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 — The Astros are going to turn to a bullpen game here after winning the game last night and bringing the series to a 2-1 standoff so Jose Urquidy is going to open and likely be out there for three innings at most before they turn towards long relivers and closers. The Nationals are going with Patrick Corbin today to try to find a demanding lead in the series and force an elimination style from the Astros. These pitchers have nearly identical splits over 2019 with RHH getting the better of them and LHH having a hard time getting on base.
- Urquidy — .315/.433 xwOBA and xSLG against RHH, .250/.369 against LHH
- Corbin — .319/.430 xwOBA and xSLG against RHH, .235/.274 against LHH
For sure Corbin is the better pitcher here but the problem is more along the lines that the Astros are set up well to take on LHP where the Nationals aren’t built exceptionally well against RHP. That wrinkle puts these two pitchers on even ground in terms of real life advantage, but Corbin is still the one you go with due to his ceiling and innings allowance. I will say that the way draftkings priced Urquidy makes him a fine play even on an innings leash because three innings with five strikeouts is going to be plenty of points to keep you in play. If you only play one, it’s going to be Corbin, but both of these pitchers are the same play from a points per dollar perspective.
Hitters — It’s pretty difficult to go wrong with your Astros hitters today considering how solid all of them are against LHP. Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and George Springer all have an xSLG over .500 against the handedness and Bregman and Springer are rocking ridiculous xwOBA numbers over .500 in the playoffs. Robinson Chirinos is very strong against LHP with a .378/.533 split that matches Altuve for a much cheaper price. All of these guys are in play with Springer being by far the top option on the team.
The Nationals are in a much tougher spot considering we will only get two or three innings from urquidy and then the splits potential is gone. Trea Turner has the best splits against a RHP but somebody like Howie Kendrick or Ryan Zimmerman are going to be better all around and give you more longevity from your hitter against the bullpen. That being said, both of those guys are at risk of being pinch hit, so there is risk everywhere you look here. My assumptions is that the only safe bats here are Trea Turner and Juan Soto with Anthony Rendon being too inconsistent to trust right now over the Astros expensive bats.
Captain players — George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve
Top Hitters — George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve
Values — Robinson Chirinos, Ryan Zimmerman, Jose Urquidy