This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
The Fall Classic gets underway Tuesday in Houston, where the Astros will host Atlanta at 8:08 p.m. EDT. Houston comes into Game 1 as reasonable (-136) favorites, and we've got a betting run total of 8.5. Atlanta will add a DH to their attack for the first two games, which will be about the only change we can expect. Both teams are incredibly stable otherwise in their lineup decisions.
Atlanta turns to veteran Charlie Morton and his historical postseason success. He hasn't been perfect, but at worst he's battled and kept his team in games. He's 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in three playoff starts this year, fanning 19 while allowing 10 hits and two homers across 14.1 innings. He was marginally tougher on the road than at home during the regular season, posting a 3.06 ERA and 2.98 FIP against 3.61/3.35. He allowed righties to post a .242 wOBA against him outside of Truist Park, and a .262 wOBA to righties.
Framber Valdez will be Morton's adversary. He seems to be warming to the postseason, turning in better starts each time out and most recently hurling eight innings of one-run ball in Game 5 of the ALCS. He was very hittable in two prior outings though, allowing 13 hits and seven runs across 7.0 innings. It's a very small sample size relative to other splits, but Valdez peculiarly has struggled at home against lefties, allowing a .424 wOBA and 1.004 OPS across 50 batters faced.
Houston's offense is deep, and littered with lefties that have had great success against righties. Michael Brantley ($6,000) and his .399 regular season wOBA, paired with a .311 average in the playoffs, is going to be a very popular lineup cog. He's got next to no power though, and isn't someone we should consider for multipliers. Those honors go to Kyle Tucker ($8,000) and Yordan Alvarez ($9,500). Alvarez collected nine hits over the Astros' last three games while homering, driving in five and scoring five. Tucker has hit safely in five straight after posting a .385 wOBA against righties in the regular season. He's also a threat on the bases, and the Dodgers were running at will in the NLCS.
If you trust Valdez' split above, then the obvious MVP choice is Freddie Freeman ($9,000). He's hot too, posting at least 15.2 FDP in each of Atlanta's last four games, but he had only a .330 wOBA and .170 ISO against lefties this season. You can also chase LvL pop with Joc Pederson ($5,000) for far cheaper and build a lineup with more balance. I'm banking more on Atlanta's season-long body of work against southpaws, and targeting Ozzie Albies ($7,500). He's hit safely in nine straight games after failing to collect a hit in Game 1 of the NLDS, scoring in seven straight as well. He posted a team-best .393 wOBA and 144 wRC+ against lefties during the year, adding a .262 ISO. Jorge Soler ($6,500) was the team's next-best option against lefties (.366 wOBA, .306 ISO, 127 wRC+), but I do question his timing after missing the NLCS due to COVID-19 protocols.
The NLCS MVP was intentionally omitted above. Eddie Rosario ($7,000) was incredible last series, and given the Valdez' split noted at the top, there's extra incentive to put him right back into your lineups. My only qualm is it's so incredibly obvious. For cash lineups, that's perfectly fine, but for GPPs, I might look to be a little different and fade him for Game 1. I expect he'll hit no higher than fifth as well. Atlanta's lineup is littered with cheap options to take gambles on. Travis d'Arnaud ($5,000) is somewhat appealing after posting a decent .367 wOBA against lefties during the regular season, but he's been awfully quiet of late.
Yuli Gurriel ($6,500) doesn't have the power upside of Rosario, but I think he presents identically. He's seeing a big ball right now with 12 hits in his last seven games. He's going to be a plug-and-play choice for many. If you're a BvP guy, catcher Martin Maldonado ($4,500) is 7-for-13 with a 1.282 OPS against Morton in his career, and he comes at a bottom-tier price.