First off let me start by congratulating the Washington Nationals for making it to the World Series. It’s been a long year and now that it has happened, we have a little problem as DFS players. The classic tournament style is over for 2019. With only one series currently still going and just the World Series left, we are out of slates that will feature anything more than a one game Showdown contest. Showdown slates are a much different animal than our classic style games and I think we need to discuss that before we go into the best plays so we understand the strategy.
Showdown lineups on DraftKings consist of 6 players. The captain costs 1.5 times the listed salary, but also accrues 1.5x the points. The lineup needs to be rounded out with five other players and all of them need to collectively fit under a $50,000 salary cap. You must use at least one player from each team in your lineup. The best players cost $7,000-$10,000. The floor is $4000 and you typically only get a few guys close to that floor batting at the bottom part of the order. Here are a few tips on roster construction given those constraints:
1- Pitchers have high floors and low ceilings. Typically anything short of a dominant, lights out, big strikeout, deep into the game performance is not going to be enough to justify using your pitcher in the captain slot. A typical pitcher outing is going to include 5-6 innings, a couple strikeouts, but also the negative of a few hits, walks, and runs allowed. Unless he gets shelled, your average pitcher making a decent start is going to finish with 15-20 fantasy points. A score of 15-20 is more than your typical batter is going to get in a game that doesn’t feature a ton of runs so pitchers still are good plays on most nights.
2- Hitters have more upside. When you are looking for your captain, I almost always use a bat. This is because hitters tend to have higher ceilings. Sure, they have floors of zero if they go 0-for-4. Yet, if they homer and do anything else, they are likely to finish ahead of your pitchers with scores into the 20s or higher.
3- Any extreme value should be taken. It is very unlikely to happen here in an ALCS or World Series game, but sometimes an injury or shakeup will happen. Typically the main hitters on most teams bat towards the top of the order and are priced accordingly. If you get a guy who is closer to the floor and hitting near the top of the order, they are tough to pass up. The savings allows you to fit in the studs you would not otherwise be able to afford together and also increases the quality and quantity of at-bats you can fit on a roster. Remember, we are constrained by a salary cap and most of the players you want to roster cost more than the average salary per position, especially if your captain is not cheap. That means rostering a good value guy that is well below that average salary means you have more to spend on the rest of the players and thus end up with a higher caliber of bats available to use.
4- Build lineups based on how you think the game will play out. If you think the game will be a pitcher’s duel without much offense, then you should have both pitchers rostered. If you think it will be a slugfest, like a game in Cors typically turns into, then you should avoid the pitchers and play 6 of the best bats mixed up from both teams. If you think one team is going to blow out the other, your lineup should feature the winning teams pitcher and 4 bats, with only one guy from the other team to satisfy that requirement.
The single game FanDuel slates consist of a five man roster with every player costing the same amount of money regardless of which spot you use them in. On Fanduel you have two special positions, the MVP earns 2X the number of fantasy points and the All-star receives 1.5X the amount. The last three guys on your roster end up earning the normal amount of fantasy points for whatever stats they produce. Pitchers are not included on this slate, so really we are just looking for the top 5 bats. Here are some roster construction tips:
1- Since everyone’s salary is the same regardless of which spot you put them in, play your favorite upside plays in the spots with the highest multiples. This usually means the guys with the best chance to hit a home run. Home runs are worth the most points per at-bat. A guy would need to hit 3 singles and either score each time or knock in a run for his total score to be greater than the guy who hits a solo shot. If that guy who homers also gets a few hits, runs, and RBI on top of that he is going to have way more fantasy points. Consist on base guys are nice to include in the bottom part of your team, but you really want the MVP and All-Star slots to be filled with guys that have power upside.
2- The salaries are not as hard to play around with on FanDuel. You only have a handful of guys that cost more than the average salary and not by a wide margin either. You can build a solid team of middle level plays on either side of the game if you wanted to. A lot of those guys are priced at the average salary or only one or two incremental price jumps above or below it. I personally prefer the stars and scrubs build, but this strategy is more viable considering the lineups left are stacked up top to bottom with good hitters at this point of the season.
3- Value is still important. A good cheap play on FanDuel might be all you need to open up enough salary that you can fit in your two favorite studs in the multiplier spots and then round out the lineup with decent solid options that don’t cost much.
With the ground rules laid out, here are the guys I am trying to make sure I play on my lineups today.
They only are usable on DK and remember not in the captain spot. I also do not think either of them are shut down must play kind of guys. If either gets lit up, stacking bats against them would have been the ideal move.
JA Happ – Happ is not likely to be the starter but he is likely to pitch the bulk of the game for the Yankees. Happ is definitely not the kind of guy you would even consider using in the Captain’s spot because he doesn’t go deep and rarely shut teams down. He does however have a lot of games with solid 12-20 point fantasy floors. This is a tough matchup and Happ has had some rocky starts too, but he is at least a viable option to consider.
Jose Urquidy – A solid young pitcher that like Happ probably only goes 5-6 here. He does have very good strikeout stuff though as he was over a K per inning since his callup. Urquidy has more risk due to a chance he doesn’t pitch as many innings. If he only goes 4 and gives up a couple negatives, the floor could be low. He also has the higher ceiling though as his K/9 is higher and he does face the higher strikeout lineup.
1- Alex Bregman – The Astros have some of the most elite hitters in the league against LHP and Bregman has crept to the top of the list. He has a lifetime wOBA of .419 against southpaws with a .284 ISO score. That means he not only projects well to get some hits, but he has the upside power we look for in guys to use in the higher scoring slots on both sites. He did a lot more damage last series, but a lot of the lack of upside recently has been because the Yankees have walked him 5 times in the three games they have played too.
2- Jose Altuve – Arguably the hottest hitter on the Astros right now and another guy who just rakes against lefties with a lifetime 149 wRC+. He owns an elite .387 lifetime wOBA against them, but has only a .174 ISO score. Bregman profiles better for the big smash, but Altuve should be a guy you try to work on your lower rungs. He can and does do a little bit of everything and that’s how he gets his best stats. At the very least, you can assume a high floor with him as it feels like he gets on base and racks up at least one hit a game with RBI chances and run scoring opportunities due to his prime lineup spot.
Fade: George Springer – On this slate you have to take strong stands as you can not afford to play everyone. If you have reasons to avoid a guy, do it. For me I have two major reasons to avoid Springer. Springer has elite numbers against southpaws with a lifetime .387 wOBA and a .234 ISO score. Bregman is better, especially in the power department, but like Altuve, Springer is elite. People will be talking about those numbers and optimizers will love them, so Springer will be pretty chalky because of it. The reason I don’t like him despite all these positives is that he has been ice cold lately. He was 0-13 through three games of the Rays series before going 3-for-8 in the last two games. In this series he has just one hit in three games, although it was an HR. He’s likely to be chalky and his current form is miserable, so I can make a case for avoiding him. The second reason to avoid him is that we may know exactly why he is struggling. Springer is playing through pain. He picked up an injury in game 2 and is fighting through what probably would have kept him out a few days in the regular season. That’s enough potential landmines for me to avoid it.
3- Aaron Judge – The top play on the Yankees is Aaron Judge. I know Urquidy is a righty, but in his limited sample size this year righties have actually hit him better with a .344 wOBA and a .488 slugging percentage. Even in same handed matchups, Judge has a 150 wRC+ score with a .393 lifetime wOBA and a .284 lifetime ISO. Judge also has shown his versatility that makes him a high floor and high upside guy in the playoffs. He’s had a hit in 5 of the 6 playoff games and been on base multiple times in 4 of them. In this series alone he has stolen a base in one game and homered in another to show you the different ways he can reach and exceed value. He has prime lineup real estate and scores a lot of runs because he is always on base. HE has the combo of a high floor and the upside due to his power and speed, which makes him a guy I definitely need exposure to on this slate.
4- Gleyber Torres – The hottest bat on the YAnkees just keeps pounding the ball. He homered for the third time in four games and was on base three times for the third time this postseason as well. Gleyber has hit safely in every single game of the playoffs. He’s had 25 FanDuel points in 4 of those 6 games with two of them having 40 point upside. That’s a consistently high floor, solid outperformance, and the type of ceiling game that can win you a GPP if he is your MVP or Captain. Remember Urquidy has been weaker to RHBs. Gleyber may not be as elite as Judge in same handed spots, but he’s still well above league average.
5- Yordan Alvarez – A very nice contrarian play here and one I like to pair with Bregman or Altuve on FanDuel in the multiplier spots. It’s LvL and a lot of people are going to want to steer clear, but Yordan Alvarez has smashed lefties since his call up. He owns a .422 wOBA and a sick .342 ISO score, both of which best Bregman’s numbers and he is arguably the best bat in the league against left-handed pitching. Now he’s done this over one part of one season with just 114 at-bats in the sample, but even a little regression still leaves his numbers floating up in elite rarified air few others can match. I think people will flock to the top two guys as a pairing and even use Springer a little bit. For me, Yordan Alvarez and one of the top 2 guys mention gives me enough differentiation that I won;t feel like I am running the chalk lineup that 1000s of other have too in a large field GPP.
Gary Sanchez – He has not looked right at the plate since returning from a groin injury late in the season, but this is a cheap price for a guy with that much power. Sanchez has flashed that power against righties too and Urquidy is giving up more power to righties in 2019. Now it requires a leap of faith, but leaps of faith win GPPs and the price is cheap for a guy that has the power to be an upside play with one swing.
Didi Gregorius – They are at home in Yankee stadium and it doesn;t take much for a lefty to pull one into the bleachers. Didi also has some speed and a solid batting average spot in the middle of the Yankees order. HE is $6200 on Draftkings and only $5500 on FanDuel, which makes him a guy who comes in below the average salary available at each position. That kind of savings goes a long way into fitting in some of the studs we want and you don;t give up a lot of potential upside by dropping down to him.
Yuli Gurriel – On DraftKings he is a tad too expensive to be a true value guy and I like him less over there. On FanDuel at $6000, he comes in below average salary and gives you a chance to pay up elsewhere. His numbers are not elite, but he is about a league average hitter. He is a league average hitter in a very good lineup though, so he has the chance for more RBI and runs scored than your normal league average bat. Yuli lacks the upside to be anything more than an underneath guy, but if you want to go Astros heavy and also save some salary he is the guy I like best on FD.
Gio Urshela – On DraftKings I prefer to go with Sanchez or Didi for cheaper, but on FanDuel he is only $4500. Urshela does have some pop as he hit .310 with 22 homers in 2019, despite not starting for an entire season. He flashed that pop in game one going yard too. At $4500 on FanDuel he opens you up to a lot of the top priced guys and he is another one swing upside guy as a HR would give him a 4X return.