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.
We start a great Wednesday of wacky weather kicked off at 12 p.m. ET with a nice early matchup between the 49ers and the Saints. Both these teams have been very good in our sims so far and they’ll meet in virtual San Francisco where the weather looks like there is heavy rain in the forecast. The Saints have gone 8-4 in their 12 sims while the 49ers have been even better, going 9-3 and matching the Bucs for the best record in all our sims. This matchup will take place in real life in Week 10 in 2020, but this should be a fun preview. They met in Week 14 last season in New Orleans and the 49ers pulled out a thrilling 48-46 victory. While we probably won’t get that many points in this sim, especially with weather involved, can the 49ers get another victory and become our first 10-win team in sim land or will the Saints get a nice road win in the elements? 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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Game Style: Arcade
Event Type: Exhibition
Even Teams: Off
Quarter Length: 8 minutes
Accelerated Clock: On
Play Clock: 20 seconds
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
New Orleans SaintsThe Saints’ offense has the tools to thrive in any conditions with a trio of Superstar X-Factors. WR Michael Thomas ($10,800) is one of just five players in Madden 2020 to earn a perfect 99 overall rating. That elite rating is supported by a 99 awareness rating, a 99 catching rating, a 98 catching in traffic rating and a 96 release rating. He didn’t get into the end zone in his most recent sim against the Raiders, but still has 87 yards and 13.7 DKFP. He had more than that in four of his previous sims and is always capable of going off for a big number. He has the X-Factor of “Double Me,” which makes him almost impossible to guard one-on-one when his ability is activated and also brings Superstar abilities of “Cross Specialist,” and “WR Apprentice.” However, we’ve seen the 49ers shut down some of the best WRs in the game in their previous sims, and they have an X-Factor of their own in CB Richard Sherman, who has “Shutdown” as his X-Factor ability with “Pick Artist” and “Zoned Out” as superstar abilities. Thomas is virtually unguardable, but if any team can pull it off, the Niners have the unit to do so, especially if the weather plays a role as well.
If Thomas is locked down, Drew Brees ($11,600) will have to look to his other options. He has had a few pedestrian games in wins over the Rams and Raiders, but he was lighting things up before that. He has the ability to rack up yards and touchdowns when he’s in the groove. He typically spreads the ball around and can make plays even under pressure thanks to his X-Factor of “Fearless,” which makes him unaffected by defensive pressure when he activates the ability by making multiple passes for 5-plus yards in the air. His Superstar abilities are “Safety Valve,” improving the catch rating for all open RBs, “Set Feet Lead,” “Lofting Deadeye” and “Indoor Baller,” which doesn’t apply in this game. He has been outstanding in our sims both inside and outside and needs to be a lineup consideration whenever New Orleans is on the slate. He will face a challenge in the 49ers’ defense, though, and is a massive expense at almost $12K in a flex spot.
Maybe these conditions are exactly what we need to see the third player on the Saints’ offense with an X-Factor break out. RB Alvin Kamara ($9,000) hasn’t been as consistent as Brees or Thomas but has the X-Factor of “Satellite,” which improves his RAC against single coverage when activated by catching multiple receptions for over 10 yards. He has a strong 89 overall rating along with the Superstar ability of “Matchup Nightmare,” which gives him the ability to make sharper cuts and frequently win contested catches when covered by LBs and linemen. He did run for 103 yards and a touchdown for 20.6 DKFP in his most recent sim and has found the end zone in three of his past four overall. If Brees can’t throw the ball deep as much and is forced to rely on shorter passes, Kamara could end up being a great play. He has all the ratings to be a go-to option but has gotten inconsistent work which has resulted in his 12.9 DKFP per contest.
Another option over the middle on shorter passes is TE Jared Cook ($7,200), who has been very good, averaging 15.2 DKFP per sim. He has at least 13.9 DKFP in seven of his past eight sims and has been consistently involved with plenty of upside. He has a solid 87 overall rating and can be a good red-zone weapon due to his 94 awareness.
The weather may have more to do with limiting WR2 Ted Ginn Jr. ($5,000), who can be a little boom-or-bust anyways. He has a 76 overall rating, but can definitely make big plays with his 92 speed rating, 80 catching rating and 90 elusiveness rating. If you need to go even cheaper, WR3 Tre’quan Smith ($4,800) put up some big games with over 20 DKFP in back-to-back sims a few games ago, but he has been held to 9.0 DKFP or fewer in three straight. Smith has a 74 overall rating and 89 speed rating, which does give him upside, but of the two, I slightly prefer Ginn.
With rain on the way, the Saints’ DST ($4,200) could be an interesting option. They do have 22 sacks in their first 12 sims with six takeaways and 3.9 DKFP per contest. I would actually prefer K Wil Lutz ($4,000), who is a little cheaper and has produced 6.9 DKFP per sim. The rain will likely take any longer attempts off the board, but he still should out-produce the DST.
San Francisco 49ersA game focused on running and defense would seem to play to the 49ers’ strengths. Tevin Coleman ($7,600) gets all the work fo the virtual 49ers out of the backfield and has put up monster numbers despite just an 82 overall rating based on his 93 speed rating, 92 acceleration and 93 agility. He has averaged 18.0 DKFP over his first 12 sims, but has shown off the ability to completely take over a game with over 100 rushing yards in four sims, highlighted by a 235-yard performance that netted him 47.2 DKFP against the solid Vikings defense. Coleman was good for 78 yards against the Rams in San Francisco’s most recent sim win but didn’t get into the end zone and lost a fumble to finish with just 8.1 DKFP. Look for him to bounce back in this one, especially if the 49ers have to rely on the running game due to the rain.
The other player who could benefit from an emphasis on the shorter passing game is TE George Kittle ($8,400), who is the 49ers’ top-ranked player at any position with a 97 overall. He’s also the only player on the offense with “X-Factor” status with his “Rac ‘Em Up” ability, which when active increases his success rate on RAC catches against single coverage. He has to make multiple 20-plus yard receptions to activate but can be a beast if he gets in the zone. Kittle’s Superstar abilities are “Route Apprentice” and “Double-Move Elite.” He was quiet with just 8.4 DKFP against the Rams but had over 16 DKFP in three straight prior to that. He also showed off his ultra-high ceiling earlier in our sims with a pair of 10-catch performances that got him 37 DKFP and 42.3 DKFP against the Packers and Eagles, respectively.
In the 49ers’ win in real-life during the regular season QB Jimmy Garoppolo ($10,600) out-dueled Brees, and he makes sense in this contest despite the elements. He has a solid 84 overall rating, but does struggle with accuracy at times. He has over 21 DKFP in three of his past four sims with multiple touchdowns in four straight sims.
If Jimmy G looks to target his WR, Emmanuel Sanders ($9,800) is his top option with a strong 89 overall rating. He has been pretty consistent, averaging 11.4 DKFP per contest, but he hasn’t hit 100 yards in any contest. Deebo Samuel ($5,800) has a higher ceiling despite being only a 79 overall due to his 92 speed rating. He has over 9.0 DKFP in five of his past six contests and is my favorite WR play for the money. Kendrick Bourne ($3,800) has become a go-to option in the red zone and had a pair of touchdowns for 24.3 DKFP in his most recent sim. However, he isn’t as consistently involved as Samuel, so don’t chase those touchdown-reliant big games too much from Bourne.
The 49ers DST ($3,400) is led by Sherman, along with Nick Bosa, who also has an X-Factor with his 89 overall rating and will try to put pressure on Brees. San Francisco also has two other players on defense with Superstar abilities in DE Dee Ford and MLB Fred Warner. They haven’t been a great fantasy option, though since they only have 10 sacks and five takeaways for 4.0 DKFP per game. They’re low risk but don’t have a ton of upside based on their previous play. You can also take a look at Robbie Gould ($3,600), who is averaging 6.2 DKFP per contest and is very reliable in the kicking game.
THE OUTCOMEWith the rain in play, I’m actually staying away from Brees or Thomas in my Captain’s Pick spot, although they can definitely work in a flex play. I’d target George Kittle ($12,600 CP) or Tevin Coleman ($11,400 CP) in my Captain’s Pick spot from the 49ers and also think it could be a breakout game for Alvin Kamara ($13,500 CP) for the Saints if the rain forces him to get all the touches. If you go with one of those options as your Captain’s Pick, you should have room in your flex plays to avoid having to dive too deep for value but Ginn, Smith and Bourne are values I like in addition to Gould as a kicker option.
The rain could definitely play a factor in this one, and I think it does tilt things toward the 49ers’ advantage. Their run game and defense is superior to New Orleans’ and the elements could take away the big-play potential for Thomas and Brees. I think this may be a different story indoors in the Superdome, but outside in the rain by the Bay, I’ll take the 49ers.
Final Score: 49ers 23, Saints 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.