Monday features a four-game slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Two pitchers are priced above the rest today on FanDuel:
- Max Scherzer (R) $11,000, WSH vs. LAD
- Zack Greinke (R) $10,300, HOU @ TB
Scherzer was originally slated to take the mound yesterday in Game 3 of the NLDS, but they ultimately decided to push him back to today. He was dominant out of the bullpen in Game 2 of this series, pitching a scoreless inning with three strikeouts. Scherzer crushed during the regular season, pitching to a 2.92 ERA and 2.45 FIP while averaging 12.69 strikeouts per nine innings. He was strong from a fantasy perspective as well, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.99 on FanDuel.
That said, he did struggle over the final month of the season. He posted an ERA of 5.16 after Sept. 1, and he was far from his usual dominant self in the NL Wild Card game. He allowed three runs over just five innings pitched, and the Nationals only won that game after an implosion from Josh Hader in the eighth inning.
Still, it’s hard to pass on Scherzer on today’s relatively weak pitching slate. His Vegas data is solid considering his matchup vs. the Dodgers — his 3.8 opponent implied team total ranks second and his -133 moneyline odds rank third — and none of today’s starters can match his strikeout upside. His K Prediction of 9.3 is the top mark on the slate by a comfortable margin.
It’s tougher to make a case for Greinke. He was outstanding in his final start of the regular season, recording nine strikeouts over 8.1 scoreless innings vs. the Seattle Mariners, but his time with the Astros was pretty pedestrian overall. He posted a higher ERA and FIP with a lower K/9 than he did during the early part of the season with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Still, he does have one of the better matchups of the day vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Their projected lineup has posted a .334 wOBA vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, which is the third-lowest splits-adjusted mark on the slate. They’re also implied for just 3.7 runs, which is the lowest mark of the day.
The one area where Greinke really stands out is with his recent Statcast data. He limited the Mariners to an average distance of 152 feet, exit velocity of 85 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 0%, all of which represent massive decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.
My colleague Sean Zerillo is bullish on the Rays today, but Greinke still deserves some consideration for DFS.
Speaking of the Rays, they will send one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball to the mound in Charlie Morton. He’s been dominant all season, pitching to a 3.05 ERA, 2.81 FIP, and 11.10 K/9. He didn’t have his best stuff vs. the A’s in the AL Wild Card game, but he was still able to limit them to just one unearned run over five innings.
Unfortunately, he’ll have to navigate one of the toughest lineups in baseball today vs. the Astros. Their projected lineup has been nothing short of dominant vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .380 wOBA and a paltry 20.1% strikeout rate. Unsurprisingly, the Astros ranked first in wRC+ vs. right-handers by a pretty comfortable margin this season.
I’m definitely still interested in Morton for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), but he has a lower ceiling than usual.
Jake Odorizzi put together the best season of his career in his second year with the Twins. He pitched to a 3.51 ERA and 3.36 FIP while striking out a career-best 10.08 batters per nine innings. He finished the season on a high-note as well, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.88 over his final 10 starts on DraftKings.
Odorizzi has a brutal matchup vs. the New York Yankees, who have averaged 9.0 runs in the first two games of this series, but at least he has some strikeout upside. His K Prediction of 7.5 ranks second on the slate, and the Yankees’ lineup can be prone to strikeouts from time to time.
He has a tough task ahead of him, but he’s one of the few pitchers with the potential to be in the winning lineup.
Dakota Hudson: He’s the best pure value at pitcher on DraftKings, where his $5,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%. He’s the best groundball pitcher in the league, and he has more strikeout upside than usual vs. the Atlanta Braves. Their projected lineup has posted a 27.9% strikeout rate vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, which is the worst splits-adjusted mark on the slate.
Dallas Keuchel: He has the least imposing matchup today vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, whose projected lineup has posted a .262 wOBA vs. southpaws over the past 12 months. That said, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Keuchel is able to dominate them. He’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in each of his past six starts on DraftKings, and he’s posted the worst 12-month K/9 among today’s starters.
Luis Severino & Rich Hill: Unfortunately, it’s tough to roster either of these guys today. Neither is particularly cheap on DraftKings, and both have major pitch count concerns. Severino has averaged just four innings per start since coming off the IL on Sept. 17, while Hill hasn’t pitched more than three innings in the past three months.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top five-man DraftKings stack per the Bales Model belongs to the Washington Nationals:
- 1. Trea Turner (R)
- 2. Adam Eaton (L)
- 3. Anthony Rendon (R)
- 4. Juan Soto (L)
- 6. Asdrubal Cabrera (S)
Total Salary: $21,500
The Nationals implied team total of 4.3 runs currently ranks second on the slate, although the Vegas data for the Braves vs. Cardinals game has yet to be posted.
They’ll start this contest by facing Hill, who has had some pluses and minuses this season. His 2.45 ERA and 11.05 K/9 are both elite, but he’s also allowed an average of 1.53 HRs per nine innings. That’s juicy for opposing fantasy batters. His 4.10 FIP also suggests he’s been more mediocre than his traditional ERA indicates.
Eaton is an intriguing option as the projected No. 2 hitter. He’ll start this game on the negative side of his splits, but he’s still posted a .338 wOBA and .139 ISO vs. southpaws over the past 12 months. His Statcast data from the past 15 days is also excellent, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +34 feet and hard hit differential of +13 percentage points.
The Nationals also own the top four-man stack on FanDuel, so lets focus on the Yankees instead:
- 1. D.J. LeMahieu (R)
- 2. Aaron Judge (R)
- 3. Brett Gardner (L)
- 4. Edwin Encarnacion (R)
Total Salary: $15,200
The Yankees figure to be the chalk today. They’re currently implied for 5.0 runs, which is the highest mark on the slate by a comfortable margin. They also rank first in Team Value Rating on both FanDuel and DraftKings.
The Yankees decision to bat Gardner third during the playoffs seemed a little weird at first, but it has paid off for them. He homered in the first game of the series and went 1-4 for a walk in the second. On a team full of bombers, Gardner ranks first in wOBA and second in ISO vs. right-handers over the past 12 months. Overall, he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in both games, and he remains very fairly priced at just $3,000 on FanDuel.
People may not look to roster Morton today vs. the Astros, but they probably won’t look to stack against him either. That could result in lower ownership than usual for Michael Brantley. He’s fared well against right-handers this season, posting a 146 wRC+, and 19 of his 22 HRs have come against traditional pitchers. Brantley is also priced at a discount on DraftKings, where his $3,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Paul Goldschmidt was a bit of a disappointment in his first year with the Cardinals, but he’s still capable of destroying left-handed pitching. He posted a 148 wRC+ vs. southpaws this season, and his .298 ISO was nearly .100 points higher than his ISO vs. right-handers. He’s a very reasonable option vs. Keuchel.
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: Rays SP Charlie Morton (50)
Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports