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Sunday’s slate features one game starting at 7:09 p.m. ET between the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox.
Tonight’s biggest tournaments on both DraftKings and FanDuel differ slightly from the traditional formats. DraftKings will feature its popular Showdown mode, where you have six utility slots that can be filled by either a pitcher or batter.
The only real rules are that you must roster at least one player from each team and can stack only four batters from the same team. Relief pitchers are also scored on a different basis than starting pitchers, which makes them viable options.
FanDuel’s single game format does not feature pitchers of any kind. Instead, you’ll have to fill out your roster with one infielder, one outfielder, and three utilities, one of which is designated as the MVP. That player earns 1.5x fantasy points during the game, so choosing the correct player for that slot can make or break your lineup.
- Gerrit Cole (R) $17,200, HOU @ BOS
- David Price (L) $10,600, BOS vs. HOU
Today’s pitching matchup isn’t as exciting as yesterday’s, but still features two really good pitchers.
Cole put together an outstanding first season in Houston, pitching to a 2.88 ERA and 12.40 K/9. He ranked second in the AL in wins above replacement (WAR) and was a big reason why the Astros’ pitching staff led the league in ERA.
That said, he’ll face a stiff test today vs. the Red Sox. They led the league in wOBA against right-handed pitchers this season and averaged the most runs per game. Their projected lineup has also proved difficult to strike out over the past 12 months, owning a split-adjusted strikeout rate of just 19.6%.
Still, its hard not to give the edge to Cole in this matchup. He has the superior Vegas data, owning a 3.8 opponent implied team total and -128 moneyline odds, and his K Prediction of 7.1 ranks first as well. He’s going to cost you a ton of salary in the Showdown format, but no one on today’s slate can match his ceiling.
Price is coming off a disastrous outing against the Yankees, who have had his number ever since he joined the Red Sox. He’s been much better against the rest of the league in 2018, averaging 21.26 DraftKings points per game and a Plus/Minus of +5.00 (per the Trends tool).
Unfortunately, things aren’t going to get much easier for him today facing the Houston Astros. They owned the highest wOBA in baseball this season against left-handed pitchers and were able to chase Chris Sale from yesterday’s game after just four innings. The Red Sox bullpen is one of their biggest weaknesses, so they’ll be looking for better results from Price today.
There’s definitely some risk with Price, but there’s a chance he’ll be underowned today. Most people believe that he’s an overrated pitcher – especially in the playoffs – but he ranked 26th among qualified starters in ERA in 2018. He also posted a K/9 of 9.05, so he has some upside as well.
Both of these teams to its bullpen a little earlier than expected yesterday, but none of the relievers were overly taxed. Each team was also able to save its closer, so expect everyone to be available today.
The Astros bullpen owned the best ERA during the regular season, pitching to a 3.03 ERA. Roberto Osuna has served as their closer since being acquired from the Blue Jays at the trade deadline and has pitched to a phenomenal 1.99 ERA.
He doesn’t have as much strikeout upside as a typical closer, owning a K/9 of just 7.6 in 2018, but that doesn’t prevent him from being an elite option in the Showdown format.
Ryan Pressly and Lance McCullers Jr. have served as the Astros’ primary set-up men during the postseason. Pressly was another midseason addition, coming over from the Minnesota Twins, and allowed just two earned runs over 23.1 innings pitched to finish the regular season.
He’s been able to carry that success into the playoffs, allowing zero earned runs and striking out five batters over 3.1 innings pitched. He’s priced at the absolute minimum on DraftKings, which makes him a really appealing option.
The Red Sox leaned on their relievers a little heavier than the Astros yesterday, which makes their options a little appealing. Matt Barnes has been arguably their best reliever during the postseason, and he was able to keep the Astros off the board for 1.1 innings yesterday. He’s yet to allow a run over 3.1 postseason innings but has only recorded two strikeouts.
If the game is close, expect the Red Sox to go to Craig Kimbrel. He looked a little shaky in his most recent outing, but put together another dominant regular season in 2018. He pitched to a 2.74 ERA and 13.9 K/9, and could potentially be asked to pitch multiple innings on today’s slate. He has big upside, especially in a save situation.
- George Springer (R)
- Jose Altuve (R)
- Alex Bregman (R)
- Yuli Gurriel (R)
- Tyler White (R)
- Marwin Gonzalez (S)
- Carlos Correa (R)
- Martin Maldonado (R)
- Josh Reddick (L)
The Astros have had a lot of success against left-handers this season, but one batter who has taken a major step back in that regard is Altuve. He’s posted a .338 wOBA and .120 ISO against southpaws over the past 12 months, which are huge decreases from his career numbers.
Bregman has emerged as a star in 2018, and he’s been at his best against left-handers. He’s posted a .404 wOBA and .250 ISO against southpaws over the past 12 months and posted a wRC+ of 166 in 2018.
The best numbers on the team against left-handers belong to White. He’s posted an elite .420 wOBA and .283 ISO over the past 12 months but is priced at just $7,800. The only downside is he could be lifted for a pinch hitter after the Red Sox go to the bullpen, which is what happened on yesterday’s slate.
Correa has had a rough season, which is why he occupied the seventh spot in the lineup yesterday. That said, he’s priced at just $7,000 on DraftKings, which makes him just the sixth most expensive member of the Astros. He’s also been much better against left-handers than right-handers in 2018, posting a .352 wOBA and 127 wRC+.
Springer and Gurriel will both occupy premium spots in the Astros’ lineup and are arguably their most appealing options on today’s slate. Both have posted excellent numbers against southpaws over the past 12 months, and Springer also has the potential to swipe a base.
Boston Red Sox
- Mookie Betts (R)
- Andrew Benintendi (L)
- J.D. Martinez (R)
- Xander Bogaerts (R)
- Steve Pearce (R)
- Rafael Devers (L)
- Ian Kinsler (R)
- Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)
- Christian Vazquez (R)
The Red Sox will go with a righty heavy lineup today, which is a bit interesting considering their matchup against Cole. Pearce will get the start at first base over Mitch Moreland, who served as a pinch hitter yesterday.
More surprising, though, is the inclusion of Kinsler over Brock Holt at second base. Kinsler has actually been better against right-handers than left-handers this season, but Holt still has superior numbers virtually across the board.
The Red Sox offense is much more top-heavy than the Astros, so their top four hitters should garner the majority of the focus. Betts, Benintendi, Martinez, and Bogaerts have each destroyed right-handed pitching this season, and all are viable solutions despite the poor matchup.
Bradley Jr. could be an interesting differentiator for those looking to target the Red Sox. He’s more known for his work with the glove than the bat but has displayed good pop against right-handers given his 12-month ISO of .197.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.
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Pictured above: Gerrit Cole
Photo credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports