We’re all in need of some entertainment during these times of the unknown. DraftKings is doing their part by offering Madden simulations with a variety of teams going at it. For this piece, we’ll focus on the Giants and Steelers game that’ll take place at 4 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. It’s important to note that Madden runs a bit different here and we have some things to consider.
First and foremost, speed is such an important factor. These players are always going to get open and can give you an edge with a player that you’d potentially look over when you consider his real life role. We’ll get into that more in the article below. Players also have particular X-Factors, which can best be described as “power ups” that can be activated if a player completes a certain threshold. These will be put into considerations as well and will be highlighted with those particular players.
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Game Style: Arcade
Event Type: Exhibition
Even Teams: Off
Quarter Length: 8 minutes
Accelerated Clock: On
Play Clock: 20 seconds
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GiantsDaniel Jones ($10,400) has been a lot better than I expected for a quarterback that has a 70 overall rating and a 72 awareness. Through 16 games, Jones is averaging 234 passing yards with a 27:6 TD:INT ratio and 17.3 DKFP. He doesn’t run the ball much at all, but he has rushed in for two touchdowns. This could be one of those games where you’re looking to use both quarterbacks, as they’ve both done extremely well in these sims despite a big difference in their ratings.
Darius Slayton ($5,000) is listed as the WR2 but he’s been one of the better receivers for the Giants, entering this game averaging 13 DKFP, four receptions and 57.8 yards with seven touchdowns scored through 16 games. His 93 speed is the highest in this game, and it has certainly been a big factor in why he has found so much success despite being a 77 overall. The WR1 and TE1 in Golden Tate ($9,400) and Evan Engram ($9,000) aren’t that far behind Slayton, averaging 11 and 11.6 DKFP respectively. Engram has a higher overall rating of 88 compared to the 83 of Tate, while both have a speed rating of 90. Tate, however, has been much more effective in reaching the end zone with seven touchdowns compared to just three for Engram. To be fair, if you can make it work, I would have no issue using both of these guys. Sterling Shepard ($4,400) has been wildly inconsistent in these sims despite his 8.5 average. We’ve seen games where he’s posted 20.6 DKFP and 1.4 DKFP. He’s cheap and can help fit in more expensive players, but that’s about where the appeal ends for me, especially with the value over on the Steelers’ side.
Saquon Barkley ($10,000) is the highest-rated offensive player in this game, and he has been playing like it. He’s one of three players with a salary of at least $10K and is averaging 17.5 DKFP with 77.6 rushing yards and 25.8 receiving yards along with 10 total touchdowns. We’ve seen him rush for over 100 yards on five separate occasions and he’ll get his carries in the red zone. He’s one of the few running backs I would trust using, even given how expensive he is.
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SteelersBen Roethlisberger ($11,000) has been one of the favorite quarterbacks to use in these Showdown contests because of how efficiently he spreads the ball around. It shows with his 17.6 DKFP average, 34:7 TD:INT ratio and 220 yards-per-game average. He has been a beast over his past three games, specifically, averaging 24.3 DKFP and 247 passing yards with 11 touchdowns thrown. He’s very expensive to roster, but I think it’s worth using him if you can make it work.
You almost can’t go wrong with the Steelers’ receivers because of how well Big Ben has been spreading the ball around. Fittingly, JuJu Smith-Schuster ($9,600) has been his most productive receiver as the WR1 on the depth chart. Smith-Schuster is averaging 14.7 DKFP, 4.6 receptions and 55.7 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns scored. He was just shy of reaching his second 100-plus receiving yard game the last time out against the Redskins, coming up with 97 and a total of 22.7 DKFP. If you want to go a bit cheaper at the Captain spot by not using a QB, he would be my pick. Despite only an 82 speed rating and 78 overall, Vance McDonald ($7,800) has been one of the better receivers for the Steelers with eight touchdowns scored, 4.4 receptions and 56.5 receiving yards. He’s a really solid mid-tier option if you can’t afford Smith-Schuster given how active he is in the receiving game. Overall, one of the best values remains James Washington ($5,400), who doesn’t see many bumps in his salary despite 10 touchdowns and 12 DKFP per game. I feel like he needs to be in any lineup you have for how much work he gets despite his salary. Diontae Johnson ($3,800) is another name to consider at a cheap salary. He’s not as active as Washington, but he’s still averaging 10 DKFP with six touchdowns scored.
I will happily continue to fade James Conner ($8,600) whenever the Steelers take the field in these simulations. He’s only produced two games in double-digit fantasy points and has only reached the end zone twice. He doesn’t catch out of the backfield, and if that’s the case you’re not getting the rushing yards out of him because he’s averaging just 47 per game. If you just really need to pick a Steelers running back, roll with the extremely cheap Jaylen Samuels ($1,600), who sees a couple of receptions per game. Even still, Samuels isn’t someone I’m actively looking to waste a roster spot on.
THE OUTCOMEAs I mentioned, the quarterbacks and JuJu Smith-Schuster($14,400 CP) make for really strong Captain plays in this game. If you wanted to go cheaper, this is certainly one of those games where you can do so. I think James Washington ($8,100 CP) or Darius Slayton ($7,500 CP) are both Captain-worthy as well, and using one of them would allow you to take both quarterbacks in your flex spot.
Final Score: Giants 20, Steelers 27
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.