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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Dodgers vs. Braves Showdown on October 15

Garion Thorne gives his top MLB lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Dodgers and the Braves, which starts at 8:08 p.m. ET.

League Championship - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Three Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Oh, how things can change in the span of a few hours. Try to put yourself in the position of a Dodgers fan at 6:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. You’re down 2-0 in the NLCS against the Braves, you’re minutes away from a crucial Game 3 and, most worrisome of all, you don’t know if the generational left-hander you’ve leaned on for a decade will be able to appear at all in this series.

Well, after an 11-run explosion in the first inning of yesterday’s 15-3 win, things are looking a whole lot rosier in Los Angeles — especially with Clayton Kershaw ($11,200) taking the mound this evening. 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] (LAD vs ATL)


Captain’s Picks

Clayton Kershaw ($16,800 CP) - Could spending this much of you salary on a pitcher with a nagging back issue completely backfire? Of course it could. Still, the appeal of this spot for the veteran is just as much about Atlanta’s lineup construction as it is Kershaw’s supreme talent. While the Braves did lead all teams in wRC+ against RHPs in 2020 (126), they posted a far more pedestrian 101 wRC+ against southpaws, which included a 27.8% strikeout rate that was tops in the National League. You have to figure this is where Atlanta will really miss the services of Adam Duvall (oblique), as his .298 ISO within the split ranked second on the roster. That’s just left-handed pitchers in general, too. Kershaw, if you need a reminder, is a clear-cut first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher who’s posted a 2.12 ERA across his 72.1 innings in the regular season and the playoffs. Part of his success this year was tied to an uptick in velocity — so health is truly a concern — however, no one on this slate can match Kershaw’s ceiling.

Marcell Ozuna ($10,500 CP) - I mentioned that few Braves have great numbers when opposed by a left-handed pitcher in 2020, but Ozuna is definitely the exception to that rule. In 54 plate appearances within the split, the outfielder was able to lead all qualified National League players in ISO (.511), wOBA (.527) and wRC+ (234). Heck, for the season as a whole, Ozuna managed to rank inside the 96th percentile in exit velocity, expected wOBA, expected slugging percentage and expected batting average. These numbers have yet to find their way into the playoffs — Ozuna’s struggled to a .200/.222/.343 slash line — yet his track record of success and a high-leverage lineup spot still make this depressed salary too good to ignore.


FLEX Plays

Freddie Freeman ($8,200) - By this point in the calendar, I’m sure we’re all aware of Freeman’s massive splits differential. While the NL MVP candidate posted a ridiculous 216 wRC+ against RHPs in 2020, he was only able to muster a 98 wRC+ in left-on-left situations. Still, I wouldn’t let that detract too much from Freeman’s value tonight. For one thing, the first baseman’s career numbers versus southpaws are well above average and, when it comes to this season specifically, Freeman’s expected wOBA within the split (.375) is 58 points higher than his actual output. In a vacuum, we’re talking about one of the league’s best hitters being priced just over $8K and likely possessing a low ownership. I’ll take a chance on him, even if it’s just for the opportunities he gets when facing the Dodgers’ bullpen in the later innings.

Joc Pederson ($5,600) - Pederson will likely be a popular play after his four-hit performance in Game 3’s festivities, but not every asset needs to vary your lineup in Showdown. Also, it’s simply going to be difficult to ignore a left-handed power bat that’s this cost-effective in a matchup with Bryse Wilson ($8,800). We don’t have a huge sample of statistics when it comes to the young RHP; however, in his brief time at the major-league level, Wilson has been destroyed by LHBs. The 84 he’s faced in his career have complied a .343 average and a .600 slugging percentage, while Wilson’s only managed a paltry 14.1% strikeout rate within the split. Generally speaking, when Pederson is allowed to make contact, good things happen for the Dodgers.

Edwin Rios ($4,000) - In the same vein as his aforementioned teammate, Rios represents cheap home run upside from a lefty bat. It’s not totally clear if Dave Roberts will be willing to keep A.J. Pollock ($7,400) on the bench for a second-straight contest; though I’d argue that a 15-run outburst is probably a decent reason to put the exact same lineup out for another go-around. There’s no doubts about Rios’ power potential, either. In 139 career regular season plate appearances, the 26-year-old has 12 home runs and a whopping .374 ISO. He’s also struck out in a large percentage of those opportunities, but that’s an archetype with a lot of ceiling at the absolute minimum price point.


Fades

Bryse Wilson ($8,800) - Let’s not over complicate things. One of the biggest benefits to the Braves winning their first seven playoff games was that it allowed Brian Snitker to hide the backend of Atlanta’s rotation. However, thanks to some incredibly notable injuries during the regular season, we’re now left with someone like Wilson — equipped with a career 5.56 xFIP — taking the mound in a pivotal Game 4. Even putting aside the narrative, this is an awful matchup for the right-hander. Wilson’s struggled immensely with LHBs in his time at the major league level and the Dodgers can pack their lineup full of them. Plus, said left-handed bats accounted for a .244 ISO off of RHPs in 2020 — the highest figure in all of baseball. If Wilson even pitches into the fifth, I’d be shocked.


THE OUTCOME

While I can only imagine the memes that would come as a result of Clayton Kershaw losing to Bryse Wilson, at the end of the day, we’ve got the most dominant left-handed starter of this era squaring off with a 22-year-old that should probably still be pitching in Triple-A. Not to mention, he’ll be facing a Dodgers lineup that’s scored 22 runs in its last 12 innings of work. Give me Los Angeles.

Final Score: Los Angeles 7, Atlanta 2

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


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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.