With real-life sports in the midst of an extended time out, DraftKings has been helping to fill the void with some very entertaining simulated sports action. With six Madden Streams per day, there are now eight free contests daily, with a single-game Showdown for each game along with a pair of classic contests. Each simulation is played out via an online Madden Stream using Madden 2020 with rosters and ratings from the end of the 2019-20 season. In this format, you can enjoy watching the game stream on the DK Live app or right here in this post. Follow along to watch your fantasy team rack up some big fantasy points.
One of the matchups on Wednesday is the Cardinals rolling into Oakland to take on the Raiders at 2 p.m. ET in a game where rain is in the forecast during a day full of weather-impacted simulations. Both of these teams have struggled in our sims overall. The Raiders come in at 6-9 while the Cardinals are even worse at 5-10 in their first 15 sims. These teams are scheduled to meet in this year’s upcoming Preseason for the second year in a row but haven’t met in the regular season since Arizona got a 23-31 win over the Raiders in Week 11 of the 2018 season. Both these defenses have struggled badly at times in these sims, so there’s a chance this one could actually be a good fantasy game. What players have a chance to break out and who will ultimately walk away with a rare win? I’ll give you my pick to win and my thoughts on who should be in your lineup after this quick review of the rules and settings for this simulation.
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Madden Stream: Lions at Steelers
LIVE at 10 p.m. ET
The settings for this and all other Madden games are as follows:
Game Style: Arcade
Event Type: Exhibition
Even Teams: Off
Quarter Length: 8 minutes
Accelerated Clock: On
Play Clock: 20 seconds
For all info on settings and upcoming games, click HERE
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
Arizona CardinalsIf the Cardinals are going to get a win on the road in the rain, it will probably be due to a big game from QB Kyler Murray ($10,600), who is the most expensive Cardinal and comes into this matchup with the highest DKFP per game average for Arizona with 14.8 DKFP. He has thrown 11 touchdowns while running for two more, but he has been held under 200 yards in three straight games with only one passing touchdown during that entire span, which has resulted in three straight losses. He has shown a high ceiling, specifically against the Bills when he dropped 30.04 DKFP. However, he has produced 13-to-16 DKFP in each of his three games since. He is low-risk for a total bust due to his work on the ground with his 91 speed rating. He also does have the added boost of the Superstar ability of “Escape Artist,” which allows him to move better to avoid pressure behind the line. He’s in a good matchup to bounce back, so I expect a better performance from him today against a struggling Raiders defense.
With Murray not putting up many yards or touchdowns, his WRs have struggled recently as well. There is still potential for a big game, but the have been boom-or-bust. The option with the highest ceiling and a very affordable price is WR3 Damiere Byrd ($4,600), who struggled to 4.6 DKFP and 2.0 DKFP in his two most recent matchups but posted three straight with double-digit production prior to that including 27.8 DKFP against the Bills. When he finds space, his 95 speed rating gives him a chance to make plays and helps support his solid 74 overall rating. He can be very boom-or-bust but has high upside in this matchup.
The two WR in front of Byrd on the depth chart are Larry Fitzgerald ($10,000) and Christian Kirk ($6,200). Fitz has an 83 overall rating, but his 83 speed rating and a 65 elusiveness make him mostly a possession receiver. It’s a lot to pay up for him, although he is averaging 10.0 DKFP per sim which is second on the team only to Murray. He has only caught two touchdowns all sim-season and both came in one game, meaning he hasn’t found the end zone in 14 of his 15 contests. Kirk has solid upside for an option just over $6K. He has been chipping in exactly three catches in each of his past four games but has only reached 50 yards one time. He isn’t quite as fast as Byrd but does have a 92 speed rating and 85 elusiveness rating, which give him a high ceiling even though he only has a 78 overall rating. The upside is there for big plays, but we haven’t seen it lately.
While he is not nearly as involved as his Raiders’ counterpart, TE Charles Clay ($7,400) has been trending the right direction. He had double-digit DKFP in three straight games before catching just three passes for 34 yards and finishing with 6.4 DKFP against the Vikings in his most recent sim. He has been the most reliable Cardinals’ receiving option even though he doesn’t have the upside of the speedy Byrd or Kirk.
Murray hasn’t gotten a ton of help from his RBs. The virtual Cardinals deploy a mix of Kenyan Drake ($8,400) and David Johnson ($2,800) in the backfield. Drake has a decent 81 overall rating, 91 speed rating and 82 elusiveness rating but loses so much time especially in passing situations that he’s averaging only 3.4 DKFP per sim. While he’s a hard pass for me, I do like Johnson, who serves as the third-down back and usually finds ways to get involved. He had a touchdown and 12.8 DKFP against the Vikings in his most recent sim and has over 11 DKFP in four of his past six. He’s a great value play.
The Cardinals’ DST ($3,800) has been pretty decent outside of an ugly showing against the Eagles that earned them -3 DKFP. The have 24 sacks in 15 sims with two defensive touchdowns. They forced two turnovers against Minnesota in their most recent contest to finish with 5.0 DKFP. They’re my preferred option of the two defenses, and Arizona also has my preferred kicker play in Zane Gonzalez ($4,200),who is probably a slightly better play than the DST if you have the salary for either option. Zane is averaging over 5.0 DKFP per sim and has a solid 74 overall rating due to his 96 kick power rating and 75 kick accuracy rating.
Oakland RaidersThe Raiders’ offense has the advantage of one of the best playbooks in Madden. It’s a favorite option for users who play, and the AI has made pretty good use of it as well. Oakland’s problem hasn’t been its offense, the defense has just given up a ton of points. As a result, the Raiders usually end up playing catch up and relying heavily on QB Derek Carr ($10,800), who has averaged 19.3 DKFP per sim. Carr spreads the ball around and has thrown 32 touchdowns in his 15 sims compared to just two interceptions. He flashed a high ceiling with almost 400 yards against the Bengals on his way to 34.64 DKFP and has vastly outperformed his 80 overall rating. Carr has over 18 DKFP in three of his past four sims and could be set up for a big day against Arizona’s defense.
The main struggle Arizona has had defensively is an inability to stop the run. That could set up the Raiders lone offensive skill player with a Superstar ability. Josh Jacobs ($9,000) hasn’t been great in these sims, though, despite his ability of “Bulldozer,” which gives him more powerful truck animations. He has produced under 10 DKFP in four straight but did have 134 yards on the ground and a touchdown on his way to 23.5 DKFP. If the Raiders play from ahead and try to control the clock, I can definitely see Jacobs being an option that makes sense. He is still risky, though, since he loses passing-down work to third-down RB Jalen Richard ($2,600). Richard is averaging 7.8 DKFP per sim and has been relatively quiet lately. Based on expected game flow, I’d lean slightly toward Johnson over Richard as a cheap RB play. I’m also not totally out on Jacobs, who is usually a stay-away option for me.
Carr’s main target in the passing game has been TE Darren Waller ($8,000), who has an 85 overall rating, which is the highest of all the pass catchers for the Raiders. His 89 speed rating and 94 catching rating make him a great target over the middle and give him a high ceiling. He has been a little inconsistent lately, but the middle of the Cardinals defense is a little soft, and the Raiders should look to exploit that with the big TE. He has over 1,000 yards receiving and eight touchdowns in his 15 sims so far and showed a high ceiling with four sims over 23 DKFP.
The rest of the Raiders pass-catchers are led by WR1 Tyrell Williams ($9,400) has an 82 overall rating, a 92 speed rating and 93 jump rating as a standout athlete. He has a high ceiling that he showed with 42.8 DKFP, 26.2 DKFP and 21.9 DKFP in three of his earlier sims. He also had 25.4 DKFP against the Chiefs two sims ago and followed that with 15.1 DKFP against the Giants his last time out. He has scored four touchdowns in his past four games and is up to eight scores on the sim-season. Williams has been boom-or-bust, but there is definitely potential for a big game against Arizona.
If you are shopping for value, the Raiders’ WR depth chart has a couple of solid options to consider in addition to Richard as a RB. Zay Jones ($5,200) is a very nice option at WR2 with his 75 overall rating. He does have a nice 90 speed rating and is out-producing any Cardinals’ player except for Murray with his 11.1 DKFP per sim. He had two touchdown catches for 26.8 DKFP against the Giants in his most recent sim. WR3 Hunter Renfrow ($3,600) is also very involved and has produced 8.8 DKFP at his 74 overall rating. Renfrow gets a winnable matchup in the slot, so I’d actually take him over any other play under $5K on the Raiders including the Raiders’ DST ($4,000).
THE OUTCOMEBoth teams have had struggles defensively and been inconsistent on offense, but the Raiders have been the more productive of the two. Derek Carr ($16,200 CP) and Darren Waller ($12,000 CP) both make very good Captain’s Pick plays, and it also is a game that sets up well for Josh Jacobs ($13,500 CP) although he does still come with major risk as well. You could also go with Damiere Byrd ($6,900 CP) or Hunter Renfrow ($5,400 CP) as bargain plays as a Captain’s Pick to leave yourself lots of salary for your flex spots. There are lots of value plays to help fill in your roster if needed. Renfrow is my top bargain with Johnson, Gonzalez and Richard worth a look as well.
Ultimately, I think the Raiders will find holes in the middle of the Cardinals’ defense with Waller and Renfrow and be able to move the ball effectively. Playing from ahead, I think Josh Jacobs will also get to eat a little bit while Oakland gets a win at home in the rain.
Final Score: Raiders 24, Cardinals 17
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.