspective.
Other Option — Julio Jones ($7,200), Kenny Golladay ($6,700)
Robert Woods III, Los Angeles Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts, $5,700 — Woods is actually the Rams’ WR with the higher ceiling since WR1 Cooper Kupp ($5,300) does most of his work out of the slot. Working on the outside, Bobby Trees has at least eight catches in three of his past four games with over 25 DKFP in each of those outings, highlighted by a 200-yard game against the Raiders that resulted in 43.8 DKFP. While he hasn’t been nearly as consistent as Hill has been, he does have the big-play potential to go off for a monster game, especially against a Colts secondary that has been beatable over the top.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions, $4,500 — Gage has been very successful as the Falcons’ WR3, doing most of his work out of the slot while Julio Jones ($7,200) and Calvin Ridley ($5,800) draw the defense’s attention on the outside. Gage has averaged 3.4 catches for 36.5 yards per sim while scoring 10 touchdowns in his 45 sims. One of those scores did come in an earlier contest against these Lions, and he had six catches for 21.6 DKFP in that contest and six catches for 15.0 DKFP in the rematch. He did slide a little bit in their third meeting with just three catches and 6.3 DKFP, but he still comes with a nice ceiling and has been playing well lately with at least six catches and a touchdown in two of his three most recent sims.
Other Options — Adam Thielen ($5,500), Josh Reynolds ($4,800), Tajae Sharpe ($3,900)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings, $6,200 — Even with Hill getting so much volume and production, Kelce has continued to get plenty of work of his own as well. He is averaging 6.1 catches for 71.1 yards per sim, and he has scored 28 touchdowns in 51 contests. Kelce’s ceiling isn’t usually as high as Hill’s, and of the three Chiefs’ superstars, he is the one I would prioritize the least on this slate. However, the Vikings have been beatable by TEs, so I still think he’s a very solid play if you can find a way to pay his salary of over $6K.
Other Options — Trey Burton ($4,900), T.J. Hockenson ($4,600)
Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions, $3,800 — Hurst is a great value play at under $4K and could be the key to getting the salary you need to pay up in other spots. He had four catches in each of his three earlier matchups with the Lions, posting 11.8 DKFP, 8.9 DKFP and 8.5 DKFP. The main downside with Hurst is that there are so many other productive receiving options for the Falcons that he doesn’t get a lot of touchdowns, posting just eight scores in his 45 sims. He does get consistent work, though, with 4.2 catches for 45.9 yards per contest, and the PPR points should be enough to make him a solid investment at this minimal salary. He’s a much more attractive option than the other cheap TEs on this slate, so pivot to him if you can’t afford Kelce or the other top TE plays. Hurst can also work as a solid flex option if you go with a two-TE approach.
Falcons DST vs. Detroit Lions, $3,000 — The Falcons’ defense hasn’t been as bad in these sims as they were in real life, especially during the early part of the season. Atlanta also has a tasty matchup in this contest against the Lions, who struggle on offense and have a tendency to turn the ball over. The Falcons have totaled 89 sacks and 26 takeaways in their 45 sims and has multiple sacks in each of their three earlier sims against the Lions. They produced 6.0 DKFP, 18.0 DKFP and 5.0 DKFP in those three matchups, and they should be able to put up another good number in this rematch.
Rams DST vs. Indianapolis Colts, $2,700 — The Rams’ defense is led by X-factor Superstars Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey and has been effective in these sims, especially when playing at home. In their 16 home games, the Rams have forced 10 turnovers and piled up 26 sacks while averaging 4.6 DKFP per contest. This will be their first time facing Philip Rivers ($6,400) in these sims, but Rivers has been inconsistent and doesn’t do a great job handling pressure like he could face in this contest against Aaron Donald and co.
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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.