After a great start to the Major League Baseball postseason on Friday, Saturday is set to bring even more drama in what should be another beautiful day of fantasy baseball on DraftKings’ main four-game slate, which gets underway at 12:07 p.m. ET. After Game 1 wins on Friday, the Phillies, Guardians, Mariners and Padres are looking to move on to the Division Series with a second straight victory. On the other side of the matchups, the Cardinals, Rays, Blue Jays and Mets face elimination if they can’t pull out a win. I’m a huge fan of this format, and it should bring plenty of excitement again on Saturday.
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 postseason.
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($9,100) – Nola and the Phillies will look to finish off the Cardinals in what should be a favorable matchup against Miles Mikolas ($6,000). Nola had a better year than his 11-13 record and 3.25 ERA would indicate, as shown by his 2.58 FIP and 10.32 K/9.
The Phillies’ ace finished the year on a nice run with zero or one earned runs allowed in four of his six final starts of the regular season and 45 punchouts in 34 1⁄3 innings over that span. Nola did get knocked around a little bit when he faced St. Louis during the regular season, but he’ll hope for a better showing in this contest. The splits are in his favor since he was better on the road than at home this season, and he has excellent career numbers head-to-head against Paul Goldschmidt ($5,700) (3-for-20) and Nolan Arenado ($4,800) (3-for-15).
Other Option – Jacob deGrom ($10,400)
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres at New York Mets($7,900) – Snell’s resurgence has been one of the keys to the Padres’ playoff push, and the postseason veteran will try to carry over that momentum into the postseason. He finished the year 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA, 2.80 FIP and 12.02 K/9, his highest strikeout rate since 2019.
He went just 3-3 over his final seven starts of the season but allowed one or zero runs in five of those outings. He struck out 55 batters in 41 innings in his push to the playoffs with over 20 DKFP in six of those final seven outings. He had one strong outing and one struggle of an outing against the Mets during the regular season, but Snell’s recent form and postseason experience should set him up for a strong outing Saturday. He and Robbie Ray ($7,100) each bring a high ceiling due to strikeout potential, but Snell’s recent form and the fact that the Mets are mediocre against lefties give Snell the edge in my mind.
Other Option – Robbie Ray ($7,100)
José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($6,100) – Ramírez was the Game 1 hero with a two-run bomb and 19 DKFP. The switch-hitting 3B put together another great season with the Guardians and has become the face of the franchise. He hit .280 in his 157 games this season with 29 homers and a .363 wOBA. He now has a six-game hitting streak dating back to the regular season and has gone 11-for-25 (.440) over that stretch with two doubles, two homers and two stolen bases. He has an extremely high ceiling with multiple ways to produce big fantasy points.
JT Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($5,300) – Realmuto was just 1-for-4 with a run scored in Game 1, but he extended his hitting streak to six straight games and continued to prove to be one of the best hitting backstops in the Majors. Realmuto was sizzling over the final month of the season and went 26-for-82 (.317) with seven homers and a .413 wOBA over the final 22 games of the regular season. He and the Phillies are in a good matchup, highlighted below in stacks, so building around him as a cornerstone of your roster makes sense.
Other Options – Francisco Lindor ($4,800), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,700), Amed Rosario ($4,300)
Bryson Stott, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($2,900) – Stott is a solid, affordable option at SS. The rookie hit just .234 on the season with 10 homers and 12 stolen bases, but he contributed much more down the stretch, hitting .271 with two homers, four stolen bases and a .312 wOBA over the final month of the regular season. He worked a pair of walks on Friday and finished with 8.0 DKFP.
Adam Frazier, Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($2,500) – Frazier is another cost-saving lefty middle infielder to consider. He and the Mariners will take on Kevin Gausman ($6,800) in Game 2, and Frazier has hit him very well in the past, going 13-for-32 (.406). While Frazier doesn’t typically bring a ton of power production, he does a good job making contact and getting on base. Like Stott, Frazier has been more productive lately, hitting .278 (10-for-36) over the final 11 games of the regular season and adding two stolen bases and three doubles.
Other Options – Cal Raleigh ($3,600), Josh Bell ($3,400)
Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($5,400) – Schwarber is often an all-or-nothing option, and in Game 1 he came up empty, going 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts. He should be set up to bounce back against Mikolas, though, and brings a very high ceiling when he does make contact. Schwarber smashed nine homers out of his 46 homers in the final 19 games of the regular season and had an impressive .465 wOBA. He is always a boom-or-bust play, but hopefully, it’s boom time in Game 2’s matchup with Mikolas
George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Seattle Mariners ($5,100) – Springer was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning of Game 1, but X-rays were negative. If he is in the lineup against Robbie Ray, he’ll be worth considering since he has a good history against Ray, going 6-for-15 with two home runs. He also finished the season strong with six homers in September and October with a .352 wOBA. Springer went 2-for-4 before getting hit by the pitch and is now hitting .272 (72-for-264) in his 63 career postseason games with 19 homers and a wOBA over .375.
Other Options – Julio Rodríguez ($6,000), Teoscar Hernández ($4,400)
Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($3,600) – Castellanos didn’t have a great season statistically, but he’s always in the heart of the Phillies’ lineup and brings good power potential. The veteran hit .288 with five home runs and a .323 wOBA in the second half, and went 6-for-25 after returning from a strained right oblique which sidelined him for much of September. He is 4-for-15 (.400) with a pair of home runs in his career against Mikolas, and it’s a matchup where he brings good upside.
Myles Straw, Cleveland Guardians vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($2,500) – Straw was in his typical spot, ninth in the order for the series opener. He went 1-for-3 with 3.0 DKFP on a single, but I’m still a huge fan of his upside as Cleveland looks to advance. Over the final 28 games of the season, Straw hit .330 (32-for-97) with six stolen bases. He was successful on each of his last 14 stolen base attempts and in 21 bases of his past 22.
Other Options – Mark Canha ($3,900), Wil Myers ($3,100), Trent Grisham ($2,300)
TEAMS TO STACK
Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals – The Phillies were scoreless for eight innings of Game 1, but a monster ninth inning has put them on the brink of the NLDS. They face Miles Mikolas on Saturday, which should put them in a good place to succeed. Mikolas has pitched to contact throughout his career and never racks up many strikeouts. He went 12-13 on the year with a 3.29 ERA, 3.87 FIP and 25 home runs allowed in 32 starts. He isn’t awful, but he isn’t as hard a matchup as the other options on the board. The Cardinals will have to have a quick hook with Mikolas with their season on the line, but we saw how shaky their bullpen can be at times in their Game 1 implosion.
As highlighted, Schwarber, Stott, Realmuto and Castellanos are all strong plays. Bryce Harper ($5,900) hasn’t hit for a ton of power lately but also feels overdue, while Alec Bohm ($3,800) and Game 1 hero Jean Segura ($3,400) are solid mid-range options with Brandon Marsh ($2,700) and Stott as good value plays to help balance out your salary cap.
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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.