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.
Beginning with Morton, his postseason has been a mixed bag, performing well in his first start but then looking much shakier in the next two, though his second outing was on short rest. Most recently, he walked a whopping six Dodgers, but he still managed to squeak by in allowing just two earned runs in five innings.
Overall, though, he's posted a 3.70 SIERA and 30.6% strikeout rate over those three starts, with his 12.9% walk rate being the one blemish, though 6 of 8 walks came in that last appearance. Morton only walked 7.7% of batters in the regular season, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him clamp down on the free passes this time around.
After two underwhelming playoff starts, Valdez redeemed himself in a big way in Game 5 of the ALCS, going eight innings while allowing just one earned run. He's now at a 3.09 SIERA, 20.6% strikeout rate, 7.9% walk rate, and 72.1% ground-ball rate through his three playoff starts, with his strikeout rate and ground-ball rate pretty much mirroring what he did in the regular season.
Valdez did own a 10.1% walk rate in the regular season, though, so that is one area that could get him in trouble.
We've seen both pitchers have their ups and downs this postseason, but at the end of the day, when they're at the top of their respective games, they can be lights out. For Morton, it's his impressive strikeout ability, while Valdez continues to demonstrate an elite ability to induce grounders.
Like most of these playoff slates, the starting pitchers are tough on both sides, and the bullpens should be fully rested for Game 1. Therefore, this will more come down to building lineups around different scenarios and trying to figure out which batters might fly under the radar.
On Houston's side, ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez ($9,500) and his ridiculous postseason 1.329 OPS ought to be one of the most popular players on the entire slate, and I can understand if you're reluctant to fade him. Still, if you're looking to be contrarian, you might consider at least leaving him out of your MVP/STAR slots.
Kyle Tucker ($8,000) and Carlos Correa ($7,500) should be the other popular plays for the Astros, and Jose Altuve ($8,500) might get up there, too, after a couple of big games against Boston. Tucker and Altuve lead the team in postseason home runs with four and three, respectively.
Of the Astros' big names, Alex Bregman ($7,000) could be the guy who goes overlooked in the multiplier slots. He only posted a .152 ISO in the regular season, and he hasn't hit for much power in the playoffs, with one home run and one double being his only extra-base hits. But he's entrenched as the number-three hitter and is tough to strike out, so we shouldn't rule out a big game.
Michael Brantley ($6,000), Yuli Gurriel ($6,500), and Chas McCormick ($5,500) round things out as the lower-salaried options. Brantly is arguably the top overall value due to his spot in the order. Martin Maldonado ($4,500) has pretty much been a zero at the plate, so he might be the lone guy to consider ignoring.
Flipping to the Braves, Freddie Freeman ($9,000) isn't slipping by anyone, but it's possible the lefty-lefty matchup puts a slight dip in his roster percentage. Maybe that's wishful thinking, though.
The same could go for NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario ($7,000), who's been just as smoking hot as Alvarez with a 1.313 OPS. If you're fading one of these lefties, Rosario is probably the right choice, as he's clearly been playing over his head and doesn't have a strong history versus southpaws.
Otherwise, betting on the power of Ozzie Albies ($7,500), Austin Riley ($7,000), and Adam Duvall ($5,500) could prove fruitful. In particular, Duvall could go overlooked as an MVP/STAR option due to his modest postseason marks and low salary. Let's not forget Duvall produced a .263 ISO with 38 dingers in the regular season.
Other guys who could see lower roster percentages are Jorge Soler ($6,500) and Joc Pederson ($5,000). Soler has missed most of the playoffs but could serve as the DH in a prime batting order slot. And while Pederson gets the dreaded lefty-lefty matchup, he's tied with Freeman and Rosario with three home runs this postseason.
Lastly, Dansby Swanson ($6,000) and Travis d'Arnaud ($5,000) have been two of the worst hitters for the Braves lately, but I wouldn't write them off completely to round out a lineup. In particular, Swanson was solid in the regular season with an 11.4% barrel rate.