Daily Fantasy Football Helper: $25K Madden NFL 22 Thanksgiving Game Sim (Raiders at Cowboys)

FanDuel and Madden are offering you a chance to follow along with a simulated preview of Thursday's most anticipated matchup. Who should you roster in your lineup?

Every year, I can't wait for the Thanksgiving Day slate of NFL games.

There's something extra special about Thursday football that runs all day long -- and about tracking FanDuel lineups during dinner.

This year, though, thanks to Madden and FanDuel, we'll get a glimpse of that glory a few days early.

On Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern, you can watch a simulated version of the Las Vegas Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys on Twitch and YouTube.

Better yet, you can join the $25K Madden NFL 22 Thanksgiving Game Sim for a free chance to earn part of the $25,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Madden Sim Contest Link

If you're familiar with FanDuel's typical single-game NFL offering, then you're all set.

If not, you're in luck because it's extremely simple.

You roster five players while staying under the $60,000 salary cap. You deem one of them your MVP, and that player's fantasy points get multiplied by 1.5.

That's really it!

Let's dig into some trends based on past Madden sims we've seen on FanDuel and then apply them to this slate.

Past Madden Simulation Results

I've got 45 past slates of FanDuel Madden sims data all loaded up, and here are some key trends and stats to know.

Here's a snapshot of how scoring has broken down by position and salary tier.

Average FanDuel Points QB RB WR TE K
$14,000+ 18.5 19.9 11.0
$12,000 to $13,500 11.9 10.6 13.0
$10,000 to $11,500 8.9 10.4 9.5 4.0
$8,000 to $9,500 2.3 5.1 5.5 6.2
$6,000 to $7,500
0.1 1.7 2.0
Under $6,000
0.1 0.1 0.4

It's the high-salaried running backs, then, who really seem to be worth it in the simulations, but we don't have one at $14,000 or higher. We do have Ezekiel Elliott ($13,000) in that second tier, and those players have generally been good bets for simulated fantasy production.

The quarterbacks will always cost us, including Dak Prescott ($15,000) and Derek Carr ($14,500). They're strong building blocks, as expected.

Top Scorer
$14,000+ 40.0% 8.9% 2.2%
$12,000 to $13,500 13.3% 6.7%
$10,000 to $11,500 2.2% 8.9% 4.4%
$8,000 to $9,500 2.2% 4.4% 2.2%
$6,000 to $7,500
Under $6,000

Position Total 40.0% 26.7% 26.7% 6.7% 0.0%

Another reason to like the quarterbacks: they score big-time points in the sims. It's not just consistent production but also slate-leading production.

That can also be said for running backs in the Ezekiel Elliott range to a degree.

This is all a bit harsh for the wide receivers, though we've seen wideouts finish with the top score as often (26.7%) as the running backs. It still pales in comparison to the quarterback position.

Darren Waller ($11,000) could at first seem like a sneaky MVP play, but the odds are still low that he's the slate's top scorer, based on past results.

What if we look only at top-five value scores within a player's game? This will help adjust for salary.

Top-5 Value
Plays Per

$12,000 to $13,500
$10,000 to $11,500
$8,000 to $9,500
$6,000 to $7,500

Under $6,000

This means that, on average, 1.18 quarterbacks per simulated game finish with a top-five value rating and that 1.78 receivers are inside the top five.

Kickers, naturally, are low, but there's about a 30% chance that a kicker will finish with a top-five point-per-dollar fantasy result across these games. That keeps Greg Zuerlein ($9,500) and Daniel Carlson ($9,500) relevant because we need salary savers whenever possible.

MVP Picks

Dak Prescott (FanDuel Salary: $15,000 | Madden Rating: 90)
The highest-salaried option of the slate should have the best path to a slate-high in points. Quarterbacks with rushing potential dominated previous Madden simulations quite frequently. He's got an overall Madden rating of 90, third-best among all skill position players.

Derek Carr (FanDuel Salary: $14,500 | Madden Rating: 84)

Carr is in play by sheer nature of the fact that he's a quarterback and that quarterbacks in the sims tend to dominate. The bigger question just comes down to whether or not there's enough value for both Prescott and Carr to make the tournament-winning lineup work. There are some pretty viable value options, so the answer really seems like it could be "yes."

Ezekiel Elliott (FanDuel Salary: $13,000 | Madden Rating: 89)

Elliott fits the bill as the lone feature back within this game, and we've seen star running backs put up tons of fantasy points in past Madden games. He's the most obvious non-quarterback pivot of the week. And frankly, with the results we've seen, it's hard to justify considering anyone else unless you're really willing to take a risk and differentiate at MVP.

Flex Considerations and Risk/Reward MVP Options

Amari Cooper (FanDuel Salary: $12,000 | Madden Rating: 93)

Cooper is actually the highest-rated skill player in this game with a 93 overall. His position as a high-salaried receiver also makes him -- based on position averages -- a strong value bet. Receivers with salaries from $12,000 to $13,500 averaged 10.6 FanDuel points based on the 45 slates I have recorded. That value rating at his salary would rank him fifth among the whole slate (behind Carr, Prescott, Hunter Renfrow, and Elliott).

His 95 short-catch rating is the only mark above 89 in the game, too. And even though it's a simulation, we can probably assume there's a revenge game boost against his former team...right?

Darren Waller (FanDuel Salary: $11,000 | Madden Rating: 92)

Trailing only Cooper in Madden rating is Waller. Because he's such an in-game threat, we can treat him more like a receiver than simply a tight end. His fellow pass-catchers really lag behind (Hunter Renfrow is second among Las Vegas pass-catchers with an in-game rating of just 80). There's probably not enough yardage upside for him to lead the slate in scoring unless he scores twice, but he's a key flex option.

CeeDee Lamb (FanDuel Salary: $12,500 | Madden Rating: 84)

There's a pretty sizable gap between Lamb's rating (84) and Cooper's (93), so that makes Cooper a more appealing option at a lower salary. Lamb is still in play as a differentiation piece, but it's a harder case to make for Lamb than for Cooper.

Value Flex Options

Michael Gallup (FanDuel Salary: $8,000 | Madden Rating: 81)

Gallup's overall rating is only three points worse than CeeDee Lamb's, and their route-running scores are nearly identical (Lamb's marks are 84 for short routes, 85 for medium routes, and 85 for deep routes; Gallup's are 83, 83, and 87, respectively). Gallup, then, rates out as a great value play.

DeSean Jackson (FanDuel Salary: $7,500 | Madden Rating: 76)

Jackson remains an in-game downfield threat (95 speed rating, 93 acceleration rating, 92 agility rating, and 81 deep route running rating), and all it takes is one big play for Jackson to pay off a $7,500 salary.

Greg Zuerlein (FanDuel Salary: $9,500 | Madden Rating: 78)

Zuerlein rates out a few points better than Daniel Carlson ($9,000 | 75) and has a kick power rating of 97 and a kick accuracy rating of 82, both besting Carlson at 95 and 81, respectively. Again, kickers are no stranger to top-five in-game value scores, and he can help balance top-heavy lineups.

Others to Consider:
Dalton Schultz (FanDuel Salary: $8,000 | Madden Rating: 78)
Daniel Carlson (FanDuel Salary: $9,000 | Madden Rating: 75)
Bryan Edwards (FanDuel Salary: $6,500 | Madden Rating: 72)