Celebrate Friday and start your weekend off right with a full day of Madden 21 sims on the DraftKings Dream Stream, highlighted by the three-game featured classic slate starting at 6:00 p.m. ET. The action on that slate begins with a matchup in virtual Texas between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys, who still have a healthy Dak Prescott ($5,800) in simland. At 8:00 p.m. ET in primetime, the spotlight shifts to a divisional rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, and we close out the night with a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers on Madden After Dark.
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.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys, $6,200 — Of the three games on the slate, this one has the fantasy options I like the most. The first time we saw this matchup in Madden 21, it resulted in a 37-34 win for the Cowboys. Herbert threw for 374 yards and two touchdowns in that game on his way to 27.76 DKFP. He has also been on a nice roll lately with over 20 DKFP in three straight contests. While he doesn’t run quite as often as Lamar Jackson or even Mitchell Trubisky, he does usually chip in a few fantasy points from his rushing yards in addition to averaging 221.9 passing yards per sim to go with 65 touchdown passes in 43 contests. This matchup with Dallas’s secondary should allow him to keep rolling, so get the dynamic rookie in your lineup.
Other Option — Baker Mayfield ($6,700)
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $5,800 — This is a surprisingly low salary for Dak, who is the second-highest scoring QB on this slate but the fifth-most expensive. He outdueled Herbert in their first meeting with 338 passing yards, four touchdowns and 32.52 DKFP and just posted 21.7 DKFP in his most recent matchup, as he led the Cowboys past the Chiefs. Prescott had been in a bit of a slump prior to that game, though, which is why his salary has slid to under $6K. His averages overall in Madden 21 are still strong, though, and he has produced 216.8 passing years and 88 passing scores in his 49 sims with seven more touchdowns on the ground. If you decide your lineup works better with a cheap QB and stronger skill options, Prescott is a great option under $6K.
Other Option — Teddy Bridgewater ($6,000)
Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers, $7,600 — While you could definitely continue to stack that early game and go with elite RBs in Ezekiel Elliott ($6,700) and Austin Ekeler ($7,300), I actually think Mostert is a slightly better play due to his matchup with the porous Panthers’ run defense. The average production of the top four RBs on this slate is virtually identical, but the matchup is why Mostert makes the most sense. He has totaled 42 touchdowns in his 48 sims, averaging 78.3 rushing yards and 3.1 receptions for 25.0 receiving yards per game. This will be his first time to face the Panthers in Madden 21, but his reliably heavy workload should provide him plenty of chances to put up points in this contest.
Other Options — Austin Ekeler ($7,300), Ezekiel Elliott ($6,700)
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $4,800 — The two teams that utilize a timeshare in the backfield on this slate are the Browns and Steelers, and of the four RBs regularly involved in those rotations, Hunt is the best play for the salary. He serves as Cleveland’s third-down back in these contests and is often involved as a receiver out of the backfield. Hunt is averaging 3.3 catches per sim and has posted at least 8.0 DKFP in eight of his past 11 games. In his previous matchups with Pittsburgh, Hunt has posted 8.7, 6.8 and 6.4 DKFP, so he hasn’t gone off or busted, hovering right below his average. While I don’t think this game will have a ton of fantasy points, I do think Hunt is a steady option at this salary and the best non-elite play if you don’t stack two top options.
Other Option — Jaylen Samuels ($5,400)
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys, $6,200 — Allen has been on a tear lately and has been more consistent throughout these Madden 21 sims than Odell Beckham Jr. ($6,000), who comes with an unarguably high ceiling but also a high chance of going bust. Allen has been steadier with over 12 DKFP in 11 of his past 13 sims, and he has also been hot lately with back-to-back games of exactly 98 yards for 28.7 DKFP against the Vikings and 23.8 DKFP against the Seahawks. Allen also went off in his earlier matchup with Dallas, beating them out of the slot for two touchdowns and 109 yards on nine catches for 34.9 DKFP. While he has that kind of ceiling once again, he also has been steady enough to feel confident in, regardless of matchup. He should get plenty of targets from Herbert, making a solid stacking option with his rookie QB.
Other Options — Odell Beckham Jr. ($6,000), Amari Cooper ($5,800)
Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $4,700 — Higgins is the Browns’ WR3 but has been very involved for them throughout these sims, highlighted by a pair of games with over 20 DKFP against these Steelers. Higgins had 24.1, 20.3 and 7.0 DKFP in his three earlier games against Pittsburgh and has multiple catches in 12 of his past 14 sims, including his most recent game when he had 9.2 DKFP on four catches for 52 yards. He gets enough involvement with a high ceiling to be a very solid option under $5K.
Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers, $3,900 — Another great affordable play with regular involvement is Anderson, whose salary has slid all the way below $4K, despite a solid average of 8.9 DKFP per contest. The Panthers’ WR2 has 14 touchdowns in his 46 sims while averaging 3.1 catches for 36.8 yards per contest. He has a high ceiling due to his 94 speed rating and can make big plays when he gets the ball in space. If Superstar X-factor CB Richard Sherman focuses on locking down WR1 DJ Moore ($5,500), that script would leave more work for Anderson, who could be poised for a monster game.
Other Options — Mike Williams ($5,700), Deebo Samuel ($5,000), James Washington ($4,000)
Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $4,300 — Jarwin is a great play at this price against the Chargers, who have given up big games to opposing TEs in Madden 21. Jarwin had four catches, 34 yards and 13.4 DKFP against Los Angeles in their first meeting, posting one of his 14 Madden 21 touchdowns. Jarwin had at least three catches in 11 straight sims before being held to just two catches against the Chiefs in his most recent sim. He should be able to bounce back in this matchup, though, and be another solid producer in the early game.
Other Options — George Kittle ($5,300), Eric Ebron ($5,000)
Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers, $3,700 — Thomas has been a steady, solid producer even though he doesn’t have the skillset to break many big gains. His PPR work has made him very viable at this salary, though, as he has averaged 3.7 catches per contest for 40.5 receiving yards. Thomas had at least 7.0 DKFP in nine straight games before posting just 5.0 DFKP in his most recent matchup. That level of production isn’t eye-popping, but if you have to punt a play under $4K at either your TE or FLEX spot, he’s definitely worth a look due to his steady 2x value, which is a solid target in this price range.
Other Option — Hunter Henry ($3,600)
Steelers DST at Cleveland Browns, $2,800 — The Steelers have been the most productive defense on this slate, averaging 6.5 DKFP per contest, so it’s surprising to see them priced so affordably. The combination of their production and price point make them both a stud and a value pick on this slate. In their 48 sims, they have piled up 99 sacks to go with 40 takeaways and nine defensive touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came in their three previous matchups with the Browns in which they posted 3.0, 4.0 and 10.0 DKFP. Pittsburgh has multiple sacks in four straight sims with at least 8.0 DKFP in each of those contests, so getting them as the fourth-most expensive play on this slate seems like a great deal.
Other Options — Chargers ($3,000), Panthers ($2,900)
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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.