Spencer Limbach

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FanDuel MLB Plays: Wild Card

Monday, October 2, 2017


October is here! Playoff baseball is here!

 

While the shortened slates make lineup building somewhat tricky on FanDuel, there’s still profit potential for the astute DFS enthusiast.

 

 

Here’s a few things to remember when dealing with this short playoff slates:

 

1) Don’t be afraid to take a chance. You won’t find the easy, premium hitter matchups that turn up every day in the regular season. Sure, you’ll still want to find the “path of least resistance” when screening for hitters, but that may still be a sub-optimal draw. Investing in talent over matchup and park factor carries more weight here.

 

2) Understand how managers want to use their bullpen. Teams with excellent bullpens may turn to them sooner than later. That would obviously cut the innings, strikeouts, and ultimate fantasy points for a starting pitcher. On the flip side, you’ll need to pinpoint bullpen vulnerabilities vs strengths when looking at hitter matchups. This can often serve as a tiebreaker between two similar bats.

 

3) Have fun and don’t overextend yourself. Needless to say, playoff DFS is more about having fun tracking your players in nationally televised games than raking in the dough. Sometimes I enjoy playing just a H2H (against a friend or finding one in the lobby) for a moderate amount in these short slates.

 

 

With that being said, let’s get started with the FanDuel MLB Breakdown for these Wild Card games.

 

 

 

 

STARTING PITCHER

 

Luis Severino – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $10,200)

 

Severino is the obvious choice as a top pitcher in this slate. The only drawback comes from his hefty price reflecting that notion. However, he should be well worth the money at home vs a Twins lineup that occasionally has some strikeout problems. As impressive as Minnesota has been this season, remember they are full of young hitters who may have jitters on this stage (especially in Yankee Stadium). Severino has the strikeout stuff to take advantage. The Vegas oddsmakers believe in him, granting a -250 moneyline designation in this draw.

 

 

Also Consider: Zack Greinke ($9500) is very tempting for $700 less than Severino, especially if the savings allow you to snag another top-flight hitter. While his matchup vs Colorado looks more difficult on paper, there’s an outside chance Greinke could work deeper into the game (referencing the bullpen usage factor outlined in the introduction of this article) … I’m looking at Jon Gray ($8600) as a sleeper. He carries more strikeout upside than the other underdog hurler (E.Santana), racking up 10 K’s over seven innings (two earned runs) at Arizona on September 12.

 

 

 

CATCHER

 

Gary Sanchez – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,200)

 

Stacking the Yankees will likely be a very popular strategy, and it’s the route I would take for H2H and 50/50 contests. Sanchez holds an attainable salary compared to the other superstars on this slate (Goldy, Dozier, Judge, Martinez, Blackmon, etc). It just so happens he has less opportunity cost than all of those names as well. He’s an easy pick through all formats.

 

 

Also Consider: Chris Iannetta ($2600) is a value alternative in tournaments. He has been much better at the plate throughout the past few months. The park factor could give him a boost as well.

 

 

 

FIRST BASE

 

Greg Bird – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,100)

 

I mean no offense to Ervin Santana, who has posted a strong All-Star season for the Twins. However, he allows the most contact of the four starting pitchers on this slate. On top of that, he has occasionally struggled with the long ball in 2017. Needless to say, facing NYY in Yankee Stadium is a tall task … Greg Bird could take advantage of the short right field porch, something he has frequently displayed over the last few weeks of the season. Keep in mind that Minnesota probably has the most vulnerable bullpen of the four teams playing (even their high-leverage guys).

 

 

Also Consider: Paul Goldschmidt ($3800) is the guy you really want here. This is the type of situation I was talking about in the “also consider” section at pitcher. You could roll with Severino/Bird or Greinke/Goldschmidt for the same price. It’s really splitting hairs, while the answer is based more on preference and intuition than analytical findings.

 

 

 

SECOND BASE

 

Brandon Drury / Daniel Descalso – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $2400 & $2300)

 

I’m saving at second base with whoever gets the start for Arizona. Drury has more upside, but I don’t mind Descalso for this bargain basement salary either. Essentially, you are taking one of these guys to make the rest of your lineup work, hoping they can scrape together some sort of fantasy production.

 

 

Also Consider: Brian Dozier ($4100) is a great fastball hitter who could run into a round-tripper vs Severino. However, I’m not willing to pay his premium salary … Starlin Castro ($3400) is a fine candidate within a Yankee stack. Having said that, he’s not a huge priority considering the price point compared to top players from other positions.

 

 

 

THIRD BASE

 

Jake Lamb – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $3,500)

 

Lamb had a rough stretch to begin September, but it’s nice to see him gain confidence as the season ended. That could serve him well against hard throwing RHP Jon Gray at hitter-friendly Chase Field. As we all know, Lamb has extreme upside against righties at home. He’s a priority pick for me.

 

 

Also Consider: Nolan Arenado ($4000) is a nice tournament play, but you’ll have to scrounge up extra salary to make him work. He falls into the “investing in talent over matchup” theory outlined in the introduction … If you haven’t used too many Yankees, Todd Frazier ($3100) is a semi-value alternative here.

 

 

 

SHORTSTOP

 

Didi Gregorius – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,100)

 

Gregorius is an easy pick here. The Yankees represent the highest projected scoring team of this slate, and Didi has little opportunity cost at shortstop. I’ll be loading up on shares of him as a building block in my lineups.

 

 

Also Consider: You could hope Trevor Story ($2800) runs into some fantasy production, but I’m not optimistic with his heavy strikeout rate vs Greinke. If Ketel Marte ($2400) is playing, he’s a value filler to help you spend on upside elsewhere.

 

 

 

OUTFIELD

 

Brett Gardner – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,500)

 

Yes, I like Aaron Judge ($4900) as the top Yankee outfielder, but that salary is pretty insane! Gardner is an economical alternative with a nice all-around game (homers, stolen bases, multiple hits, etc) to rack up fantasy production. As mentioned earlier, Ervin Santana allows the most contact of any starting pitcher on this slate, and the Twins have the most vulnerable bullpen.

 

 

David Peralta – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $3,400)

 

Peralta is dealing with a neck and back injury, but he is reportedly feeling better heading into this matchup. Keep an eye on his status, but I’m guessing Peralta will play and resume his premium lineup spot for the Diamondbacks. I’ll take a chance on him in this lefty/righty matchup in hitter-friendly Chase Field.

 

 

Byron Buxton – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $2,500)

 

This is a strong deviation from regular season DFS strategy: On small slates, you can take a hitter against your starting pitcher and still be perfectly fine. In fact, it’s not a bad route if the value is good enough … In this case, the value is more than favorable. Buxton has been outstanding over the past few months, now holding a premium lineup spot for the Twins. There’s a chance he could rack up a few hits, steal a base, and record a nice fantasy score. That wouldn’t necessarily hurt the bottom line of Luis Severino, especially if the Yankee pitcher mows down the bottom half of Minnesota’s order (behind Buxton).

 

 

Also Consider: J.D. Martinez ($4100) and A.J. Pollock ($3800) fit the “talent over matchup” theory. I’d be willing to take either of them (listed in order of preference) over Gardner if the salary permits … Jacoby Ellsbury ($3000) makes for a fine mid-range filler as an extension of this Yankee stack … Eddie Rosario ($3200) and Max Kepler ($2300) are a pair of tournament plays who could run into a homer with the short porch at Yankee Stadium.



Spencer Limbach is a multi-sport daily fantasy specialist for Rotoworld. He can be found on twitter @Spencer_JL.
Email :Spencer Limbach



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