The NCLS officially kicks off Monday night and this should be one heck of a series. Two monster offenses taking on each other in hopes of making it to the final dance. Let’s dive into this DraftKings Showdown slate to help you build your lineups.
Ronald Acuna Jr. ($14,100 CP) — I’ll be totally honest, I don’t feel great about either pitcher in this game. Both have really good upside and no one will blame you if you’re using them in your captain spot. However, I think the offenses on both sides are simply too good. Acuna Jr. is having a stellar postseason thus far and will face Walker Buehler ($11,800), who was one hitter away from potentially imploding against the Padres in the NLDS. The first time through the order has been a bit of an issue for Buehler, owning a 4.47 FIP. However, the second time through after settling in, his FIP drops to 3.87. With Acuna Jr. hitting atop the Braves order, he brings a .423 wOBA with a .364 ISO and a 48.8% hard-hit rate against righties. You’re getting some great pop and a potential base-stealing threat.
AJ Pollock ($10,200 CP) — What if you want to go a bit cheap at the captain spot to jam some of the high-priced players in but also don’t want to skimp out on their upside? Pollock is an interesting name to consider. To be fair, Max Fried ($10,800) is a tough pitcher to get extra bases off of. His 53% ground ball rate was the eighth-best mark among qualified starters during the regular season. To that end, Pollock also boasted some of the best power against lefties with a .473 ISO and a .468 wOBA. Making Pollock your captain will not only give you a unique build, it leaves you with an average of $7,960 for the rest of your roster.
Other to consider: Freddie Freeman ($13,500 CP)
Travis d’Arnaud ($7,200) — This price for d’Arnaud should be much higher, as he’s arguably been one of the best hitters for the Braves all season long. Coming into this game, he’s averaging 13.6 DKFP in the Braves’ five playoff games with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBI. As I mentioned above, Buehler didn’t have great numbers against righties on the season, so who better to take on the Braves than one of their best hitters as of late? During the regular season against right-handers, d’Arnaud posted a .433 wOBA with a .267 ISO with all nine of his home runs hit. He’s by far by my favorite play under the $8K range.
Nick Markakis ($5,200) — Here’s the thing about Markakis — he doesn’t exactly crush the ball, like at all. His numbers against righties were rather pedestrian with a .294 wOBA, a .149 ISO and just a 29.8% hard-hit rate. So what gives? Well, quite frankly, he’s essentially one of the cheapest guys on the board that won’t get pinch-hit for. The majority of the players in this range (we’ll talk about one of them below) could end up starting or will come in later in the game. Joc Pederson ($4,800) is another great example of this. He won’t start but he’ll likely end up coming in when Fried is out. You don’t really have to worry about that with Markakis and he’ll help make the rest of your lineup fit. On a positive note, aside from Game 3 of the NLDS, Markakis had reached base in eight straight games, so it’s not out of the question that he can’t get you something in this game.
Kike Hernandez ($5,600) — Hernandez should draw the start with the lefty on the mound tonight. Hernandez finished the regular season with only a .284 wOBA against lefties but a .194 ISO, which was one of the highest on the team. The only issue here is that Hernandez could end up being lifted for a pinch-hitter later in the game as we’ve seen already during the Padres series. So while this isn’t a safe play by any means, Hernandez has a better chance of outscoring a reliever you could roster in the hopes they make into the game.
Walker Buehler ($11,800) — It’s a scary name to put in the fade section but I think we have some legitimate reasons to consider it. First, Buehler hasn’t pitched more than four innings since Sept. 2. After tossing five innings against the Diamondbacks, he’s gone 2 2⁄3 against them again and then four in his next three starts after a stint on the injured list. He’s throwing a ton of pitches in these starts, topping out at 95 against the Padres in his last outing. In those 12 innings, he also has seven walks and now faces a Braves team that had a 10.1% BB% against righties, which was one of the best in the league. If there is a team you don’t want to give free passes too, it’s the Braves.
Can he strike out seven or eight hitters in this game? Absolutely. However, I just don’t see the dominating performance we would need to pay up for someone that is the most expensive player on the board by $1,000.
I’m really excited for this game and think it could surprisingly have a healthy amount of offense, despite the matchup we see on paper. Fading pitchers in Showdown is a scary strategy to implement, especially if they go on to have a good game. It’s simply points that are impossible to make up, barring a bullpen implosion from one of the teams. With that in mind, it’s very, very tough to ignore how good these offenses are. If anything, taking this outlook will make you unique, which hopefully, will lead to a high scoring lineup.
Final Score: Braves 5, Dodgers 4
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.