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 — Well this game was shaping up to be an epic battle between Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole, two of the most fearsome arms in the league fighting over a lead in the world series, but we aren’t allowed to have nice things. Max Scherzer pulled a muscle in his back and was a late scratch from the game so he’s going to be replaced by Joe Ross and what is likely going to be a bullpen game from the Nationals. Gerrit Cole isn’t going to lose two games in a row and the Astros are spitting hot fire from their bats at the moment. Roww has been pretty good against RHH but lefties are hitting him hard and the Astros LHH have been great through the playoffs. Gerrit Cole is your priority in showdown contests and you can likely ignore Joe Ross even at a good price. He pitched two days ago and won’t go more than three innings here against a hot Astros squad.
Hitters — The LHH are going to be the ones you want to focus on for the Astros but in reality this is a bullpen game so you can basically play whoever you want. Springer is the best hitter for the Astros right now but I would still like to have Brantley as the first hitter I take for them as he does have a good advantage over Joe Ross.
I wouldn’t be spending any salary on the Nationals hitters here if I don’t have to and I’m going to entirely ignore the expensive bats in all formats. I don’t see Cole losing a second game and think he pitches through eight innings tonight. Victor Robles and Ryan Zimmerman are really the only guys that I feel comfortable having and that;s just as differentiation because they don’t cost you anything to have and weird things happen. That being said, I would rather avoid all of them.
Captain players — Gerrit Cole, Michael Brantley, George Springer
Top Hitters — Michael Brantley, George Springer, Alex Bregman
Values — Martin Maldonado, Carlos Correa, Ryan Zimmerman