As the calendar turns to October, the Major League Baseball playoffs are just around the corner, but this Saturday still has some great regular season action lined up. There are games throughout the day and multiple slates available, but the featured fantasy baseball contests on DraftKings get underway at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Leading up to the first pitch, make sure to keep up with all the latest news and monitor starting lineups by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with my picks for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Cristian Javier, Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($9,400) – Javier and the Astors are finishing the season strong and gearing up for what they hope will be a long October. Javier has only gone 10-9 but has an impressive 2.65 ERA, 3.22 FIP and 11.8 K/9. His strikeout rate makes him a great fantasy play, providing him with both a high ceiling and a high floor.
The 25-year-old righty has produced over 19 DKFP in seven of his eight most recent starts giving up just eight earned runs with 59 strikeouts in 48 1⁄3 innings. He faced the Rays two starts ago and only allowed one hit in five innings, striking out six and finishing with 24.3 DKFP. He followed that with six one-hit innings against the Orioles for 28.9 DKFP in his most recent outing. Even though the Rays are a playoff team and not a great matchup, Javier has been so locked in that it’s worth looking past the matchup and playing him at this relatively affordable salary
Other Options – Max Scherzer ($11,000), Dylan Cease ($10,100)
Luis Ortiz, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals ($6,900) – There are definitely safer options on the board, including Jordan Montgomery ($7,600) on the other side of this NL Central matchup. However, I love the upside Ortiz brings, and the 23-year-old has been very impressive in his three starts for Pittsburgh. In 15 1⁄3 innings, Ortiz has struck out 17 and allowed just two earned runs on five hits.
He took a tough-luck loss in his most recent start, departing a scoreless game only to have the bullpen allow an inherited runner to score and hang the L on him. He is still in search of his first MLB win, but his strikeout production has helped him produce over 16 DKFP in each of his MLB starts, even though one came on the road against the Yankees. He’ll be in a similar road matchup in this contest but brings the potential to be a great value under $7K as he continues to make a strong case for being included in the Pirates’ rotation next season.
Other Option – Jordan Montgomery ($7,600), Michael Grove ($5,300)
Pete Alonso, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves ($5,300) – After 157 games, the Mets and Braves have identical records atop the NL East. Alonso and the Mets will try to take the lead as they face Kyle Wright ($8,700), who Alonso has gone 4-for-11 (.364) against in his career with a pair of home runs.
The Polar Bear has 40 homers on the season, and five of them have come in his nine most recent matchups, during which he has gone 10-for-36 (.278) with 16 RBI, a .451 wOBA and a stolen base added on top for good measure. He has averaged 15.1 DKFP per contest over his past nine games and is a good spot to pay up for power potential.
José Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($5,200) – After an impressive first half, Shane McClanahan ($8,900) has struggled a bit including giving up nine runs in nine innings over his two most recent starts against the Astros and the Blue Jays. Since he has struggled, Altuve is a good option since he has crushed lefties all year. He’s hitting .328 against southpaws with 10 homers and a .446 wOBA. He has also been better at home than on the road, and has multiple hits in five of his past nine starts, going 14-for-32 (.438) with two doubles and four homers.
Other Options – Trea Turner ($5,400), Alex Bregman ($4,500)
Luis Rengifo, Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers ($4,200) – Rengifo has also been a great play against lefties this season and is finishing the season with a torrid stretch in the leadoff spot for the Halos. Rengifo has hit safely in 13 of his past 15 games, going 20-for-68 (.294) with a double and six home runs. On the season, he’s hitting .331 against southpaws like Cole Ragans ($5,000) with 11 of his 17 homers and a .408 wOBA. Since he’s eligible at 3B and 2B, he can fit in multiple lineup constructions.
Miguel Vargas, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies ($2,300) – Vargas also brings a lot of roster flexibility with eligibility at 1B and OF. The rookie has regularly been starting against lefties and has produced 7.6 DKFP per start over his past five times in the lineup. The 22-year-old prospect hit .304 with 17 home runs, 16 stolen bases and a .397 wOBA in Triple-A and hit lefties well at that level. He is a cheap way to get a piece of what should be a good Dodgers stack highlighted below against Kyle Freeland ($6,400).
Other Options – Nathaniel Lowe ($3,500), Albert Pujols ($2,900)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,600) – Betts has put together another great season for the Dodgers and is hitting .272 with 35 homers and 12 stolen bases in 138 games. He has thrived against lefties like Freeland this year, hitting .311 with a .421 wOBA against southpaws. He also has been piling up extra-base hits and has an impressive .286 ISO and .386 wOBA since August 1st. He started this extended series against the Rockies with 17 DKFP in the Dodgers’ 10-run assault on Friday night, and he should be poised to produce again in this favorable spot against Freeland.
Taylor Ward, Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers ($4,200) – Across the City of Angels, Ward and the Angels have a good matchup against a lefty as well. Ward has run hot-and-cold this year but has set a new career-high with 23 homers and hit .283 with a .366 wOBA overall. He has fairly balanced splits in general, but he hits lefties very well at home for some reason. In his 28 games against southpaws at Angel Stadium, he is hitting .400 with three homers and a .477 wOBA. He also comes into this matchup hot with four straight multi-hit games, and he has hit safely in 14 of his 15 most recent contests, going 24-for-55 (.436) with five homers and a .530 wOBA over that span.
Other Options – Mike Trout ($5,800), Bryan Reynolds ($5,300)
Sean Bouchard, Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,300) – The Rockies are letting some of their younger players get extra run down the stretch, and Bouchard is opening some eyes with good production. He hit .300 with 20 homers and a .429 at Triple-A and has gone 16-for-56 (.286) with a pair of home runs and a .399 wOBA in his 22 games in the Majors. Bouchard has hit safely in five of his past six games, going 8-for-18 (.444) with six walks, a home run and an impressive .548 wOBA. He’s a nice cheap play in the OF who is mostly flying under the radar but bringing nice production.
Garrett Mitchell, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Miami Marlins ($2,100) – Mitchell is another bargain OF to consider who is playing well down the stretch. After getting two hits and 15 DKFP on Friday in the series opener against Miami, he has had multiple hits in four straight games in which he has gotten multiple at-bats. He often enters as a defensive replacement which skews his DKFP per game average down, but he has gone 12-for-25 (.522) over his past 11 contests with two doubles and three stolen bases. He often ends up serving as a “second leadoff” hitter from the ninth spot in the order, making him a nice play at barely over the minimum salary.
Other Options – Chris Taylor ($3,400), Trayce Thompson ($2,400)
TEAMS TO STACK
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies – The Dodgers have been a great stack for most of the season, and that continues as they take on Kyle Freeland on Saturday. Freeland is 9-11 in 30 starts this season but has allowed 19 homers. He has been scuffling lately, giving up 34 runs on 71 hits over 60 1⁄3 innings dating back to when he most recently faced the Dodgers 11 starts ago.
Betts and Vargas will off sneaky correlation if they bat 1-9 and help balance salaries out as well. Chris Taylor ($3,400) is 7-for-29 with three homers against Freeland in the past, and Trea Turner ($5,400) also has two homers against the lefty. Freeland has also allowed lefties to post a .399 wOBA against him this year, so lefties like Freddie Freeman ($5,400) and Max Muncy ($4,700) are also options to consider. For salary relief, Trayce Thompson ($2,400) and Hanser Alberto ($2,000) are options to consider along with Vargas.
Chicago White Sox at San Diego Padres – It has been a disappointing season for the White Sox, but they bring nice upside as they take on Mike Clevinger ($5,900), who has also not lived up to expectations. Clevinger has allowed at least four runs in four of his five most recent outings, surrendering 20 runs on 27 hits in 23 innings over that span. Thirteen of the 19 homers he has given up have been to left-handed hitters, so there is a nice split to attack.
Gavin Sheets ($2,400) and Mark Payton ($2,100) are both left-handed options that make sense if you need cheap plays in the OF, while Yoan Moncada ($3,800) and Yasmani Grandal ($3,100) will swing around to the left side for the matchup. There is also always power potential in the middle of the order with José Abreu ($4,800) and Eloy Jiménez ($4,700), and Elvis Andrus ($4,000) has been productive at the top of the order since joining the team in mid-August and filling in for Tim Anderson. The White Sox are affordable as a group and can be combined nicely with the Dodgers or other higher-priced bats you are building around.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.