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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Phillies vs. Padres DraftKings MLB DFS Showdown Strategy for October 18

Garion Thorne preps you for Tuesday’s NLCS contest between the Phillies and the Padres with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

It’s not the NLCS that anyone expected, but I don’t think anyone outside of Los Angeles or Atlanta is complaining too much. The Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres, flawed as they are, both bring a boatload of star power to the table. Aces on the mound and big bats at the top of each lineup. What’s not to like?

Let’s break down Game 1 from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: MLB Showdown $100K Relay Throw [$25K to 1st] (PHI vs SD)


Captain’s Picks

Zack Wheeler ($15,900 CP) - Injuries prevented him from being involved in the race for NL Cy Young, but Wheeler is on the heels of another phenomenal campaign. In fact, in the final 23 starts the right-hander made during the regular season, Wheeler posted a 2.31 ERA and a 2.79 FIP with a 27.9% strikeout rate. Those are elite numbers. He’s carried that success over to the playoffs through two appearances, and though the strikeout numbers haven’t been amazing — he’s induced just 17 whiffs on this 175 pitches — I’m more than willing to trust the larger sample. It’s also key to note that the Padres were very pedestrian against RHPs throughout 2022. San Diego did manage a 101 wRC+ within the split, yet it ranked 18th in OPS (.698) and 19th in ISO (.141).

Rhys Hoskins ($12,900 CP) - When you’re dealing with two pitchers this good, you have to start nitpicking the stats. Yu Darvish ($10,800) is a stud. He’s also been particularly great when pitching at Petco Park in 2022, as indicated by a 2.60 ERA and an opponent batting average of just .188 within the split. However, for as wonderful as Darvish has been on the whole, home runs have started to become an issue. In the veteran’s final 11 outings of the regular season, Darvish surrendered 1.37 home runs per nine. Now, in his two postseason appearances, the 36-year-old has conceded four opponent long balls in only 12.0 innings of work. It seems like someone on the Phillies is going to tag Darvish on Tuesday, and my money’s on a right-handed bat, as RHBs have made far more contact against Darvish this season. It doesn’t hurt that Hoskins has hit Darvish well in the past, either, with a 1.132 OPS in 18 career plate appearances.

UTIL Plays

Josh Bell ($6,800) - If I’m being completely honest, Bell has been lost at the plate since being traded from Washington. Still, when the Padres have gone up against a right-handed opponent so far in the playoffs, it’s Bell who is batting clean-up. Considering he’s just the seventh-most expensive San Diego bat on this slate, it’s not hard to see where Bell might have some value. It’s also not like he’s completely devoid of upside. For the season as a whole, Bell possessed a 121 wRC+ as a left-handed hitter. For his career, he has a .201 ISO and a .827 OPS within the split across nearly 2,500 plate appearances. The man has some serious pop in his bat.

Jose Alvarado ($4,000) - You need to pick a script and stick to it when it comes to building Showdown lineups. So let’s review what we have so far. If I have Wheeler out-pitching Darvish, that means I have the Phillies carrying a lead to the late innings. If that turns out to be the case, Alvarado will be called upon to face the middle of the Padres’ order at some point, with lefties Juan Soto ($9,200) and Jake Cronenworth ($8,000) sandwiching Manny Machado ($9,600) and the switch-hitting Bell. That’s going to be the southpaw’s lane in this whole series. Alvarado has the stuff to make a DFS impact in a limited time frame, too, as he struck out 37.9% of the 214 batters he faced during the regular season.


Trent Grisham ($5,200) - I get it. He’s super cheap and he’s slashing .381/.519/.810 in his 27 plate appearances so far in the playoffs. Here’s the thing. Everyone is going to be using him to save some cash. He’ll more than likely be hitting eighth in Padres’ order. He was absolutely terrible against right-handed pitching during the regular season. I mean it. Terrible. Among the 153 players with at least 350 plate appearances within the split, Grisham’s .177 average was the lowest in baseball. Thanks to a high walk rate and a little pop, Grisham’s .281 wOBA is only the 18th-worst in the same grouping, but you get the idea. When a bad player is the chalk, that’s a pretty easy avoid.


I’m definitely leaning with the Phillies to kick things off in the NLCS. I’ll give the slight edge to Wheeler on the mound — especially with Darvish’s recent home run issues — while Philadelphia easily had the more consistent lineup throughout the regular season. Can I interest anyone in Phillies on the moneyline at plus-money?

Final Score: Philadelphia 4, San Diego 2

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: MLB Showdown $100K Relay Throw [$25K to 1st] (PHI vs SD)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.