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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Dodgers vs. Brewers Showdown on October 1

Garion Thorne gives his top MLB lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Dodgers and the Brewers, which starts at 10:08 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

There are a few checkpoints in a baseball season where you know you’ve now reached the important stuff and Clayton Kershaw ($10,800) pitching in an elimination game is certainly one of those moments. The veteran left-hander hasn’t always had the best luck taking the mound in October, however, for tonight’s slate, it’ll be the Brewers with their backs up against the wall.

Can Kershaw come through and send the Dodgers to the NLDS? Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $60K NL Night Cap [$20K to 1st] (MIL vs LAD)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Los Angeles Dodgers

Instead of getting into the checkered history of Kershaw in the playoffs — he owns a 3.49 xFIP across 158.1 postseason innings, so it’s really not as bad as you think it is — let’s discuss the 32-year-old’s amazing 2020 campaign. While there may have been some concern towards the end of last season that we had entered the downslope of Kershaw’s career, he responded in a big way in his 10 starts this year, managing a 2.16 ERA, a 3.05 xFIP and a 28.1% strikeout rate that was his highest mark since 2017. He also saw a notable jump in his average fastball velocity, with the pitch going up to 91.7 mph after sitting at 90.5 mph in 2019. Truly, the only worrisome aspect of Kershaw’s stat line is the fact he allowed 12 opponent barrels in his 150 batted ball events, yet a .263 expected wOBA pretty much nullifies any doubts. Yes, Milwaukee was a much better offensive team against LHPs this season, but that only meant a .418 slugging percentage and a 105 wRC+. Remember, it’s not difficult to be the preferred half of a split when you’re absolutely atrocious versus right-handers.

It doesn’t seem like run support for Kershaw will be all that hard to come by, either. Though Brandon Woodruff ($9,600) was fantastic in 2020, I still have my doubts about his ability to pitch to LHBs. While his splits were pretty identical this season, Woodruff allowed left-handed hitters to compile a .328 wOBA from 2017 to 2019. In comparison, RHBs managed just a .251 wOBA across that span of time, as Woodruff’s always tended to use his slider more to righties and his change-up more to lefties. Not surprisingly, the right-hander’s worst pitch is that change-up, which makes me think his “success” within the split this season has more to do with a .245 opponent BABIP than anything else. This means all your favorite Los Angeles left-handed hitters are viable this evening, with guys like Corey Seager ($10,200), Cody Bellinger ($9,800) and Max Muncy ($9,000) equipped to do the most damage. However, you would also be wise to keep an eye on Edwin Rios ($5,600). The infielder got the surprise start at DH versus the lefty Brent Suter on Wednesday and I’d anticipate that vote of confidence from Dave Roberts means he’ll be in there again tonight. It’s a small sample, but Rios sports a .374 ISO and a 152 wRC+ in his 139 career plate appearances. You rarely see that kind of ceiling on an asset this inexpensive.

Editor’s Note: Dodgers 3B Edwin Rios is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Brewers.


Milwaukee Brewers

As mentioned above, this isn’t exactly Woodruff’s ideal matchup, though, to be fair, the Dodgers aren’t really any pitcher’s dream scenario — especially if you happen to be right-handed. Los Angeles finished the regular season leading all of baseball with a .240 ISO and a 126 wRC+ within the split, a product of all their left-handed power. The Dodgers also tend to be DFS kryptonite, as their 20.3% strikeout rate was the lowest in the National League and their 26.5% chase rate was the lowest in the entire sport. I’m not expecting Woodruff to get throttled in this spot, I’m just not optimistic that he breaks the 20.0 DKFP plateau. Plus, you have to think that Craig Counsell is going to be aggressive with his bullpen in an elimination situation, which means we might see multiple innings of Josh Hader ($5,400), who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 26. The left-hander wasn’t really a long-man in 2020, but we’ve seen him do it before and the Brewers should be a little more desperate to wring all they can from Hader with Devin Williams (shoulder) unavailable. It’s a hefty price tag for an asset that isn’t assured of playing, but that 39.7% strikeout rate is tantalizing.

As for Milwaukee’s bats, you’re simply going to have to ride the platoon splits. Jedd Gyorko ($6,600) mustered a .425 wOBA and a 166 wRC+ in his 57 plate appearances against lefties in 2020, while Avisail Garcia ($5,400) managed a .418 OBP and tended to hit leadoff for the Brewers when facing a left-hander. Jacob Nottingham ($4,200) and Ryon Healy ($4,000) could be additional decent plays in this matchup, with the former somehow hitting three home runs in his 14 at-bats versus southpaws this season and the latter batting clean-up at the minimum price. Incredibly small sample aside, that’s some pretty impressive upside this close to the minimum. I also wouldn’t overlook Christian Yelich ($8,800) in a left-on-left setting, as the former NL MVP posted a 180 wRC+ within the split even in a down campaign. He hasn’t seemed like himself over the past couple of months, but he’d be a nice piece to grab at a depressed ownership.


THE OUTCOME

To me, this slate shouldn’t be about whether or not you trust Clayton Kershaw ($16,200 CP) in the playoffs, but whether or not trust Milwaukee’s anemic offense to get a few hits off a future Hall of Fame pitcher. I don’t and that’s why I think the veteran makes for the best Captain’s Pick on the board. However, if you wanted to get a little risky and try to save some salary with Edwin Rios ($8,400 CP), I’m not completely opposed to that, either.

Final Score: Dodgers 5, Milwaukee 2

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $60K NL Night Cap [$20K to 1st] (MIL vs LAD)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.