FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: NLCS Game 7
The NLCS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves wraps up on Sunday night with Game 7. The pitching matchup is a little bit up in the air as of early Sunday morning. We know right-hander Ian Anderson is getting the nod for Atlanta, but it's not as clear for LA.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said righty Tony Gonsolin would be a key figure but didn't name him the for-sure starter. It's Gonsolin's turn in the rotation after he started Game 2, but LA could opt for Brusdar Graterol or Julio Urias in an opener-type role and have Gonsolin come in mid-game.
For those unfamiliar with the single-game daily fantasy baseball format, scoring is identical to its full roster cousin, except you only roster hitters and lineups consist of five flex spots. The one twist? One of the five roster spots is your designated "MVP," who receives 2-times his total fantasy points, along with a "STAR" slot that gets 1.5-times the points. Naturally, it's crucial that you choose your MVP and All-Star carefully if you want to be at the top of the leaderboards when it's all said and done.
On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel single-game slate.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Anderson hasn't given up a run this postseason, blanking opponents across 15 2/3 innings while racking up a 36.1% strikeout rate. In a four-inning start in Game 2 of this series, he fanned five and allowed one hit. He's good.
The big negative with Anderson is that he can be wild. He had a 10.2% walk rate over 111 frames in Double-A in 2019, and he ended the 2020 regular season with a 10.1% walk rate in 32 1/3 MLB innings. While LA couldn't do much damage in the aforementioned Game 2, the Dodgers did draw five walks and make Anderson toss 85 pitches, which is why he lasted just four innings. Anderson threw at least 99 pitches in each of his final three regular-season outings, so he has more in the tank, though with Max Fried saving Atlanta's bullpen last night, it's likely Anderson will have a very short leash tonight with a rested 'pen behind him.
It's a small sample, but in Anderson's 32 1/3 MLB innings, he's been much tougher on lefties. Righties haven't had much success, either, but his strikeout rate against lefties is 36.6%, compared to a 22.4% clip versus right-handers. With that said, we don't want to commit too much to pitcher-hitter matchups for this one -- for either side. I think it's unlikely any hitter sees the same pitcher more than twice, and I'd guess not many hitters will get to do even that.
The obvious MVP picks for the Dodgers are Mookie Betts ($8,500) and Corey Seager ($9,500). Both fare better against righties. Betts has long been a reverse-splits guy, and he had a monstrous .438 wOBA against righties in 2020. I'd expect him to be the chalk MVP choice from LA.
Justin Turner ($7,000), Max Muncy ($7,500) Will Smith ($6,000) and Cody Bellinger ($8,000) are the other Los Angeles bats who aren't a pinch-hit risk. Turner is my favorite play of the bunch, and I like him as a sneaky-good MVP play. While Bellinger has taken a huge step back across the board after his breakout 2019, we know he has the pop to make a huge impact on a single-game slate. Also, Chris Taylor ($4,500) would be a decent bet to play the whole game if he can get back into the lineup.
Joc Pederson ($5,000) is worth a long look, too. He's absolutely a pinch-hit risk as the Dodgers gave him only 10 plate appearances all year against a lefty. In fact, I'd be stunned if Joc didn't get pinch-hit for at some point in this game. But Pederson is capable of doing damage in whatever trips to the plate he gets versus a righty. Given the risk, Pederson won't be popular, but I think the reward makes him viable.
We know -- well, we think we know -- Gonsolin will pitch a chunk of this game, and he's a quality hurler. He dealt to a 3.68 SIERA, 26.1% strikeout rate, 4.0% walk rate and 14.0% swinging-strike rate in 46 2/3 innings in the regular season. He doesn't have any noteworthy splits in his career.
In Game 2 of this series, Gonsolin fanned seven over 4 1/3 innings and allowed just three hits. Not too shabby. But Atlanta tagged him for five earned runs thanks to three walks and some of Gonsolin's leftover runners scoring once he departed.
However, like we mentioned above, we can't put too much stock into hitter-pitcher matchups. Not only are we unsure who is starting for LA, even if it's Gonsolin, he could very well go only one time through the order.
Freddie Freeman ($9,000), Ronald Acuna ($8,000) and Marcell Ozuna ($7,000) figure to be the popular MVP plays for the Braves. All three are studs who are capable of a big game. Acuna edges the other two for me due to his power/speed combo. He totaled 14 taters and eight steals in the regular season and has a homer with two swipes so far in the postseason. He offers huge upside.
Swanson is a savvy contrarian MVP play. While he's struggled in the playoffs so far, he had signifcant reverse splits in 2020 -- .373 wOBA against righties and .232 wOBA versus southpaws -- and could be a slate-winning MVP choice if he has a big outing. Albies is a switch-hitter who has been better against lefties for his career (.399 wOBA), so he gets a slight bump if Urias starts.