It's been exactly 2 months since I have written an MLB DFS article but with so much focus on the World Series this week (and no more NBA and NHL and a rather lackluster Thursday Night Football game tomorrow night) I feel compelled to share some of my insight. After all, MLB DFS has treated me very kindly this month with two huge DFS wins paying me $10K each and few other profitable nights.
Last night was all about Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts. If you had both of them on DraftKings (DK) with one of them as Captain, you definitely made very good money. On FanDuel (FD), you would have needed Betts in the MVP spot to hit the cash line. For today, I would avoid selecting any pitchers on DK. Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin threw 41 pitches during Game 7 of the NLCS last Saturday. With just two days rest, I believe Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will allow Gonsolin to pitch 2 - 3 innings before handing things over to either Dustin May or Julio Urias. With limited pitch counts, you simply cannot justify the high salary for Gonsolin or any other potential long reliever for the Dodgers tonight. Think of this as a bullpen game for LA with Walker Buehler due to pitch Game 3 on Friday (finally thees teams get a day off in a series) and most likely Kershaw for Game 4 to complete the sweep. Yes, you heard that right. LA is going to win this World Series in 4 games.
While I would love to see Tampa Bay win the title (being a Giants fan, I cannot stand the Dodgers) and make this series competitive, I just don't see it happening. LA poses a tremendous challenge for the Rays. Yes, the Rays did battle to take care of a potent Yankees lineup and a hot Astros team, the Dodgers are easily the most well rounded team in baseball. They have the bullpen to match Tampa's. They have just as much power at the plate as any other playoff team. They are also patient so expect a high on base percentage. The kicker is the starting pitching. The Yankees and Astros struggled in that department while LA has two aces and three other starters who can be used in long relief.
Blake Snell is no slouch for Tampa but Rays manager Kevin Cash rarely lets his starters see the opposition's lineup for 3rd time. Snell's OPS against hitters who see him for a 3rd time is high. Likewise for the 2nd time he faces a hitter. Several LA hitters thrive in situations when they see a pitcher for a 2nd or 3rd time so expect LA to have another offensive explosion in innings 4, 5, and 6. If you are wagering on tonight's game, I strongly recommend you parlay the Dodgers money line with the over on the run total or just do the run line for LA. You are welcome!
So what does this mean for MLB DFS? Go heavy with the Dodgers bats. You can use Mookie Betts again but Snell actually more trouble against lefties. Corey Seager anyone? Max Muncy? Yes please and let's take them both! You might as well make it a Seager-Muncy sandwich with Turner batting in between them. The thing I like most about rostering Seager, Turner, and Muncy is that they bat 2-3-4 so you are maximizing the number of at bats for your DFS lineup. There is a good chance they can see Snell for a 3rd time in the 5th or 6th inning. Plus Roberts rarely replaces them late in the game (unlike the hitters near the bottom of the order).
We will need some salary relief even if we are avoiding a starting pitcher on DK. A cheap LA bat who can give you some differentiation would be Kike Hernandez. Every once in a while he pops off. He did have a 3 HR against against the Cubs in Game 5 of the NLCS to send LA to its first World Series in 29 years. I plan on using him in the Captain spot on DK but will use Seager and Muncy for the MVP and All Star spots on FD. If he can get on base often, then you have a nice wrap-around correlation with the 2-3-4 hitters.
Finally, you need a Tampa bat or two. For DK, I like Brandon Lowe and Manuel Margot. Lowe has a high barrel rate (data you can find on the ASA website; see link below) and had himself a nice regular season. He has been cold this postseason but is starting to warm up. As for Margot, he is inconsistent but has a 0.924 OPS this postseason. He hasn't hit a HR in a while so he is due. Lowe has a regular season OPS of 0.916. On FD, I will just stick with Lowe. Using a similar strategy as I discussed above with LA, I like Margot and Lowe given that they should bat 1-2. Again, you want to maximize your at-bats and rarely do those hitters get replaced late in the game.
Here are my sample lineups for both DK and FD. Good luck and even though I am not a fan of the Dodgers, I am fan of money (which I hope you are too!).