FanDuel MLB: Friday Playoff Breakdown
FanDuel MLB: Friday Playoff Breakdown

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

The playoffs are in full swing Friday with baseball lasting almost 12 straight hours. FanDuel's main slate starts with the 2:05 p.m. ET game so make sure to get your squads in early.

PITCHING

If you don't want to think too hard, Justin Verlander ($11,200) is the easy choice at pitcher and will likely be chalk in cash games. He's hit at least 46 fantasy points in five of his last six starts mostly from a 35.4 K%. In his most recent start against the Rays in late August, he allowed four hits and zero runs in 5.1 innings, and was removed early because he wasn't needed in an eventual 15-1 win. Surprisingly, Jack Flaherty ($10,500) closed the season on a slightly better note, allowing one run or less in five of his last six starts. He hasn't faced the Braves since May, but they've been worse than the Rays against righties, sporting a 25.8 K% and .317 wOBA in the last month. 

If anything, I'll probably stack against Clayton Kershaw ($10,300) in GPP considering he gave up 13 homers in his last seven starts. The Dodgers are favored and have a better core of bats, but Stephen Strasburg ($10,100) is the better play in terms of value. He gave up two hits in seven innings against the Dodgers at the end of July and their lefty-heavy roster also benefits Strasburg as he allowed a dominant .251 wOBA to lefties this season.

If you don't want to spend, James Paxton ($8,900) is a viable option and his numbers at home support his selection. He allowed a .288 OBP and .281 wOBA at home compared to .330 and .341 on the road, respectively. The problem is that the Twins had a K% below 20 in the final month against southpaws and Paxton wasn't the most consistent pitcher throughout the season. Mike Foltynewicz ($7,800) is the other arm I'd take a chance on because he closed the season in good form, allowing two runs or less in seven of his last eight. The Cardinals also had a 26.0 K% against righty hurlers in the final month. But while Foltynewicz hasn't faced them since May, a lot of people will fade him after he gave up eight runs in 4.2 innings in their lone meeting in Atlanta.

KEY VALUES/CHALK

There aren't a ton of places to attack Flaherty, which makes the Braves an interesting GPP option at home. In terms of OBP, not many have been as good as Matt Joyce ($2,300) and Josh Donaldson ($3,300) with .450 and .377 OBPs against righty arms in the last month. Kolten Wong ($2,600) may be the most popular second baseman with a .625 OBP in 14 career plate appearances against Foltynewicz. Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800), Tommy Edman ($3,300) and Matt Carpenter ($2,900) were most consistent for the Cardinals in September, all sporting OBPs above .370 and ISOs above .265. 

The three home favorites will be plenty chalky and I cover a Yankees stack below. The over/under of the Rays-Astros game is sitting around seven runs so that makes the most sense to avoid. Tyler Glasnow has been awesome and the Rays have won 10 of his 12 starts, never allowing more than four runs in any of those games. The other issue with the Astros is if you use Verlander, you won't be able to use most of their bats. It probably makes more sense to go against Verlander because he's had a home run issue, allowing 1.58 HR/9 to righties and 1.59 HR/9 to lefties at home. Austin Meadows ($3,600) and Ji-Man Choi ($2,900) have the best chance to capitalize as both have ISOs above .330 in their last 100 PA against righties. 

Similar to the Astros, you can only fit Cody Bellinger ($4,500) if you go cheap at pitcher. Joc Pederson ($3,100) isn't a bad route for value and he's ripped righty arms with a .379 OBP and .461 ISO in his last 103 PA. A.J. Pollock ($3,300) may be the most popular Dodger with a career 7-for-14 (2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR) line against Strasburg. Lastly, the Twins could be a useful GPP stack with power from guys like Nelson Cruz ($4,300) and Mitch Garver ($3,200). Paxton has been prone to power, allowing 1.66 HR/9 to righty bats.

STACKS

Yankees vs. Jose Berrios (Twins)

(OF Aaron Judge -  $4,400), (OF Brett Gardner - $2,800), (C Gary Sanchez - $3,700)

Berrios oddly didn't face the Yankees this season, but he's allowed a career .397 OBP to their roster. You can go with either side of the plate as he has a 4.63 xFIP against lefty bats and allows 1.65 HR/9 to righties on the road. I'm picking Judge with hopes of an opening game homer, while Sanchez and Gardner have been two of New York's more consistent bats in the last month. Sanchez has a .433 OBP in his last 30 PA and Gardner is at .353 in his last 68, both against righty hurlers. Didi Gregorius ($3,000) struggled to close the season, but I think he's worth a play at a discount and has a homer in six career PA against Berrios.

Nationals vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

(3B Anthony Rendon - $4,000), (1B Howie Kendrick - $2,700), (1B Ryan Zimmerman - $2,600), (C Kurt Suzuki - $2,600)

Kershaw has never been a great postseason pitcher with a career 4.32 ERA and last season's struggles in the World Series have to be in the back of his mind. It's also hard to ignore the 12 homers he's allowed in his last 10 postseason starts. Zimmerman is a must in any stack with a career 10-for-28 mark (2 2B, 1 HR) against Kershaw. The price of Zimmerman and/or Kendrick allows you to get Rendon and all three of them have OBPs above .400 in the last couple months against lefty arms (Zimmerman missed August through injury). Since both Kendrick and Zimmerman play first base, there's a decent chance one opens on the bench and if that happens, Suzuki or Yan Gomes ($2,500) is next in line.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Adam Zdroik plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: zdroik, DraftKings: rotozdroik, Yahoo: StreakMaster.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate. 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year.
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