Last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks missed the money as our MVP didn’t quite get the job done while a couple of zeros all but sealed our fate.
Brandon Lowe knocked a double into the corner, giving as 12 points as the MVP, but that was all Lowe would deliver. He had a couple at-bats with two runners on base but couldn’t come up big for us in those situations.
Avisail Garcia, our All-Star, had a fine night that included four singles and a run scored. An extra-base hit would have been nice, but I don’t mind that production out of the All-Star spot.
The only other player to earn points on this night was Jose Altuve with a single and a walk while both Austin Meadows and Michael Brantley posted goose eggs that took us out of the running.
The Rays got to Verlander as I anticipated, however we simply were on the wrong guys and missing out on Tommy Pham hurt.
Let’s move onto tonight’s classic two-game slate and see if we can turn a couple of profitless nights around!
P – Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – $10,000 vs. LAD
This is kind of an optimal lineup that could either be used in cash or GPPs, but it’s not a GPP-only lineup as all of my players are starting in this game and I am not rostering someone who can come off the bench and deliver a big hit like I have done in previous postseason slates in these playoffs. As a +150 underdog, however, Strasburg can be considered a GPP pitchers but he’s also delivered reliable results of late, including his Game 2 start in Los Angeles in which he hurled six innings of one-run ball to go along with 10 strikeouts and earned the win in the process. Over his last 10 appearances – including a three-inning relief appearance in the NL Wild Card Game – Strasburg has surrendered more than two earned runs just once and that was a three-earned run effort back on September 5th against the Braves. He’s recorded a quality start in eight of his last nine starts. He’s also struck out 10 in back-to-back starts. Strasburg posted a 3.32 ERA, 3.25 FIP and 3.17 xFIP in the regular season to go along with a big-time 10.81 K/9 clip. We know what the Dodgers’ bats are capable of, but with the way this guy is rolling right now I could see him pulling off the upset and pitching his club into the NLCS tonight.
C/1B – Paul Goldschmidt (STL) – $3,800 vs. ATL
Mike Foltynewicz dominated the Cardinals in his Game 2 start of this NLDS, hurling seven shutout innings to go along with seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits in the process. It was a rocky season for the fireballing right-hander as he even spent a period of time at Triple-A earlier in the season, but he entered these playoffs pitching well as he posted a 1.50 ERA in the month of September and continued that into this series. That said, the Cardinals still have posted nice power numbers against Foltynewicz in their history against him and at least have plenty of tape to study as they prepare to face him again in this series. I think they’ll get to him tonight and I will unleash a three-man Cardinals stack as a result. Goldschmidt isn’t one of those players that have enjoyed success against the right-hander, however, as he’s gone just 4 for 24 in his lifetime against him. That said, Goldschmidt is the Cardinals’ best all-around hitter and the best players tend to show up when it matters most in the postseason. He’s also a massive postseason performer with an eye-popping career 1.238 OPS in the playoffs to go along with a 1.563 OPS in this series that includes going 7 for 14 (.500) with two homers, four doubles, two walks and just one strikeout in that time. No question I want him in this lineup tonight.
2B – Kolten Wong (STL) – $2,500 vs. ATL
According to FantasyLabs, Wong is once again projected to hit in the two-hole, which would be wonderful as that would put him directly in front of Goldschmidt in the Cardinals’ lineup, however that hasn’t been the case this series as he’s been hitting in the bottom of the lineup. Perhaps he can make his way back to the two-hole tonight as he has enjoyed the most success of any Cardinal against Foltynewicz and manager Mike Schildt would certainly want to jump Folty early in this one. In his career against the right-hander, Wong has gone 5 for 14 (.357) with a homer, three doubles and stolen base against him. Perhaps his wreckage on the basepaths this season would be the clearest pass for Wong to move up the lineup. He swiped 24 bases in the regular season, 20 of which came against a right-handed pitcher. Foltynewicz didn’t allow many steals in the regular season with just three surrendered in 117 innings, but catcher Brian McCann threw out only 20% of base stealers this season, a very poor mark. Keep in mind Wong also posted a .797 OPS and 111 wRC+ against righties this season and a .209 ISO, .925 OPS, .385 wOBA and 141 wRC+ against righties on the road. If he can make his way into the two-hole I am absolutely loving the value upside here.
3B – Josh Donaldson (ATL) – $3,200 vs. STL
As noted, the best players tend to show up this time of the year, as do the veterans who simply don’t get rattled in these situations, and I am liking Josh Donaldson as a result. Of course, that’s not the only reason why I like the veteran slugger. I believe his work against right-handed pitching this season also has something to do with it as Donaldson posted a .271 ISO, .917 OPs, .381 wOBA and 135 wRC+ on the season against righties. Furthermore, he absolutely mashed at home this season – especially against righties. Donaldson hit for a .328 ISO, 1.037 OPS, .426 wOBA and 163 wRC+ at home this season while posting a .371 ISO, 1.137 OPS, .460 wOBA and 186 wRC+ against right-handers at home. Of course, the right-hander he faces tonight has been no cakewalk as Jack Flaherty was the best pitcher in baseball down the stretch of the regular season, although the Braves did score three earned runs on eight hits against him in seven innings earlier in the series. Donaldson is just 1 for 7 against the young right-hander, however I’ll put that aside and focus on his work against righties at home this season while looking for quality at-bats from the veteran in this Game 5 showdown.
SS – Dansby Swanson (ATL) – $3,000 vs. STL
Next man up in my three-man Braves stack is Swanson who came out of the gate very strong this season against left-handed pitching, but his splits evened out over the course of the season and his power ended up being better against right-handed pitching. Sure, his overall 108 wRC+ against lefties is notably better than his 89 mark against righties, but his solid .174 ISO against righties topped his .162 mark against lefties. For whatever reason, Swanson was atrocious at home this season against righties with a 55 wRC+ against them in such scenarios, however I am going to look past that and simply focus on the power/speed combination he brings to the table. The young shortstop clubbed 17 homers this season and stolen 10 bases to boot. His hit 13 of his homers against right-handed pitcher while eight of his 10 steals came against a righty as well. Swanson is also red-hot at the plate in this series with a .500 average and 1.248 OPS through four games while he’s gone 5 for 7 with three doubles, three runs, an RBI and a walk over his last two games. I don’t have much of a problem at all using Swanson in this stack tonight.
OF – Adam Duvall (ATL) – $2,500 vs. STL
Duvall has been a nice story for the Braves as he spent a good chunk of the season in Triple-A before being called up and performing well in the big leagues – mostly against left-handed pitching. Still, Duvall has hit everything of late – including right-handers – and he might just get the starting nod over Matt Joyce who hasn’t been nearly as productive as his teammate of late. Even if Joyce ends up getting the start, I would still use Duvall as he’s almost certain to pinch-hit in this one and has been very good in doing so for the Braves of late. This is actually Duvall’s first taste of postseason action in his career and it’s gone well. He’s hitting .429 with a 1.357 OPS so far in this series, otherwise known as going 3 for 7 with a homer, two runs, five RBI and a walk. He’s yet to start a game in this series as the Cardinals’ rotation is righties only, but as noted, he could get the starting nod in this one if manager Brian Snitker wants to roll with the hot hand. Perhaps Snitker could also look at Duvall’s numbers against Flaherty in his career and note that he’s gone 2 for 5 with a homer against him, with that homer coming in Game 2 of this series. There’s no way I’m fading Duvall either way in this one tonight.
OF – Dexter Fowler (STL) – $2,900 vs. ATL
Completing our three-man Cardinals stack is Fowler who should be set for leadoff duties in this one tonight – of course the most valuable spot in the batting order. Fowler is no stranger to postseason baseball and he’s played in much bigger games than this including Game 7 of the World Series back in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs. He homered in that game, and I think he’s one of those veterans that comes through when it matters most. Now, the struggle has been real this time around, however. Fowler is just 1 for 17 with a walk in this series, with both the single and the walk coming in Game 1. He’s otherwise hit some balls very hard in the series but has yet to be rewarded. Don’t forget that there’s still plenty of pop in that bat of his as he slugged 19 home runs in the regular season while he remains a stolen base threat with eight steals as well. The switch-hitting outfielder was indeed superior against right-handed pitchers this season as he posted a solid .179 ISO, .775 OPS, .332 wOBA and 107 wRC+ against them this season. I like that all eight of his steals came against righties as well. He’s just 2 for 11 in his career against Foltynewicz, but one of those hits went for a home run. I think there’s plenty of cross-category upside to be had to lead off this stack tonight.
OF – Adam Eaton (WAS) – $2,900 vs. LAD
I am going to finish this lineup off with a Nationals outfield mini-stack tonight, beginning here with Eaton. First, I think this Nationals/Dodgers game is going to be a low-scoring affair and obviously I think Strasburg can keep the Dodgers at bay. While a tough Walker Buehler remains on the other side, I believe we can get to him with some Nats ownership. Don’t sleep on Eaton as the forgotten man in the Nationals’ outfield as he still brings pop and stolen base upside to the table with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases on the season. As a left-handed hitter, Eaton’s splits were actually fairly even, albeit his 108 wRC+ against righties slightly edged his 105 mark against lefties. Still, I like the fact that he’s matchup-proof for when the Dodgers’ bullpen enters this one. It hasn’t been the most productive of postseason so far for Eaton in his first trip to October as he’s hitting just .200 with a .568 OPS to this point. That said, he’s been on base four times over his last two games. Eaton is going to hit out of the two-hole as he’s done all season and I’ll look for him to deliver some value in getting on base and potentially scoring a run or two, at the least.
UTIL – Juan Soto (WAS) – $3,700 vs. LAD
Completing this lineup and our Nationals mini-stack is Soto who has already come up huge when it mattered most of his team in these playoffs and I believe he can do so again despite the tough matchup against Buehler tonight. Soto laced a two-out, two-RBI single into right field to put the Nationals ahead of the Brewers in the NL Wild Card game and while he’s now hitting just .222 for the playoffs with a .722 OPS, things have been better over the last couple of games. Soto went 2 for 3 with a homer in the Nationals’ Game 3 loss at home and got on base again in the Game 4 win. There’s also the fact that he absolutely pummeled right-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .303 ISO, 1.000 OPS, .414 wOBA and a 155 wRC+. He maintained a .302 ISO, .971 OPS, .406 wOBA and a 150 wRC+ against right-handers on the road as well. Like with many others in this lineup, there’s a speed element to his game as Soto swiped 12 bases this season, nine of which came against righties. Hitting two spots behind Eaton in the projected cleanup spot, Soto brings a wealth of power to the table and could very well find the seats in clutch fashion in this do-or-die Game 5 from Dodgers Stadium.