Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Playoffs - 10/11/17
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New York Yankees @ Houston Astros
The first game up on the schedule for today is game two of the ALCS between the Yankees and Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros are favored to win the series, and lead game one 2-0 in the fifth inning as I write this. They'll look to capitalize on the home field advantage and head to New York with a 2-0 series lead by sending mid season acquisition Justin Verlander to the hill tonight against the Bronx bombers. Houston picked Verlander up from Detroit with a month to go in the season and he immediately paid dividends. Verlander closed out the season with the 'Stros going 5-0 allowing 4 earned runs in five Houston starts while striking out 43 in 34 innings pitched. Verlander started game one of the division series against Boston allowing two runs in six innings of work but only managed three K's and followed that up with 2.2 innings of relief work in game four on Monday. Verlander should be well rested and ready to go for tonight's matchup in the friendliest park for pitchers in the game. The price for Verlander on FanDuel gives me a moment of pause as he's the most expensive arm going, I find the sub 10K price tag on DraftKings much more appealing.
The Yankees will counter Verlander with 23 year old Luis Severino. Severino was stellar in his first full big league season, picking up 14 wins in 31 starts, while striking out 10.71 batters per 9 innings pitched, and finishing the season with a combined .265 wOBA allowed. Perhaps it was just a bad case of jitters that got to Severino in his first postseason start when the Twins took him for three runs on four hits and a walk in just .1 IP of the AL Wildcard contest. The Yanks were able to rally behind the pen and pull off the win and Severino received a chance at redemption in game four of the divisional showdown with the Indians and redemption came easily. Again, Severino allowed three runs on four hits and a walk, but this time he stretched it over seven innings while adding in 9K's and picking up his first postseason win. He's going to need to be just as impressive against this Houston lineup that led all of baseball with a .349 team wOBA against RHP in 2017 hitting 179 home runs and striking out only 17.3% of the time, the lowest in baseball. If this was a regular season matchup I might not give Severino the time of day here, but with only two games going, everyone is in play and as the cheapest confirmed pitcher across the industry, there is something to be said for locking in Severino to allow yourself room to splurge on big bats.
Speaking of big bats, this series allows us no shortage of those. These two teams combined for 479 home runs in 2017, the top two teams in the game with the Yankees holding the edge with 241. That said, I'm sitting here watching Dallas Keuchel mow down the likes of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge with ease which reinforces the fact that there are just no sure things in postseason baseball and lest we forget, Minute Maid Park can be tough on batters. More than half of the Astros long balls this year came on the road. On both sides of this one not only are the tops of the order lethal, but the entire lineup 1-9 has the potential to do some damage. Sanchez without question is the best catcher in the game, and is priced to a point that I can't see a solid case for passing him up, and Judge finished the campaign with more home runs than any batter still playing to this point. While at shortstop Didi Gregorius was quiet throughout the first few games of the postseason before bringing the boom in game five of the divisional round with two home runs and three RBI in a 3 for 4 game five performance to help bring the Yankees to this point. Across the diamond, Jose Altuve held the highest wOBA this season against RHP among all second basemen and is quite appealing, as is the whole Houston lineup against Severino with Josh Reddick who had hits in three of four games in the Red Sox series a tremendous value. I'd expect Alex Bregman to go low owned on a slate with Justin Turner and Kris Bryant, despite him having just as much upside which he proved with two home runs in the Divisional round.
Chicago Cubs @ Los Angeles Dodgers
Tonight at 8 we open the NLCS which will be a rematch from last season when the Cubs defeated the Dodgers in 6 games along their way to a world championship. The Dodgers went on to become the winningest team in baseball in 2017. They will turn to the obvious choice to open up the final stop along their path to the World Series, sending their ace, who is no stranger to October baseball to the mound to face the defending champions. At this point, there is nothing I can tell you about Clayton Kershaw that you don't already know. Were you aware he co-wrote a book with his wife Ellen? No? Well, then now you know everything there is to know about Clayton. From a baseball and DFS perspective though, I think we've already covered it all and then some. He is without question the best pitcher in the game, a brief stint on the DL earlier this season held him back some, limiting him to 175 innings but his performance never wavered. He finished with the third best xFIP (.2.84) and second lowest ERA (2.31) while striking out 10.39 batters per 9IP. He is not invincible though. Kershaw struggled a bit with the long ball in his only postseason appearance of the season surrendering four solo shots in 6.1 innings against the Diamondbacks in game one of the divisional round, and this Chicago lineup will not miss on a chance to capitalize on any misplaced balls. Kershaw comes in cheaper than Verlander on FanDuel which adds to his appeal, though he's the costliest pitcher on DraftKings by a large margin.
Jose Quintana FD 8900 DK 9100
Opponent - LAD (Kershaw) Park - @LAD
FD - 31.3 DK - 16.32
So, It's 12:31AM on Saturday, and I still haven't seen anything definitive on the Cubs pitcher for game one, though it seems the two most likely candidates are Jose Quintana or John Lackey. Most of the chatter I'm seeing is leaning to Quintana, who came to the Cubs from the cross town White sox in July. Quintana pitched in Thursday's deciding game five against the Nationals, but was only on the hill for .2 innings throwing 12 pitches. In his last start, Monday's game three, he threw 5.2 shutout innings of two hit ball, striking out seven batters in the process. Quintana posted a career high 9.87 K/9 this year while allowing a combined .283 wOBA to opposing batters. While it seems likely the choice Cubs will lean on Quintana, it seems they're also considering John Lackey. The 38 year old Lackey was less than impressive this season with a 4.59 ERA, 4.62 xFIP and 7.86 K/9, and last appeared on the first in an inning against the Reds. Update: Joe Madden has confirmed Quintana is starting game one.
The Cubs are a power hitting team with a lot of strength behind their bats, but you wouldn't know that by watching the divisional series against the Nationals. Chicago scored a total of 8 runs in the first four games of the series before finally popping off 9 runs in the deciding game five. We've already established Kershaw's troubles with the home run in his last outing against Arizona. Second baseman Ben Zobrist had base hits in all but game one of the divisional series against Washington, while Kyle Schwarber and 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant are always potential threats regardless of who is on the hill. Against Kershaw, the Cubs could fly under the radar and may go low owned meanwhile on the Dodgers side first baseman Cody Bellinger impressed with 39 home runs in his rookie season second to only Joey Gallo at the position, and is an excellent option along with Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe. Keep an eye out for the Dodgers lineup to be released and if Corey Seager is cleared to play after tweaking his back on Monday then he is my top play at shortstop. If the Cubs opt to go with Lackey over Quintana, that certainly adds to the Dodgers appeal at the plate. Good luck out there today!!
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- NLDS Mets Dodgers Baseball: (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)