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 — It’s no secret who the better pitcher is between these two, and it doesn’t help that the splits are much worse for Paxton. Both of these pitchers have great strikeout stuff with Verlander finishing the 2019 season with a 12.00 K/9 and Paxton a 11.29 K/9 but the postseason has seen those numbers dip considerable for both and against such strong teams we can expect those numbers to be a lot more conservative. In terms of showdown, there’s a lot of value to be had on James Paxton being less expensive than six other players with that kind of strikeout upside. Both of these guys give up a lot of power on contact and struggle more with RHH than LHH (.386 xSLG for Paxton, .315 for Verlander) but I would expect them to be able to get through these offenses pretty well. Both are well in consideration and should be priorities over any bats you could pay for with Paxton being a great value.
Hitters — Considering both of these pitchers struggle against RHH, there’s a lot to like for hitters here. Edwin Encarnacion actually has the highest xSLG on the Yankees against RHP with a .586 xSLG while Aaon Judge sits at .506. All four of DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez have xwOBA numbers above .350 in this split and are good plays on this slate with Sanchez likely the best when considering price and upside. For the Astros, You can pretty much take any of the RHH. Seriously. This team is loaded with power righties and the lowest xSLG in this split that you’ll find in this batting order is Yuli Gurriel at .444 which speaks volumes. Robinson Chirinos is one of the better LHP hitting catchers in the MLB and is dirt cheap in this game, so building around him seems like a great idea. The top hitter for the Astros is Jose Altuve with a .395 xwOBA and .567 xSLG in this split, so focusing on him with Chirinos would be the optimal route.
Captain players — Pitchers, Robinson Chirinos, Gary Sanchez
Top Hitters — Jose Altuve, Edwin Encarnacion, Alex Bregman
Values — Robinson Chirinos, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorious