The ALCS has been quite the rollercoaster for both teams, but after the Houston Astros won two straight to take a 3-2 series lead, momentum has firmly shifted in the Astros' favor. They'll look to close things out at home over the Boston Red Sox tonight. This pivotal Game 6 gets underway at 8:08 pm ET.
For those unfamiliar with the single-game daily fantasy baseball format, scoring is identical to its full roster cousin, except you only roster hitters, and lineups consist of five flex spots. The one twist? One of the five roster spots is your designated "MVP," who receives 2-times his total fantasy points, along with a "STAR" slot that gets 1.5-times the points. Naturally, it's crucial that you choose your MVP and STAR carefully if you want to be at the top of the leaderboards when it's all said and done.
On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel single-game slate.
It's win or go home for the Red Sox tonight, and they couldn't ask for a better option on the mound than tonight's starter, Nathan Eovaldi.
Eovaldi was Boston's most consistent pitcher in the regular season, and he was lights out in the second half, posting a 3.39 xFIP, 29.0% strikeout rate, and 4.2% walk rate over his last 16 starts.
He carried that form into the postseason, too, allowing three or fewer earned runs in each of his three starts against the Yankees, Rays, and Astros. Normally, we would expect more of the same from Eovaldi tonight.
Except the wrinkle is that Boston manager Alex Cora took a gamble in Game 4, bringing in Eovaldi as a reliever in the ninth inning with the game tied, hoping to set up the knockout blow against a Houston team on the ropes. Of course, you probably know how that worked out. The move completely backfired, with Eovaldi not only allowing four earned runs but also requiring 24 pitches to get just two outs.
Perhaps Eovaldi bounces back and turns in another strong performance. But it also wouldn't be surprising if there are consequences for all those high-stress pitches he had to throw just a few days ago.
On the other side, Luis Garcia will take the mound for Houston. Garcia has struggled in both of his postseason starts, giving up a combined 10 earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings.
That should give us some extra confidence in Boston's bats, but it's worth remembering that Garcia was much better in the regular season, producing a 3.93 xFIP 26.4% strikeout rate, and 7.9% walk rate, so we still shouldn't rule out a better effort this time around.
Lastly, given that Framber Valdez was outstanding for the Astros in Game 5, and the Red Sox mostly stayed away from their top relievers due to the lopsided score, both bullpens should be just about at full strength, too.
Much like yesterday, it's difficult to pick sides in this one, and that's reflected by Houston presently having the narrowest of edges in implied team totals at 4.57-4.43.
In terms of splits, the one potential matchup you can consider attacking is Garcia with Boston's lefties. While Garcia isn't terrible against left-handed batters by any means, he sees a notable downtick in strikeouts (23.7%) and gave up 1.61 home runs per nine innings in the split this season.
Other than that, it really boils down to mixing and matching the top bats on both sides, and as Chris Taylor reminded us yesterday, it can't hurt to get a little weird with your MVP/STAR slots.
Red Sox righties Xander Bogaerts ($8,500), Enrique Hernandez ($7,500), and J.D. Martinez ($7,000) have all homered multiple times this postseason. It was only a matter of time before Hernandez cooled off, as he finally went hitless in Game 5, but he's still slashing a ridiculous .422/.438/.844 with 5 bombs in the playoffs.
Perhaps the best contrarian option on the team is Hunter Renfroe ($5,500), who is slashing just .206/.341/.265 in the playoffs with zero dingers. Let's not forget this guy slugged 31 home runs with a .242 ISO and 14.4% barrel rate during the regular season.
For the Astros, lefty sticks Yordan Alvarez ($8,000) and Kyle Tucker ($7,500) have lived up to expectations, and Carlos Correa ($7,000) has been consistent throughout the playoffs. Jose Altuve ($9,000) has also come alive in this series and now has three homers this postseason.
Just about all the Houston regulars have performed pretty well, so it's hard to pinpoint any who will fly under the radar. But it's possible Alex Bregman ($6,500) and Michael Brantley ($5,500) get slightly less attention in the multiplier slots. Bregman is slashing a more modest .257/.350/.371 in the playoffs, while Brantley's yet to hit a home run.