FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 10/13/22

Will Framber Valdez be able to put the clamps down on the upstart Mariners in Game 2? Which players stand out on today's ALDS slate?

The MLB postseason schedule shifts to the American League on Thursday. The Mariners-Astros series resumes at 3:37 pm ET, while the Guardians-Yankees contest is scheduled for 7:37 pm ET. However, poor weather in the Bronx could wash out the late game, so be sure to monitor the forecast this afternoon. (UPDATE: The Guardians-Yankees game has been postponed.)

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!

Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.


Framber Valdez ($10,500): Even if they're able to play in New York tonight, the chance of a mid-game delay makes rostering Shane Bieber ($10,400) or Nestor Cortes ($9,400) pretty dicey.

Should the forecast improve, Cortes has a favorable matchup against a Cleveland team that struggles against lefties, but he may have a difficult time generating punchouts. Despite the tougher opponent, Bieber could be the better upside play, and he's coming off an impressive wild-card round performance against the Rays (54 FanDuel points).

But in all likelihood, sticking with the early game with be the desired route.

In the regular season, Valdez was tied for the league lead in quality starts, earning 26 in 31 outings, and he has a league-hight 66.5% ground-ball rate to thank for that. While the lefty's 23.5% strikeout rate and 8.1% walk rate are less exciting marks, his ability to consistently get out of trouble and pitch deep into games has left him with a slate-best 3.14 SIERA and plenty of high FanDuel scores throughout 2022.

The Mariners could go more righty-heavy against Valdez, but they aren't a team that suppresses strikeouts. They have the day's second-lowest implied total (2.94).

Luis Castillo ($9,700): Although Castillo only logged a 17.9% strikeout rate in his wild-card start against Toronto, he blanked his opponent across 7 1/3 frames to earn 47 FanDuel points. He put up a 3.35 SIERA, 27.2% strikeout, 7.3% walk rate, and 46.9% ground-ball rate in the regular season, so we should expect another strong showing tonight.

However, Houston will be a difficult test. Between being a strong all-around offense and rarely striking out, they're arguably the toughest matchup tonight, and that's reflected by a slate-high 3.56 implied total.

Still, Castillo has risen to the occasion against imposing opponents plenty of times this year, scoring 40 or more FanDuel points against playoff teams like the Padres, Guardians, and Yankees in the second half. While Valdez is the conventional choice, Castillo is still very much viable in tournaments.


Houston Astros

Like most of these playoff slates, there's little separating these offenses when all the pitchers are excellent.

But as noted above, the Astros are one of the best overall offenses, so it makes sense to give them a shot. Against right-handed pitching, Houston's active roster owns a 110 wRC+ and 19.5% strikeout rate.

There's nothing easy about facing Castillo, but the lefty sticks of Yordan Alvarez ($4,500) and Kyle Tucker ($3,900) are our best bets to do some damage. While Castillo has a pristine 2.70 xFIP in same-sided matchups, that figure jumps to 3.81 versus lefties, and he also gives up far more fly balls (39.9%) and hard contact (36.8%) in the split.

Beyond those two sluggers, it's just a matter of rounding things out with the usual right-handed bats, and there's value at the bottom of the lineup.

Trey Mancini ($2,400) struggled down the stretch but still projects as one of the better low-salary options. If he's benched, though, we could see Aledmys Diaz ($2,000) instead, and his minimum salary would come in handy.

New York Yankees

If the nightcap plays, the Yankees seem like the obvious other choice. Valdez's high ground-ball rate makes him a nightmare for hitting home runs, potentially sapping the Mariners of any power upside, while the Guardians are simply a poor offense versus southpaws.

The Bronx Bombers' right-handed batters have a decent matchup against Bieber, which is great news for Aaron Judge ($5,100), Giancarlo Stanton ($3,500), Gleyber Torres ($3,400), and Josh Donaldson ($2,800). Oddly enough, Bieber has a higher xFIP (3.33), lower strikeout rate (22.5%), and lower ground-ball rate (47.3%) in same-sided matchups.

The right-hander is ruthless against lefties, however, so Anthony Rizzo ($3,800) and Oswaldo Cabrera ($2,600) could be at a slight disadvantage despite still being worthy of inclusion.