As the MLB DFS season winds down, the MLB playoff season starts to fire up. Tis the season to celebrate clinched playoff berths, getting hammered on national TV, and then playing the next day. The regular season is nearing its close. We had two teams clinch divisions last night, the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. All eyes have turned to Aaron Judge, with fans hopeful he can break the American League single-season home run record of 61, which fittingly, has stood for 61 years. Judge has locked up the American League MVP, and along with it, flatbeds of money, whether delivered by the Yankees or another ball club, it is coming.
The National League has an exciting MVP race that will surely come down to the wire. Paul Goldschmidt has a narrow lead. Much narrower than in August. Pete Alonso, Trea Turner, Manny Machado, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and his teammate, Nolan Arenado all have cases for the award.
The AL pennant races are all but wrapped up. All division winners have been crowned. The only suspense left is the Baltimore Orioles with an outside chance of catching the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners finish out the season against the Rangers, Athletics, and Tigers, while the Orioles have the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays. Advantage: Seattle.
In the NL there is plenty to be decided. Three teams: San Diego, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee are battling for two spots in the wild card. The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves are fighting to the finish, and much like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in 2021, one of these teams will undeservedly be a Wild Card team.
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Most DFS picks today will have a player in a pennant race situation. Teams fighting for their playoff lives and playoff positioning are more likely to impact your DFS lineup than teams that have little to play for. The teams in the hunt are not benching or pulling their best players for September calls ups.
Brandon Woodruff, SP: DK: $10,000 – The Brewers are running out of lives. At 1.5 games back they need a win, desperately. Fortunately, the Cardinals are likely to rest some starters after clinching the division. These upcoming games do not mean much. Woodruff is likely to face Paul DeJong, Dylan Carlson, Juan Yepez, Andrew Knizner, and/or some other underperforming hitters so the bigger bats can rest. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are both in MVP contention, so they may be out there, but Woodruff will get a discount on the Cardinals lineup in a must-win game at home.
Zac Gallen, SP: DK: $9,400 – Gallen is a DFS dynamo. In his last fifteen starts: 1.78 ERA, 0.76 WHIP. His last seven games: 1.16 ERA, 0.62 WHIP (Insert Morgan Freeman “Good luck” GIF here.) Gallen is facing a tough Houston Astros lineup, but he has been unhittable for much of the season. An expected pitcher’s duel against Justin Verlander should be fun to watch. Gallen has a lower ERA on the road and a disgusting 1.15 ERA since the All-star break. As the fourth-ranked starting pitcher in Draft Kings salary, this is a DFS steal.
Travis d’Arnaud: C: DK: $4,400 – Last night the Atlanta Braves took back possession of first base via the tiebreaker. They will look to keep that lead and have the good fortune of facing Josiah Gray. Gray’s ERA is a cool 5.83 over his last fifteen starts. D’Arnaud has faced Gray twice, earning a hit in each at-bat, including a homer. Travis is 8th in salary for catchers in DK. A low-cost/high-value play.
Pete Alonso, 1B: DK: $5,600 – I did not waste any time or excess brain cells thinking about this. There is a lot at stake for Pete. He can be the catalyst to lead his team to the National League East title. He has made significant gains for the NL MVP on Paul Goldschmidt in September. Over his last seven games, Alonso is slashing at .321/.387/.929, including 5 deep balls and 16 RBI. He is averaging an RBI per game over the last month.
Jeff McNeil, 2B: DK: $4,400 – “A nice little hitter.” How I always describe McNeil. Staying with the theme – these games being played this week mean more to a select few teams than most, the Mets being one of them. McNeil has five plate appearances against Marlins left-hander, Jesus Luzardo. He has two hits in those five at-bats. McNeil is batting .328 over his last fifteen games. As a switch hitter, he hits over .300 from both sides of the plate. Currently, McNeil is second for the NL batting crown, so an individual accolade is in play as well.
Alec Bohm, 3B: DK: $3,700 – a cheap get that is playing in a big game. Bohm comes in 21st for third basemen on today’s slate. Bargain basement here my friends. Bohm is hitting .298 over his last thirty games. His salary makes him an easy play.
Nico Hoerner, SS: DK: $3,500 – Admittedly this is my shakiest pick of today’s lineup. I always have one that can carry me or bury me, this is that one. Nico is red hot lately, hitting .360 over his last seven games, and more importantly, striking out only twice in his last 25 at-bats. We love a good contact guy. And we really love him at $3,500. Blammo! The catch? The Cubs are facing the Phillies starter, Aaron Nola. Here is the thing, the two have never faced each other, and Hoerner hits .280 against right-handed pitching, not much of a drop off from his .308 against southpaws. Advantage: No one.
Marcell Ozuna, OF: DK: $2,800 – It pains me to say it, but there is solid value here. $2,800 for a guy hitting .313 over his last fifteen games, in this lineup, is in fact, terrific value. We all know Ozuna is capable. I just do not like admitting it. Plugging him in, under market value opens options elsewhere.
Lars Nootbaar, OF: DK: $3,300 – Lars is back to his hitting ways. After a three-week slump, Nootbaar has found the stroke again. Slashing .318/.423/.727 over his last seven games. He hits .40 points higher against right-handed pitchers. I do not expect the Cardinals to do much against Brewers starter, Woodruff, but Noot will have a good game.
Harrison Bader, OF: DK: $2,900 – With the Yankees clinching last night this is the perfect time to shuffle and try a few different platoons. The spark plug that is Bader is well known for his defense, but his bat is underestimated. It will be tough to get going for a player that has spent most of his career as an everyday player unless he gets reps. This is the time for that. I would expect a lot of Bader through the end of the regular season. Tonight, the Yankees will be facing Mitch White, who has not been good all season. Bader is a great DFS option for the cost. If he can get on base, the possibility of scoring, and even snatching a bag is there.
I’m only happy when it rains
If you have been under a rock. If in Florida, hopefully under shelter, or at a minimum – an umbrella. Luckily, the scheduling Gods have avoided any action in the Southeast.
Doing Lines in Vegas
If I was a betting man, and I am, I like: