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Scouting the MLB DFS, Wild Card Playoffs

We break down the two MLB Wild Card play-in games this Tuesday and Wednesday and consider the best DFS options on DraftKings and FanDuel

Pitchers

Stud

Madison Bumgarner: (SF) @ NYM DK:$11,200/FD:$10,600

It’s hard to bet against the greatest road pitcher in postseason history (in terms of ERA), especially in a one-game playoff where he draws a pretty good matchup. The Mets lefty-heavy lineup should not be particularly formidable for Bumgarner to face, as he’s holding LHB to a measly .176 batting average with a .223 wOBA and 25.2% Hard Contact Rate this season. Current Mets are 30-for-128 (.234) with just 4 XBH, 2 HR (.312 slugging percentage) and 30 Ks in their careers against MadBum, so he clearly has a high ceiling and a high floor in a “win or go home” scenario on Wednesday.

Value Play:

Chris Tillman: (BAL) @ TOR DK:$7,600/FD:$7,200

You tend to give veterans a bit of an advantage in high-pressure situations, which makes Tillman a bit more appealing than Blue Jays young RHP Marcus Stroman tonight. The Orioles just faced Stroman and tagged him for 4 ER in a similar situation with the postseason on the line, while Tillman has been solid over 4 meetings with the Blue Jays this season. He has rough career splits against that lineup, but he’s become much more consistent over the past couple of years and Toronto sort of backed into the playoffs with a collective .238 batting average and the fewest runs scored (103) in the A.L. over the last 30 days.

Batters

Catcher:

Matt Wieters: (BAL) @ TOR DK: $3,600/FD: $2,800

He comes into this playoff on a hot streak, capped by a two-homer game in his final appearance of the regular season on Sunday, so Wieters is definitely the top option at catcher in terms of upside. He’ll have the platoon advantage against Stroman, who allowed LHB to post a .321 wOBA with a 17.2% HR/FB ratio this season and could easily pay for a mistake if he leaves a fastball over the plate for Wieters. The O’s backstop has had success with 5 H, including a double and two homers in his career against Stroman and he’s an easy choice if you’re thinking of attacking Stroman on either main DFS site.

Value

Would rather use Russell Martin ($3000/$2800) than either catcher in the N.L. Wild Card playoff tomorrow night.

First Base:

Edwin Encarnacion: (TOR) vs. BAL DK:$4,100/FD:$4,200

You simply got a lot more upside by using Encarnacion at this reasonable price tag on DraftKings. I might suggest a value play on FanDuel in cash games for this two-day slate, but the Blue Jays are still a dangerous team to face at home and Chris Tillman is probably not going to shut them down entirely by any means. Encarnacion is a solid 17-for-58 with 3 HR in his career against Tillman, who can struggle by throwing too many strikes and daring powerful hitters to put the ball in play. With a .941 OPS and 20 homers over 79 appearances at Rogers Centre this year, Encarnacion has done plenty of damage under the dome and that could continue tonight.

Value

Chris Davis ($3600/$3000) has shortened up his approach and started to hit for more average than power, so he’s a decent option in cash games on this slate.

Second Base:

Joe Panik: (SF) @ NYM DK:$3,500/FD:$2,800

Here’s our first batter recommendation from the N.L. game on Wednesday night and the first value play to be found in the breakdown. Panik will clearly draw a tough matchup against Noah Syndergaard, but he has the platoon advantage and the right approach to time up a hard-throwing RHP like Thor. Panik is a modest 2-for-6 in his career against Syndergaard and he’s capable of getting hot at the right time, which the Giants hope is right now in this critical one-game playoff. Give him a look as a salary relief play with some upside if Syndergaard stumbles in this high-leverage spot.

Value

T.J. Rivera ($3100/$2700) is tough to trust at MadBum, but he does have the platoon advantage and has logged 2 hits in 3 career at-bats against the Giants ace.

Third Base:

Jose Reyes: (NYM) vs. SF DK:$3,900/FD:$2,800

You should certainly consider paying up for either Donaldson or Machado in GPP formats, but neither slugger has good splits or offers a very high floor in their RvR matchups this Tuesday. Reyes doesn’t have too much upside against Madison Bumgarner, but he should provide modest returns as a feisty switch hitter, who is 3-for-9 with a SB in his career against the Giants ace. Reyes is hitting .380 against lefties with a 39.5% Hard Contact Rate and he comes relatively cheap on both main DFS sites.

Value

Pedro Alvarez ($3500 as 1B on DK/$3500) is an intriguing option to consider with the platoon advantage against RHP Marcus Stroman.

Shortstop:

Brandon Crawford: (SF) @ NYM DK:$3,800/FD:$2,500

So far, we’ve suggested fading Noah Syndergaard, but haven’t suggested any bats to use against him. If the Giants are going to win their one-game playoff on Wednesday night, they’ll need big performances from their playoff veterans, which certainly includes Crawford. He hit .304 with 3 BB when the Giants won the World Series in 201 and is a solid 7-for-28 with 4 BB and 2 XBH in his career in the Wild Card round. When Syndegarrd struggles, it’s usually against the platoon, as he’s posting a .260 BAA with a 1.41 WHIP against LHB this season, so the Giants will try to drive up his pitch count and do some damage from that side of the plate.

Value

J.J. Hardy ($2700/$2800) could serve as a low-upside cash game play against Stroman.

Outfielders:

Mark Trumbo: (BAL) @ TOR DK:$4,200/FD:$3,400

Hoping to predict which batter hits a bomb in the A.L. Wild Card Playoff tonight? Trumbo is a prime candidate to do just that against Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays inexperienced pitcher hasn’t been homer-prone during the second half, but he’s struggled against hitters like Trumbo, who is 5-for-11 with 2 doubles off him throughout his career. Trumbo comes into the postseason batting .416 while hitting safely in 8 of his last 9 appearances and he’s launched 4 homers during that span, so he’s clearly a great tournament option with a solid floor against perhaps the weakest pitcher on this short slate.

Ezequiel Carrera: (TOR) vs. BAL DK:$3,200/FD:$2,700

It’s fair to expect more offense in the A.L. game tonight than in a potential pitcher’s duel on Wednesday, so consider the Blue Jays usual leadoff man against RHP. Carrera is hitting .304 since September 1 and he’s sporting a 116 wRC+ during that span as he tries to spark Toronto’s dormant offense. He has the platoon advantage tonight and is 3-for-10 with a HR and a SB attempt (thrown out) against O’s RHP Chris Tillman, so he has significant upside for a true value play.

Potential Values

Hyun Soo Kim ($2800/$3000) is another cheap option on DK that could be used as part of an O’s stack.

Hunter Pence ($3300/$2500) remains relatively cheap for another Giants hitter with plenty of upside.


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