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 are 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.
Game 1: Astros vs. Yankees
Pitchers — Zack Greinke is the better pitcher by a solid margin in this game but neither one of these guys are worldbeaters and it’s worth considering a couple of the higher profile bats over them in the showdown contests. Masahiro Tanaka struggles more with LHH than RHH but gives up power to both sides of the plate (.442/.434 xSLG to RHH/LHH) so you shouldn’t be concerned about splits against him in your considerations. the wind is blowing out in a stadium that is already great for offense so I could see Tanaka giving up a couple of home runs in this game. Greinke hasn’t been as solid in the strikeout department lately but the Yankees have a higher whiff rate than the Astros so he’s going to have to be the side I take, but truth be told I think you’re better off avoiding the pitchers here. Seems like a good night for scoring.
Hitters — Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, and Michael Brantley are my top options on this slate for the Astros, with Yordan Alvarez being my favorite bat overall. If you just look at the last month of games, you’ll see that Tanaka has been giving up exceptionally solid contact to LHH (.382 xwOBA and .587 xSLG) and Alvarez feasted on RHP across the season. Him and Brantley are going to be targets for me tonight with Alex Bregman (.397 xwOBA over the last month) a close third. There’s really only two bats that I want to prioritize for the Yankees and that’s going to be DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge. Both have fantastic xwOBA numbers in this split (.400+ for both against RHP) and Greinke has been worse to their handedness. I’ll say that I think Brett Gardner is a great value with some decent numbers against RHP but he’s not in the same tier as my molina call the other night.
Captain players — Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, Aaron Judge
Top Hitters — Yordan Alvarez, Aaon Judge, Alex Bregman
Values — Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Josh Reddick