This is just the craziest week of the year for DFS purposes, as baseball becomes a total crap-shoot with the season coming to an end. It got especially wacky this weekend with three games postponed Friday to be played Saturday, making it an 18-game schedule. We'll focus on the 11-game night slate beginning at 7 p.m. EDT, which is when the big tournaments start.
With all the doubleheaders, weather questions and lineup changes, this could either be a very difficult day or very profitable day if you play it smart and make the right decisions. Don't take crazy risks and be sure to monitor weather and lineups all the way up to the last second to put yourself in the best position to succeed.
I appreciate all the support this season, and I've really enjoyed doing this, so I'll give you a sneak peek at my premium lineup for the Saturday slate. Thanks again, I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did this season.
Corey Kluber $9,700
Kluber is simply too talented to be priced this low. He's not often priced lower than three other pitchers, but that's the case Saturday. Kluber has not been great since his return from the DL, but he could twirl a gem against a depleted Boston lineup. With one of the best strikeout rates in baseball, Kluber should have no problems if he can just pitch around Mookie Betts and David Ortiz. A double-digit strikeout game seems like a solid bet. Another plus is that a reliever is starting for the Red Sox, so the Indians should give Kluber plenty of run support. This is one of the most stacked pitcher's slates all season, and it will be important to use a pitcher with the upside of the top-notch options.
Roenis Elias $7,400
Elias has flown under the radar, but he's put together a nice second half to make a name for himself. On Saturday, Elias and the Mariners face the A's, which is a good matchup for anyone. The A's have arguably the worst lineup in baseball and they have to travel to one of the best pitchers parks in the majors in Safeco Field. Elias and the Mariners enter as sizable favorites (-160) in what should be a relatively low total (7.5). Elias has a 2.01 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over his last five appearances. The most impressive stat is that he is averaging nearly 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Those statistics should put Elias in the $9,000-$10,000 range, but FanDuel is slow on reacting to the young lefty. Expect Elias to continue his form in this particular matchup, allowing you to separate yourself from the field.
Francisco Cervelli $2,200
Cervelli has quietly had a fantastic season for the Pirates. In 127 games this season, Cervelli is hitting .299, with 28 extra-base hits, 43 RBI and 55 runs. Cervelli's numbers are even better against southpaws, as he bats .326 with an OPS just shy of .900. On Saturday, he gets a platoon advantage when he faces lefty Brandon Finnegan. The icing on the cake for this play is the minimum price. No one with this potential, in this matchup, should be that cheap. Use a reliable Cervelli at such a volatile position like catcher and save some serious money.
Darin Ruf $2,700
This might be the first Phillie I've written about all season. With Ryan Howard injured, Ruf has seen everyday at-bats, thriving against left-handers. His numbers this year against lefties are just ridiculous, as he's hitting .374 with an absurd 1.092 OPS. On Saturday, Ruf squares off against Justin Nicolino, who happens to be a bad lefty. The top first basemen cost $2,000 more than Ruf, and I like saving some money with a player who has just as much upside. Few will use Ruf, as well, and that's another good way to separate yourself from the field in a tournament style game.
Jose Altuve $3,300
There were many options I liked today at second base, but let's go with the best player in a do-or-die game. When there's so many games with nothing on the line, it's smart to use a player who is playing for something and we have that here with Altuve and the Astros. Everyone knows how versatile Altuve can be, as he provides an elite average, power, speed combo that almost no second baseman can match. He faces Jeremy Hellickson, and I always like using hitters against Hellickson. It's not that he's that terrible, it's just that he's prone to blowups and always seems to allow plenty of baserunners. All season it seemed as though Altuve was in the $4,000 range, giving us a nice bargain as he's only $3,300. The potential of a multi-hit game, a stolen bag or an extra-base hit make Altuve a great value, and if we're lucky, he could do all three.
Josh Harrison $2,700
Usually third base is easy to choose from, but for some reason Saturday's slate is particularly tough. The top four options all cost more than $4,000 and the players in the $3,000 range have bad matchups. I went with the reliable Harrison in a platoon advantage. When the Pirates face lefties, they usually put Harrison atop the lineup. While Harrison hasn't showed much power this season, he has been hitting just shy of .300 against left-handers. I also like the versatility that Harrison provides. He has the ability to steal bags and hit for extra-bases that most $2,700 players don't. Harrison's not necessarily my favorite play at third base for Saturday, but he's definitely the best value at only $2,700.
Carlos Correa $3,400
Few players are as skilled as Correa, especially at a dumpster-fire position like shortstop. The numbers from the rookie are spectacular: .280, 22 homers, 22 doubles, 64 RBI and 13 steals in 97 games. He has been especially hot his last 10 games, going 15-for-42 with four homers, 14 RBI and eight runs. He's also coming off an absurd line on Friday in which he hit a home run and a triple while driving in four runs and scoring four times. Saturday, he faces the aforementioned Jeremy Hellickson, and I expect the Astros posting a crooked number on him after dropping 21 runs Friday. With everything to play for, Correa and Altuve should come through big for the Stros.
Nelson Cruz $3,700
I always like using the Boomstick against left-handers and especially at an affordable price. Cruz faces lefty Sean Nolin, who has some dreadful numbers this season. Not only does Nolin have an ERA well above 5.00, he has a WHIP approaching 2.00. The numbers for Cruz are ridiculous too. In 150 games, Cruz has 44 homers and 93 RBI and is batting .300. Throughout his career, Cruz has destroyed southpaws to an even better extent than this season. In fact, he has a 1.116 OPS against lefties, which is easily one of the best on the league. The most surprising part of this play is that Cruz costs only $3,700. Usually the top outfielders cost $4,000-$5,000, so we're getting a bargain. He's easily my bet of the night to homer and he should be in all your lineups.
Jacoby Ellsbury $2,700
The Yankees outfielder is one of the streakiest players in baseball and is always in my FanDuel lineup when he's on one of his hot streaks. Over his last 14 games, Ellsbury is hitting .333 with five doubles, three stolen bases and nine runs scored. He faces Ubaldo Jimenez, which is definitely not a matchup to fear with the platoon advantage in Ellsbury's favor. After sitting out the "hangover game" Thursday, Ellsbury should be right back atop the lineup Saturday. His speed is what makes him so enticing, because if he gets on base, he should have no problem swiping a bag on Jimenez's exaggerated delivery. The best part of this play is the $2,700 price tag, though. Someone with this potential should never be that cheap, and he's a great pair with one of the top-priced pitchers to build a stacked lineup.
Brett Gardner $2,300
Gardner has been terrible in the second half of the season, but he should never be this cheap. Much like Ellsbury, Gardner is a versatile player who can provide in nearly every way possible. Gardner has good plate discipline, accumulating 68 walks this season. In 149 games, Gardner has a .346 OBP, 16 home runs, 26 doubles, 94 runs and 20 steals. Those are fantastic numbers, despite the recent slump. Everything I said about the aforementioned Jimenez goes for Gardner as well, as he has just as much ability to steal as Ellsbury. The minimum price is simply a fact of a dreadful second half, but the potential makes him a great value.
P: C. Kluber $9,700
C: F. Cervelli $2,200
1B: C. Santana $3,100
2B: J. Altuve $3,300
3B: J. Turner $3,100
SS: C. Correa $3,400
OF: N. Cruz $3,700
OF: A. McCutchen $3,800
OF: J, Ellsbury $2,700