James McCool | Paydirt_DFS
Welcome to the MLB Playoff Rundown! Because of the nature of short slates like this (Showdowns especially), this will be written a bit differently. There are so many different ways to go in showdown slates and it’s really difficult to say “This guy is the best play” because you could be 100% right in saying that and still get a zero for your efforts. First, I’m going to lay out some basic understandings of MLB DFS showdown slates so that y’all have a place to start, and then we can get into the picks for the slate and the data being used.
MLB DFS Showdown basics:
- Understanding that the range of outcomes for hitters is more volatile for pitchers is imperative to success. Hitters have a range of outcomes that is realistically 0-40 points, whereas pitchers (especially in the playoffs) are going to have a range that is skinnier and more like 5-30 points. This being said, Pitchers are almost always the best play on a showdown slate and unless there is a starter that you would stack against 100% of the time it’s always better to start your builds with both pitchers
- In a showdown, correlation is underrated as people look to roster the best hitters possible and ignore that kind of thing. That’s generally going to be a mistake, as correlation doesn’t just go away when you are playing a single game. If you can afford hitters within a couple of spots in the order of each other, you should actively be trying to do that. It’s significantly harder in a showdown, but it’s still valuable.
- Taking hitters against your pitcher is something that people are scared to do and that carries over to showdown to a certain extent, but it’s optimal to do it. If your pitcher gives up a home run to one of your hitters, you are gaining the difference in fantasy points from your hitter getting the home run and your pitcher giving one up. It’s still a positive outcome, and one home run isn’t going to hurt you if your pitcher strikes out 8-10 anyway.
Astros vs. Nationals
Pitchers — Down to the back end starters for both teams with Greinke and Sanchez taking the mound and it’s hard to feel great about either. Greinke has been the better of the two and has absolutely shut down LHH in the playoffs to the tune of a .127 xwOBA and .111 xSLG but has been merely average against RHH with a .287/.352 split. Sanchez on the other hand has gotten hit hard from both side of the plate but especially so by LHH with a 96 mph average exit velocity on flyballs and linedrives to go with a .462 xSLG. I don’t think that either of these pitcher are going to dominate but at least Greinke is coming into this with success against guys like Juan Soto and Adam Eaton who have both been huge for the Nationals. I Don’t really love either pitcher in this spot but they do just enough well in terms of run prevention to make sense as showdown picks. If I’m taking one, it’s Greinke, but I do like trying to have both.
Hitters — I want so badly to play Yordan Alvarez in this spot as a LHH against somebody that struggles badly with lefties, but he’s been brutally bad. And it’s been warranted to. His swing rates are up and his contact rates are way down in all quadrants. That being said, in a showdown format where I think people will fade him based on his horrid play, he’s my favorite GPP option. It just makes too much sense to leverage those thoughts on a power hitter that finished the regular season with a 1.000+ OPS. Outside of him Brantley is my favorite play on the Astros and somebody I would put a lot of focus on.
There are a couple guys in this game that make a lot of sense for the Nationals. My favorite play is going to be Trea Turner. I mentioned that Greinke has been lights out against LHH through the playoffs but has been a mortal against RHH and Turner is one of those guys that has both stolen base and home run capabilities. The usual suspects of Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto are just fine as well although I don’t think that either are must plays by any means. I don’t love the Nationals side of things and prefer to focus on the Astros.
Captain players — Zack Greinke, Yordan Alvarez, Trea Turner
Top Hitters — Yordan Alvarez, Trea Turner, Michael Brantley
Values — Josh Reddick, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Brantley