There are few things in this world that are better than a Friday 4-game playoff slate. It all starts today at 1:08 pm ET, so get your lineups in early. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions, @RyNoonan. Let’s dig in.
Clayton Kershaw – LAD vs. WSH – $12,000 – This is a great slate for tournaments, mostly because I believe that pitching ownership will be spread out evenly so there’s no real ‘chalk’ plays. Kershaw’s $12,000 price tag is the highest on the slate, but is a relative bargain when you consider he was rarely under $13,000 this season. He hasn’t been particularly sharp lately, and perhaps some buy into to his October swoon narrative which will keep some away. I’m in.
Jon Lester – CHC vs. SF – $10,600 – The Cubs are not accustomed to dealing with expectations and after playing September on cruise control, they’ll need to get ahead in this series, and that all begins with Jon Lester. The Cubs are the biggest favorite on the board, and the Giants are a below average offense that can be exploited against elite left-handed pitching. Lester may not have the top-shelf strikeout rate of some of his peers here, but he can hold his own.
David Price – BOS vs. CLE – $8,000 – I’m not sure if this $3,000 dip in price is because he’s being priced on a curve in relation to his peers, but it’s a pretty extreme drop and jumps off the page. Yes, Price has struggled in the post-season and his 5.12 career ERA in October will likely make him an easy fade for some. That creates a nice buying opportunity, and his low price will allow you to get some high priced bats in your lineup without sacrificing much pitching upside.
J.A. Happ – TOR vs. TEX – $7,000 – The Rangers need this one after laying an egg in the series opener, but J.A. Happ will try to keep them off balance and bring this series back to Canada with a 2-0 series lead for the Jays. The Rangers have been excellent at home this season against left-handed pitching, but Happ is just too good to pass up on at $7,000 in my opinion. You could pair Happ with David Price and leave yourself some flexibility on offense.
Mookie Betts (OF) – BOS vs. CLE – $4,500 – With no bats priced above $4,600, you aren’t really limited by price today. Betts’ all-around skill set always makes him an appealing asset. He’ll likely hit third, right in front of David Ortiz.
Dexter Fowler (OF) – CHC vs. SF – $4,300 – The Cubs have the highest implied team total on the board as of this writing, so getting their tablesetter is a wise investment in my opinion. Fowler has elite all-around skills, and his elevated price relative to the crowd may keep his ownership low.
Brandon Belt (1B) – SF vs. CHC – $4,100 – David Ortiz and Anthony Rizzo will likely eat up most of the first base ownership today, making the lefty-on-lefty matchup for Brandon Belt, against Jon Lester, very appealing in tournaments. Belt is essentially split neutral and has shown excellent power against left-handed pitching. If you’re multi-entering tournaments then I’d have a share or two of Brandon Belt.
Andrew Benintendi (OF) – BOS vs. CLE – $2,400 – I wouldn’t be shocked to see Benintendi in the 2-hole today, but he’s viable even if he’s back at the bottom of the order. Stacking the Red Sox, but doing so at the wheel here with Benintendi in the 9th spot, is a great way to get exposure to a popular team in a slightly unique way.
Devon Travis (2B) – TOR vs. TEX – $2,900 – In playoff DFS we’re forced to look at bats against strong pitchers. Travis is an underrated talent who’s faired better against right-handed pitching than he has against left-handed pitching this season, and could have some sneaky power upside against Yu Darvish and the Rangers.
Jayson Werth (OF) – WSH vs. LAD – $2,800 – Remember that whole ‘bats against strong pitcher-playoff DFS-yada, yada, yada’ thing? Well, here we are again. If you aren’t rostering Clayton Kershaw, consider Jayson Werth and his spike in wOBA and ISO when facing left-handed pitching.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RyanFix) 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.