This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
A rare four-game slate gives us a flash of regular season action in the playoffs Friday.
Playing in a classic format, you have to use two of eight arms here. As such, it seems to make perfect sense to go high and low with Justin Verlander ($10,700), and Mike Foltynewicz ($6,200). Verlander doesn't need much explanation, but we'll offer one anyway. The Astros (-210) are the slate's biggest favorite, he's in great form, fanning 57 over 39.0 September innings, and he went 2-0 against Tampa during the regular season, allowing seven hits and one run while striking out 13 in 12.1 innings. Foltynewicz is in almost identical form, going 4-1 in September, allowing five runs and 15 hits over 30.0 September frames, striking out 26. With the Braves' backs against the wall, they'll need every bit they can get from him here.
Foltynewicz's adversary, Jack Flaherty ($8,200) can't be ignored even when we consider the Braves' offensive success against opposing team's aces this season. He's had a 19.9 DKP floor over his last 10 starts, striking out 124 over 99.1 innings since the All-Star break, allowing just 10 runs.
Stephen Strasburg ($9,600) matches up against Clayton Kershaw ($9,300) in Friday's late game. Kershaw looks a little overpriced here, having allowed multiple runs in six of his last seven outings, making it seven innings only once. He's also just 9-10 with a 4.32 ERA in his post-season career. Strasburg threw 34 pitches in the Nats' Wild Card win, but that doesn't figure to limit him here. He also surged in September, fanning 36 over 30.0 innings while allowing only 18 hits and eight runs. He may be a nice lower owned GPP target facing the never targetable Dodgers offense.
James Paxton ($6,900) won a ridiculous 10 straight games down the stretch before a glute injury forced him from his final start. He's tough to recommend against a Twins lineup that was second in the league with a .361 wOBA against lefties. This game has the slate's highest total at nine, which suggests low exposure at most to both Paxton and Jose Berrios ($7,700), who's been volatile of late, posting four games of 20+ DKP and four of 9.8 DKP or less in his last eight.
Tyler Glasnow ($8,600) rounds out the pitching options, and he can largely be ignored in all but GPP dart throw type lineups. He's got immense strikeout upside, but hasn't thrown more than 66 pitches in four September appearances returning from a strained forearm, capping his potential.
American League lineups are likely to be chalky with higher run totals and presumed better matchups. Minnesota's success against lefties is noted above and Nelson Cruz ($5,400), Mitch Garver ($5,000), Miguel Sano ($4,9000 and C.J. Cron ($3,600) all have wOBAs north of .400, and Cron's .310 ISO against southpaws is the lowest of the four.
There seems to be surprising value in the deep Yankees lineup, as we never really know who will get the big hits. As such, I prefer some of the lower-cost pieces for exposure like Brett Gardner ($4,100), Giancarlo Stanton ($4,000) and/or Didi Gregorius ($3,800).
I don't have a great pulse on how others will handle Kershaw's presence on the mound, but I dig the Nationals as a hopefully lower-owned stack here, even more so when we see their cheaper options have the best splits against lefties. Anthony Rendon ($4,400) is the anchor with likely stand alone potential, owning a .418 wOBA and 158 wRC+ against southpaws. But both catchers in Kurt Suzuki ($3,900) and Yan Gomes ($3,100) hit lefties well, as do Howie Kendrick ($4,100), Asdrubal Cabrera ($3,800), Ryan Zimmerman ($3,300) and Brian Dozier ($3,200).
A lack of hustle cost fantasy owners slightly less than it cost the Braves Thursday, but Ronald Acuna ($5,200) still reached base four times in route to 26 DKP.
I wouldn't completely fade the Dodgers here even though I expect a sound outing from Strasburg. BvP numbers we know are largely unreliable, but A.J. Pollock ($3,900) is 7-of-14 with four extra-base hits against Strasburg in his career.
The knock on Glasnow Friday is his limited pitch count, not the player himself, as he had a 0.55 road ERA and 2.78 road xFIP, allowing a .173 wOBA to lefties and a .168 wOBA to righties. Still, completely ignoring the Astros isn't ideal. Yuli Gurriel ($4,200) and/or Carlos Correa ($4,500) should be in run-producing situation.