Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament picks and players to watch


ESPN’s Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament will bring together athletes, celebrities and ESPN personalities to compete against each other over the next week. First-round matches begin Monday and continue throughout the week, starting at 12 p.m. ET each day on ESPN digital and social platforms. The final will air Sunday at noon ET on ESPN2. With a range of talent in the bracket, we asked our experts across the esports, football and Madden worlds to give us their first-round picks (indicated in bold below), tell us who they think will win it all and pick a player they’re keeping an eye on.

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Arda Ocal

ESPN esports host and writer

First-round picks:

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Lil Yachty

Cam Jordan vs. Melvin Gordon

Marquise Brown vs. YG

Omar Raja vs. Stefon Diggs (Come on, I’m not betting against my ESPN fam!)

Katie Nolan vs. Pat McAfee (Especially if Katie picks the Patriots and Tom Brady is still on the team in the game for this tournament. It would be very fitting that Katie be the person to orchestrate one more Patriots championship with Brady.)

Daniel Cormier vs. Drew Lock

Snoop Dogg vs. Travis Kelce

Champion: Snoop Dogg

I’m going with the D-O-Double-G for this one. He’s the best and most involved celebrity Madden player out there today. He has been playing the video game series since the very beginning (before most of the field in this tournament was even alive), and he genuinely loves the game. He has schemes for days and knows all the high-level tricks to give him an advantage. Oh, by the way, he’s also in the game in Superstar KO mode and also dropped a title track for the game. Yeah, it’s Uncle Snoop all day for me. I also hope he goes far because he has 30 years of songs we can reference on broadcast.

Player to watch: Melvin Gordon

“Flash” loves to chirp and make side bets. It’s not uncommon to see him make a bet involving pushups or animal noises on camera for whoever loses the game. Gordon also loves to call his plays, similar to Muhammad Ali’s calling the round in which he would defeat an opponent. All in all, Flash makes it fun, and that’s exactly what most people will want out of this tournament. I’d be totally fine with seeing a celebrity do 20 pushups on ESPN2 because they just lost to Gordon, or having to imitate a dolphin. Give me that all day! But don’t be fooled by the sizzle, there’s definitely some Madden prowess here, too, as Gordon enjoys the game.


Emily Rand

ESPN esports writer

First-round picks:

Deandre Hopkins vs. Lil Yachty

Cam Jordan vs. Melvin Gordon

Marquise Brown vs. YG

Omar Raja vs. Stefon Diggs

Katie Nolan vs. Pat McAfee

Daniel Cormier vs. Drew Lock

Snoop Dogg vs. Travis Kelce

Champion: Snoop Dogg

I was hoping Derwin James was going to be in this one because he would be our best chance at having a player winner, based on his performance in the EA Sports Madden tournament that took place earlier this month. It’s rare that we know how good traditional-sports athletes are at esports, but we do know that Snoop Dogg plays a lot of Madden. A. Lot. Of. Madden. And he has been doing so for years. Going into this tournament, he’s definitely the favorite.

Player to watch: Drew Lock

In the few minutes of research I did on this tournament trying to find out each pro player’s Madden skills, I saw that Drew Lock did a promo with EA that involved him playing Madden. He’s also one of the younger players in the tournament, which although not always a sure thing, could be an indication that he spends more time playing video games.

Read more: How to watch the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament | Ovechkin, Gretzky to test scoring skills in video games


Field Yates

ESPN NFL Insider

First-round picks:

Cam Jordan vs. Melvin Gordon

Marquise Brown vs. YG

Omar Raja vs. Stefon Diggs

Katie Nolan vs. Pat McAfee

Snoop Dogg vs. Travis Kelce

Champion: Stefon Diggs

It has been an eventful offseason for Diggs, who was traded by the Vikings to the Bills in a move that should thrust him into an undisputed No. 1 wide receiver role with Buffalo. However, with a reduced offseason (if there is one at all), Diggs will have less time to get familiar with his new teammates. No matter. He’ll just win the Madden tournament playing with his new squad.

Player to watch: Katie Nolan

For those unfamiliar, Nolan recently adopted a dog named Myrtle. I love that sweet pup. But it’s also a great way for Nolan to convince the rest of the field that she’s too consumed by that ball of fluff to keep her Madden skills tight. I don’t buy it for a second. Keep an eye on Nolan to make a deep run.


Tyler Davis

Pro Madden player and analyst

First-round picks:

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Lil Yachty

Cam Jordan vs. Melvin Gordon

Marquise Brown vs. YG

Omar Raja vs. Stefon Diggs

Katie Nolan vs. Pat McAfee

Snoop Dogg vs. Travis Kelce

Champion: Snoop Dogg

Snoop is definitely the favorite coming into the tournament. This is a guy who is very connected in the Madden community and streams Madden almost daily on his Twitch account. He even has his own league! He has been playing Madden for over a decade and is always claiming to be the best. I predict Snoop will win the tournament.

Player to watch: Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

My players to watch going into the tournament are Marquise Brown and Drew Lock. My reasons are not very clear, just that they are two of the youngest players in the tournament and play more Madden than the other competitors. I had also heard that Hollywood plays the game a good amount, as do guys like Derwin James and Keenan Allen, who are two of the best NFL players who play Madden. Overall, I definitely believe Snoop is the favorite, but Brown and Lock, the two youngsters, are my dark horses to watch.


Tyler Erzberger

ESPN esports writer

First-round picks:

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Lil Yachty

Chris Weidman vs. Devonta Freeman

Cam Jordan vs. Melvin Gordon

Marquise Brown vs. YG

Omar Raja vs. Stefon Diggs

Katie Nolan vs. Pat McAfee

Daniel Cormier vs. Drew Lock

Snoop Dogg vs. Travis Kelce

Champion: YG

As an unabashed Los Angeles Rams fan, I have to go with the most famous Rams fan in YG. Be it a marquee matchup on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs or a lazy Thursday game against a bottom-of-the-barrel team, you’ll usually see YG in the end zone, high-fiving and celebrating with the Rams’ players whenever they score a touchdown. For his sake, I hope the Rams do better in this Madden tournament than they did in 2019. As long as YG defeats anyone who picks the Patriots, I’ll consider him the champion of this event, trophy or no trophy.

Player to watch: Daniel Cormier

Although I have no clue how good the UFC legend is at Madden, I do know that the former heavyweight champion is one of the most charismatic people in all of sports. Cormier is a huge wrestling fan, so I hope we get to see some The Rock-esque promos from the amateur wrestling prodigy. Any good esports tournament needs a trash-talker, and I believe in the ability of Cormier (along with someone such as Pat McAfee) to bring the theatrics needed to take this tournament to the next level.

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