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Scouting the MLB DFS Playoffs, Oct 13-14

We analyze matchups in Thursday's NLDS Game 5 and Friday's ALCS Game 1 in the Daily DFS Breakdown

Weather Report

    Strong winds expected to be blowing in from LF in Washington this evening.


Pitchers

Stud

Max Scherzer: (WAS) vs. LAD DK:$11,800/FD:$10,400

It’s always a different situation when you’re pitching in a winner-take-all elimination game. Scherzer’s been there before and dealt with plenty of pressure during his bids for no-hitters, perfect games, and other statistical achievements, so needless to say, he’s a safer play than Dodgers LHP Rich Hill. The Nats RHP also has as much upside as any SP in the game right now and he should be able to bounce back from a rough start against the Dodgers to open this series. With a 2.56 ERA, .190 BAA and 11.82 K/9 ratio at home this season, he’s been incredibly productive, and he’s more than capable of shutting down the Dodgers in his second appearance of the NLDS.

Value Play:

Corey Kluber: (CLE) vs. TOR DK:$10,300/FD:$9,900

He’s not necessarily a value, as he’s only slightly cheaper than Scherzer this evening, but Kluber is probably the safest play if you want to start someone in your cash game lineups. Unlike in a “DS” Game 5, this contest is important for both teams, but not do-or-die in the sense that hitters are more focused and managers are more likely to yank their start with all hands available out of the bullpen. Kluber should be given every opportunity to build on his 7-inning gem against the Red Sox last week and he’s been extremely consistent all year. While the Blue Jays tagged Kluber for 7 ER over 2 meetings this season, their main sluggers (Encarnacion and Bautista) are not sporting great splits against him and he should be able to avoid any damage via the long ball from them.

Batters

Catcher:

Pedro Severino: (WAS) vs. LAD DK: $2,400/FD: $2,100

If you don’t expect much from the most expensive options at a position, just punt that slot with the cheapest bat available. Severino has not made much noise with his bat so far this series,, but he started on Tuesday as well as last Friday when the Dodgers throw a LHP. Severino hit a respectable .270 with 2 HR and 5 BB over 37 at-bats this season and he’s a platoon specialist who should get his opportunities to produce against southpaw Rich Hill.

Value

If Roberto Perez ($2500/$2100) starts at catcher for the Indians, he’ll be worth a look against RHP Marco Estrada.

First Base:

Carlos Santana: (CLE) vs. TOR DK:$4,600/FD:$3,300

The Indians are coming alive in the postseason despite struggling over the final weeks of summer and Santana is one of the main reasons for that trend. He’s hitting .306 with 5 XBH over his last 10 appearances and he put together quality at-bats during a sweep of the Red Sox. The switch-hitting first baseman draws a good matchup to open this series against RHP Marco Estrada, who pitched very well this season, but gave up 3 ER over 5 IP in his sole meeting with the Tribe and seemed to struggle against that lefty-heavy lineup. Santana is 3-for-5 with a HR in his career against Estrada and his solid BB Rate (14.4%) gives him a solid floor at this lofty price tag.

Value

Ryan Zimmerman ($3200/$2700) has definitely made an impact for the Nationals this series and he’s a cheap RHB to consider against Hill.

Second Base:

Daniel Murphy: (WAS) vs. LAD DK:$4,300/FD:$3,500

Now that Big Papi has retired, Murphy might be the most clutch MLB hitter that is still active right now. He’s on a second consecutive postseason tear with 6 H, 3 BB and 6 RBI to carry the Nationals struggling offense during the NLDS and he’s worth a look despite facing a LH starter this evening. Rich Hill actually allowed a higher BAA (.216) when facing LHB this year and that mark rose to .260 on the road, while the Nats were able to tag him for 4 ER over 4.1 IP in his Game 2 start during this series. Murphy posted a .329 with a .383 wOBA in LvL matchups this year and has already proven that he can produce against Hill.

Value

Devon Travis ($3200/$2800) is somewhat under priced and should be lightly owned as he plans to return from a knee injury to begin the ALCS.

Third Base:

Jose Ramirez : (CLE) vs. TOR DK:$4,100/FD:$3,200

Clearly an elite cash game option on this short slate, Ramirez was even more consistent during the ALDS than he was while hitting .315 with a .367 OBP this season. The speedster added 22 stolen bases and 11 homers to those solid averages and so far this postseason he’s 5-for-12 with 2 BB and 4 runs scored to set the table for the Indians. On Friday, he’ll face a RHP in Marco Estrada, who struggled down the stretch with a 4.27 ERA and 4.91 xFIP during the second half. While Estrada pitched a gem with a huge lead against the Rangers, this contest should be much tighter, with base running skills and patience at the plate paying dividends for Ramirez and his DFS owners.

Value

Justin Turner ($4200/$3400) is still relatively cheap and he’s worth a look even in a brutal matchup against Scherzer.

Shortstop:

Francisco Lindor: (CLE) vs. TOR DK:$4,200/FD:$3,200

This is almost process of elimination considering the other options at the top of the board at SS on this 2-game slate. Corey Seager has really slowed down over the course of the NLDS and Max Scherzer is unlikely to make the same mistake twice when facing the young LHB, while Troy Tulowitzki has flashed consistency, but no upside against struggling Red Sox pitchers, yet he’s not a great option in a RvR matchup against Kluber. Lindor will have the platoon advantage against Estrada, who we should admit has been excellent against LHB this year. However so has the Indians switch-hitting SS, as Lindor hit .339 with a .892 OPS at home this season and flashed most of his power from the left side of the plate. He seems to have the best floor/ceiling combo in these two games.

Value

Danny Espinosa ($3000/$2600) could serve as a cheap addition to a Nats stack against LHP Rich Hill.

Outfielders:

Jayson Werth: (WAS) vs. LAD DK:$4,100/FD:$3,000

Speaking of players that have “been there before,” Werth is a veteran of many playoff series and he seems like one of the most invested players on the Nationals roster right now. He’ll certainly put together some quality at-bats with the platoon advantage against Hill, who coughed up a double and allowed Werth to score back in Game 2. Werth hit .322 with a .432 wOBA against the platoon this season while his numbers against RHP (.296 wOBA) were borderline pathetic, so he’s worth the slight bump in price on DK and remains a solid bargain on FD ahead of this beneficial matchup.

Ezequiel Carrera: (TOR) @ CLE DK:$3,300/FD:$2,500

You can try to attack Kluber with a couple of LHBs in the Blue Jays lineup, or simply use Carrera as a salary relief option who has routinely exceeded value this postseason. Toronto’s quick lefty is 6-for-16 with 2 BB, 4 runs and a SB over four playoff games and he’s earned steady playing time regardless of the matchup. Yet Carrera has a decent chance to produce against Kluber, who posted human numbers with a 23% LD Rate and 1.14 WHIP against lefties this season.

Potential Values

Coco Crisp ($3500/$2700) has fit right in with his old team and he could serve as part of a solid Indians stack on Friday.

Call it a longshot, but I like Bryce Harper ($3800/$3300) to bust his streak of non-meaningful hits with a huge at-bat in Game 5 tonight.


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