What a great Saturday for sports!
We have a pair of Divisional MLB Playoff games (starting at 4:08 ET), a whole day chock-full of college football, and some NBA Preseason matchups (if you’re into that sort of thing).
This column will focus on the two crucial MLB games taking place: Toronto @ Cleveland following by LA Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs. I will address these FanDuel MLB Picks in two categories: primary (try hard getting these guys in your lineup) and secondary (decent picks that mix well with the primary players).
Jon Lester – SP – Chicago Cubs (FanDuel Price: $10,100)
Lester is head and shoulders above the other pitching options in this slate. He’s easily the preferred pick of the position, riding a great hotstreak of 45+ fantasy points in five of the past six games. Throughout the season, the Dodgers have had significantly less success against left-handed pitching. Everything aligns well for Lester to twirl another gem in game one of this series.
Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $3,900)
First base is a competitive position for fantasy purposes today, as Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli are both worth a look as well (more on that later). However, Encarnacion is the priority pick if you can blend his salary into your lineup. He has been a monster in the postseason, and there’s a good chance that could continue in this matchup. Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin has been better as of late, but he could run into trouble against Toronto’s homer-heavy bats. At one point in the season, Tomlin was one of the worst regular starters in all of baseball, particularly having problems with the deep-ball. That could rear its ugly head in this draw.
Francisco Lindor – SS – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
I’m torn between Troy Tulowitzki (who is significantly cheaper) and Lindor, who was last night’s hero. I’m ultimately siding with Lindor, as you can only roster four Blue Jays, and there simply isn’t room for Tulo while fitting Encarnacion, Donaldson, Martin, and Bautista/Carrera into your lineup. Lindor is swinging a confident stick, tallying four hits in the past two games.
Josh Donaldson – 3B – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $3,700)
Donaldson mirrors the write-up of his teammate, Edwin Encarnaion. He has been on a tear this postseason, and this is a welcoming matchup against the homer-prone likes of Mike Tomlin. The Blue Jays offense is one to target in this slate, and Donaldson one of the best within that.
Russell Martin – C – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
Looking at the matchups, this is a pretty easy pick. Martin will square off against mediocre pitcher Mike Tomlin, while other capable catchers like Yasmani Grandal (vs Lester) and David Ross (vs Maeda) will see much tougher competition. The price is agreeable, and Martin makes for a top-flight play at catcher.
Ezequiel Carrera – OF – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Carrera has been somewhat of a revelation this postseason, coming up with timely hits to help the Blue Jays advance in each of the past two rounds. That success translated to a promotion, as Carrera manned the leadoff spot last night. Regardless of where he’s hitting tonight, he’s a viable value commodity to help fit the superstars in your lineup. If he’s leading off again, that certainly adds to the rationale in a favorable draw.
J.A. Happ – SP – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
Happ is more of a tournament recommendation, but I believe he’s a sneaky pivot off of Jon Lester. If (for some reason) Lester isn’t up to snuff today, you’ll create an opportunity to be ahead of the pack. Happ is the other favored pitcher in this two-game slate, and he has looked pretty sharp as of late. The Indians are notably worse against left-handed pitching, which adds to Happ’s potential fantasy value.
Carlos Santana – 1B – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $3,300)
I prefer Encarnacion at first base. However, if you want to get exposure to Jose Bautista or Troy Tulowitzki, pivoting down to Carlos Santana is probably necessary due to the restriction of only having four players from one team in your lineup. Santana is a capable alternative from Encarnacion, a switch-hitter with plenty of power from both sides of the plate. Having said that, he’s more of a strategic play in tournaments than anything.
Rajai Davis – OF – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
Assuming Davis is hitting towards the top of the lineup, he’s a fine outfield pick. While the right-handed speedster doesn’t have a ton of upside, he carries several “out” to rack up fantasy points. He’s a specialist against southpaws with potential for multiple hits, runs, and stolen bases.