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.
Although Aaron Nola is coming off back-to-back duds, his underlying numbers have remained positive in these playoffs, and he comes in with a 2.79 SIERA, 25.0% strikeout rate, 5.4% walk rate, and 51.6% ground-ball rate over four starts. However, it's worth noting that he allowed four dingers across those last two clunkers, including two off the bat of Kyle Tucker ($7,500) in Game 1. While Nola allowed only 0.72 home runs per nine innings to left-handed batters this season, an uncharacteristically low 7.6% home-to-fly-ball rate suggests he was due for regression.
For Houston, Cristian Javier will make his second 2022 postseason start and third appearance. The right-hander was excellent in the regular season, posting a 3.14 SIERA and 33.2% strikeout rate, but walks were sometimes a problem (8.9% rate). Sure enough, in Javier's ALCS start, he pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings with five punchouts but also doled out three walks. Whether or not Javier has command of his stuff could be the difference in this matchup.
As noted above, Tucker was the big winner in that last game against Nola, and he and Yordan Alvarez ($9,000) should have a slightly easier time doing damage compared to Houston's righties. In the regular season versus left-handed batters, Nola had worse marks in xFIP (3.18 vs. 2.38), strikeout rate (27.9% vs. 30.2%), and ground-ball rate (40.6% vs. 46.4%) compared to same-sided matchups.
Both are the top MVP options for the Astros, and of the two, Tucker should continue to see lower roster percentages in the multiplier slots.
Jose Altuve ($8,500) andAlex Bregman ($7,000) will have a tougher time getting going against Nola, but they're two of the best all-around hitters on the team, so they remain in the MVP and STAR conversation by default. While Altuve is having the far worse postseason, his name value figures to keep his popularity up.
On the other hand,Jeremy Pena ($6,500)probably won't grab much attention in the multiplier spots, so he could be a contrarian choice in large-field tournaments. Playing out of the two-hole has its perks; Pena scored 30-plus FanDuel points twice in the last round.
In the bottom half of the order, Chas McCormick ($5,000) remains one of the better value options. Despite a fairly quiet series thus far, he's gotten on base in all three games, and across the entire postseason, he's slashing .286/.412/.500 over 35 plate appearances. His power shouldn't be counted out after producing promising barrel numbers in the regular season, too.
Last night's home run barrage should only further increase the popularity of Bryce Harper ($9,500) and Kyle Schwarber ($8,000), but they could cash in yet again tonight. Against lefties this season, Javier allowed a 4.07 xFIP, 28.0% strikeout rate, 9.6% walk rate, and 54.1% fly-ball rate. That may be a scary punchout rate, but you'll gladly take that over the 39.5% clip he had versus righties.
That being said, Javier gives up a boatload of fly balls to both sides of the plate, so Rhys Hoskins ($7,000) and J.T. Realmuto ($7,500) remain MVP alternatives who should see significantly less attention.
Alec Bohm ($6,000) and Brandon Marsh ($5,000) got in on the fun last night against McCullers, but outside of batting order and salaries, not a whole lot separates the rest of the Phillies from one another. Marsh and Bryson Stott ($4,500) will have the platoon advantage against Javier, though.