With two big game 5’s on Wednesday, between the Rangers and Blue Jays (4:07) and Astros and Royals (8:07), today is a good day for MLB action. And that makes it a good day for DFS action, even if your choices are limited. Here are a few players going today and reasons why you should – or maybe should not – target them for your rosters. Good luck.
Marcus Stroman vs. TEX ($10,000) – Who would have guessed a month ago that he’d be the priciest pitcher in DFS on a day of game 5’s in the first round of the playoffs? My guess is not even the Blue Jays. But he has earned it, and got a little bit of playoff exposure in Game 2 that could set him up for an even better performance in this one. He has given up one run in 14 innings at home and the Blue Jays will be looking for a performance along those lines later this afternoon.
Cole Hamels @ TOR ($9,800) – Toronto’s offense got on track in Game 4, leaving Hamels with probably the worst matchup of the day. He managed a 20 point outing earlier in the series, but at 7-innings, 6 K’s and 2 earned runs, that felt like his ceiling in this series.
Collin McHugh @ KC ($8,600) – Whatever else happened in his first start of the series, he managed just one strikeout. I know you are basically picking the pitchers here that you think are going to win, but don’t forget that lots of wins go to bullpens and one strikeout makes for some pretty poor upside.
Johnny Cueto vs. HOU ($8,200) – The cheapest pitcher of the night, he only scored nine fantasy points in his first start of the series, so clearly, there is a lot of risk here. You really just can’t expect much from him, but if neither him nor McHugh gets the win, my guess is Cueto gets more fantasy points just because of the potential he has to notch 5 or 6 Ks.
Russell Martin vs. Hamels ($3,900) – Martin just has the best chance to be involved in a big offensive game, which gives him the most upside. It’s a simple enough equation. He’s the best hitting catcher, and still under $4K, because there just aren’t a lot of good choices here, so these prices are the enticement for you to spend money here rather than another position.
Salvador Perez vs. McHugh ($3,300) – He went hitless in Game 1 but has been on a tear since then, doing his part of make sure this series got to a game five. A game with 21 points and another with 18 is more than enough upside to justify this price tag – it’s not like McHugh has a long history of success in the matchup, so you’d expect the averages to play out the more they face each other. Which means at least one hit… you know, on average.
Chris Giminez @ Stroman ($3,100) – You would expect to see Giminez out there against Stroman, which is nice, because you can save a couple of hundred bucks over Chirinos, with no real drop off in potential production.
Edwin Encarnacion vs. Hamels ($5,000) – He is 5-for-14 with a home run against Hamels in his career, and he is slugging over .560 at home on the year. This is the kind of big bat you want to spend up on if you only get one or two tonight.
Prince Fielder @ Stroman ($4,100) – He slugs over .500 against righties, and he has the bat speed to use a hared-throwing pitcher to his advantage. He is a good enough hitter to make the contact he needs to give you all the fantasy production you want with a single swing.
Chris Colabello vs. Hamels ($3,400) – Likely playing for Smoak again with a lefty on the mound, last time that happened he went for two hits – something he has done in two of the three games he has started in this series.
Jose Altuve @ Cueto ($4,200) – He hasn’t had a hit since his three-hit outburst in Game 1, he had one single and two strikeouts in six tries against Cueto coming into the series, and he hit only .284 in September. He possesses both power and speed, but the power comes and goes, and the speed does nothing for you if you’re not getting on base.
Ben Zobrist vs. McHugh ($3,900) – Zobrist was 2-for-5 against McHugh, with a double and a triple, heading into game 1. Then he proceeded to go 2-for-4 in that game as well. At $3,900, he is actually the second most expensive option at this position, but I still labelled him a value because he is almost certainly represents money better spent than any on Altuve, even if it is only a few hundred fake dollars.
Josh Donaldson vs. TEX ($4,800) – Less expensive than Encarnacion and Bautista, he is probably the Blue Jay you want on your team tonight – you and everyone else. But just swallow the pill and do it – you don’t want everyone else getting a leg up on you, and when you look at the competition at this position, you’ll see what I mean.
Adrian Beltre @ Stroman ($4,600) – You see that he is active, and that his numbers lately have been really good, and you’re tempted. But just because the Rangers are going to trust him in a game 5, balky back and all, doesn’t mean you have to. He’s their best option at third base, whereas you can just go elsewhere, and for less money. Even if you’re leaving points on the table, it’s the right call (unless you are just looking for a contrarian play and hope this injury provided one especially for you).
Mike Moustakas vs. McHugh ($4,000) – After the two studs at this position, you have Moustakas and then a bunch of guys who might not play. Here is my ringing endorsement: given a choice between Moustakas and someone who might not play, I’d take Moustakas.
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Hamels ($4,400) – He has played well in this series, even going deep once, a relatively rare occurrence since he switched teams. But his numbers against Hamels, while decent, are all from his Colorado days, so the power numbers can be thrown out, and he is still slugging under .400 at home in Toronto. He might help the Blue Jays win their game, but as for your fantasy team, I’ll just say that I will likely go in another direction for this price tag.
Carlos Correa vs. Cueto ($4,300) – Well, he clearly isn’t ready to lose this series, as the 4-for-4 performance with two home runs and a double on Monday clearly demonstrated. He has a hit in every game in the series. And yes, the first three games were only 3 points a piece, but it just goes to show you are selecting a player who is not afraid of the big stage, and who has as much upside as anyone (42 fantasy points last night!? Really?).
Alcides Escobar vs. McHugh ($3,300) – After the top couple of guys here, like third base, you really are skimping on options. Escobar having a fantasy scoring average over 6 makes you feel like you hit a fantasy goldmine after weeding through the names before and after him in the rankings. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but he does have speed – he flashed it once in running out a triple earlier in the series, but he did also have 17 steals this season. As a team, they don’t run much, but they will be pulling out all the stops to generate some runs in this one, and he could be a part of that if he can just manage to make it onto the basepaths.
Jose Bautista vs. Hamels ($4,900) – He only has five points each in the last three games of this series, not great return on investment. But that does mean he has at least one hit in every game, and two of those have gone for extra bases (a HR and a 2B). You are getting upside, but with cheaper plays at the outfield slot, there might be more consistent upside at other positions.
George Springer @ Cueto ($4,500) – He ended the season on fire, averaging up around a dozen fantasy points per game down the stretch, and he carried it over to the playoffs, so far accumulating four hits (including a double and a home run) in the series.
Delino DeShields @ Stroman ($4,000) – In game 2, last time Stroman started, DeShields went 3-for-7 in a 14-inning game, ending up with a RBI and two runs scored. That RBI came off a double he hit off Stroman before the game extended well past the youngster’s pitch count.
Colby Rasmus @ Cueto ($3,800) – I would have a hard time not getting Rasmus into my lineup for today. Hitting .333 against Cueto in 30 plate appearances prior to the playoffs, he then went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and two RBI in Game 2, and then proceeded to go 3-for-5 with another three walks over the next couple of games after that. He’s hot, he’s hitting with consistency and upside, and he is facing a pitcher he has always performed well against in the past. Oh, and he’s $3,800.
Alex Gordon vs. McHugh ($3,600) – He’s had hits in three out of the four games in this series, getting you some points every time out, and double-digits once so far. That’s just about as much as you can hope for at this price point.