Saturday features a two-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 5:07 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($7,600) — This could be an absolute galaxy brain move, but DFS players do not need to know that Brandon Woodruff ($8,400) and Julio Urías ($7,800) are great pitchers. Instead this pick is dedicated to Kevin Gausman. He scares DFS players, and he should, but he has a splitter that if working will lead to the most points on this slate. The probable outcome is that the big time players play it safe and avoid the inconsistent Gausman, and roster the chalky pitchers and do just fine with their many lineups. However, if the DFS little guy is to take this tournament down, it’s going to be riding Gausman. This is not just a contrarian play, the numbers support it. The spin rate on Gausman’s splitter hit 1,666 rpm in his last the start. That’s the highest it has been since May — when Gausman was getting Cy Young attention.
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers ($7,000) — On this slate, Fried is the worst pitcher, but it’s all relative. Playoff contests are known for being pitcher’s duels, so even the cheapest pitcher on the slate has a high floor. In this case, the cheapest pitcher has the potential to score the most points based on matchup. The Brewers have the weakest offense among the playoff teams and they have a particularly ineffective lineup against left-handed pitching — 90 wRC+, .308 wOBA, .159 ISO and a 24% K rate. In relation to the studs on this slate, Fried’s numbers are red on the spreadsheet, but on any other day during the season, they would be green. Aside from his 14 wins and 3.04 ERA, his advanced metrics look good as well — 3.8 WAR, 3.45 xFIP, 32% chase rate, 24% K rate, 52% groundball rate, 28% fly ball rate and a 26% hard contact rate. The last three stats may not be flashy, but keeping the ball on the ground and limiting hard contact could allow Fried to keep the ball in the park in Milwaukee’s hitter friendly stadium and go deep into this game.
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Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,200) — Yes, the matchup is terrible, but guess what? That’s the same for every other hitter today and until the end of the World Series. Posey hits lefties (.431 wOBA, .255 ISO and a 174 wRC+) and hits at home (.382 wOBA), but best of all he has playoff experience and it showed in the first inning of Friday’s game when he hit a decisive home run in the first inning off an elite pitcher. Also, his BvP numbers are strong — 9-for-18 against Julio Urías.
Manny Piña, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Atlanta Braves ($3,100) — Omar Narvaez will likely sit against the left-handed pitcher, so Piña should draw the start. Against left-handed pitching, Piña has been one of the best hitters for the Brewers — .365 wOBA, .286 ISO, 127 wRC+ and a 13% K rate.
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers ($4,300) — For one last time, the matchups stink — even the bullpens are good — but positions must be filled. If the matchup side of the process is limited, then look to the batter and the environment. American Family Field, formerly named after a beer company, is a hitter friendly park and apparently family friendly as well. Freeman had a .398 wOBA, .217 ISO, 148 wRC+, 39% hard contact rate and 15% K rate in 429 at-bats against right-handed pitching and undoubtedly some of those hits were against elite right-handed pitchers.
Matt Beaty, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants ($2,200) — Max Muncy dislocated his elbow, and Beatty has taken over his spot as playoff first baseman against right-handed pitching. Beaty has proceed to go 0-for-6 in this opportunity, but he hasn’t been completely lost at the plate. His groundout in the second inning of Friday’s game had an exit velocity of 103.8 mph.
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Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants ($5,400) — If any pitcher collapses on Saturday, then Gausman is on top of that list. He’s been great this season, but at times, he’s reverted to the old Orioles starter that would surrender droves of baserunners and runs. Turner had a .355 wOBA, .170 ISO, 121 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season.
Donovan Solano, San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,600) — The Giants will likely switch to Solano with the lefty on the mound. Solano has five hits including a home run in his matchups with Julio Urías. On a normal slate, this would be a stretch, but if the pitchers do what they’re projected to do, then DFS players can get by with some very low scores from their cheap bats.
Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants ($4,700) — Some players are just winners. Some pad stats but never win anything. Turner is the rare bird that pad stats and wins trophies. He only has one hit in his two playoff games thus far, but it was a big one — home run vs. St. Louis. In 74 postseason contests, Turner is slashing .290/.385/.507.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers ($4,100) — This is a very fair price tag for an NL MVP contender. Riley had a .396 wOBA, .248 ISO, 146 wRC+ and 37% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching this season. Woodruff and the Brewers bullpen are not a comfortable target for DFS players, but where else is there to go? At least Riley is cheap and in a hitter’s park.
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,300) — Obviously, the lefty is better against right-handed pitchers, but he still has some pop against lefties (.178 ISO). On Friday, he homered in the eighth inning and almost hit a home run in the first inning. He hammered a pitch from Walker Buehler — 103.4 mph exit velocity — but he got under it (40-degree launch angle).
Other Option: Corey Seager ($4,900)
Luis Urías, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Atlanta Braves ($3,700) — None of the Brewers bats carry much brand name appeal, but they can go off on Saturday. Max Fried has been good this season, but he’s been on the unfortunate end of BABIP during serval outings this year. Against left-handed pitching, Urías had a .342 wOBA, .226 ISO, 112 wRC+ and 17% K rate.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants ($5,200) — In lieu of great matchups — and this one could be good if the bad Kevin Gausman shows up — play good hitters and play hot hitters. Betts has collected four hits in two postseason games, and in Friday’s game, his singles were stung — exit velocities of 99.1 mph and 107.0 mph.
Other Option: Kris Bryant ($4,500)
Austin Slater, San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,800) — Against Julio Urías, Slater is 6-for-17 with two doubles and a home run. It likely has little to do with Urías specifically other than he’s left-handed. Slater has a .379 wOBA, .237 ISO and a 141 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Other Option: Avisaíl García ($4,200)
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