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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Astros vs. Red Sox Showdown on October 18

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Monday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Astros and Red Sox, which starts at 8:08 p.m. ET.

All of the momentum was with the Astros after a 5-4 win in Game 1, but that has been washed away after a dominant 9-5 Red Sox win in Game 2. These two heavyweights threw their best haymakers and knocked each other to the mat in the first two rounds. Will the third round be another slugfest?



Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox

Captain’s Picks

Kiké Hernández ($14,100 CP) — If everything stays the same, Boston wins the World Series, Hernández is the MVP of each of the final series and sets several postseason records. In 32 at-bats, Hernández has 16 hits, nine runs, nine RBIs and five home runs. This season, Hernández was decent against right-handed pitching (.322 wOBA, .179 ISO, 99 wRC+ and a 35% hard contact rate), but at the moment, he’s swinging a bat made out of a tree that was struck by lightning. He’s been graced by the baseball gods, and DFS players that have been fading him in anticipation of him cooling off have been losing money. The fade would make sense, if Hernández were getting lucky, but he’s not — 14 hard hits in the postseason and many of his other batted ball events were struck hard, just not above the 95 mph minimum for the classification.

Eduardo Rodríguez ($15,000 CP) — Some of his bad rap is deserved. For several seasons, E-Rod was an easy target in DFS as he gifted home runs to DFS stacks. However, this season, he’s been a much better pitcher than his traditional statistics indicate. It’s not that he’s been unlucky, this is beyond luck. Rodríguez allowed a league-leading .363 BABIP (minimum of 150 innings). Sometimes high BABIPs are earned because a pitcher allows too much contact, too much hard contact or is a ground ball pitcher. None of those are true for E-Rod. As unbelievable as it seems, he was simply unlucky for 150 innings — that’s the only explanation. He might continue to be unlucky or he could just have normal luck and he earns the results he deserves (3.43 xFIP).


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



Value Plays

Alex Verdugo ($6,800) — If Kiké Hernández wasn’t on pace to set major league postseason records, then Alex Verdugo would be receiving the Roy Hobbs references. Verdugo, like Hernández, is not a complete unknown, but both have been surprising postseason heroes. Verdugo has 11 postseason hits (four doubles and a home run), six RBIs and four runs scored. On Saturday, he added three hard hits to his playoff total, raising the count to 18 (full disclosure, I rounded one — get over it). Verdugo is further proof that matchups do not matter in the postseason. On paper, every batter has a tough matchup everyday until November, and they would all be avoided in the regular season. This is the postseason, and Verdugo’s 18 hard hits against the best pitching in baseball suggests that every player should be on DFS players’ radar.

Chas McCormick ($4,400) — In 78 regular season at-bats, McCormick had a .346 wOBA, .256 ISO, 122 wRC+ and 39% hard contact rate against left-handed pitching. Eduardo Rodríguez was pretty good against right-handed batters for a southpaw — .334 wOBA, .155 ISO, 26% hard contact rate, 1.0 HR/9 and a 26% K rate. Whether matchups matter or not, there’s nothing that can be done — this is the only show in town. McCormick struck out in every at-bat on Saturday, news flash: Nathan Eovaldi is good. In Game 1 on Friday, McCormick hit the ball hard in three of his four at-bats (99.0, 101.3 and 107.3 mph exit velocities).


Fades

Martín Maldonado ($6,000 CP; $4,000) — This seems unnecessary, but nothing should be assumed, especially with DFS players. Someone out there is plotting their galaxy brain value plays and they see a cheap Maldonado that will likely get three at-bats. Now that they have found their guy, they’ll only look for information that confirms their bias, and they’ll find it in BvP. Maldonado has has homered against E-Rod, but he has also made seven outs in nine at-bats. “It’s a value play, we’re chasing a home run,” says smooth brain. The Astros catcher is a catcher first of all — they can’t hit — and he’s a cool 1-for-19 in the postseason. Which is not much different than the regular season — .172 AVG, .258 wOBA and a .129 ISO.


The Outcome

Unless the Astros are allowed to start banging on trash cans again, Boston’s momentum will carry E-Rod and the Red Sox to a 2-1 ALCS lead. It might not be pretty, but it will continue to be magical with Kiké Hernández and Alex Verdugo swinging hot bats.

Final Score: Red Sox 4, Astros 3

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


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Greenflagradio2) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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