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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (10/8)

by Jon Mathisen | @eazymath | Featured Writer
Oct 8, 2020

We have four games on the playoff slate tomorrow as Oakland battled back on Wednesday to force a Game 4 against Houston. This works out in our favor as it gives us more offensive options to choose from. Pitching typically rules the day in the postseason but teams are down to their third and in the case of the A’s-Astros series, their fourth starters, so no matchups jump off the page. There are some intriguing stacks on offense to look at for the Rays, Braves, A’s, and Astros, though. This is the time to ride the hot hand and try and stack as many hot bats as possible into your lineup. With that said, let’s figure out how to #StackTheDeck. Here we go.

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Frankie Montas (OAK)  @ OAK $8,100 ⭐⭐⭐ High

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  • Montas had a rough regular season, registering a 5.60 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP over 53 innings (11 starts). He faced the Astros in three of those starts and put up a 4.11 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, and a 14:3 K/BB ratio over 15 1/3 innings. He threw a seven-inning shutout against Houston back in early August but was lit up for five runs over 3 1/3 innings the next time he faced them. He’s really a mixed bag pitcher, you never know what you’re going to get, but he’s cheap compared to the other pitchers on the slate. The biggest risk we’re running here is that Montas’ leash will be very short but that could be a good thing. The A’s are facing elimination and the right-hander will likely be pulled at the first sign of trouble, which, theoretically, could prevent him from giving up a ton of runs. Selecting him as your starter frees up some cash to go bigger on offense as well.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Travis d’Arnaud (ATL)  @ MIA $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Garrett Cooper (MIA)  vs. ATL $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Will Smith (LOS)  @ SDP $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
  • d’Arnaud has been crushing it this postseason with a .400/.471/.867 batting line with a pair of home runs and five RBI (15 at-bats). He’s picked up at least one hit in all four games he’s started and is facing a rookie in righty Sixto Sanchez. The catcher performed much better against RHP this season compared to  LHP with a .344/.415/.611 batting line over 131 at-bats.
  • Cooper has only faced Kyle Wright twice in his career but smacked a two-run bomb off him in one of those AB’s. Wright relies on a combo of his sinker and slider on over half of his pitches (55.9-percent) and Cooper has a xSLG of .536 against those pitches this year. This matchup definitely favors Cooper, who’s been one of Miami’s hottest hitters. Dating back to late September, he’s collected at least one hit in nine of 10 games.
  • Smith has been splitting time with Austin Barnes this postseason but Barnes got the start on Wednesday so Smith will likely start behind the plate on Thursday. He’s been red hot over his last 15 games, including the postseason, slashing .351/.413/.614 with three home runs and 11 RBI (57 AB’s). He’s yet to collect a hit in seven postseason at-bats but he’s rocking a .364 OBP. At the time of this writing, we don’t know the Padres starter but their pitching staff is battered and Smith should be in a great matchup whoever he ends up facing.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jose Altuve (HOU)  vs. OAK $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jurickson Profar (SDP)  vs. LOS $2,400 ⭐⭐⭐ High

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  • After struggling throughout the regular season and going hitless in the Minnesota series, Altuve has come alive in the ALDS. He’s got a cool .417/.500/.667 batting line to go along with a home run and three RBI over 12 at-bats against Oakland so far. He’s matched up with Frankie Montas, who he’s faced 18 times in his career, and collected five hits against. You’re paying up for his name but he’s in a plus matchup.
  • We don’t know who’s starting for the Dodgers on Thursday but whether it’s Tony Gonsolin or Julio Urias, the switch-hitting Profar is worth some consideration. Before Wednesday’s action, he was hitting .400 over 10 at-bats this postseason and is slashing .383/.431/.511 with one home run and six RBI over his last 15 games. He’s a cheap, relatively low-risk piece of the Slam Diego offense.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Brian Anderson (MIA)  vs. ATL $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Joey Wendle (TAM)  @ NYY $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

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  • Anderson slugged .479 against righties this season with nine home runs and Kyle Wright has a tendency to give up the long ball. He coughed up 1.7 HR/9 in 2020, just a tick below his career average of 1.8. Anderson is also rocking a .411 wOBA and a .500 xSLG against pitches heavily used by Kyle Wright (four seamer, sinker, changeup).
  • Wendle has been an on-base machine through five postseason games; he’s slashing a studly .462/.533/.462 with five runs scored and a stolen base. He’s facing Jordan Montgomery, who is making his first career postseason start and despite the fact he’s a LHP, the matchup favors Wendle, who had a .303 batting average along with a .712 OPS against southpaws this season (33 at-bats). There’s not much, if any, power upside with Wendle but he’s likely to reach base several times and score some runs for you.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Marcus Semien (OAK)  @ HOU $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Willy Adames (TAM)  @ NYY $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High

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  • We don’t know who Houston is throwing out for Game 4 but we do know that Semien has been on fire this postseason. It’s almost like he’s trying to make up for his miserable regular season with one great playoff performance after another. Over 23 at-bats (six games) he’s rocking a .391/.462/.696 batting line with two home runs, three RBI, and three walks. The upside is too high to pass up at his asking price.
  • Adames has gotten off to a slow start during the playoffs with a .176/.263/.176 batting line over five games (17 at-bats) but he’s only faced one left-handed starter over that span. Adames’ regular season splits favor him against LHP; he rocked a .311 batting average with a .958 OPS with two home runs in 45 at-bats against lefties during the regular season. There’s risk with a player swinging a cool bat like him but Jordan Montgomery is making his first postseason start in an elimination game so he’s the one likely to have the jitters, not Adames.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Kyle Tucker (HOU)  vs. OAK $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Randy Arozarena (TAM)  @ NYY $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Michael Brantley (HOU)  vs. OAK $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Khris Davis (OAK)  @ HOU $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Josh Reddick (HOU)  vs. OAK $2,400 ⭐⭐⭐ High

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  • Tucker is having a stellar postseason through five games, going 7-for-20 (.350/.350/.350) with three RBI. He’s facing RHP Frankie Montas, who he smacked a bases-clearing triple off of earlier this season. Tucker also hit .293 with a.905 OPS with five home runs, 31 RBI, and eight stolen bases (140 AB’s) vs. righties in the regular season.
  • When you’re hot, you’re hot and Arozarena is white-hot. The sample sizes are small but they jump off the page; through 20 postseason at-bats, he’s slashing .600/.636/1.250 with three home runs and four RBI. He also hit .400 with a 1.478 OPS (23 at-bats) with four bombs in the regular season against southpaws. Jordan Montgomery will have his work cut out for him.
  • Brantley is 6-for-19 (.316 BA/.632 SLG) with a home run and three RBI lifetime against Frankie Montas and has reached base safely in all five of Houston’s playoff games so far (.348 OBP over 21 at-bats). His .331 batting average and .927 OPS vs. RHP during the regular season should push you over the edge if you had any other doubts about putting the veteran in your lineup.
  • Krush has come back from the dead after pulling a disappearing act during the regular season. He’s already got more home runs in the playoffs (three in 20 at-bats) than he did during the regular season (two over 85 at-bats). Before Wednesday’s 0-for-5, he had notched back-t0-back multi-hit games and is still slashing .300/.300/.750 during the postseason. We all know the downside is another 0’fer but the upside is worth the small investment.
  • Reddick, like Davis above, is another dart throw. He’s labored through five games (16 at-bats) so far this postseason, rocking a .125/.125/.125 batting line with no extra-base hits. But he has the best career numbers vs. Frankie Montas of any qualified Astros’ batter. Reddick has a .353 batting average and a .742 OPS over 17 at-bats against the right-hander.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Sixto Sanchez, MIA ($9,500): Sixto is the most expensive pitcher on the slate and he was average in two starts against the Braves during the regular season (4.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP over nine innings). But he showed in his first playoff start against the Cubs (five shutout innings) that the postseason moment isn’t too big for him. I think he pitches well with Miami on the brink of elimination.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr., SDP ($4,400): Who the Dodgers roll out in Game 3 has yet to be determined but Tatis Jr. will be ready for them. San Diego is facing elimination and the last time the Padres were in this spot, one week ago vs. STL, the shortstop smacked two home runs and drove in five. I don’t like to bet against a talent like Tatis Jr., especially when his back is against the wall.
  • Giancarlo Stanton, NYY ($4,400): Stanton has been mashing the ball this postseason with six home runs and 13 RBI to go along with a .368/.435/1.316 batting line. He’s gone deep in every game up to this point so why not bet on the streak continuing?
  • Freddie Freeman, ATL ($4,100): Freeman has scuffled this postseason (0.71/.316/0.71) but he’s facing a rookie RHP in Sixto Sanchez. The first baseman smashed righties all season to the tune of a .373 batting average and 1.228 OPS with 12 bombs. Bet on the talent.
  • Brandon Lowe, TAM ($3,400): Lowe is facing a lefty in Jordan Montgomery but his splits were actually better against left-handed pitching this season. He slashed .277/.393/.681 (47 AB’s) vs. southpaws compared to a .259/.341/.497 (143 AB’s) against right-handed pitchers. He’s yet to record a hit in the ALDS but I bet he gets it done against Monty.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Kyle Wright, ATL ($9,200): On paper, Wright as the best matchup against the offensively-challenged Marlins but in two starts against them in the regular season he was tagged for eight runs over seven innings (10.29 ERA/2.429 WHIP). The fish still have some fight in them, I think, and Wright is simply hard to trust.
  • Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL ($4,500): We’re cherry-picking some stats to remove some shine from Acuña Jr., who is never an easy player to fade, but his xBA of .247 against pitches in Sixto’s repertoire (sinker, four seamer, slider) gives me some hesitation. He’s an amazing player, there’s no question about that, but he’s the most expensive offensive player on the entire slate and there is better value down the line.
  • Aaron Judge, NYY ($4,300): Judge does have two home runs so far during the playoffs but his fellow bash brother, Giancarlo Stanton, is the Yankee that’s worth paying up for. Judge is batting just .130 with a .584 OPS in 23 at-bats. There appears to be some lingering rust from all the missed time during the regular season on account of his injuries.
  • Manny Machado, SDP ($4,100): Historically, Machado is an under-performer in the postseason, and 2020 has been no different thus far. Through five games, he’s slashing .136/.174/.409 with a pair of home runs over 22 at-bats. His price is too rich for my blood.
  • DJ LeMahieu, NYY ($3,900): LeMahieu has picked up at least one hit in all five postseason games but he’s yet to record an extra-base hit (.292 SLG). The Rays are starting Ryan Thompson on Thursday as they’re hoping their bullpen can carry them to a series victory. Opener games can throw offenses off-balance and LeMahieu’s price is too steep with no power upside in an uncertain matchup.

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Jon Mathisen is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive and follow him @eazymath.

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