FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 10/5/20

The next round of MLB Playoffs begins with the opening games of the ALDS. Which spots stand out on the two-game slate?

The American League Division Series gets going on Monday, with Houston-Oakland at 4:07 pm ET and New York-Tampa Bay at 8:07pm ET. Only the Athletics have an implied total above four runs (4.26).

Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered!

On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel main slate. Below are tonight's projected starters with their 2020 stats. Opposing team strikeout rate and wRC+ date now show this year's splits against a given pitcher's handedness using up-to-date active rosters, per FanGraphs.

PitcherSalaryL/ROpp.SIERAK%BB%Opp. K%Opp. wRC+
Gerrit Cole$10,900R@TAM3.2132.6%5.9%26.4%104
Lance McCullers Jr.$9,500R@OAK3.9524.7%8.8%23.2%104
Blake Snell$9,100LNYY3.5731.0%8.9%22.7%96
Chris Bassitt$8,700RHOU4.4621.1%6.5%19.8%102

Let's check out the top spots on today's slate.


Gerrit Cole ($10,900) has the best overall numbers, is in a pitcher's park, and faces the team with the highest strikeout rate. He's far and away the most likely candidate to finish with the top pitching score of the night.

After him, Blake Snell ($9,100) is arguably the second-best option, but his fluctuating pitch counts continue to be frustrating for DFS purposes. Despite striking out nine batters and only allowing one hit in his wild card start -- he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning -- Tampa Bay still pulled Snell after just 5.2 innings and 82 pitches. He ended up with a season-high 50 FanDuel points anyway, but the margin for error remains slim, as he's yet to go six innings in any appearance this year, resulting in zero quality starts.

Despite the modest platoon split for the Yankees, that's almost certainly small sample size noise for a predominantly right-handed lineup that was excellent against southpaws in 2019. In totality, Snell is a boom-or-bust choice but offers a good chunk of savings off Cole.

Lance McCullers ($9,500) can also be considered as a secondary option. Although McCullers was inconsistent over the course of his campaign, he finished the regular season on a high note, posting a 37.5% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate over his final three starts (17.2 innings). And while McCullers shouldn't have a limited pitch count, the Astros had a quick hook for both wild-card starters, so he could be in a similar boat as Snell.

Chris Bassitt ($8,700) doesn't have exciting numbers or an exciting matchup, but his salary does open up more options for your stacks. It might surprise you that he's actually hit 43 or more FanDuel points in five straight games, and one of those contests came against Houston. Unlike someone like Snell, Bassitt offsets his less imposing strikeout rate by pitching deeper into games. Over those last five outings, he's logged 7.0, 7.0, 6.2, 6.0, and 7.0 innings -- all quality starts. I wouldn't normally go here, but he does allow you to roster the big bats on the Yankees.


And speaking of the New York Yankees, they may not have the highest implied total, but they're clearly the top offense of these four teams. They scored 22 runs in two games against the Cleveland in the wild card round, most notably thrashing Shane Bieber for 7 earned runs over 4.2 innings. Snell is certainly capable of shutting them down, but if there's any offense that goes nuts today, it would be the Bronx Bombers.

That said, their salaries are really getting up there, with all of DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luke Voit hitting $4k and above. Stacking New York's bats with Cole will be really tricky, so you may be forced to opt for McCullers or Bassitt as your pitcher if you want to fit those guys in. Aaron Hicks ($3,100) and Kyle Higashioka ($2,700) have the lowest salaries of today's expected Yankee starters.

As for other stacks, Bassitt has roughly league-average numbers, which puts Houston in play. While George Springer ($4,100) and Alex Bregman ($3,700) remain priorities in any Houston stack, it's worth noting that against left-handed batters, Bassitt posted a 4.96 xFIP and induced far fewer grounders (35.1%), giving an advantage to guys like Kyle Tucker ($3,700) and Michael Brantley ($3,200).

On the flip side, Bassitt wasn't the best matchup for dingers this year (0.86 per 9.0 innings), and he shut down the White Sox in the last round, which perhaps explains the Astros' modest implied total. Still, I'm inclined to put my faith in them second behind the Yankees.

The Oakland Athletics actually have the slate's highest implied total against McCullers, but 4.31 runs wouldn't move the needle on a typical slate, and this seems like a more difficult matchup than Houston's. McCullers has an elite ground-ball rate (59.7%), and given how he pitched down the stretch, this won't be a walk in the park.

But we have to consider all options on a two-game slate, and McCullers curiously had a much lower strikeout rate versus right-handed batters this season (20.2%), which is something he's consistently shown over the years. Righty bats ought to be the main focus, and Marcus Semien ($3,500) and Mark Canha ($3,000) bat in the top half of the order, while Sean Murphy ($2,600) is a great source of cheap pop at the bottom.

Matt Olson ($3,300) bats left-handed, but he's always performed well with the platoon advantage (career .283 ISO in the split), so should also be firmly in the mix. Houston's bullpen was well below average this season, so even if McCullers performs well, Oakland could pounce in the middle innings, too.

Outside of shooting for low roster percentages, it's hard to get excited about the Tampa Bay Rays against Cole. Brandon Lowe ($3,800) makes for a good one-off in hopes of a dinger -- Cole has allowed 2.70 home runs per 9.0 innings versus lefty sticks -- but a full stack should only be considered when multi-entering large-field tournaments.