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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets for Phillies vs. Astros Showdown on October 29

Zach Thompson gives his top MLB lineup advice for Saturday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Phillies and Astros.

Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Two Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Game 2 of the World Series is set for Saturday night, and it should be another fascinating contest. If Friday’s Game 1 was any indication, we’re in for a great series of closely contested, drama-filled games. Late Friday night, J.T. Realmuto ($7,800) stepped up as the hero with an extra-inning home run that capped his team’s comeback from five runs down to get the Game 1 victory.

The Houston Astros need a win to even the series at one win a piece and avoid an 0-2 hole going on the road. The Philadelphia Phillies already got the one road win they needed to steal home-field advantage but will look to keep riding the heater that has carried them from barely making the playoffs to being very well set up to claim the franchise’s third World Series title.

To help make Game 2 even more exciting, there are several large Showdown contests available on DraftKings. As you get your Saturday squad assembled, check out some of my favorite options to build around highlighted below.

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

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

Framber Valdez ($16,200) – I rarely select the most expensive player as my Captain’s Pick, but Valdez is the best play of the night by a wide margin, so I’m willing to spend up to build around the Astros’ Game 2 starter. Friday’s two high-profile starters disappointed with both Justin Verlander (6.45 DKFP) and Aaron Nola (4.95 DKFP) surrendering five runs. This matchup between Valdez and Zack Wheeler ($15,900 CP) should be a great opportunity for starting pitchers to shine since both have been dominant in the postseason.

Of the two SPs, I prefer Valdez due to his strikeout potential and a slightly better matchup. In his two postseason starts, Valdez has 15 strikeouts in 12 23 innings, allowing just two earned runs on eight hits. He actually faced the Phillies in Houston at the end of the regular season and struck out 10 in five shutout innings on his way to his 17th win of the season and 33.5 DKFP. He had a similar nine-strikeout, 35.4-DKFP performance in his most recent outing against the big bats of the Yankees.

During the regular season, Valdez held lefties to a .192 batting average and .236 wOBA and only allowed two home runs total over his final six starts of the regular season. He finished the year with a 23.5% strikeout rate, and the Phillies had a 22.8% strikeout rate against lefties. If Valdez can keep the homer-happy Phillies in the ballpark, he should be able to pile up strikeouts and produce a nice final line.

Jeremy Peña ($12,900) – If you’re looking for a bat to build around that saves enough salary to stack the SPs in UTIL spots or allows you to get all the big hitters, Peña is a solid Captain’s Pick who can deliver a high ceiling but also comes at an attractive price tag.

The 25-year-old rookie stepped in for Carlos Correa this season and was an excellent contributor, hitting .253 with 22 home runs, 20 doubles, 11 stolen bases and a .309 wOBA. His strong plate approach led to him locking down the second spot in the batting order and hitting .278 with a .340 wOBA and 123 wRC+ in his 29 regular season games after September 1. The postseason spotlight has not shined too brightly for the youngster, and he has stepped up with a hit in seven of his eight playoff contests, including a team-high three home runs while hitting .289 with a .397 wOBA. His lineup spot provides him plenty of run production potential sandwiched between Jose Altuve ($12,600 CP) and Alex Bregman ($13,500 CP).

While lefties hit more home runs off of Wheeler this season, righties had a better average and wOBA, giving a slight advantage to Peña, Altuve, Bregman and the Astros' other right-handed hitters.

Flex Plays

Alex Bregman ($9,000) – Bregman doubled in the tenth, but the Astros couldn’t plate him as the tying run. This postseason, he has been one of Houston’s most consistent hitters, going 11-for-34 (.324) with three doubles, two homers and a .413 wOBA. Bregman was much better at home throughout the season, so look for him to put together a strong Game 2 to help his team even the series before the stage shifts to Philly.

Rhys Hoskins ($8,800) – While the Phillies do rely on some big left-handed power hitters, Hoskins gets a huge boost whenever facing a southpaw. Hoskins hit .286 with a .404 wOBA and 162 wRC+ against lefties this year compared to hitting .233 with a .325 wOBA and 108 wRC+ against righties. Hoskins has only gone 9-for-49 (.184) this postseason but five of those nine hits have been home runs, giving him a .314 wOBA. He’s a little boom-or-bust but brings strong upside under $9K based on the matchup.

Value Plays

J.T. Realmuto ($7,800) – Game 1’s hero not only had the extra-inning blast that proved to be the difference in the game, he also was instrumental in the Phillies’ five-run rally to tie the game against Verlander. He finished with a team-high 25 DKFP. The home run was his third of the postseason and raised his wOBA to .366 for his 12 postseason contests. He has gone 12-for-45 (.267) with a double, six walks and 11 runs scored in the playoffs and is a solid option under $8K. It’s still too early to start the MVP discussion, but if he has another big game on Saturday, he could take the early pole position.

Chas McCormick ($5,800) – The Astros hoped that McCormick would lock in as their everyday CF all year long, but he scuffled early in the season. He only hit .215 before July 1 but turned things around and hit .269 with a .348 wOBA after July 1. He has continued that success in the postseason, hitting .261 with a pair of homers and a .388 wOBA. At this salary, he’s a great potential source of power in the bottom part of the Astros’ potent lineup.

Matt Vierling ($4,000) – Vierling has been platooning with Brandon Marsh ($5,400) in CF this postseason and has drawn three starts this postseason against left-handed starting pitchers. He has gone 2-for-9 (.222) in those three stars with a double and a run scored. During the regular season, the 26-year-old righty hit .295 against southpaws with two of his three home runs and a .327 wOBA. He’s more than just a punt play based on that in-season success against lefties and brings good upside if he’s in the lineup at this minimum salary.


Kyle Schwarber ($9,600) – Fading either of the Phillies’ power-hitting lefties can come back to haunt you in a hurry, but there’s only so much salary space to spread around. At this price, I’m passing on Schwarber on this matchup. During the regular season, he hit only .193 against lefties, although he did still smash 10 home runs in 229 plate appearances. Since July 1, Schwarber has only gone 16-for-94 (.170) against lefties with 31 strikeouts (30.1% strikeout rate). This postseason, he is 1-for-13 (.077) against southpaws with two walks and four strikeouts.

Schwarber is a proven postseason producer and even added a stolen base in Game 1, so there’s definitely potential for production. I’m definitely not here to hate on Schwarber, but I do prefer other options in this salary range given his struggles against southpaws.

The Outcome

The Phillies were extremely aggressive with their bullpen and went “all in” to win Game 1 of the series. The strategy paid off and put the Astros in a place where they have to respond in Game 2. Behind a strong start from Framber Valdez, that’s exactly what I think they will do.

While Wheeler has also been excellent, I think the Astros will piece together just enough production to squeak out a narrow victory and send this series to Philadelphia tied 1-to-1 for Game 3 on Monday. Hopefully, Game 1 is a sign that we’re set up for a close and exciting World Series, and a split of the two games in Houston sets us up for an extended series with plenty of drama over the next week.

Final Score: Houston Astros 3, Philadelphia Phillies 2

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

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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.