Friday night brings us another pair of MLB playoff matchups as both leagues continue their Championship Series after two great games on Thursday night. The two-game featured on DraftKings gets underway at 5:07 p.m. ET with Game 5 of the ALCS in Arlington, followed by Game 4 of the NLCS at 8:07 p.m. ET in Phoenix. Both series have already been fascinating and there should be more drama on tap Friday night. Let’s take a look at who you should be working to get into your DFS lineups for this slate.
Throughout the playoffs, be sure to keep up with the latest news and analysis in the DK Live app and follow DraftKings Network on X (@DKNetwork) for all the latest updates. I’m also on X (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks throughout what should be an outstanding postseason.
Jordan Montgomery, Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros ($8,600) – The top two pitchers on this slate are definitely in the ALCS, so you can go with both Montgomery and Justin Verlander ($9,400), but that will limit your ability to spend on hitters. If you decide to go with just one of the studs, Montgomery would be my pick since he has been so dominant in his recent outings. He shut down the Astros in Game 1 on his way to 26.7 DKFP, allowing just five hits while striking out six in 6 1⁄3 shutout innings. He also had over 25 DKFP in an excellent outing against Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round.
The lefty’s postseason success is a carry-over from his strong form at the end of the regular season. In his last four starts in September, he allowed just a total of two runs while posting a 0.67 ERA, 2.66 FIP and 0.89 WHIP to go with 22 strikeouts in 27 innings. Montgomery will have a big task slowing down the Astros’ lineup that has exploded for 18 runs in the last two games, but he has proven he can rise to the challenge. With the bullpen working 13 1⁄3 innings in the past two games, Montgomery will need to give the Rangers as many innings as possible, and if he continues his recent form, he should be lined up for another big fantasy game. If you’re going with just one AL starter, I recommend taking the savings and going with Montgomery.
Christopher Sanchez, Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks ($6,900) – If you don’t want to stack the two AL starters, Sanchez is the best alternative and will allow you to spend more on big bats since he comes over $1.5K cheaper than either AL option. Sanchez will be making his first appearance of the postseason, but the 26-year-old lefty is coming off a solid regular season. He threw a career-high 99 1⁄3 innings in the majors while going 3-5 in 19 games and compiling a 3.44 ERA, 3.99 FIP and 8.7 K/9.
Sanchez allowed more than three runs just once in his final eight starts of the season and had 48 strikeouts over his last 47 innings. During that span, he had a 3.45 ERA, 2.68 FIP and 9.2 K/9. He also should be on the right side of the splits against the Diamondbacks, who lean heavily left-handed. Sanchez held lefties to just a .133 batting average and .181 wOBA this season. He also had good splits on the road with a 2.08 road ERA and a 3.68 road FIP. He’s definitely a better option than what the Diamondbacks will cobble together, so pairing him with either Montgomery or Verlander gives your lineup a higher ceiling since both can get wins and also allows more flexibility to buy big bats.
Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,900) – Turner continues to be one of the most consistent producers this offseason and brings a very high ceiling to every matchup with both power and speed potential. He finished the season on an impressive roll and carried that right into the postseason. He has hit safely in each of his nine playoff games, going 16-for-34 (.471) with five doubles, three homers, four walks and four stolen bases. He has averaged 14.6 DKFP during his playoff run and hit for at least 20 DKFP in three of his last five games. Arizona’s pitching plan will be an adventure, so Turner should end up in favorable matchups with opportunities to produce another big game. I’m surprised that he’s cheaper than Corey Seager ($6,200), especially since he has a much more favorable matchup.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros at Texas Rangers ($5,600) – No one represents the Astros mid-series turnaround more than Altuve, who went 0-for-8 in Game 1 and Game 2 before catching fire and going 5-for-9 in Game 3 and Game 4 with 19 and 21 DKFP. He homered in Game 3 and stole a base in Game 4, and he brings both speed and power potential like Turner. For the most part, it makes sense to stack hitters from the NLCS, given the pitching matchup, but Altuve is one of the exceptions since he brings such a high ceiling.
Other Options – Bryce Harper ($5,500), Ketel Marte ($4,500)
Jose Abreu, Houston Astros at Texas Rangers ($3,900) – The other option on the Astros that deserves a look is Abreu. He had the big hit on Thursday, smashing a three-run homer after the Rangers battled back to tie the game. It was his fourth homer in eight games this postseason, which is especially remarkable since he had zero homers for the first 50 games of the regular season. In his eight playoff games, Abreu has gone 8-for-31 (.258) with 11 RBI and an average of 12.6 DKFP per contest. He’s also one of the few Astros who hit lefties better than righties.
Gabriel Moreno, Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies ($3,200) – Moreno moved up to the third spot in the Arizona lineup for Game 3 and went 1-for-4 with a double and five DKFP. He has been an excellent value this postseason, going 6-for 27 (.222) with three homers and six RBI to average 9.0 DKFP per start. He remains a very cheap option with a good power ceiling. He’s an even stronger play due to his matchup against Sanchez since he hit .352 with a .379 wOBA against lefties during the regular season. He was also much more productive at home than on the road, so he’s on the strong side of multiple splits this Friday.
Other Options – Josh Jung ($3,800), Evan Longoria ($2,900)
Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,800) – Castellanos had a rough Game 3, but he should be able to bounce back in this matchup against Arizona’s bullpen. In the postseason, Castellanos has gone 10-for-32 (.313) with five homers, a stolen base and an average of 12 DKFP per contest. He’s had a quiet NLCS so far, but he always brings enough power potential to be a breakout candidate, especially if he gets any at-bats against lefties like opener Joe Mantiply ($4,000).
Evan Carter, Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros ($4,000) – The bright lights of the postseason haven’t been overwhelming for the 21-year-old late-season call-up. He has gone 9-for-28 (.321) with five doubles, a home run, seven walks and a stolen base. He moved up to the third spot in the Rangers’ lineup the last two games, putting him in a premium run-producing spot if the Rangers can get their offense back in gear. Carter doubled and scored off Verlander in Game 1, and he has been one of Texas’s most consistent contributors during the playoffs. Getting all his upside for only $4K is definitely a strong option to consider, even though he will have to face Verlander again in Game 5.
Other Options – Yordan Alvarez ($6,300), Adolis Garcia ($5,000), Kyle Schwarber ($4,700)
Brandon Marsh, Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks ($3,100) – Marsh has hit safely in each of his last five games in the postseason and is 8-for-23 (.348) in the playoffs with three doubles, three walks and a home run. He has averaged 9.3 DKFP per start in the postseason, and he has been starting in all the games except when facing lefties. If you need a cheap outfield option, Marsh brings a very nice upside.
Tommy Pham, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($3,300) – Pham has been limited to DH duties since late September due to turf toe, but he was able to return to the outfield in Game 3 of this series. That enables more lineup flexibility for Arizona, which needs as many options as it can get, especially against a lefty. Pham is one of the better Dbacks against southpaws and had a strong .333 wOBA and nine of his 16 homers this season against lefties. Pham has only gone 1-for-11 in this series, but he still brings enough upside to be a good bargain play given his established track record and the fact that he posted 27 and 13 DKFP in two games against the Dodgers in the previous round.
Other Options – Chas McCormick ($3,500), Leody Taveras ($3,100)
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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 skills 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.