The DFS contests kicking off on Friday include Game 1 of the two championship series – Toronto @ KC Friday night and Chicago at the Mets on Saturday. Game two of the ALCS, Saturday afternoon, will only be included in the Saturday contests. Here are some players at each position to consider – or not – for tonight’s action. Good luck.
Matt Harvey vs. ChC ($11,200) – Harvey was phenomenal in his only postseason start so far, but he only went once, and he only went five innings due to his pitch count. Combine that with the fact that the Cubs offense, while not overly intimidating, has a much better track record against righties than lefties, and with the quality of the pitcher opposite, and Harvey likely isn’t making it into my lineup tonight.
Jon Lester @ NYM ($10,800) – In contests with only two games like this one, picking pitchers is just a matter of picking one over another. So this is me picking Lester over Harvey. Lester lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Cardinals, and still managed a 25-point outing. Only one team in the majors had a higher strikeout rate than the Mets against left-handed pitching this season, and Lester hasn’t struck out fewer than six in more than a month. It’s not about the $400 – but for me, it’s about the upside.
Edinson Volquez vs. TOR ($8,400) – This really is not an indictment of Volquez. It’s just that if you’re looking for what is most likely to happen, it is more likely that the Toronto offense explodes than the Royals. Volquez hasn’t scored more than 20 fantasy points in a game since August, and it’s not like he has any more consistency to make up for the lack of upside.
Marco Estrada @ KC ($8,300) – Again, if you’re picking between these two pitchers, for me it is Estrada. It is always hard to pick a pitcher going against the Blue Jays loaded offense, but more than that, Estrada has been pitching well lately. He has five straight quality starts, and in three of those he went over 20 fantasy points. That includes his one start in the last series, when he earned a win over Texas with 6.1 innings of 1-run ball. He is going to look to set the ton for the series with this game, before the top of the rotation for Toronto even takes the mound.
Kyle Schwarber @ Harvey ($3,600) – With seven hits, including two home runs, in the Cardinals series, Schwarber was an even bigger presence for this Cubs lineup than he was when he burst onto the scene in the regular season. A guy at this price, with the potential to jump to double-digit points every time he swings the bat is not easy to come by. An obvious choice for at least one lineup permutation if you are looking to cash in a big GPP.
Miguel Montero @ Harvey ($2,400) – The Cubs scored at least six runs in three straight to close out the Cardinals. Granted, Montero was 0-for-3 with a walk in all three, but still, this is an offense that’s playing well right now – maybe better than it has all season. A bunch of Cubs hitters have had some success against Harvey in very small sample sizes, and Montero is one of them (3-for-5 with a double and three walks). When that happens you have to decide if the sample matters, and part of that is determining who is playing better right now, the pitcher or the hitter. In this case it might be the hitters.
Edwin Encarnacion @ Volquez ($5,200) – If you are going to be scared of the Toronto offense when you’re picking your pitchers, I suppose it is required that you also support a few of the Toronto hitters individually when you’re picking that part of your lineup. Encarnacion is the big gun for me in this one, with two hits in each of their last two games, and a good record against Volquez – 3-for-9 with a home run qualifies, even if it is a small sample.
Eric Hosmer vs. Estrada ($4,500) – It’s usually only minimally useful to look at pitcher vs. hitter matchup numbers when they only have a small sample size of appearances against each other. Like everything else in baseball, the averages often play out over the long run. But when a guy like Hosmer has four hits in five tries against Estrada, that might mean something. One of those hits went for extra bases, but Estrada keeps trying to get him out (zero walks), and he keeps hitting the ball instead – that kind of consistency could be useful, but he’ll need the rest of his team hitting as well for any real upside.
Lucas Duda vs. Lester ($4,000) – He has two hits in six tries against Lester, including a home run. He had two hits in the first round series, both singles. He will be looking to get on track in this one, and for the rare lefty who actually hits significantly better against lefties than righties, that seems possible – but there is certainly plenty of risk at this price.
Ben Zobrist vs. Estrada ($4,000) – He never got blanked a single time in the last series, which means he was useful to the Royals and to your fantasy squad , but he only cracked double-digits once, so don’t expect a ton of upside.
Chris Coghlan @ Harvey ($2,800) – The good thing about the Cubs offense being mediocre at best all year is that these guys have their prices depressed. Coghlan usually plays against righties, and has three hits in eight tries against Harvey, so I would expect to see him in there over Austin Jackson for this one, and at $2,800 7-8 fantasy points is decent value, especially in a cash game.
Josh Donaldson @ Volquez ($5,100) – He only has one at-bat against Volquez in the past, so you can’t draw any conclusions from that. He hits righties and lefties both pretty well, so it’s hard to use that to mean anything. But he had two home runs and another double in the Division Series, for double-digit fantasy points in three of five.
Kris Bryant @ Harvey ($3,700) – Bryant came through in a big way to end the previous series, with two RBI and a run scored in game 4 and a triple in game five. He has been a beast in the middle of this lineup all season, and they will need him to come through to take this series.
Troy Tulowitzki @ Volquez ($4,600) – As much as I love the Toronto offense tonight, Tulo might not be part of the festivities. He has never hit for power against Volquez, and most of that history is when he played for Colorado, so I wouldn’t expect it to turn around for this one.
Alcides Escobar vs. Estrada ($3,400) – Actually the second most expensive SS on the board tonight, he closed out the Houston series with six hits in the last four games, including a double and a triple. For a $1,200 savings over Tulowitzki, that makes a lot of sense.
Jose Bautista @ Volquez ($5,100) – The hero of Game 5, here’s hoping that he came into this game feel good if you want to play him at this price. That is totally possible: he had six hits, including two home runs and two doubles in the first round, and now has the best possible pitching matchup – on paper at least. Good place to spend you money, especially if the Blue Jays end up going off tonight. But keep in mind that he is hitting under .200 in 17 tries vs. Volquez, so it is not a sure thing. And that is a lot to spend on not a sure thing.
Yoenis Cespedes vs. Lester ($4,300) – Looking at a guy who had two home runs in the first round of the playoffs certainly makes sense, but he has two hits (both singles) in thirteen tries against Lester. For this price, you can get better odds than that.
Ben Revere @ Volquez ($4,000) – Trying to get a lot of Blue Jays in your lineup, and the price looks right… but he is 0-for-8 all time in this matchup, which gives you pause.
Chris Colabello @ Volquez ($3,800) – This is an outfield play I like for the price, coming off back-to-back two hit games to close help his team make it this far, and he managed a hit against Volquez in his only other game against him, so there is a decent chance he gets you at least something for your investment.
Alex Rios vs. Estrada ($2,800) – Rios got on base at least once in every game of the Astros series, a couple of doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. His ability to get one base at teams can spark the Royals’ whole offense, so they will all be hoping he keeps up that kind of production into the ALCS.