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 Texans-Browns game that will take place at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. 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
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Play Clock: 20 seconds
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
Houston TexansDeshaun Watson ($16,800 CP/$11,200) has taken the mantle as the highest-scoring quarterback in our Madden sims. He’s averaging 22.2 DKFP and rarely has a bad game. Watson has scored at least a dozen DKFP in all 14 of the Texans’ games and he’s scored at least 17 DKFP in 10 of his last 11 games. Without a doubt, we want him in our lineups. As a Captain, he’s a fine option, although his lofty salary makes it tough to build a lineup around Watson in the 1.5x spot.
It should come as no surprise that strong play from Watson has meant that DeAndre Hopkins ($11,400) is one of the top producing receivers in Madden. Hopkins is averaging 19.9 DKFP, the most of any skill position player in this game. In the video game, he has a 98 overall rating, so Hopkins is almost always going to have a significant rating advantage. Denzel Ward is a solid cornerback and has an 85 overall rating, but Hopkins should still be able to have a solid game in this matchup. He’s scored a touchdown in eight consecutive games.
I think we can ignore the Texans’ running game. Due to all the success of their passing game in Madden, we rarely see this team run the ball. When they do, it doesn’t yield much success. Lamar Miller ($6,200) averages 5.5 DKFP and his backup, Carlos Hyde ($2,400) averages just 2.2 DKFP. We rarely see Duke Johnson ($1,000) get on the field, leading to him putting up a total of 4.1 DKFP in 14 games.
Finding value from the Texans is not an easy task. Almost all of the production on this offense comes from the Watkins to Hopkins combination. In real life, I am sure Watson is not thrilled that he will no longer have his star receiver to throw to this season. If looking for upside, Will Fuller ($6,600) is a boom or bust option with the potential to score a long touchdown. There is also some reason to look at Keke Coutee ($2,800) as a punt play. He averages 6.6 DKFP and has scored as many as 14.8 DKFP.
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Cleveland BrownsOdell Beckham Jr. ($10,600) has been a monster in these sim games. Averaging 19.6 DKFP, it is rare that he’s in a game and isn’t the top wide receiver from a fantasy perspective. Even though Hopkins averages slightly more DKFP, I still think Beckham is the better play in this contest. He’s $800 cheaper and is in a fairly easy matchup. OBJ is going to be covered by Jonathan Joseph, who has an 82 overall rating. Beckham also has a solid 94 to 89 advantage in speed rating.
Like Beckham, Baker Mayfield ($10,200) has generally been good in simulated games. The Mayfield to Beckham connection in the video game has been along the lines of what fantasy players thought they were going to be getting out of the duo last season. In hindsight, this couldn’t have been more wrong as Mayfield regressed in his sophomore season and OBJ had one of the worst seasons of his career. It looks like they have a nice Madden rapport and stacking the two of them together is a good way to go about building lineups. Mayfield is putting up 18.7 DKFP per game.
At running back, Nick Chubb ($8,600) hasn’t been awful and averages 11 DKFP, but his price tag is too much for me to want to pay. Rostering him is going to come with the opportunity cost of not being able to play the expensive players in the passing game. Instead, I would rather play Kareem Hunt ($3,000) who is one of the cheaper players in this contest and averages 7.6 DKFP.
One final player from the Browns who warrants consideration is Damion Ratley ($7,500 CP/$5,000). Despite a 69 overall rating, he continues to be decently productive and is a touchdown threat. Ratley has six touchdowns in the Browns’ simulated games and he averages 10.4 DKFP. With solid per game production and a cheap salary, I like Ratley as a choice for Captain. Playing him that slot allows us to fit in more of the studs in passing games.
THE OUTCOMEComing into this game, the Browns have a 7-7 record and the Texans are just 4-11. Houston has actually been one of the worst teams in Madden. The reason that the Texans are getting so much production from their passing game is because this team is almost always trailing. The defense has been abysmal and averages just 3.0 DKFP. I don’t think Mayfield will have much issue picking them apart and Houston is once again likely going to be playing from behind. This should set up a high-scoring game and I favor the Browns to come away with a win.
Final Score: Cleveland 28, Houston 24
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) 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.