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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Yankees vs. Red Sox Showdown on October 5

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Tuesday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Yankees and Red Sox, which starts at 8:08 p.m. ET.

Two months ago, the Red Sox and Yankees were featured on Sunday Night Baseball in a game that only seemed relevant to the DFS community. Since that July evening, the Yankees turned their season around and the Red Sox sputtered into the playoffs. Both teams have experienced a roller coaster ride of ups and downs to close the season, but they’ve made it. Tuesday begins a new season, and each team is capable of going all the way, but they have to get by each other first.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

Captain’s Picks

Nathan Eovaldi ($14,400 CP) — Gerrit Cole is the household name, but the real star in this pitcher’s duel is Eovaldi. Putting aside his bad start against the Yankees on Sept. 24, Eovaldi has struck out seven or more batters over his last seven starts. His loss to the Yankees — seven earned runs in 2 23 innings — cannot be dismissed out of hand, but Eovaldi struggled with his grip and couldn’t control his pitches in that matchup. He rebounded in his next start (six scoreless frames with seven strikeouts), and it seems that the bad outing against the Yankees was more of a personal failure than a matchup problem.

The biggest concern in this matchup is the power that the Yankees present, but Eovaldi has limited hard contact all season (27.1%, a career best). Additionally, the Yankees will find it hard to score on Eovaldi because he has transformed into a strikeout pitcher. From April to the end of June, Eovaldi had a 22% K rate, but since July, Eovaldi has a 29% K rate. Also, the high powered reputation of the Yankees offense often supersedes the facts, and the actual stats paint a different picture — 97 wRC+, .311 wOBA, .170 ISO, 32% hard contact rate and a 25% K rate. New York scored five runs in their final series of the season against an indifferent Rays pitching staff. This is not a great offense.

Rafael Devers ($15,900 CP) — The Boston left-handed hitter has some of the best splits in baseball — .401 wOBA, .341 ISO, 152 wRC+ and a 46% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching. Gerrit Cole has been fine when facing lefties this season. His 39% K rate against left-handed batters would suggest that he’s been more than fine, but he’s been all-or-nothing against the opposite side of the plate. When he doesn’t miss bats, he gets into a lot of trouble — 1.5 HR/9 and a 46% fly ball rate. In two of Cole’s three starts leading into the postseason, he allowed over five runs and in each game, his fastball was hammered by lefties — .506 xwOBA (Sept. 19) and .644 xwOBA (Sept. 29). Devers has a .391 wOBA against right-handed fastballs and 17 of his 38 home runs came off this pitch.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $400K AL Wild Card Clash [$100K to 1st] (NYY vs BOS)

Value Plays

Alex Verdugo ($5,800) — Overall, Gerrit Cole doesn’t struggle with either side of the plate, but the left-handed batters for the Red Sox are the most likely candidates to get to him. Verdugo has a .378 wOBA, .180 ISO, 137 wRC+, 35% hard contact rate and a 15% K rate against right-handed pitching. A home run from Verdugo is a long shot, but that’s the case for every batter. Verdugo has a significantly better probability of homering than other batters due to his low strikeout rate. Cole neutralizes lefties by sitting them down swinging, but when Cole allows contact to lefties, it’s often hit into the air. Verdugo was a hero for the Red Sox on Sunday, knocking in two runs, collecting three hits and helping Boston qualify for the postseason. In a game where the splits and stats don’t look great against aces, clutch performers could be the difference.

Anthony Rizzo ($8,000) — A little playoff BvP never hurt anyone. In nine at-bats against Nathan Eovaldi, Rizzo has five hits (three doubles). Those stats sharply divide the DFS community, but everyone agrees on current form, and Rizzo is hot. He’s homered in two of the last four games, and in the final series against the Red Sox (Sept. 24-26), Rizzo collected three hits and scored four runs. For the most part, his acquisition has been a disappointment and Luke Voit should have been the Yankees regular first baseman, but Voit is on the IL and Rizzo will have opportunity to become another on a long list of Yankees’ hired guns performing in the playoffs.


Gerrit Cole ($14,100 CP; $9,400) — This is a dangerous fade, but Cole has not looked sharp lately. The Yankees saved Cole for this matchup, but his recent form calls into question that decision. Cole has allowed six home runs over his last five starts and that’s just part of his struggles. Over that span, his ERA is 6.15 (5.14 FIP) and his 23.7% K rate is well below his usual +33% K rate since turning his career around in Houston. Not only are his pitches running into more bats, but they’re being hit hard (35%) and into the air (37.5%). Cole is capable of suddenly turning it around and generating double-digit strikeouts, but he could very well continue to slide as Boston turns his mistakes into crooked numbers.

The Outcome

The Yankees have offensive stars, but not much of an offense. This team can pound bad teams and bad pitching, but the final series of the season revealed what this team does under pressure and against elite pitching. Nathan Eovaldi will control New York’s hitters, while a couple mistakes blow up in Gerrit Cole’s face.

Final Score: Red Sox 6, Yankees 2

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $400K AL Wild Card Clash [$100K to 1st] (NYY vs BOS)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Greenflagradio2) 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 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.

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