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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Yankees vs. Rays Showdown on October 9

Garion Thorne gives his top MLB lineup advice for Friday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Yankees and the Rays, which starts at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Division Series - New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays - Game One Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Think about how how much these two teams have had to face each other in 2020. When you include the Wild Card round, tonight will mark the 67th game of the season for both the Yankees and the Rays and 15 of those contests will have been between these two division rivals. We know there’s some bad blood. We know there’s some incredible talent on each side. Now, we get to add in the desperation of a do-or-die Game 5.

Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $200K AL East Elimination [$50K to 1st] (NYY vs TB)


Captain’s Picks

Gerrit Cole ($18,300 CP) - Cole is by far the most expensive asset on the slate, but you don’t sign a $324 million contract if you’re not ready to step up in key moments. The right-hander has continued to struggle with the long ball in these playoffs, yet a 2.20 xFIP and a 39.6% strikeout rate across his two starts paint a very enticing picture for prospective owners. In fact, if you include Cole’s final four starts in September — essentially the span where he’s found his groove with Kyle Higashioka ($5,000) behind the plate — the veteran has struck out 55 opponents in his last 40.0 innings of work. It’s a stretch where Cole’s also maintained a sterling 1.80 ERA. Combine all that with Tampa Bay possessing the highest regular season strikeout rate of any playoff team (26.9%) and you’ve got a tempting matchup, even with Cole on short rest.

Austin Meadows ($10,500 CP) - It has been a nightmarish campaign for Meadows, who began Summer Camp on the COVID list and ended the truncated season on the IL with an oblique injury. Not surprisingly, the 25-year-old’s numbers reflect his sporadic availability, with Meadows finishing the year with just an 86 wRC+ in 152 plate appearances. Still, the little success he did have came against right-handed pitching, with the outfielder mustering a .216 ISO and a .331 wOBA within the split. That could be an important thing to note, as Cole surrendered a whopping 2.70 home runs per nine to the 120 LHBs he faced during the regular season. If Meadows hits leadoff on Friday — as he did in Game 2 and Game 3 — this is a very fair price for the 2019 All-Star.


FLEX Plays

Aaron Judge ($8,200) - Has Judge been struggling so far in the playoffs? Yes. However, does it make any sense that his salary has slipped down to a level where he’s now just $600 more expensive than Gary Sanchez ($7,600)? It does not. Judge has as much upside as any position player on this slate and, more than likely, he’ll be batting from his usual high-leverage lineup slot on Friday. Not only does that mean plate appearance volume, but it also guarantees a matchup with Tyler Glasnow ($11,400), who allowed 2.45 home runs per nine to RHBs during the regular season and has since conceded four more dingers in righties in two playoff starts. Judge also possessed a .360 ISO against southpaw pitching in 2020, so it’s not like he’ll be in a poor situtation when Blake Snell ($11,800) enters the game, either.

Ji-Man Choi ($4,200) - The clear value on this slate are the Rays’ bats, with Choi’s price point, in particular, standing out. The 29-year-old may not possess the kind of plus power potential that jumps off the page when juxtaposed to so many Yankees, but Choi has always preferred hitting in an opposite-hand matchup and, as mentioned above, Cole’s few issues this season have seemed to stem from interactions with LHBs. It’s also crucial to note how Choi’s been deployed so far in this series. For as much as Tampa Bay loves to exploit platoon situations and utilize splits, Choi has hit clean-up in all four games and has yet to be pinch-hit for. That might change if he sees a late inning matchup with Aroldis Chapman ($4,000) or Zack Britton ($4,000), but even getting three plate appearances from any Rays asset isn’t always a guarantee.


Fades

Tyler Glasnow ($11,400) - For as much as Glasnow’s 38.2% strikeout rate helps his viability in what is sure to be a shorter outing than what we’re accustomed to seeing, I simply can’t spend this type of money on someone who threw 93 pitches on Tuesday. Honestly, this all sets up to be Kevin Cash’s dream opener scenario. The origin of that strategy was essentially high-velocity RHP followed by a left-handed bulk man. Well, instead of Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough, tonight we’ll get the first-class version with Glasnow followed by Snell on three days rest. Still, let’s not pretend that Glasnow’s struggles against right-handed opponents don’t also factor in this decision to fade. Even with limited contributions from Judge and Giancarlo Stanton ($9,400), New York finished the regular season with an American League best 129 wRC+ in right-on-right plate appearances. This isn’t an ideal spot for the former Pirates prospect.


THE OUTCOME

I trust no manager to make bullpen decisions more than Cash, but winning games on the fringes is a season-long skill. It doesn’t matter nearly as much when you’re staring down a pitcher who finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2019 and a powerful lineup full of All-Stars. Give me the Yankees to move on and face the Astros in a ALCS that everyone will be talking about.

Final Score: New York 6, Tampa Bay 2

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $200K AL East Elimination [$50K to 1st] (NYY vs TB)


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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.