Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Playoffs - 10/7/17
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Chicago Cubs @ Washington Nationals
The American League teams have hit the road for a change of venue, so we only have the National League divisional series to whet our daily fantasy whistles today. First up we have game two between the Cubs and Nationals in D.C. Chicago wanted to get Jon Lester out on the hill on full rest so they sent Kyle Hendricks out for game one of the series and a fresh armed Lester will toe the rubber this afternoon against the potent Nationals lineup. Both Lester and Gonzalez are rather evenly matched, and both can easily be exploited, that said I will look to the late contest for cash game pitching though if I wanted to shake things up in a GPP I would tend to give the slight edge to Lester. Despite his 4.33 ERA that he finished the season with, Lester sported a 3.85 xFIP which while not remarkable, was better than Gio's final mark. Lester averaged just under a K per inning this season. What I love the most about Lester, however, is the fact that he held left-handed hitters to a .237 wOBA this season which should help to keep Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy in check.
On the other side, we have Gio Gonzalez. The Nationals aren't ready to rush Max Scherzer out just yet so they're reserving him for game three, which completely changes the slate. With only two games, it's hard to imagine any one pitcher being extremely low owned or contrarian, but I personally will have extremely limited if any exposure to Gio. Which isn't to negate his capabilities or the season he had, he finished the season with the second-best ERA of the four pitchers going today, but also had the highest xFIP by nearly half a point. Gonzalez could very well come out and dazzle, I mean the Cubs are a power hitting team and are not above swinging and missing from time to time, they struck out 22% of the time against southpaws this season, but I'm just not feeling it. Most favorable about Gio, of course, is the price, on FanDuel at least where he allows for the most wiggle room in bat spending.
This is the game where I will be looking to for most of my bats today. We'll see a lot more pop out of both of these series when they hit the road for game three (and four if necessary) hitting Wrigley and Chase, two of the most accommodating parks for hitters in the game, but as hitters parks go, Nationals Park is the best choice we have today. All four pitchers throwing today are southpaws, and the Nationals (.334) and Cubs (.333) ranked sixth and seventh respectively in wOBA against LHP this season. On the Cubs side, Kris Bryant hit lefties with a .405 wOBA and will be everywhere in my lineups, along with healthy helpings of Ben Zobrist and Wilson Contreras. Over on the Nationals side, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Jayson Werth all stand out, and despite what I said earlier about Lester and left-handed hitters, Bryce Harper is still Bryce Harper, and just one mistake is all he needs to find that short porch, though I'll limit Bryce to tournaments only for just that reason.
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Dodgers
The later game is where we get down to the nitty gritty with our pitching options, Robbie Ray against Rich Hill. Under normal circumstances, I give a slight edge to Ray here, but the main thing to remember about Robbie Ray is that he pitched 1.2 innings in Sundays season finale, to allow for a 2.1 inning relief appearance in the Wildcard game against the Rockies, and how will that affect his performance tonight, if at all? This spot was listed as TBD as early as Friday afternoon, so I assume the team wanted to be sure Ray felt good enough to make the start before committing to him. If he's bringing his best stuff to the hill, that means we're getting an arm that struck out 12.11 batters per 9IP this season, more than anyone not named Chris Sale. It was quite a season for the fourth year southpaw whose 15 wins account for more than the previous three seasons combined, and while he posted a 3.49 xFIP which nearly matched his 2016 posting, he managed to drop a full two points off of his ERA year over year while limiting opposing offenses to a combined .277 wOBA. The Dodgers can present a challenge as they have one of the best combined team wOBA's against LHP at .337, but if the D-Backs trust in Ray, I'm looking for him to bring his best stuff and hold the Dodgers in check.
Rich Hill FD 10100 DK 9600
Opponent - ARI (Ray) Park - @LAD
FD - 32.12 DK - 17.16
If Ray's recent irregular workload gives you a moment of pause, then how about a guy who's been on ice since September 27th. Rich Hill closed out his season against the Padres last Wednesday with an impressive 7 shutout innings and 10 strikeouts. Despite some injury troubles, Hill saw his biggest workload this year since 2007 and put up some of his best numbers in his 13 major league seasons. He closed out the campaign with a 3.32 ERA, 3.88 xFIP, and a .261 BABIP, while holding opponents to a .314 wOBA, and striking out 11.01 per 9. Hill was throwing some serious heat in the final month of the season, allowing six runs in his final five starts striking out nine or more in three of those. I'll be favoring Ray more, but may split some of my buy-ins with Hill as well.
As of last night, as I'm writing this, I don't have any early word from Vegas on either of these games, but I would assume the early game will have the higher projections, and that is where I will be pulling most of my bats from. I'll be targeting most of my pitching from this game, and to that the bats don't appeal as much, but with just two games we can't just shut out an entire games worth of bats particularly when they include names such as Goldschmidt, Turner, and Bellinger. For the Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt crushes LHP posting a .407 wOBA and 10 home runs against southpaws this season. J.D. Martinez and Chris Iannetta are equally as lethal against lefties, and Ianetta will occupy most of my catcher spots if he's in the lineup which I imagine he will have to be after sitting out the first two games of this postseason. Across the diamond in the Dodgers dugout, we find a team with the seventh-best wOBA (.330) as a team in the majors this season. Justin Turner posted a .324 ISO and hit 11 home runs off of lefties this season, and Cody Bellinger topped him with 12 bombs off of lefties. Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, and Logan Forsythe all stand out as plays to round out your lineup if needed.