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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for April 1

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.

Thursday kicks off another month of Madden 21 sims on the DraftKings Dream Stream with a full six-game schedule. As usual, the featured classic slate kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET and includes the second set of three games. The first game is the Carolina Panthers welcoming in the Miami Dolphins, and it’s followed by the Arizona Cardinals visiting the Los Angeles Rams in a primetime NFC West showdown at 8:00 p.m. ET. At 10:00 p.m. ET on Madden After Dark, we wrap up another full day of sims with the Jacksonville Jaguars rolling into virtual cheesehead country to face the Green Bay Packers.

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 on the Madden Stream info page, where you can also find links to 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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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $6,900 — Rodgers has a very favorable matchup on this slate while the other elite option, Kyler Murray ($7,700), has to deal with the tough Rams defense. Rodgers shredded the Jaguars for 36.88 DKFP in their most recent Madden 21 sim meeting after posting solid games with 15.0 and 26.12 DKFP in their first two meetings. He has helped the Packers score at least 24 points in each of those contests and should be able to lead them to another productive night in the late game. Rodgers has thrown a total of 112 touchdowns and run for 13 more in his 63 Madden 21 sims while averaging 252.9 passing yards to help him produce 20.1 DKFP per game.

Other Option — Kyler Murray ($7,700)


Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers, $5,700 — Tua has had some huge performances in these sims even though he isn’t quite as reliable as Rodgers or Murray. He does come at an extremely affordable salary in this matchup with the Panthers, who he put up 25.86 DKFP against in their first meeting of Madden 21. Tua has averaged 16.7 DKFP per sim since taking over as Miami’s starter in a roster update 55 sims ago. He has averaged 220.1 passing yards and 16.7 DKFP per sim while throwing for 86 touchdowns and running for five. He can be boom or bust, but he has put up over 13 DKFP in six straight sims including 20-plus DKFP in each of his two most recent sims. The Panthers’ defense has been very beatable in these Madden 21 sims, and I think Tua is an interesting way to start your roster construction since he offers so much salary savings that it enables you to pay up at all the other positions.

Other Option — Jared Goff ($6,200)

Running Back


Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams, $7,300 — Drake has been a workhorse RB for the Cardinals as both their RB1 and third-down back in Madden 21. Drake has put up over 17 DKFP in three straight sims and is averaging 16.6 DKFP on 52.1 rushing yards and 4.2 catches for 25.7 receiving yards per game. He has been very involved as a receiver out of the backfield lately, which raises both his floor and his ceiling due to PPR production. He has had success in his past matchups with the Rams as well, producing 17.4, 24.5 and 20.4 DKFP in his three prior games against Los Angeles. This isn’t a slate to hate the Drake, even though he gets a tough matchup with the Rams. What we saw in their earlier matchups is that the strong secondary led by Jalen Ramsey forced Kyler to check down and target Drake more often, making him a play worth paying up for.

Other Options — Chris Thompson ($7,200), Matt Breida ($7,100)


Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $6,500 — Jones is more expensive than the usual value plays I highlight here, but he seems way underpriced as the fifth-most expensive RB on this slate even though he’s in a good matchup against the Jaguars. In one of his previous games against Jacksonville, Jones went off for 37.0 DKFP and has shown that kind of massively high ceiling if he gets the touchdowns in the Packers’ prolific offense. Jones has amassed 56 touchdowns in his 63 Madden 21 sims and averages 62.8 rushing yards and 3.0 catches for 22.4 receiving yards per sim. He is definitely capable of a slate-breaking performance and since there aren’t any super-cheap, regularly-involved options at RB, I think it makes sense to get Jones as your RB2 if you can save salary elsewhere.

Other Options — Darrell Henderson Jr. ($5,800), Malcolm Brown ($4,100)

Wide Receiver


Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $6,600 — Adams lit up the Jaguars for eight catches, 140 yards and two touchdowns on his way to 37.7 DKFP in their most recent meeting. He had 21.7 and 6.5 DKFP in their earlier Madden 21 contests, showing that he has a very high ceiling due to his significant ratings advantage over every one of Jacksonville’s CBs. Adams has scored 35 touchdowns in his 63 sims and is just two catches short of 300 total catches, giving him an average of 4.8 catches for 70.3 yards per sim. He destroyed Denver with a pair of games with 10 catches in back-to-back sims about a week ago and posted 26.6 and 51.9 DKFP in those two contests. He has that kind of slate-breaking potential, making him worth a look at the top of the WR salary structure.

Other Options — Robert Woods ($5,900), DJ Moore ($5,600)


Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins, $5,100 — Samuel is usually very involved for the Panthers as their WR3 working out of the slot. He had nine catches for 81 yards and 17.1 DKFP in his first meeting with Miami, and he has at least five catches in three straight sims coming into this contest. Samuel is averaging 4.4 catches per sim and has scored 26 touchdowns in 58 contests. The Dolphins often struggle against opposing slot receivers, so Samuel should be able to turn his usual workload into a productive day in this matchup.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams, $4,200 — Fitzgerald continues to be a solid possession receiver for the Cardinals in these sims, even though he lacks the high-end big-play ability he provided when he was in his prime. Fitz usually avoids a tough matchup with X-factor Superstar CB Jalen Ramsey in this matchup since Ramsey locks down DeAndre Hopkins ($6,200). As a result, Fitzgerald has multiple catches in each of his contests against the Rams and always seems to get a drive or two where the focus is almost entirely on him. He has averaged 3.9 catches for 34.0 yards per sim and scored 11 touchdowns in 60 contests. As a cheap play at WR, he’s relatively low-risk due to his consistent volume and has at least five catches in three of his four most recent games, averaging 5.8 catches for 50.0 yards and 10.7 DKFP over that small sample size.

Other Options — DJ Chark Jr. ($5,500), Josh Reynolds ($4,800), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,100), Jakeem Grant ($3,600)

Tight End


Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers, $5,500 — Gesicki extended his streak of games with a touchdown to four in his most recent contest, hauling in nine passes for 30.9 DKFP against Washington. He has become Tua’s go-to option over the middle of the field and has at least five catches in five of his past six games as a result. He has averaged 4.5 catches for 50.6 yards per contest in his 61 appearances in Madden 21 and has found the end zone 24 times. Gesicki didn’t have a great game against the Panthers in their first meeting but comes into this rematch red hot, and the Carolina defense has shown it can be beaten multiple ways in these sims, including by opposing TEs.

Other Option — Tyler Higbee ($4,300)


Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers, $4,200 — In contrast to Gesicki, Eifert has had a few quiet games lately, but he is still averaging 4.6 catches for 41.7 yards per sim overall and has totaled 21 touchdowns in 60 contests. Two of those touchdowns came in his most recent game against Green Bay, when he totaled 21.7 DKFP after posting 17.2 and 7.6 DKFP against the Packers in their first two Madden 21 meetings. Eifert is relatively low-risk since he has multiple catches in 59 of Jacksonville’s 61 sims (97%) and comes with a pretty high ceiling as well.

Other Option — Marcedes Lewis ($3,300)



Packers DST vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $2,900 — The Packers have playmakers throughout their defense led by X-factor Superstar CB Jaire Alexander and Superstars Kenny Clark and Za’Darius Smith. They have produced 4.6 DKFP per sim with 136 sacks, 21 takeaways and six defensive touchdowns in their 63 contests. In their three games against the Jaguars, they have 2.0, 3.0 and 7.0 DKFP with exactly three sacks and no takeaways in each of those three contests. The Packers have been better defensively at home than on the road, and I think they’re in a good spot to produce in this rematch with the Jags.


Rams DST vs. Arizona Cardinals, $2,500 — The Rams really are the cheapest DST on the slate even though they have X-factor Superstar Aaron Donald and his perfect 99 overall on the line and X-factor Superstar Jalen Ramsey leading a strong secondary. They have not been able to put up a ton of points in Madden 21, though, with 28 takeaways and 93 sacks in their 58 games along with two defensive touchdowns. They have only averaged 2.0 DKFP in their three previous meetings with the Cardinals, but Kyler can become turnover-prone if he’s running too much, so I actually think this is a sneaky good spot to roll with the Rams’ hard-hitting defense and hope they create a turnover or two in this divisional contest.

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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.