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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Rays vs. Astros Showdown on October 14

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

League Championship - Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros - Game Three Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Coming into this season’s new playoff structure, it was unclear how much of an advantage the top seeds would have. Was home field in a best-of-three series really enough of a reward for two months of winning? How about a neutral site best-of-five series in the Divisional Round? Well, as we enter Game 4 of the ALCS, none of that has seemed to dissuade the Rays from their championship goals.

Tampa Bay is nine innings away from a possible sweep over Houston. Can they finish it off in four on Wednesday? Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $150K Primetime Pennant Push [$50K to 1st] (TB vs HOU)


Captain’s Picks

Tyler Glasnow ($16,500 CP) - Glasnow has been far from perfect so far in this playoff run, pitching to a 5.44 FIP across 13.2 innings; however, the strikeout upside is always going to be an enticing enough element to look past some flaws. Really, the right-hander has sort of drawn the short straw with the schedule he’s had to face in his four starts. Going back to the beginning of 2019, Glasnow’s been dominant against LHBs, holding them to just a .227 wOBA with a 37.2% strikeout rate. On the other hand, righties have managed 1.6 home runs per nine off the hard-throwing RHP and, wouldn’t you know it, the Blue Jays, the Yankees and the Astros are all teams with surpluses of power from that side of the plate. Still, ideal matchup or not, you’re getting a pitcher whose 14.28 K/9 was the highest of anyone with at least 50 innings to their name in 2020. In a series where runs have been at a premium, no one can come close to Glasnow’s upside on this slate.

Randy Arozarena ($14,100 CP) - Speaking of reverse splits, Zack Greinke ($9,800) will be taking the mound for the Astros this evening and almost all of his issues in 2020 have been the result of right-handed hitters. In fact, while the veteran held lefties to a phenomenal .206/.246/.282 slash line during the regular season, RHBs hit .305 with a .527 slugging percentage off Greinke. These trends have also continued in the playoffs, with Ramon Laureano hitting a pair of long balls off of the 36-year-old in Game 4 of the ALDS. As for Arozarena, he’s simply managed to hit anyone unfortunate enough to face him in these playoffs. The rookie is 18-for-39 (.462) with a stunning .575 wOBA in 43 plate appearances. However, it’s not like this is coming out of nowhere. Arozarena mustered a barrel in a whopping 14.0% of his batted ball events during the regular season and posted an eye-popping 185 wRC+ in the month of September. The 25-year-old can mash.


FLEX Plays

George Springer ($10,200) - It’s obviously not cheap to FLEX someone like Springer, but this feels like a good spot to get Houston’s leadoff man into your lineups. First and foremost, it definitely feels like the universe owes Springer a few bloop singles, as he’s had three BBEs with an expected batting average of more than .400 find a glove in the past two games. On top of that, there were few hitters in baseball this season that handled high velocity better than the outfielder. To wit, Springer possessed a .464 xwOBA off of fastballs over 95 mph in 2020 — the best mark on the Astros and one of the best figures in the American League overall. His skill set is the perfect balance to Glasnow’s strengths.

Editor’s Note: Rays 3B Yandy Diaz is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Astros.

Yandy Diaz ($7,400) - The usual problem with rostering Diaz is upside and aggression. Including the playoffs, Diaz has just five extra-base hits in his 164 plate appearances in 2020. He’s also been more than willing to take a walk in a whopping 18.9% of those PAs, which is a fine real-life skill, but one that doesn’t exactly translate to DFS. However, this is where the matchup with Greinke comes into play. During the regular season, the RHP issued a free pass to a mere 2.2% of the RHBs he faced. Greinke induces batted ball events from right-handers and, generally, those BBEs turned into hits this season. Considering Diaz’s lineup placement and Greinke’s struggles within the split, the Rays infielder is very viable.

Austin Meadows ($6,600) - While you don’t necessarily want to use a left-handed bat against Greinke, you also don’t want to forget about the final four innings of this contest. The 36-year-old has yet to throw even 80 pitches in a playoff outing in 2020 and, after the quick hook for Jose Urquidy on Tuesday, you get the impression that Dusty Baker won’t be afraid to use his bullpen in an elimination setting. That could mean two or possibly three plate appearances for Meadows versus a set of Astros’ relievers that has been worked to the bone so far in the playoffs — especially if the 2019 All-Star is once again batting leadoff. It’s a tempting script at this modest price point.


Fades

Kyle Tucker ($7,800)/Michael Brantley ($6,200) - As mentioned above, Glasnow has been downright nasty to left-handed hitters the past two seasons. Still, it’s probably worth exploring just how effective he’s been within the split. Among the 133 pitchers who have faced at least 200 LHBs since the start of 2019, only Justin Verlander (.233) has a lower expected wOBA against that particular handedness grouping than Glasnow’s (.235). While specifically Brantley has been a great source of value throughout this series, I think you have to steer clear of Houston’s left-handed bats on Wednesday. It’s not like things are going to get any easier when Tampa goes to its bullpen, either.


THE OUTCOME

For as much as the underlying statistics suggest that the Astros have been the victim of BABIP so far in this series, the Rays’ stable of incredible defensive players and their full embrace of exploiting shifts also has to be applauded. This is a team that’s always been built on pitching, defense and flexibility, and we’re seeing that strategy play out perfectly in the ALCS. Add in Zack Greinke’s recent struggles and it’s hard to imagine Tampa Bay not punching their ticket to the World Series tonight.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Houston 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $150K Primetime Pennant Push [$50K 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.