Welcome to the MLB DFS League Championship Series (LCS) rundown & cheat sheet column for Friday, October 16, 2020.
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Let’s take a look at some of the key things and facts to know as you head into lineup construction for this two gamer.
In terms of recent form, Valdez takes the cake (perhaps to some element of surprise for you). His 3.15 SIERA, 10.0 K/9, 1.95 BB/9 and 62.5% ground ball rate are all fantastic metrics in the last month. Snell with a 10.6 K/9, 55.6% GB%, 15% whiff% and 3.79 SIERA is nothing to scoff at – but his walk rate (3.8 per 9) and lack of depth (~5 IP/GS) do add a little extra risk.
Valdez actually has the more impressive split track record vs RHBs (the vast majority he will face here), with a 3.04 xFIP and 24% K% in 2020. Snell’s nothing to be down on either, with a 3.50 xFIP and 27.6% K%. Each of them are very studly vs LHBs with 12.5+ K/9s and sub-2.70 xFIPs – so if you see a handful of lefties in the order for either one, that could be a helpful deciding factor of who to prioritize exposure against.
Overall, both are worth having in your player pool today, but Snell is the safer bet for more IP given the Rays are still sitting with an extra win’s worth of a cushion. I don’t hate the idea of playing both on DK.
Dustin May has elite run-prevention metrics vs RHBs (3.05 xFIP), but struggles vs LHBs (5.00 xFIP). The ceiling is pretty low given he hasn’t quite figured out how to put hitters away just yet, but has elite stuff and limits hard/damaging contact. Expect 1.5-2 times through the order unless the Dodgers explode early in the first few innings for a big lead.
It’s likely a bullpen game for the Braves, and there really isn’t anyone here that I’d get so excited about to the extent that I’d want to play them in a DK SP2 slot.
I see the Dodgers/Braves game being the one you want heavier exposure to between the two, not only because it’s been higher-scoring overall but also given that both offenses are plus-plus and the pitching outlook features weaker talent at the outset.
Since we’re likely staring a fairly RHP-heavy approach from the Braves, Mookie Betts (181 wRC+), Will Smith (174 wRC+ – should be back out there), Corey Seager (166 wRC+), Justin Turner (154 wRC+), Chris Taylor (145 wRC+ – possible getting the start), and Cody Bellinger (129 wRC+) are the top 6 performers in the split vs RHP to speak of (2020 data). I also think we saw Edwin Rios as a potential hot bat for Dave Roberts to continue riding. Don’t sleep on the HR he hit last night, 31 HR in the minors in 2019 and 8 long flies in 82 ABs (32 GP) at the major league level this year during the regular season. He has very projectable power and remains a fantastic DFS value if he’s in the lineup (which I expect he will be).
We also know that A.J. Pollock, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson can do plenty of damage in this split as well, so you can essentially stack them deeply based on your SP decision(s) as well as who Roberts gives the nod to.
The Braves may have a tougher time against Dustin May in the early going, but the LHBs do have a significant advantage given his track record in that split. Hello, Freddie Freeman (216 wRC+ vs RHP in 2020). He’s the perfect and ideal one-off play here if you don’t want to go too deep with exposure. Ozzie Albies (126 wRC+) also hits RHP quite well as a LHB. Nick Markakis and Johan Camargo are not “premium” plays by any means, but would be the others to prioritize if you want more LHB exposure.
Travis d’Arnaud (172 wRC+), Ronald Acuna Jr.(166 wRC+) and Marcell Ozuna (165 wRC+) are all plus hitters vs RHP, but I don’t love the fact they’re going against May. It’s not crazy to have exposure to them though, as May could only go 3-4 innings and then turn things over to a pretty sub-par Dodgers bullpen, which could be advantageous.
Check out the full player pool below as you head into crunching mode for this slate!