The San Diego Padres fell behind early again in Game 2 to the St. Louis Cardinals, but this time they rallied back from a 6-2 deficit before ultimately hanging on to win 11-9 and forcing a decisive Game 3 in the National League Wild Card round. The Chicago Cubs still trail 1-0 in their series against the Miami Marlins, and after Game 2 was rained out yesterday, they’ll be making it up on Friday. Today’s DraftKings MLB slate consists of just these two games, but there’s plenty of slate strategy to go over to get ready for the 2 p.m. ET start.
Yu Darvish ($9,000) is clearly the top pitching option on this slate in terms of talent and matchup, and he faces easily the weakest opponent of the day in the Miami Marlins. After Darvish, the choice is basically between two other starters: His opponent Sixto Sanchez ($7,800) and Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty ($8,400). Flaherty is likely the better pitcher, but also has the harder matchup against the Padres who were in the top 5 in both wOBA and wRC+ in 2020. Even so, both are reasonable options especially since there’s still uncertainty with what the Padres will do at pitcher today.
The Padres were unable to include Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet on their Wild Card roster due to injuries, and have extremely shorthanded pitching as a result. The Padres bullpen also had to work hard in both games already in this series, so that will add difficulty to this situation, as well. There are just a few relief pitchers who haven’t appeared yet in this series, so it’ll largely be unclear how they’ll maneuver this game even when they do name a starter. Whoever it ends up being, it seems like a long shot that we’ll get more than 2-3 innings out of any single Padres pitcher today.
DraftKings Slate Strategy
It’s clear that Darvish is the best bet for fantasy points on today’s slate, but it’s also virtually a guarantee that he’ll be the highest-owned player, as well. Darvish is underpriced at 9K, but most of the field should realize that too and it makes for a tougher decision (compared to yesterday) when using him. Fading Darvish and taking Sanchez and Flaherty is certainly an option — and a corresponding Marlins stack would surely put anyone way ahead of the field who gets that right — but the odds of that working out just aren’t that high. At the same time, there are a few cheap Marlins hitters who could even be paired with Darvish that might help generate a contrarian build.
The other option to differentiate from the field is to play for a scenario in which Darvish succeeds and both of Sanchez and Flaherty don’t, by taking a shot on someone from the Padres’ bullpen game. If Sanchez and Flaherty both struggle there will likely be a lot of expensive Cubs and Padres hitters scoring points, so in order to fit all of that with Darvish, it might be necessary to use a cheap Padres reliever, even one that might only score a few fantasy points. It should be all hands on deck for San Diego today, and guys like Emilio Pagan ($4,000) and Drew Pomeranz ($6,600) should see some action for the third consecutive game.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.