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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets for Yankees vs. Guardians Showdown on October 17

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

Only one of the four Division Series has gone the distance this year, and we’ll get a thrilling Game 5 on Monday night between the Cleveland Guardians and the New York Yankees. The Yankees got a pair of wins in Game 1 and Game 4 behind strong starts from Gerrit Cole, but the Guardians won Game 2 in New York and rallied for a dramatic walk-off win in Game 3.

Due to a rainout last week, this will be the third day in a row for this series, meaning neither team will be able to bring back their Game 2 starter as their starting pitcher for this contest. It will be an “all hands on deck” situation, though, so who knows what drama could unfold out of the bullpen.

Since it’s the only game on the schedule, there are several large Showdown contests to start the week. 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 $150K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st] (NYY vs CLE)

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.

Captain’s Picks

Harrison Bader ($9,000) – The Yankees have plenty of power in their lineup, but it has been Bader who has surprisingly been slugging them to wins in this series.

The mid-season acquisition from the Cardinals was on the 60-day IL with a foot injury and didn’t return until September 20. He went 10-for-46 (.217) with three doubles, two stolen bases and just a .232 wOBA. Bader did show during his time with the Cardinals, though, that he can get into a zone and provide bursts of power production. Fortunately for the Yankees, one of those bursts has coincided with the ALDS. He has gone 4-for-14 (.286) with three home runs and a .507 wOBA in the series.

Depending on how long he can sustain this run, he could be poised to be the latest postseason hero to rise from regular season mediocrity with a legendary October (like Steve Pearce, Eddie Rosario and Adam Kennedy). Bader does bring a high ceiling with his combination of power and speed, and at such an affordable salary, you can fill in your flex with other big bats. This looks to be a spot to stack hitters, and going with Bader at your Captain’s Pick allows lots of flexibility to lean into the bigger bats from either lineup.

Aaron Civale ($15,600) – Both starting pitchers are actually pretty risky options in this contest. Both Civale and Jameson Taillon ($15,900 CP) struggled late in the season and will be on short leashes in this “win or go home” contest. Of the two, though, Civale is my preferred play.

His season-long numbers are ugly, but he has been much sharper since returning from a month-long stay on the IL due to forearm inflammation. Civale went 3-0 in four starts after returning, allowing exactly two earned runs in each of those four starts with a 3.27 ERA, 3.66 FIP and 9.41 K/9. He struck out nine in his final start of the regular season and finished with 27.9 DKFP — his third straight outing with over 20 DKFP. Civale did face the Yankees twice this season and was hit hard both times, but both outings were prior to his late-season resurgence. This will be the first postseason of his career, but he offers a better strikeout ceiling than Taillon, and the Yankees’ lineup also brings plenty of swing-and-miss potential. If you’re building around a pitcher for Monday’s slate, Civale is definitely my preferred pick.

Flex Plays

José Ramírez ($10,000) – Ramírez has been the Guardians’ best bat all year and has continued to hit well in the postseason. He has hit safely in each of the four games in this series, going 7-for-17 (.412) with a pair of doubles in his two games at Yankee Stadium. Ramírez also had a clutch home run in the Wild Card series vs. the Rays. During the regular season, Ramírez actually performed better on the road, where he hit 18 of his 29 homers and posted a .379 wOBA and 151 wRC+. The Yankees bullpen seems to be stretched to the max, so stacking up Guardians bats is a solid strategy to consider, and that stack should start with Ramírez.

Anthony Rizzo ($9,400) – Rizzo had two hits in Game 4 and has gone 4-for-14 (.286) in this series with a home run and a .422 wOBA. He was actually my fade pick Sunday, but I’m much higher on him in this matchup against Civale. Rizzo has gone 5-for-10 with a pair of home runs against Civale in the past and hit 20 of his 33 home runs this year at Yankee Stadium. Coming back to the Bronx should set up well for the lefty to attack that short RF porch against Civale.

Value Plays

Gleyber Torres ($7,800) – Torres has moved into the leadoff spot for the past two games for the Yankees and brings a ton of upside if he’s in that prime lineup spot again on Monday. He has only gone 3-for-16 (.188) in the series but does have a stolen base. He actually had a strong playoff resume coming into this year, hitting .325 with five home runs in his previous 22 postseason contests, so the stage won’t be too big for him. He brings power and speed to a premier run-production spot, so Torres is a breakout candidate who can bring awesome value and could even be a Captain’s Pick if you want to lean into a Yankees stack.

Oscar González ($7,200) – González was the hero on Saturday with a walk-off single and also homered to knock the Rays out in the Wild Card game. The rookie hit .316 with four home runs and a .347 wOBA over his final 23 regular season games, and he has continued to hit well in the playoffs, hitting safely in five of his six postseason contests. He does strike out a lot still, but he brings enough upside to be worth a look at just over $7K.


Jameson Taillon ($10,600) – Having Taillon on the mound for a decisive game probably wasn’t what Yankees fans had in mind when they laid out their path to postseason success. He started the season great but struggled during the summer before a decent finishing stretch. He has pitched in only one postseason game in his career, and that was Game 2 when he allowed hits to each of the three batters he faced out of the bullpen.

In his 12 most recent starts, dating back to August 1, Taillon has surrendered 12 home runs while registering a 4.21 ERA, 4.37 FIP and only a 7.77 K/9. The Yankees will likely have a quick hook with Taillon, and his limited strikeout potential doesn’t merit his position as the highest salary in the showdown.

The Outcome

The Guardians have shown they can beat the Yankees in New York, and the Yankees bullpen has been taxed over the past few days. In a winner-take-all game, anything can happen. Shane Bieber ($11,000) could end up being the key if he works in relief, and overall, I trust Cleveland’s pitchers more than the Yankees’. In the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium with arms tapped out, I think there will be plenty of runs scored in what hopefully will be an instant classic.

Final Score: Cleveland Guardians 7, New York Yankees 6

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $150K Relay Throw [$50K 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.