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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Athletics vs. Angels Showdown on September 18

Zach Thompson gives his top lineup advice for Saturday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Athletics and Angels, which starts at 9:07 p.m. ET.

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This week’s Saturday night Showdown contest on DraftKings is the second game of an AL West series between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels. The Athletics opened the series with a 5-4 win on Friday night and have won 13 of the 17 games between these teams this season. While the Angels have faded out of the playoff race in part due to injuries, the Athletics are just 2 12 games back in the Wild Card race and trying to pass two of the three AL East teams and get into the postseason.

Editor’s Note: Athletics SP Daulton Jefferies (elbow) has been scratched from tonight’s game vs. the Angels.

The Athletics are making an adjustment to their normal rotation for Saturday’s game with Dalton Jefferies ($14,400 CP; $9,600) expected to start the game after spending most of the season in the bullpen while James Kaprielian ($16,200 CP; $10,800) will move to the pen after four bad starts. Kaprielian could work out of the bullpen but wouldn’t be worth that salary given his recent struggles. Jefferies has gone 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and 3.97 FIP in his five games in the Majors this season, and he’ll be opposed in this one by José Suarez ($15,600; $10,400), who is 7-7 with a 3.59 ERA, 3.98 FIP and 8.27 K/9. Even though Suarez is the more proven option of the two starters, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Athletics slight favorites at -125 on the Moneyline while the over/under is set at 9.0 runs.

Which players are specifically set up for success in this matchup? Let’s take a look at how to construct your DraftKings lineups for Saturday night’s Showdown contest.

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Captain’s Picks

Matt Olson ($15,600 CP) - The key information to have that unlocks who should be in your lineup in this contest is Suarez’s splits. Despite being a left-handed pitcher, he has struggled against lefties, allowing them to hit .325 with four homers, a .406 wOBA and a 31.7% hard-hit rate. He’s coming off two strong starts but still struggled with lefties in those outings. Rather than avoiding the lefty-lefty matchup as typical, this is a place to play the Athletics’ left-handed hitters, who are led by Olson, who has gone 3-for-6 with a double and a home run in past meetings with Suarez.

Olson has been hitting the ball well all season and is just one home run off his personal best after already setting a new career-high with 102 RBIs in his 141 games. He’s hitting .277 with a .270 ISO, .383 wOBA and 149 wRC+ and has become a staple in the middle of the lineup. Over his past nine games, Olson has gone 12-for-35 (.343) with three home runs, a .286 ISO, a .423 wOBA and a 39.4% hard-hit rate.

Josh Harrison ($12,600 CP) - Harrison has been another key contributor for the Athletics since being acquired from the Nationals at the trade deadline. The 34-year-old utility IF has moved around, playing 2B, 3B and SS over his past 18 games but hitting leadoff in each of those contests and going 25-for-77 (.325) with nine runs scored, 14 RBIs and one stolen base. He doesn’t bring the same power potential that Olson offers, but he is consistently on base in a premium lineup position. If you’re looking for a balanced build, he’s the kind of low-risk Captain’s Pick that leaves lots of flex option open.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $6K Extra Inning [$2K to 1st] (OAK vs LAA)

Value Plays

Luis Rengifo ($4,000) - The Angels’ injury-depleted lineup features a lot of shaky hitting options, but Rengifo has been one of their better bats in September after making some adjustments in Triple-A. Earlier this season, he hit just .151 in 28 games and was sent back to the minors. Since his return, he has gone 11-for-35 (.314) with three home runs and a .257 ISO in 11 games due to a 35.7% hard-hit rate. He has hit safely in seven of his past eight games coming into this contest and is a great way to save salary at only $4K.

Brandon Marsh ($4,000) - Another Angels’ hitter who is trending in the right direction is Marsh, who was considered one of the organization’s top prospects coming into the season. The 23-year-old’s season totals aren’t inspiring, but over his past 10 games, he has gone 10-for-38 (.263) with a triple, a home run, a stolen base and a .301 wOBA. He has even moved to the leadoff spot for the Angels in the past two games, which should give him more volume at the plate and a chance to establish himself as ready to contribute at the start of next season.


Dalton Jefferies ($9,600) - Even though the Athletics are favored and he’s facing a thin lineup, I can’t pay up for Jefferies in this contest since he isn’t expected to go deep into the game and doesn’t typically pile up strikeouts. He has pitched 3 13 innings in each of his two most recent outings, throwing just over 50 pitches, and that’s what I’d expect as a best-case scenario in this start, with him likely falling short of the five innings needed to get a win. In his 15 innings in the majors, he has only eight strikeouts and even in Triple-A he produced less than a strikeout-per-inning with 68 strikeouts in 77 innings. If I had to go with a starting pitcher, I’d prefer Suarez, but I think the best option in this showdown is to stock up on bats and pass on starting pitching entirely.

The Outcome

The Athletics have dominated the season series, have more to play for and have a much better lineup given the Angels’ significant pieces missing due to injury. Even without one of their best starting pitchers on the hill, I think they can get the win on the road in this contest as long as they can get to Suarez and into the struggling Angels’ bullpen.

For showdown, Olson is where I would start and then fill in with a couple of cheap Angels’ bats and other power options from the Oakland side. Remember, Suarez’s reverse-splits actually make lefties like Olson, Tony Kemp ($6,800) and Seth Brown ($6,000) better plays than it appears initially if they’re in the lineup Saturday night.

Final Score: Athletics 7, Angels 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $6K Extra Inning [$2K to 1st] (OAK vs LAA)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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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