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MLB Playoffs DFS Breakdown (Thursday, Oct. 8): Pay Down For Pitching

Thursday features a four-game main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel, starting at 2:08pm ET.

Pitchers

Today’s slate features two pitchers over the $9,000 mark on FanDuel:

Studs

  • Sixto Sanchez (R), $9,500, MIA @ ATL
  • Kyle Wright (R), $9,200, ATL @ MIA

Sixto Sanchez was impressive in his first career postseason start, pitching five scoreless innings while allowing just four hits and striking out six batters. He’ll have a tougher test today against an Atlanta Braves team that was the best in all of baseball during the regular season against right-handed pitching, going .363 wOBA and 126 wRC+ collectively against them.

However, Sanchez did find some success against them during the regular season. In one of his starts, Sanchez pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six. In the other, he lasted just three innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and four walks.

Facing elimination, the Marlins are likely to have a short leash on Sanchez today if he does not come out of the gate strong. As such, he faces more risk than normal as the most expensive option on the slate.

Kyle Wright will make his first postseason appearance in Game 4. He hasn’t pitched since his start on September 25th where he went 6.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs on two hits to go along with four strikeouts. His overall season numbers were not encouraging. In 38 innings pitched, Wright managed a 5.90 FIP and 1.7 HR/9, while averaging just 7.1 K/9 (more than a strikeout less than he had a year ago).

On Thursday, he gets a strong matchup against a Miami Marlins team that was near the bottom of the league against right-handed pitching during the regular season, collectively hitting to a .298 wOBA against righties (26th in all of baseball). Their 25.1% strikeout rate was also one of the top-10 worst marks of all teams.

Wright’s last three starts of the season were his strongest. In those, he averaged 36 FanDuel points, which would equate to just 3.9x his current — and inflated — salary. That’s not quite the return we look for in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), but given the lack of options on tonight’s slate, he’s worth consideration. The matchup also makes him one of the better options for cash games.

Values

Jordan Montgomery will make his first appearance in 14 days when he takes the mound for the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the series. Montgomery finished the regular season with a 5.11 ERA, but the advanced metrics indicate he may have been the victim of some bad luck. His 3.87 FIP is nearly 1.5 runs less than his ERA, while his 3.65 xFIP is even lower. His 9.6 K/9 was also relatively strong. Additionally, he managed to limit opponent hard contact to 28.4%.

The Rays, however, were one of the top teams in baseball against left-handed pitching, collecting a .343 wOBA and .217 ISO against them during the regular season. While the matchup is not ideal, Montgomery has some appeal in GPPs as what should be a low-owned alternative to the more expensive options.

Fastballs

Frankie Montas will get the start for the Oakland Athletics. Montas’s season numbers were not great (4.74 FIP, 1.7 HR/9) and he’ll take the hill against a Houston Astros team that has been scorching at the plate, averaging 5.8 runs per game over their past five. The Astros .315 wOBA against righties during the regular season was about average, but they’ve certainly improved upon that in the playoffs. On a four-game slate, all pitching options are in play, but Montas should be reserved for only the deepest of GPPs.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top five-man on DraftKings (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Atlanta Braves:

  • 1. Ronald Acuna Jr (R)
  • 2. Freddie Freeman (L)
  • 3. Marcell Ozuna (R)
  • 4. Travis d’Arnaud (R)
  • 5. Ozzie Albies (S)

Total Salary: $22,700

The Atlanta Braves take on Sanchez in Game 4, a righty that has seen a good deal of success down the stretch and is the most expensive pitching option on the slate. The Braves were the best team in baseball during the regular season against right-handed pitching, hitting to a .363 wOBA and 126 wRC+ in such matchups.

Ronald Acuna Jr. was exceptionally good, hitting to a sky-high .423 wOBA, .364 ISO and 166 wRC+ against them during the regular season. MVP candidate Freddie Freeman was even better, collecting a .499 wOBA, .360 ISO and 216 wRC+ against righties himself. Marcell Ozuna was also spectacular, collecting a .423 wOBA and .246 ISO in those same matchups.

The Braves are an excellent stacking option on this four-game slate and may come in lower owned than they should given their matchup against the most expensive pitching option on the slate.

The Los Angeles Dodgers also rank highly as a four-man stack on FanDuel (per the Bales Model):

  • 1. Mookie Betts (R)
  • 3. Justin Turner (R)
  • 4. Max Muncy (L)
  • 6. Cody Bellinger (L)

Total Salary: $15,000

The Dodgers will face what is essentially going to be a bullpen game against the San Diego Padres in Game 4. Opener Adrian Morejon has yet to throw more than three innings in a game this season, but manager Jayce Tingler indicated he is willing to let him go five if necessary.

They match up well against the lefty Morejon and were one of the best teams in baseball against southpaws during the regular season, hitting to a .335 wOBA and .192 ISO against them. If they allow him to go deeper than normal in this game, the Dodgers will have the advantage.

The Padres bullpen was one of the better in baseball with a 4.08 FIP and 10.0 K/9 in the regular season, but the Dodgers did find success against them during that time. In the 10 games the two teams faced off, the Dodgers scored at least five runs on five of those occasions.

Mookie Betts has been strong for the Dodgers out of the leadoff spot, hitting .375 during the playoffs with four extra-base hits and four runs batted in so far. Max Muncy has also found his groove of-late, hitting .375 with three hits and two runs batted in over his last two games.

Other Batters

Aaron Hicks stands out as a top play in the Bales Model. Hicks and Yankees will be facing the Rays, in what will essentially be a bullpen game with opener Ryan Thompson making the start for the Rays. The switch-hitting Hicks was strong on both sides of the plate during the regular season, capturing a .351 wOBA against righties and a .350 wOBA against lefties. He’s projected to bat third for that potent Yankees lineup and is just $3,100 on FanDuel.

Randy Arozarena has been other-worldly since being called up on August 30th. During the final month of the regular season, Arozarena proceeded to hit seven home runs while collecting a .641 slugging percentage and 176 wRC+ along the way. He hasn’t let up during the postseason, hitting to a .600 average and collecting six extra base hits – including three home runs – in just 22 plate appearances. He’s just $3,400 on FanDuel and expected to bat second tonight.