FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 10/17/20
This is our final multi-game slate of the season as we get an ALCS Game 7 and an NLCS Game 6. The slate gets going at 4:38 p.m. EST.
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Let's check out the top spots on today's slate.
The pitching matchups are Lance McCullers ($8,600) versus Charlie Morton ($8,000) and Walker Buehler ($9,100) against Max Fried ($9,700). Of this group, Fried is the one guy I don't want any part of, but I think you can justify using any of the other three. My reasoning with Fried is I think he has by far the toughest matchup of the four.
Buehler tops the heap for me. After struggling with injuries in the regular season, the young righty has pitched to a 39.7% strikeout rate across 13 frames this postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the slate's biggest favorite (-148 moneyline) while the Atlanta Braves carry the joint-lowest implied total (3.92). Buehler's strikeout prowess gives him big-time upside as well as a respectable floor, and his 100-pitch outing in Game 1 in his last start eases any workload concerns.
I think Morton is a close second behind Buehler. The Tampa Bay Rays' righty had a 24.7% strikeout rate and 12.1% swinging-strike rate in the 2020 regular season, and he's generated a 25.0% strikeout rate in 10 playoff innings. Morton allowed just six baserunners and fanned five over five innings in Game 2 versus the Houston Astros, throwing 96 pitching in that one. Houston's 3.92 implied total is tied with Atlanta's for a slate-low clip.
You can easily make a case for McCullers, too. He punched out 11 in seven innings in Game 2 of this series, and the Rays have been struggling offensively in this series, scoring four or fewer runs in all but one game. McCullers ended the regular season with a 24.7% strikeout rate and 11.4% swinging-strike rate.
Since I'm off Fried, I'm all over the Dodgers' bats. LA has a 4.58 implied total, by far the best on the slate. The ideal way to attack Fried over his young career has been with right-handed hitters as his strikeout rate drops 5.0 percentage points in the split compared to his mark against lefties.
The Dodgers have a bunch of righty sticks we can plug in. Versus Fried in Game 1, Mookie Betts ($4,500), Justin Turner ($3,200), Will Smith ($3,300), A.J. Pollock ($3,100), Enrique Hernandez ($2,300) and Chris Taylor ($2,500) all got into the lineup. Pollock, Hernandez and Taylor hit 7-8-9 in Game 1 and would be a fun wraparound stack with Betts if they're in the lineup again. Pollock tagged lefties for a .468 wOBA in 2020. Taylor and Hernandez are at risk of getting yanked for a pinch-hitter if they come up against a righty, but both offer some pop.
I'll likely mix and match four-man LA stacks and then sprinkle in two-man pairings after that.
While the Rays haven't popped for a bunch of runs in what feels like forever, they do have the second-best implied total (4.08). McCullers has been a reverse-splits pitcher in each of his last two seasons (2018 and 2020), so we don't have to zero in on lefties.
Righty Randy Arozarena ($3,600) should hit third, and now feels like a good time to jump on lefty Brandon Lowe ($3,300). Lowe's salary has tanked as he's slumped in the postseason (.170 wOBA), but this is a guy who had a .355 wOBA and 40.6% hard-hit rate against righties this season. Lowe should fly under the radar given his struggles. Arozarena, on the other hand, has been on fire in these playoffs (.524 wOBA).
When it comes to Houston's bats, I'll likely stay away from righties for the most part. Morton held right-handers to a .247 wOBA in 2019. He has, however, fanned more lefties than right-handers in each of the past two seasons, though he gives up more enticing contact to left-handed hitters. So, yeah, who knows.
I like the idea of a lefty duo of Michael Brantley ($3,200) and Kyle Tucker ($3,700), especially if they're hitting third and fifth, respectively, like they did in the first meeting with Morton in this series. Brantley is the best point-per-dollar hitter on the slate, per our projections.
I probably won't use many Braves, but they're obviously in play on a two-game slate. And unless Buehler is super efficient, Atlanta's hitters should have three or so innings against the Dodgers' bullpen, so you could use a Braves bat or two along with Buehler.
Freddie Freeman ($4,200), Marcell Ozuna ($4,100) and Ronald Acuna ($4,200) are all elite talents who could go under-rostered due to the difficult matchup as well as their high salaries, but our model projects each of them as a top-six bat on this slate. Nick Markakis ($2,200) is a low-salary way to get lefty exposure to this Atlanta lineup.