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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Astros vs. Athletics Showdown on April 8

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Astros and Athletics, which starts at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics finally won a game, but they needed an extra inning to outscore their opponent. In the opposing dugout, the Houston Astros sit with the opposite record; they’ve only lost one game. These two teams faced off last week and the Astros swept the four-game series by outscoring the Athletics 35 to 9.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $15K Hidden Ball Trick [$5K to 1st] (OAK vs HOU)

Captain’s Picks

Alex Bregman ($16,500 CP) - The sample size is small, so it’s hard to believe in his 2021 line—.519 wOBA, .333 ISO, 233 wRC+. However, there is a reason for the gaudy stat line. Bregman is making contact and it’s exclusively hard contact (63%). He’ll face Cole Irvin, who surprisingly won the final rotation spot with the Athletics. It will not be surprising to see him lose that spot. Last week against the Astros, Irvin allowed 59% hard contact to the 22 batters that he faced. To top it off, Bregman has crushed left-handed pitching in 2020-21 (.460 wOBA, .321 ISO, 201 wRC+).

Jose Altuve ($14,400 CP) - Forget about last season. Altuve is starting to look like the old Altuve. His .357 wOBA is satisfactory, but his .040 ISO is worrisome. A deeper dive into the 2021 stats reveals that it’s just bad luck. Altuve’s has a xwOBA of .446 and 52% of his contact has been hard-hit. Even if the lefty starter gets pulled early, the Athletics’ bullpen presents more opportunities for fantasy points. Oakland’s bullpen has the fourth worst xFIP and the second lowest K%.

Value Plays

Yuli Gurriel ($7,800) - Last season, Yuli improved against left-handed pitching and he has continued that improvement this season. Over the last 66 regular season games versus left-handed pitching, Gurriel has a .410 wOBA, .296 ISO, and a 165 wRC+. It’s early and the data is limited, but Yuli’s advanced stats look great. His average exit velocity is 95 mph, his hard hit rate is 67%, and his walk rate is 21%. Yuli is dialed in and he is way too cheap.

Ryne Stanek ($5,800) - Oakland is not hitting, but Cristian Javier is too expensive for a pitcher that averaged 84 pitches and 5 innings per game last season. Last week versus Oakland, he couldn’t make it out of the 4th inning. The best way to get exposure to Oakland’s 55 wRC+ is through the Houston relievers. Throughout his career, Stanek has pitched middle relief, opened games in Tampa, and closed games. He’s versatile and fits well into the new era of limited pitch counts. His 46.2% K rate is a product of a small sample size, but his career average of 29% will work. It’s risky because Stanek may not get the call, but from a point per dollar basis, he makes more sense than any of the starters. The safest play is to avoid pitching all together on this slate.


Cole Irvin ($13,800 CP; $9,200) - Whenever a player is acquired through “cash considerations,” it doesn’t say much for that player. Irvin had a great spring training and won the final spot in the Athletics’ rotation (18 Ks in 18 innings with just two earned runs and 10 hits allowed). Sometimes spring training means something, and sometimes it does not. The latter is the case here. In Irvin’s first start against the Astros, he kept the ball on the ground and only allowed a 29% fly ball rate. Unfortunately, that’s about all he did well. The contact rate against his pitches was 91%, and it was hard contact (59% with an average exit velocity of 94.9 mph).

The Outcome

We’ve seen this movie before; the good team beats the bad team. This happened four days in a row last week. The Athletics will get better, but even on an average day the Astros still beat the Athletics. Today’s pitching isn’t great for either team, so it all comes down to hitting. The Astros have looked good at the plate to start the season and the Athletics look awful. The Astros will take the lead early and score some insurance runs against the Athletics’ bullpen while cruising to an easy victory.

Final Score: Astros 7, Athletics 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $15K Hidden Ball Trick [$5K to 1st] (OAK vs HOU)

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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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