While the NFL continues a fascinating offseason of player movement off the field, you can get some fantasy football action on the field with Thursday’s full day of six Madden 21 sims on the DraftKings Dream Stream. The featured classic slate focuses on the later three of those matchups, starting at 6:00 p.m. ET. The Arizona Cardinals will visit the Carolina Panthers in the first matchup on that slate followed by the Los Angeles Chargers rolling into Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans at 8:00 p.m. ET. At 10:00 p.m. ET, we close out another busy day of sims with a Madden After Dark matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks.
As in all of these Madden 21 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 the 2020-21 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.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, $7,200 — While both Murray and Russell Wilson ($7,800) have a high ceiling and can pile up fantasy production especially running the ball, Murray has been the better options lately and draws the more favorable matchup against the Panthers. Before being slowed up in his most recent sim by the Chargers, Murray had over 20 DKFP in 10 of his previous 11 contests including over 30 DKFP in four of his five most recent matchups. He went off for 40.88 DKFP in a win over the Giants with two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, 167 passing yards and 112 rushing yards. He has hit the 100-yard bonus on the ground in six of his past 11 contests. When he faced the Panthers earlier in Madden 21, he had 20.32 and 17.12 DKFP, but he has been showing a much higher ceiling lately. The Panthers’ run defense has struggled lately, and I think Murray should be able to go off against them for a big game in this matchup.
Other Option — Russell Wilson ($7,800)
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at Tennessee Titans, $6,100 — In his 51 Madden 21 sims since becoming the Chargers’ starter, Herbert has averaged 223.4 passing yards and thrown 76 touchdowns. He faced the Titans twice in those contests, producing 315 yards, two touchdowns and 23.6 DKFP in their most recent meeting after 345 passing yards, two touchdowns and 27.7 DKFP in their first meeting. He just led his Chargers past Murray’s Cardinals, 20-10 and the rookie has thrown for over 230 yards in each of his past four games. He doesn’t take off and run like Murray does, so his ceiling is a little lower. However, his two past performances against Tennessee show he can definitely be a great play from just over $6K and allow you that extra salary flexibility for other roster spots. Herbert’s passing yards are almost always there, and when he throws multiple touchdowns, he turns out to be a great play.
Other Option — Ryan Tannehill ($5,300)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $8,000 — Henry had three touchdowns on his way to 27.2 DKFP in his most recent matchup with the Chargers and posted 26.1 DKFP in their first Madden 21 meeting. He achieved those two massive totals without hitting the 100-yard bonus, which has only happened twice in his past 16 contests. Even without massive rushing totals, he has remained a great fantasy option since he keeps catching passes and scoring touchdowns. He is averaging 3.8 receptions per contest and has found the end zone 53 times in his 56 sims. Henry has at least four catches and 10 DKFP in three straight sims and is one of the safest RB plays anywhere in Madden 21. The Titans’ offense is centered on getting the ball in his hands, either as a rusher or receiver.
Other Options — Christian McCaffrey ($7,900), Austin Ekeler ($7,800)
Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts, $4,200 — While Hyde is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars in real life, he’ll continue to be the power back for the Seahawks in these sims. Although the power back’s level of involvement varies greatly from team-to-team, Hyde has been busy for the Seahawks, averaging 2.6 catches for 20.1 receiving yards and 13.6 rushing yards per sim. He has scored 11 touchdowns in his 50 sims and has produced at least 8.0 DKFP in four of his past six contests. He doesn’t usually go off for a huge game like the elite options at RB, but he is a solid salary saver who is regularly involved, making him an option to consider if you opt to spend up at other roster spots.
Other Options — Chris Carson ($4,700), Marlon Mack ($4,400)
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers at Tennessee Titans, $6,300 — Allen is the Chargers’ WR1 and usually gets a heavy workload operating out of the slot for Herbert and the Bolts. He totaled 14 catches in his two earlier matchups with the Titans, who don’t have a great slot corner to match up with him. In those two contests, Allen had 13.6 and 22.4 DKFP. Like in real life, Allen can be a PPR monster and has averaged 4.8 catches for 54.5 yards and reached double-digit fantasy points in 10 of his last 12 games. He has been significantly more reliable than the other WR1 options on this slate, and I see him as a low-risk play in a favorable matchup.
Other Options — DeAndre Hopkins ($6,200), DK Metcalf ($6,100)
DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals, $5,000 — While his DKFP average isn’t as high as Allen’s, Moore has also been fairly reliable as the Panthers’ WR1. He has at least 8.0 DKFP in eight straight sims and 10 of his past 11. Moore has totaled 199 receptions in his 50 sims, averaging 4.0 catches for 54.2 yards. He’s scored four times in his past eight sims and should be able to find space against the Cardinals’ secondary in this matchup.
A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $4,400 — Brown posted double-digit DKFP against the Chargers in each of their first two meetings, and he has a lot of upside as the Titans’ WR1. He does sometimes bust when they focus solely on Henry, but when they let Ryan Tannehill ($5,300) throw the ball, Brown usually gets involved. He has at least three catches in five of his six most recent sims although he hasn’t scored a touchdown in that span. His most recent touchdown came against the Chiefs, who he beat for a pair of scores on his way to a monster 27.5-DKFP performance. Getting that kind of upside at under $4.5K is unusual, so see what Brown can do for you against the Chargers.
Other Options — Mike Williams ($5,400), Curtis Samuel ($4,900), Parris Campbell ($4,500), Joe Reed ($3,200)
Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $4,400 — Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick will definitely not want to miss this sim since it features the two TEs he just signed to big contracts this offseason. Smith is a slightly better play than his new teammate Hunter Henry ($4,900), due to his matchup and the fact that Smith is averaging over 11 DFKP per sim. In his two previous matchups with Los Angeles, Smith had five catches for 84 yards and 13.4 DKFP after posting five catches for 69 yards and 17.9 DKFP. Before finishing his most recent sim without a catch, Smith had at least three catches in six straight games, averaging 5.7 catches and 12.6 DKFP over that stretch.
Other Option — Hunter Henry ($4,900)
Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks, $4,200 — No TE on this slate has produced more DKFP per game than Burton, so it’s surprising to see him as the fourth-most expensive option. He gets heavy volume from Philip Rivers ($6,000) and is averaging 4.8 receptions for 52.7 yards per sim since taking over as the Colts’ TE1. Burton surprisingly doesn’t score a ton of touchdowns, but his overall workload still makes him a great TE option to consider, especially with a big of a price break.
Other Option — Ian Thomas ($4,000)
Seahawks DST at Indianapolis Colts, $3,200 — The Seahawks’ defense has been one of the best defenses in Madden 21, averaging 7.2 DKFP per sim. In 56 sims, the Seahawks have 130 sacks, 54 takeaways and 10 defensive touchdowns. They had four sacks and forced two turnovers on their way to 9.0 DKFP in their most recent game against the Colts after posting 10.0 DKFP in their first meeting with three sacks and three fumble recoveries. X-factor Superstars Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams are a threat to force a fumble on any tackle, and they make this hard-hitting unit a strong fantasy play every time they’re on the slate.
Cardinals DST at Carolina Panthers, $2,800 — The Cardinals defense doesn’t have J.J. Watt in these sims, but it’s still my favorite cheap play on this slate. In 55 sims, the Cardinals have posted 4.1 DKFP per contest on 113 sacks and three defensive touchdowns. They have only managed to force 18 turnovers but do get a good matchup in this contest against the Panthers, who don’t typically put up high point totals.
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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.