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This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
Top Play: Walker Buehler – Dodgers (vs Braves)
With the way the Dodgers have pressed their bullpen, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Buehler tosses four or five innings before giving way to the relief corps. Still, Buehler and the next guy below are clearly our best options to catch six or more strong innings. Given how teams are approaching both Championship Series, that narrow upside for a classic postseason starter masterpiece is huge.
Pivot: Charlie Morton – Braves (at Dodgers)
Morton is less likely than Buehler to be allowed a third turn through the Dodgers lineup. And that’s probably the correct play – his stuff doesn’t match up to Buehler, and the Dodgers offense is more tenacious. Still, the path to six or so innings doesn’t depend on a series of unlikely events as it does for Nick Pivetta and Zack Greinke in Boston. Again, the likeliest outcome is for five or fewer innings. And if you embrace that median outcome, it could make sense to simply take the cheapest pitchers today (i.e. Pivetta and Greinke).
Also Consider: Pivetta, Greinke
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Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Morton)
Smith is out on an island when it comes to catcher talent among the remaining clubs. He has better than a one-in-five chance to homer and projects as at least 25 percent better than the other options. His price tag is efficient too.
Pivot: Martin Maldonado – Astros (at Pivetta)
Maldonado is a fly ball hitter with a mostly empty slash line. He doesn’t make much quality contact, needing some park assistance to access power outcomes. Fortunately, factors are favorable for pulled fly balls against Pivetta and friends. The Green Monster leaves little room for even lazy flies to drop in left field. Most of Maldonado’s contact is pulled. While we’re playing for Green Monster interactions, the likeliest outcomes are strikeouts and easy outs. It’s truly a pivot.
Top Play: Freddie Freeman – Braves (at Buehler)
Freeman’s had an uneven postseason due largely to an unusually high strikeout rate. He clearly doesn’t have a read on certain pitchers like Blake Treinen who he’ll probably face late in the game. The matchup against Buehler is obviously a tough one. Even so, Freeman offers the best dollar-for-dollar value at the position. Technically, Kyle Schwarber has a slightly stronger projection.
Pivot: Cody Bellinger – Dodgers (vs Morton)
Bellinger has come up big in a couple spots this season despite still looking rather hopeless at the plate. We know there’s upside for devastating power, though it seems like he’ll need an offseason of strength training to recover the best of it. The matchup against Morton is slightly worse than neutral with the Braves mostly left-handed bullpen adding additional danger for Bellinger. He has substitution risk as a result.
Top Play: Trea Turner – Dodgers (vs Morton)
Turner is arguably the best player to take the field today so of course he’s a top play. We’ve talked about his ability to fill a boxscore all season. He hasn’t really showed up for the postseason, batting just .200/.200/.257. This doesn’t appear to be the result of any particular issue.
Pivot: Christian Arroyo – Red Sox (vs Greinke)
The draw of Arroyo relates to the other second base options – all high-quality and high-cost players. Arroyo is a classic punt whose league average batting line lacks a carrying trait for DFS purposes. There’s no particular reason to be excited about him besides using him as part of a wraparound stack. The Red Sox offense will be popular after thrashing Houston two straight games. Tossing Arroyo into the mix can separate you from those who just dial in one-through-five in the lineup.
Top Play: Rafael Devers – Red Sox (vs Greinke)
Both Brooks Raley and Blake Taylor were leaned on for 20-or-more pitches yesterday. There’s a decent chance Devers won’t face a lefty today. He hit .280/.357/.621 with the platoon advantage this season. While postseason pitchers are of a higher caliber than those faced during the regular season, today’s assortment of arms for the Astros aren’t especially impressive. He’s in the mix for best home run odds at a one-in-four chance.
Pivot: Austin Riley – Braves (at Buehler)
It’s easy to dismiss any hitter against Buehler, especially right-handers. However, we don’t know how deeply he’ll pitch in this game. The median outcome is probably less than five innings. Add to that Riley’s star-caliber talent – which he’s already demonstrated in the first two games of this series – and we have a recipe for a player who could be both least-popular and highest-performing at his position.
Truthfully, all of the probable starters at third base are solid plays.
Top Play: Carlos Correa – Astros (at Pivetta)
Pivetta pitches to Correa’s strengths so the Astros shortstop should get a couple high-value plate appearances before facing a suspect Boston bullpen. He has a long history of stepping up in the postseason as a tough out, something he’s continued this October.
Pivot: Dansby Swanson – Braves (at Buehler)
In some ways, this is a repeat of the Riley recommendation. Swanson should be least popular of the shortstops. Leveraging rostership can really pay off in tiny slates where anybody could wind up as the top player at their position. Unlike Riley, Swanson doesn’t hold a candle talent-wise to the other shortstops.
While Pivetta’s platoon splits are fairly modest, both Alvarez and Tucker are potent threats in all situations. They rank among the top five hitters in the entire slate, and they’re both reasonably priced too. They carry about a one-in-four shot to bash a long ball. A host of other positive outcomes are plausible too. As for Betts, his injured hip remains a nagging concern in the back of my mind, especially when I try to digest price tag. To this point, he’s proven a tough out with more walks than strikeouts in 35 postseason plate appearances. He also hasn’t hit for much power. As a leadoff hitter, he works best in some form of stack.
Honorable mention goes to Enrique Hernandez who I can’t officially recommend from a process perspective. Hot streaks have a nasty habit of ending abruptly, and he’ll probably be rather chalky too. However, his fiery postseason has been a joy to watch.
The industry consensus on Duvall is to reserve him for games against left-handed pitchers. That’s actually a narrow view of his talents. He bopped 32 of his 38 home runs this season against fellow right-handers. He needed only 413 plate appearances for those 32 dingers. He probably leads the slate in home run potential with slightly better than a one-in-four chance. Of course, it’s an all-or-nothing profile. Buehler’s quite stingy too.