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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Dodgers vs. Giants DraftKings MLB DFS Showdown Strategy for October 14

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 9:07 p.m. ET NLDS contest between the Dodgers and the Giants with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

For as much as baseball has never been about the results of a single game, this is sort of how the NL West had to be decided in 2021, right? After a regular season where both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants easily won over 100 contest; after a regular season where it never seemed like two squads were more than a couple games apart in the standings, it’s fitting that a trip to the NLCS will come down to nine innings between these two behemoths.

I can’t wait. Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Editor’s Note: Dodgers RP Corey Knebel will start tonight’s game vs. the Giants.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: MLB $200K Showdown $2.5M of the Week [$50K to 1st] (LAD vs SF)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Logan Webb ($15,900 CP) - If these playoffs have revealed anything about managers in do-or-die situations, it’s that’s starting pitchers — even great ones — will be on a short leash. It’s why I think we have to slightly downplay the usual ceiling that you get from a starter like Julio Urias ($10,400), someone who has derived so much of his DFS value in 2021 from picking up wins. I honestly don’t know if Urias or Webb will last five innings on Thursday, despite the fact that the pair have possibly been the best pitchers in the NL going back to late July. So, because of that uncertainly, I think strikeout upside becomes the tie-breaker when choosing between these two accomplished assets — and Webb clearly has the upper hand in that regard. Webb posted a blistering 29.0% strikeout rate over his final 12 outings of the regular season, then followed that up with a 35.7% strikeout rate in Game 1 of this series. The RHP also maintained a 1.96 ERA and held opponents to a microscopic .248 wOBA when pitching in San Francisco this year.

Buster Posey ($11,700 CP) - My hunch is that this ends up being a pretty low-scoring affair, especially with how the cooler autumn weather in California has effected ball-flight the past few days. That means, in general, the starting pitchers in this contest are the best Captain’s picks. However, they’re also the most expensive. That’s not always tenable. Enter Buster Posey. The backstop is on the heels of a marvellous campaign, one that saw him slash .368/.429/.623 with a 174 wRC+ against LHPs across 119 plate appearances. That’s enough of a pattern of dominance within the split for me to take a little more interest in Posey’s BvP numbers versus Urias than I’d usually permit. In 20 career at-bats, Posey has 10 hits and an expected wOBA of .399. I think it’s safe to say at this point that he sees Urias well.


Value FLEX Plays

Darin Ruf ($6,800) - Ruf will more than likely be hitting leadoff in this contest, as that’s exactly what occurred when Urias started Game 2 of this series. It’s not hard to see the logic in Gabe Kapler’s thinking, either. Ruf was fantastic in his 140 plate appearances against LHPs during the regular season, posting a 1.007 OPS, a .310 ISO and a 166 wRC+. Ruf also registered a .430 expected wOBA within the split — the sixth-highest mark of any hitter with at least 100 PAs versus left-handed pitching. However, Ruf maxes out as a FLEX option due to the likelihood that he’s pinch-hit for later in the evening, capping the amount of at-bats the 35-year-old will accumulate.

Gavin Lux ($5,600) - After getting shutout in two of the first three games of this series, the Dodgers made the decision to sacrifice defense in the name of scoring runs by starting Lux in center field. It worked out pretty spectacularly, as Lux would reach base four times in Game 4, registering 12.0 DKFP in the process. The former top-prospect wasn’t amazing in 2021, though he did post above-average numbers when facing RHPs, finishing the season with a .747 OPS and a 104 wRC+ within the split. Lux is also viable simply because he happens to be a Los Angeles bat priced below $6K. Considering five of the six most-expensive positional assets on this slate are Dodgers, that’s a rare find.


Fades

Mookie Betts ($9,800) - This is less about Mookie and more about salary allocation. Again, I tend to think this game will be low-scoring. Webb’s FIP is 2.12 across his past 12 starts, while Urias has posted a 2.37 FIP over his last 13 outings — three of which came against the Giants. Both of these bullpens have performed exceedingly well over the past couple of months. As such, I just can’t see myself spending up for a big bat like Betts, particularly when the former MVP has managed just a .437 slugging percentage and a .172 ISO away from Dodger Stadium in 2021. It also doesn’t help matters that Webb has limited opposing RHBs to a .298 expected slugging percentage, which is the fifth-lowest qualified mark in all of baseball. It’s hard to hit a home run when you can’t get the ball off the ground.


THE OUTCOME

This is game is basically a pick’em on the DraftKings Sportsbook and it’s not difficult to see how the public has come to that perception. The Giants had the league’s second-best home winning percentage in 2021 (.663), while the Dodgers had the league’s third-best winning percentage on the road (.590). Both teams have a young stud starter taking the mound and both wish their power-hitting, left-handed first baseman wasn’t currently injured. In a contest that might be decided by a single swing, I’ll side with Los Angeles, who I believe has a slightly deeper lineup and bullpen at its disposal.

Final Score: Los Angeles 3, San Francisco 2

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: MLB $200K Showdown $2.5M of the Week [$50K to 1st] (LAD vs SF)


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