The MLB contests for Wednesday start with the 4:07 EST first pitch in the ALCS. The action revolves around two elimination games, with the Blue Jays trailing Kansas City 3-1 and the Cubs down 3-0 to the Mets in the NL. In what could be the final day of games before the World Series, you’ll have a lot to consider as you build your DFS lineups. Here are some names you should consider – or not. Good luck.
Steven Matz @ ChC ($10,000) – I am going to keep this simple – he is the most expensive pitcher on the board, but he has only pitched five games since he went on the DL back in July. In those five games, he has exactly zero games with either more than six innings or 20+ fantasy points.
Edinson Volquez @ TOR ($8,400) – This game is really all about how the Blue Jays respond to the shellacking they took last night. None of their big bats have a particularly great history against Volquez, and the Royals’ hitters are clearly alive, and looking poised to provide plenty of support. He makes a lot of sense in this one after his 6-inning, 23.9 point effort in Game 1.
Jason Hammel vs. NYM ($8,100) – This will be his first start of the series, as the Cubs elect to go with him rather than Lester on short rest. Which makes sense, because their only chance here is to win a couple of games maybe they shouldn’t. They’ll need to rely on their bats to get them back to Lester/Arrieta, and maybe they can make it a series. But Hammel is giving up some runs, and will have a short leash – not the best combo for someone’s fantasy value.
Marco Estrada vs. KC ($7,800) – He only went 5.1 innings in game 1, and still had 14 fantasy points on the back of six K’s. He can get past some of the hitters in this lineup, and if his offense steps up and decides to extend the series, a handful of K’s and a victory for this price is a steal.
Russell Martin vs. Volquez ($4,300) – He is always going to be the most expensive catcher on the board now that so many others have been eliminated, so the question is often “Martin, or someone else?” In this particular matchup he has more strikeouts than hits (2 to 1, a single) and considering he is also hitless in the series, I am going elsewhere today.
Salvador Perez @ Estrada ($3,500) – He only has two hits for the series so far, but they both went for extra bases. So, what that means is that for $3,500 you can get a catcher who is 2-for-4 in terms of double-digit fantasy performances in the ALCS. (Stats can say whatever you want). To me, just watching the games, he seems underpriced. The upside is real.
Edwin Encarnacion vs. Volquez ($5,200) – If there is anyone on this roster with a history of success in this matchup and the talent to take advantage, it’s Encarnacion. You have to hope his finger is still feeling fine, because, even though it’s a small sample size, he is hitting .333 against Volquez with three walks and a home run. His OBP against him is .500, so if their offense is going to do anything to try to stay alive in this one, you have to assume he returns you at least some fantasy points, with the potential for a whole bunch of them.
Eric Hosmer @ Estrada ($4,600) – With five hits and five RBI so far on the series, he’s returned value in pretty much every game so far. For a little less money than Encarnacion, you are getting a central piece of the lineup that has been playing like the best offense in baseball for the past week, not the three months prior. And this week is all that matters.
Chris Colabello vs. Volquez ($3,800) – If you’re looking for savings at 1B, Colabello might be your man. He doesn’t have a lot of upside, but what do you expect, choosing from the bottom of 3 or 4 possible choices? He does, at least, give you a chance at a couple of trips to the basepaths, so there is the possibility of some fantasy points, which is a lot better than zero.
Daniel Murphy @ Hammel ($4,400) – It almost doesn’t matter who the pitcher is at this point. I couldn’t write this article without mentioning Murphy. With a home run in five straight games, he has tied a record and won over an entire fan base. He has also won plenty of people plenty of fantasy contests. Even if he doesn’t go yard again – which would almost be surprising at this point – he also has at least two hits in three of his last four, so it is possible for him to return value at this price in a number of different ways. Oh, but also, Jason Hammel is the pitcher, and Murphy is 6-for-11 against him with a couple of doubles. Six straight?
Ben Zobrist @ Estrada ($4,100) – I don’t blame you if you want to play him in the OF so you can get him and Murphy in your lineup. Thank goodness for dual eligibility. He has seven hits for the series, including a hit in every game, three doubles in game 3, and a home run last night. This is all just a continuation of a hot bat that got started for him in the regular season, and is a big part of the reason why the Royals are on the verge of the World Series.
Ryan Goins vs. Volquez ($2,700) – I don’t know that 2B is where I decide to save money tonight, but if I do, I think it’s with Goins. For $2,700 a single and a walk isn’t going to kill you – you’re not asking for a lot here. And he does have a hit in every game of this series. Just a pair of singles, please? Maybe with someone on base? Thanks.
David Wright @ Hammel ($4,800) – One of the more expensive options on the board, for me, he’s not making it into my lineup even if I thought the Mets were going to romp. He’s got four hits in the series and is coming off a three-hit night, but before that he only had one hit in the entire post-season, so it’s not as if he is on some sort of streak right now. He also has one single, no walks, and three strikeouts in seven appearances against Hammel, and while that is certainly a small sample, it certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kris Bryant vs. Matz ($4,200) – Look, there is one good option at 3B today, and it’s Murphy. But maybe you’re playing him at second. Bryant is better than the second basemen at this price range, so there IS that. Well, except for Zobrist. Hmm. Maybe all three? If that’s the route you take, just keep in mind two things: one, Bryant is the cheapest third baseman going tonight who you can at least be confident will play, and two, he has enough upside to win you a GPP, and the floor to lose you a 50/50. He has 27 home runs so far, and his home run per at-bat % is virtually the same against righties and lefties, so the power potential is there, but his average is actually about 40 points lower against left-handers (.246) – hence the risk.
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Volquez ($3,900) – The most expensive SS on the board, he did not do anything against Volquez the last time he had a chance, in game 1. But since then he has gone 5-for-15 with a double, a home run, and four RBI. He is doing his part to try to help his new team advance, and if he can manage to help them force that Game 6, he will win over a lot of fans in Toronto heading into the off-season. If ever there was a time for a new acquisition to step up, it’s the ALCS.
Ryan Goins vs. Volquez ($2,700) – See above. Just make your lineup work. Who cares where these guys line up in real life? Just be thankful for the freedom to shuffle them around on your own fake team.
Yoenis Cespedes @ Hammel ($4,700) – He has slugged well over .500 against right-handed pitching all season long, which is both why he costs this much and why Hammel is not really looking forward to facing him, at all. I wouldn’t either. He shouldn’t feel bad. After Cespedes’ three-hit performance last night, if I were only building one lineup for tonight, he would be in it.
Curtis Granderson @ Hammel ($4,500) – He had a hit in each of the first two games of the series, before his 0-for-4 last night. But he has a .333 average in 21 at-bats against Hammel over the course of his career, including a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs. He has the tools to have a big night, especially if his teammates are getting on base around him.
Kyle Schwarber vs. Matz ($4,100) – I can’t imagine the Cubs sitting him tonight with their season on the line, but you should. The man does not hit lefties. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
Ben Revere vs. Volquez ($4,000) – Revere has been a player who has seen his stock rise as the season has neared completion, and I normally like to see at least a couple of dozen at-bats before I let match-up specific numbers influence me too much, but the big glaring 0-for-8 stands out. It’s enough to give me pause, even with limited options.
Alex Gordon @ Estrada ($3,800) – I am going to say the same thing here I said about 2B – not sure if this is the place you want to save money. But if you need an affordable option for that third spot, Gordon does have a hit in every game of the series, including a pair of doubles. If the Royals offense keeps playing like it did last night, he is clearly the play, but he is not going to have a big fantasy day without help from his teammates – he needs players on base in front of him and behind him for that to happen (three runs scored last night led to his big production).
Kevin Pillar vs. Volquez ($3,800) – Another affordable option for that third slot, this is a guy who has cost several hundred dollars less than this at various points on the season, which tells me that he is playing pretty well right now. He has two doubles for the series, and a couple of double-sigit games. You will be in good shape if he gets you a dozen for under $4K.