Every Sunday night this year, there will be a Captain’s Mode Showdown contest on DraftKings for the ESPN featured primetime game. Tonight features a potential preview of the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and Dodgers. Both teams are atop their divisions with Los Angeles (+135) priced as the most likely team to make the World Series.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The Dodgers have won nine of their last 10 home games against NL Central opponents.
— Games at Dodger Stadium average a total of 8.9 runs.
— The Dodgers have won three of their last four games against the Cubs.
— The Dodgers win 77.1% of games at Dodger Stadium.
— The Dodgers have won 46 of 67 games this season as the favorite.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
CubsJose Quintana ($9,400) is pitching for the Cubs tonight and has a very reasonable price tag. He struggled in his last start, but I don’t put too much weight into the outing since it came at Coors Field. Pitching in Denver is such an unfair situation to pitchers that I am close to feeling it shouldn’t count against their ERA. Quintana is a solid pitcher, far from the quality of Ryu, but I don’t think it matters due to the pricing. A few hitters are more expensive than Quintana, so he only needs to score a dozen or so DKFP to end up on winning lineups. The 8.0 run total suggests a low-scoring game and I don’t expect a ton of fantasy output from the hitters. For the season, Quintana averages 14.4 DKFP and he scored 26.2 DKFP in his last start against the Dodgers.
Scoring on Hyun-jin Ryu ($16,800) has been a near impossible task this season. He has a 1.36 ERA and is extremely tough on both righties and lefties. For this reason, the Cubs bats are low priority for me. Any Chicago bat I roster is going to be somebody cheap for salary savings and I am going to look past the expensive hitters from the heart of the lineup. If I had to roster one expensive hitter from this side of the game, my choice would be Javier Baez ($7,800). He leads the Cubs with a .487 wOBA against lefties.
Questionable to play after missing yesterday’s game, Albert Almora ($5,000) could be a good source of cap relief if starting. Overall, he’s struggled a the plate this season, but he has hit lefties well throughout his career. Almora has big splits and a 105 wRC+ for his career. Prior to the injury he was hitting sixth in Cubs lineup against southpaws.
Another cheap bat who could find his way into the Cubs’ lineup is Addison Russell ($4,800). His season has been surrounded by controversy after a suspension forced him to miss a chunk of games. He doesn’t play everyday and his ceiling isn’t super high although Russell has a career-high walk rate and career-low walk rate. This has raised his floor in recent games. Russell has reached base in 10 of his last 11 games.
Editor’s Note: Almora and Russell are in the lineup for tonight’s game.
DodgersRyu is having an incredible season and is my top pick for the captain spot. He leads all starters with a 1.36 ERA and simply doesn’t have bad outings. Ryu has allowed two or less runs in every start this season and more scoreless outings than games where he’s given up multiple runs. In his last seven outings, he’s let three total runs cross the plate. The only thing preventing Ryu (+400) from being the runaway favorite to win the Cy Young is a career filled with injury issues.
The Dodgers play a platoon heavy lineup. They roll out different hitters against lefties than they do against righties, which opens up some nice salary saving opportunities. Rostering Ryu in the captain spot along with Quintana leaves $5,950 in average salary for the next spots. It is a doable build and means we have to look at some of these cheaper LA hitters along with a cheap Chicago hitter.
My favorite value bat from this game is Kike Hernandez ($6,400). He can’t hit righties at all, but always does damage against lefties. Kike has a 114 wRC+ against left-handed pitching and his price stays cheap due to the struggles against righties. Since the salary is weighed on average production, he always ends up being priced between his production against lefties and righties, making him a value whenever the Dodgers face a southpaw.
After resting yesterday, I am guessing that Russell Martin ($5,800) will start at catcher tonight. The veteran journeyman started his career with the Dodgers and has returned at the tail end of his run with good results. His 108 wRC+ is his best mark since 2015. Martin has made 22 starts behind the plate this season and reached base in all of them. If he doesn’t start, Austin Barnes ($5,400) would make for a sensible option.
When facing a lefty, Chris Taylor ($5,200) often moves up in the lineup and sometimes finds himself in the leadoff role. Like Kike Hernandez, Taylor has extreme splits this season. His wRC+ is 40 points higher against left-handed pitching and his overall numbers are dragged down because of struggles against righties. Taylor has been the leadoff man three times over the last couple of weeks and averaged 8.0 DKFP in those games.
Editor’s Note: Martin is in the lineup for tonight’s game.
THE OUTCOMEI don’t think it is wise picking against Ryu. Sure, he will have a bad outing eventually and nobody can sustain a 1.34 ERA forever, but picking in his favor is going to work out way more often than not. The Dodgers have won six of the last seven games started by Ryu and come into tonight as a heavy -175 favorite. Runs should be tough to come by with two quality starters getting the nod.
Final Score: Los Angeles 4, Chicago 3
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.