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Tuesday features a one-game slate starting at 8:07 p.m. ET featuring the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Tonight’s biggest tournaments on both DraftKings and FanDuel differ slightly from the traditional formats. DraftKings will feature their 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.
Neither of today’s starting pitchers inspires a ton of confidence:
- Rick Porcello (R) $14,000, BOS @ NYY
- CC Sabathia (L) $13,300, NYY vs. BOS
Porcello won the AL Cy Young award in 2016 on the back of 22 wins, but his numbers in 2018 might actually be more impressive. His traditional ERA was more than a full run higher than during his Cy Young season, but his FIP of 3.87 was actually slightly lower. He also increased his K/9 to a career-best 8.94, which is a huge plus for fantasy purposes.
That said, the Yankees have crushed right-handed pitching at home this season, with their 122 wRC+ and .209 ISO both ranking first in baseball. They’re implied for 4.7 runs on today’s slate, making Porcello a +118 underdog. They have the potential to do some damage in this matchup.
The one big edge that Porcello has is that the Red Sox need him more than the Yankees need Sabathia. Their bullpen was significantly worse than the Yankees’ during the regular season, and they struggled to get the ball to Craig Kimbrel in Game 1 of this series. They asked Nate Eovaldi to get seven innings yesterday – which he did brilliantly – and they could ask Porcello to carry a similar workload today. He obviously has to pitch well for that to happen, but if he does, he has a chance to work deep into this ballgame.
Sabathia may be the favorite in this matchup but almost undoubtedly has less appeal for DFS purposes. He did see a slight resurgence in his strikeout numbers this season, posting a K/9 of 8.24, but the Red Sox were merely average in terms of strikeout rate vs. left-handed pitchers. They also showed major improvement vs. southpaws over the second half of the season, posting a .325 wOBA when playing on the road.
Still, the biggest reason not to trust Sabathia is the Yankees bullpen. All of their big relievers were saved during yesterday’s blowout loss, so they all should be available today for multiple innings. This is a do-or-die situation for the Yankees, so expect them to lean heavily on their star-studded pen.
The Yankees pen is truly an embarrassment of riches. Chad Green and David Robertson will likely be the first two options for Boone, and we could see the first Yankees reliever as early as the third inning. Each has been asked to work multiple innings in the past, and both pitchers have posted a K/9 of at least 11.2 in 2018. Green was used in yesterday’s blowout, so Robertson might the preferred option today.
Dellin Betances might be the most dominant reliever in baseball when he’s on his game. He looked to have everything working in AL Wild Card game, striking out three batters while allowing zero baserunners over two innings. He worked two innings in Game 2 of the ALDS as well, which gives him massive upside considering his K/9 of 15.5 this season. If he can pitch multiple innings in a hold situation today, no other reliever can match his ceiling.
Aroldis Chapman will likely get the ball in the ninth inning. He led the team in K/9 this season (16.3). He’ll have some value if he enters the game in a save opportunity, but the fact that he’ll likely be limited to just one inning does cap his upside.
The options aren’t nearly as strong on the Boston side. Matt Barnes has worked as the primary set-up man recently and did work a scoreless inning in Game 1 of this series. He’s posted a strong 2.71 FIP and 14.0 K/9 in 2018 but doesn’t seem likely to work more than one inning.
The most valuable reliever for the Red Sox is probably All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel. He will obviously get the save chance if the Sox are leading and also seems like the most likely candidate to work multiple innings. His K/9 of 13.9 isn’t quite as high as some of the elite relievers for the Yankees, but it still gives him plenty of upside in a six-out save situation. The Yankees relievers will likely be the primary targets for most people in this contest – especially considering that they’re favored – which could make Kimbrel an excellent play in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Boston Red Sox
- Mookie Betts (R)
- Andrew Benintendi (L)
- Steve Pearce (R)
- J.D. Martinez (R)
- Xander Bogaerts (R)
- Ian Kinsler (R)
- Eduardo Nunez (R)
- Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)
- Christian Vazquez (R)
The Red Sox will roll with their righty-heavy lineup against Sabathia, meaning Kinsler will replace Brock Holt at second base and Nunez will replace Rafael Devers at third. Pearce also draws another start at first and will bat third, but Mitch Moreland could serve as a pinch hitter at some point in this contest.
The Sox lineup is spearheaded by Betts, who was arguably the best hitter in baseball this season. He was particularly effective against left-handed pitching, posting a ridiculous 212 wRC+ and .368 ISO in 2018. He will likely see two at-bats tops against Sabathia, but that could still be enough for him to return value.
Martinez had a bit of a down year by his lofty standards against left-handed pitching but still posted a .406 wOBA and .244 ISO. Most batters would kill for those marks, which goes to show just how good a hitter this guy actually is. A solid 81 of his 195 career HRs have gone to right or right-center, so he definitely has the potential to take advantage of the short porch in Yankee Stadium.
Kinsler continues to play against left-handers for the Red Sox, but he looks absolutely done at this point. He posted a wOBA of just .218 vs. southpaws this season, so he’s probably not worth much consideration.
Pearce has been a bonafide Yankee killer in 2018, posting a 1.152 OPS and clubbing five HRs. He’s still being priced as a value option on DraftKings, which makes him an appealing option for Red Sox stacks.
Benintendi could be a sneaky option today. He’ll obviously start the game on the negative side of his batting splits, but he’ll likely see plenty of at-bats against right-handers out of the Yankees pen. He’s been significantly better against right-handed pitching this season, so an early Sabathia exit will only increase his value.
New York Yankees
- Aaron Hicks (S)
- Aaron Judge (R)
- Didi Gregorius (L)
- Giancarlo Stanton (R)
- Luke Voit (R)
- Neil Walker (S)
- Gary Sanchez (R)
- Gleyber Torres (R)
- Brett Gardner (L)
The Yankees lineup will make some significant changes after last night’s debacle. Hicks is back in the lineup after exiting Game 2 with an injury, and he’ll occupy the leadoff spot. Gardner will remain in the lineup, however, which means that Andrew McCutchen is headed to the bench. Gregorius also moves up to the third spot in the lineup, which means that Voit will move down to the fifth spot. The biggest change is the addition of Walker for Miguel Andujar. The likely AL Rookie of the Year has just one hit through his first nine at-bats in the postseason, but Walker has managed just one single in 14 career at-bats vs. Porcello.
While the Yankees lineup is loaded with superstars, they’ve been much more potent this season against left-handers than right-handers. Hicks and Stanton in particular have been pretty pedestrian against traditional pitchers, which makes both worthy of some fade consideration.
Judge has looked like his old self during the postseason, clubbing three HRs and a double through his first four contests. He’s also one of the few Yankees who has been better against right-handers this season, posting a wRC+ of 237 vs. traditional pitchers at Yankee Stadium. He comes at a slight discount when compared to Betts but might offer more upside given his elite power.
Moving Gregorius up to the third spot in the lineup seems like a good decision for Aaron Boone. He’s posted a 126 wRC+ vs. right-handers in 2018, and that number jumps to 170 at Yankee Stadium.
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: Dellin Betances
Photo credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports