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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets for Yankees vs. Guardians Showdown on October 16

Zach Thompson gives his top MLB lineup advice for Sunday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Guardians and Yankees.

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

After an amazing Saturday featuring four postseason games, there is just a single game on the Major League Baseball schedule for Sunday. The San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies are set to meet in the National League Championship Series starting Tuesday while the Houston Astros await the winner of the series between the Cleveland Guardians and the New York Yankees.

The Guardians rallied for a dramatic win on Saturday night, coming from two runs down in the ninth to win in walk-off fashion. If they win on Sunday, they’ll advance to take on Houston, but if the Yankees win, the decisive Game 5 will be Monday night in the Bronx.

Since it’s the only game on the schedule for the day, it’s a nice Showdown slate for Sunday Night Baseball. As you get your lineups assembled for the great DraftKings contests, check out some of my favorite options highlighted below.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $60K Relay Throw [$20K to 1st] (NYY vs CLE)

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Captain’s Picks

Gerrit Cole ($17,100) – The starting pitching matchup definitely favors the Yankees as Cole faces Cal Quantrill ($15,000 CP) in a rematch of Game 1. In that game, Cole struck out eight in 6 13 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and producing 28.7 DKFP. It was Cole’s strongest showing in a while after a mediocre second half. He did not pitch well last year in the postseason but has a history of October success dating back to when he was with the Astros. He is 9-5 in 15 career playoff starts with a 2.83 ERA, 3.66 FIP and 11.6 K/9. That great strikeout rate gives Cole both a high ceiling and the ability to cushion the impact of any runs he allows. He has shown that upside with 23 strikeouts in 19 innings against Cleveland this year while going 3-0 and giving up just three runs. The Guardians’ success so far this postseason has come from “small ball” and clutch, late hitting, so even when they win, they haven’t been roughing up opposing starters. Cole is likely to be very chalky, but that’s because he clearly brings the highest ceiling of any player available.

José Ramírez ($14,700) – If you’re not willing to eat the Cole chalk, Ramírez has been the best Guardians hitter most of the year and has carried that success into the playoffs. He had three singles on Saturday and is 8-for-23 (.348) with two doubles, a home run and a .404 wOBA in his five games this postseason. He is the only Guardian with notable success in the past against Cole, going 5-for-16 (.313) with a pair of home runs. If Cleveland gets to Cole and gets him out of the game early, it will likely involve a big performance from Ramírez, who anchors the heart of the Guardians order.

Flex Plays

Gleyber Torres ($8,000) – Torres finished the year as one of the Yankees’ hottest hitters, going 28-for-74 (.378) over his final 18 games with five home runs, 23 RBI and a .458 wOBA. He can sometimes get lost in the shadows of some of the Yankees’ bigger sluggers, but he has been one of my favorite Bronx Bombers to play this year since he does hit for solid average as well as provide that home run potential. He’s also surprisingly cheap and usually hits in a prime spot in the batting order, even moving to the leadoff spot in Game 3.

Amed Rosario ($7,400) – For the second straight season, Rosario has been a key part of Cleveland’s offense. He hit exactly 11 home runs in each of those two seasons while posting a .315 wOBA in 2021 and a .311 wOBA in 2022. He has at least seven DKFP in four of his five playoff games, going 5-for-22 (.227) with a home run, a stolen base and a .294 wOBA. Rosario provides both power and speed potential, and his typical second spot in the lineup gives him strong correlation with Ramírez if you’re looking to go with a mini Guardians stack.

Value Plays

Oscar González ($7,200) – Saturday night’s walk-off hero also homered to end the marathon scoreless game against the Rays last weekend. The 24-year-old rookie made his MLB debut on May 26 and finished his first campaign with a flourish, hitting .316 with four home runs and a .347 wOBA over his final 23 regular season games. He has gone 6-for-23 (.261) with that walk-off home run, four RBI and a .300 wOBA in the playoffs. While there’s still significant swing-and-miss potential with González, he’s quickly becoming an October legend for his clutch performances for “the ‘Land.”

Oswaldo Cabrera ($6,600) – Cabrera was one of my most frequently used outfield values coming down the stretch, but he struggled in his first two games in the playoffs, going 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Getting out of Yankee Stadium may have lifted the pressure just enough, though, since he came through Saturday with a huge 23 DKFP including his first postseason home run complete with a memorable bat flip. Like his fellow-rookie González, Cabrera finished the season hot, going 24-for-79 (.304) with six homers, three stolen bases and a .420 wOBA over his final 23 regular season contests. The two young OF are both solid value options to consider in Game 4.

Harrison Bader ($6,200) – If you have to go even cheaper in a flex spot, Bader brings nice upside with his combination of power and speed. He has homered twice in the series already and totaled 33 DKFP while starting each of the first three games. Bader has played in the playoffs in four straight years and should stay in the lineup due to his strong defense as well as his offensive potential.


Anthony Rizzo ($9,000) – The Yankees’ big bats of Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton ($9,400) and Aaron Judge ($10,200) have each homered in this series but have only gone a combined 4-for-31 (.129). They have exemplified “all-or-nothing” and can sink your lineup if you pay up and get nothing for your investment. Rizzo in particular is in a tougher matchup since Quantrill held lefties to a .228 average this season and a .210 average when pitching at home. I know Rizzo got to Quantrill for a home run in Game 1, but I don’t see that happening again in this contest, so I’m avoiding the Yankees’ slugger in the rematch.

The Outcome

The Guardians have shown they can beat the Yankees by playing small ball, getting to the bullpen and edging out tight, dramatic games. However, they don’t really have the firepower in their lineup to match the Yankees when the Bronx Bombers are all dialed in. The Yankees bats appeared to be waking up in Game 3 with Judge and Cabrera homering, but all that unraveled thanks to a ninth-inning meltdown.

While the Yankees’ bullpen is still an issue and I like the Guardians' chances if the series goes to a Game 5 with Shane Bieber on the mound, I can’t count on Quantrill to match Cole in this contest. A winner-take-all showdown to start the week on Monday sounds great to me, so I’ll take the Yankees to make that happen by picking up a win on Sunday with their Ace on the hill.

Final Score: New York Yankees 7, Cleveland Guardians 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $60K Relay Throw [$20K to 1st] (NYY vs CLE)

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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.