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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Rays vs. Astros Showdown on October 13

Garion Thorne gives his top MLB lineup advice for Tuesday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Rays and the Astros, which starts at 8:40 p.m. ET.

League Championship - Houston Astros v Tampa Bay Rays - Game One Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

If it feels like the MLB playoffs are flying by, it’s because they are. With no off days scheduled till the World Series, we already find ourselves at Game 3 of the ALCS with Tampa Bay holding a 2-0 series lead. Houston, who had seemingly found its mojo in the first two rounds, essentially now faces a do-or-die proposition this evening.

Can the Astros get up off the canvas? Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $70K Primetime Pennant Push [$20K to 1st] (TB vs HOU)


Captain’s Picks

George Springer ($15,300 CP) - While Springer’s raw numbers from the regular season might now show it, this is the Houston asset you want to exploit with a left-handed starter on the mound for Tampa Bay. No qualified member of the Astros managed a higher expected wOBA against LHPs in 2020 than Springer (.406), while a career 147 wRC+ within the split gives you a larger sample of his dominance over southpaws. Ryan Yarbrough ($10,400) isn’t somebody that generally allows a lot of hard contact — his 82.6 mph average exit velocity was the lowest of any pitcher in baseball with over 100 batted ball events — but he also isn’t someone that induces a lot of swings and misses. Few are more dangerous than Springer when he’s able to get the ball in play.

Jose Urquidy ($15,000 CP) - I’m very curious to see what kind of lineup Kevin Cash puts out for Tuesday night’s matchup with Urquidy. Usually you can count on the Rays to stuff their order full of left-handed hitters against a right-handed opponent — their 993 LHB plate appearances versus RHPs during the regular season were the third-most in baseball — yet Urquidy has shown some very interesting splits in his brief MLB career. The 25-year-old has held the 144 lefties he’s faced to a paltry .202 wOBA, while righties have registered a .353 wOBA with 1.69 home runs per nine. Maybe you can chalk that up to small sample size, but it certainly appears that Urquidy is more successful when he’s able to lean on his changeup instead of his slider. In any case, Urquidy should possess more DFS upside than his counterpart, with the Rays sitting second this season in strikeout rate (26.9%) and the Astros posting the league’s lowest mark (19.7%).


FLEX Plays

Alex Bregman ($9,800) - There really isn’t all that much to know about Bregman in this spot. While it might seem like the All-Star has been a little quiet throughout these playoffs, the former second-overall pick is slashing .290/.389/.419 with just a 5.6% strikeout rate in 36 plate appearances. Also, with Yarbrough on the mound, it’s probably worth noting that no active major league player has a better wRC+ against left-handed pitching than Bregman’s mark of 170. I’d say that’s pretty relevant.

Michael Brantley ($6,000) - It’s quite clear from Brantley’s .638 OPS versus LHPs during the regular season that you’d prefer to be using the veteran against a right-handed starter, but I’d be a little shocked if Yarbrough gets to face the Astros’ order a third time in this contest. I mean, he’s worked in front of an opener for the majority of his career for a reason and Tampa Bay’s biggest strength is its bullpen depth. Anyway, we saw Brantley hit third in Game 1 with the left-handed Blake Snell on the mound and I don’t see why that will change on Tuesday. That means a high-leverage lineup spot for a man who should still see a couple plate appearances against RHPs. Brantley slashed .331/.402/.525 with a 159 wRC+ within that split in 2020.

Manuel Margot ($5,000) - Margot hit one home run in 159 regular season plate appearances. So far in the playoffs, he’s hit three long balls in just 24 PAs. Are we sure to see his power numbers normalize at some point? Obviously. However, Margot is currently swinging a hot bat, he hit fifth in yesterday’s lineup and, maybe most importantly, his handedness matches Urquidy’s split weakness. For as much as you’d love to be able to afford Randy Arozarena ($9,600), Margot is an asset with a similar profile that’s almost exactly half the price. That’s a hard deal to pass up.


Fades

Ryan Yarbrough ($10,400) - I’ve sprinkled my concerns about Yarbrough throughout this article, but allow me to list them again. First and foremost, I worry about a short leash. Yarbrough pitched exceedingly well behind an opener in Game 4 of the ALDS, but, despite his success, he was strategically limited to just five innings. Yarbrough also managed a minuscule 5.1 DKFP in that outing, as he was only able to register a single strikeout against the Yankees. I doubt that result changes too much when opposed by an Astros squad that possessed the league’s lowest swinging strike rate (9.3%). Houston was basically designed in a lab to crush left-handed pitching with its seemingly never-ending line of right-handed power bats. Heck, they only went down on strikes twice while facing Snell in Game 1. This simply isn’t a high-ceiling situation for Yarbrough.


THE OUTCOME

I’m hesitant to ever suggest that a pitching matchup favors an opponent of the Rays — Kevin Cash is just too good at navigating out of trouble with his bullpen — but I am willing to say that I expect the Astros’ bats to wake up in Game 3. Houston had a .357 expected batting average in Game 2’s loss, a contest where they appeared to leave multiple runners on base each and every inning. Tampa won’t be as lucky on Tuesday.

Final Score: Houston 6, Tampa Bay 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $70K Primetime Pennant Push [$20K to 1st] (TB vs HOU)


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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.