Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Playoffs - 10/9/17
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Houston Astros @ Boston Red Sox
With 4 games on this slate, it likely won't be necessary to roster Charlie Morton. He's not that great of a pitcher and I expect the Astros to have him out of the game rather early. Their bullpen is rested for the most part and can afford a somewhat stretched game. We saw what the Red Sox can do just yesterday when they threw up 10 runs on Peacock and friends. Morton isn't nearly as good as Peacock, allowing a combined .336 wOBA on the road. He's also been far worse against righties, so a guy like Mookie Betts is surely worrisome. Look, it's the playoffs and Morton could go out and dominate for 5 innings. I just like my chances that he gives up a few early runs and is out of the game rather quickly.
Porcello is almost in the same boat as Morton, but he is a tad bit better of a pitcher. On the season, Porcello has managed a .338 wOBA while struggling more to lefties. He has slowed, however, improving to a .311 wOBA in the 2nd half. Porcello is a talented pitcher, but he's never been anywhere near as good as people thought. The Astros offense has ranked 1st against righties on the year and have some intense power in Fenway Park. Porcello, like anyone on a 4-game slate, is a viable tournament option. It's tough to find guys low owned and you can be Porcello will be under 10%. Personally, I'll fully pass. I have a lot more interest in the bats here.
I'm expecting to see some runs in this one. After the Sox put up 10 last night, look for the 'Stros to respond against an average pitcher like Porcello. Because he does struggle a lot more against lefties, Josh Reddick stands out as an immediate cash game option. He should be hitting 2nd and is safe with plenty of upside. The usual suspects in Springer, Altuve, and Correa are all in the same spots as always. With the Green Monster in left, it won't be too tough for any of them to handle one. Further down in the order, you have gems like Marwin Gonzalez and Evan Gattis, who have a ton of upside. With only 4 games on the slate and Porcello not being very good, I like the Astros here in all formats. On the Red Sox side, it's more of the same. With Morton being a reverse-splits righty, Mookie Betts is at the top of my list for all formats. Andre Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts are next as elite cash game plays. This entire game can be stacked and nobody would be surprised to see it go off. It's a dual between 2 average pitchers in a win-or-go-home game for the Sox. Let's hope for some runs.
Washington Nationals @ Chicago Cubs
He hasn’t pitched since being pulled with a hamstring injury on September 30 and now steps into his biggest start of the year. The Nats and Cubs are tied at a game a piece as the series shifts to Chicago for game three. There is definitely some risk here but instead of resting the hamstring, Scherzer has been pushing it while he prepares for this start and has made it clear he is more than confident of taking on a full workload Monday afternoon. That is great news as the Nats face the defending World Champs and haven’t made it out of the League Division Series since 1981 when they were the Montreal Expos. The upside is there for fantasy as Scherzer posted an elite 12.02 K/9 during the regular season and watched Strasburg strike out 10 in game one(7 IP) and Gonzalez strike out six in game two(5 IP). If you are worried about the road start, don’t as Scherzer has been better on the road in 2017 posting a 1.82 ERA(3.25 at home). He is the top arm on Monday and can be considered in all formats.
Jose Quintana FD 9000 DK 9100
Opponent - WSH (Scherzer) Park - @CHC
FD - 31.47 DK - 16.32
Quintana came over from the White Sox at the trade deadline as the Cubs looked to bolster their pitching rotation for this very situation. It won’t be easy as the Nats grabbed the momentum in game two after a five-run eighth inning led by a Bryce Harper bomb brought them right back into the series. He doesn’t provide as much upside as his counterpart Max Scherzer but has been solid with the Cubs since coming over, posting a 10.46 K/9 rate, 3.74 ERA, and 3.24 xFIP while recording a 7-3 record in 14 starts. As it stands on Sunday evening, the Cubs are the slight underdogs at home and I would reserve Quintana to GPP formats only.
Offense has been hard to come by in this series as the teams combined for seven hits in game one and 12 hits in game two. It was the Cubs stars, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, fueling the 3-0 win in game one as both came through in the clutch with two out RBI hits late in the game. In game two we witnessed the long ball as Rizzo and Contreras for the Cubs hit solo shots off Gio Gonzalez while the Nats got the power from the middle of their lineup as Rendon, Harper, and Zimmerman all went deep. I think we get back to a low scoring pitcher's duel on Monday afternoon in Wrigley but in the playoffs we have limited options and can’t just cross a game or team off the list. For the Nats, I will be focusing on that core of the order and targeting Turner, Harper, Rendon, Murphy and Zimmerman. During the regular season, the Nats excelled against left-handed pitching ranking 6th in wOBA(.334) and 7th in wRC+(102) and ISO(.180). They showed that in game two as two of their three home runs(Rendon/Zimmerman) came against southpaws. The Cubs were equally as successful vs. righties in the regular season ranking 6th in wOBA(.330), 11th in wRC+(100), and 8th in ISO(.188). The problem is that they face the potential National League Cy Young award winner who can shut down anyone, anytime. Targeting the Cubs will definitely be contrarian today but if you choose to go that route, look closely at the middle of the order made up of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Wilson Contreras.
Cleveland Indians @ New York Yankees
Trevor Bauer FD 8900 DK 8700
Opponent - NYY (Severino) Park - @NYY
FD - 31.06 DK - 15.99
I didn't think this game was going to happen, but the Yankees were able to pull off the 1-0 lead in Yankee Stadium. It shows that yes, everything is possible with playoff baseball. Nobody would have thought those 2 offenses could be held to 1 combined run by those pitchers. We now have Trevor Bauer heading back out to the mound for game 4, after dominating to start the series. Bauer has been incredible over his last few months, posting a .261 combined wOBA with a 10.06 K/9. However, his seasonal stats don't look as nice. He ran into some bad luck to start the year and didn't recover. Bauer is a very good pitcher with a tad bit of safety and a lot of upside. As for tonight, my interest is minimal. With the Indians up 2-1 in the series, they will do EVERYTHING to win this game. That includes getting the bullpen up early. Bauer has upside, but he;s not safe by any means.
Luis Severino FD 9700 DK 9700
Opponent - CLE (Bauer) Park - @NYY
FD - 40.28 DK - 21.62
If you can remember back to day 1 of the MLB playoffs, Luis Severino was by far the most popular option on the slate. He didn't make it out of the 1st inning. He'll look to bounce back here against the Indians in what can only be described as a tall task. Severino is, by all means, elite, but so is this Indians offense. Severino has allowed a .283 wOBA to lefties and a .245 to righties. He also strikes out over 10 batters per 9 innings, which is always great. Now the problem here will be the leash. If this game stays close, there will be action in the bullpen at the slightest sign of struggling. The Yankees go home if they lose tonight, so don't expect any type of leash AT ALL. I have a hard time believing that works against an Indians offense that has posted a .339 team wOBA, but it's possible. Severino does have shutdown material and if it's working, it doesn't matter who's at the plate. He may not be safe, but the upside is there and I don't expect ownership over 15%.
With Trevor Bauer and Luis Severino on the mound, obviously, nobody stands out as a bat you must own. These are 2 great pitchers backed up by even better bullpens. Because of that, I won't have a ton of exposure to these bats. The exposure I do have will be in cash games as last option fill-ins. On the Indians side, it's literally everyone. I don't see 1 guy I like more than the rest, so anyone from 1-6 that is cheap works. You're just looking for a lineup filler that has some actual substance to his bat. On the Yankees side, you can always take a shot on the usual Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge. I don't hate Gregorious or Bird either, with the short porch in right and Bauer having a slight HR issue. All in all, these are 2 lethal offenses facing great pitchers and better bullpens. You can get exposure, but I don't see much production coming towards the laster end of the game. This should be a grinder.
Los Angeles Dodgers @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Yu Darvish FD 9900 DK 10600
Opponent - ARI (Greinke) Park - @ARI
FD - 29.13 DK - 15.61
The Dodgers will turn to mid-season acquisition Yu Darvish to break out the brooms and complete the sweep of the Diamondbacks on their own field. Darvish was 6-4 on the road this season and posted a 2.44 ERA. This will be Yu’s first start since September 25th when he threw seven shutout innings allowing just two hits to the Padres while striking out nine. Darvish and the Dodgers opened on Sunday night as -115 favorites against a D-Backs team that struck out 23.2% of the time but also posted a 335 wOBA against RHP. I’m not expecting Darvish to come to the hill and mow down the likes of Goldschmidt, and Martinez, but his 10.08 K/9 and 3.65 xFIP this season show despite struggling at times, he has what it takes to get the job done and today is exactly why L.A. made the move for him at the deadline.
Zack Greinke FD 9300 DK 8500
Opponent - LAD (Darvish) Park - @ARI
FD - 33.12 DK - 17.49
With their backs to the wall, the Diamondbacks will turn to former Dodgers ace Zack Greinke to try and give them a little life against his former team. The Diamondbacks right-handed ace threw just 3.2 innings in Wednesdays Wildcard showdown with the Rockies on Wednesday, surrendering four runs on six hits and a walk. It was a less than impressive close to the season for Greinke who finished out the campaign allowing 10 runs in 8IP over his final two contests against the Marlins and Royals respectively, add in the Wildcard appearance and I can’t say Greinke fills me with an abundance of confidence, though there are some points to his favor. He posted a .268 wOBA allowed this season in the second toughest park for pitchers, Chase Field while making significant improvements to his ERA and xFIP over last year. In cash, I’ll look elsewhere, but with the motivation of the must-win situation, while facing his former team for you narrative lovers out there, I can see the case for a GPP play.
Despite two solid arms going on the hill, this game brings no shortage of lumber with it, and as if that isn’t enough, it takes place in Chase Field, the friendliest hitters park of October baseball. If Greinke carries his September struggles with him into this start he could find himself in trouble early against the likes of rookie Cody Bellinger who finished the season with a .383 wOBA aainst RHP and led the Dodgers with 39 home runs. Justin Turner’s .400 wOBA was the best on the team and Chris Taylor and Corey Seager had the highest BABIP’s (.361 and .352 respectively). The Dodgers will need these guys to bring their best if Yu falls into trouble against the likes of J.D. Martinez, whose .441 ISO against RHP could lead to big things in Chase. He and Paul Goldschmidt both ended the campaign with wOBA’s over .400. Jake Lamb finished the season with the second most home runs on the Arizona roster this year with 30, and if he finds himself back in the lineup, Chris Iannetta is among my top choices for catcher.
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- Max Scherzer: AP Photo - Eric Risberg