This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The three-game series between the Lions and Bears begins Tuesday, with the two teams vying for the right to face the Wiz in the Korean Series. The Lions made six straight Korean Series from 2010 through 2015 before missing the playoffs in each of the next five seasons, but they came roaring back this year, tying the Wiz in the regular season before losing the number one seed in a tiebreaker contest. The Bears are looking to extend their streak of consecutive Korean Series appearances to seven, a task that looked quite difficult after Ariel Miranda (shoulder) and Walker Lockett (elbow) both went down with injuries late in the year. They've already managed to dispatch the Heroes and Twins, however, winning a set of shootouts by an average score of 7.6 to 5.6.
This article will break down Tuesday's Game 1 for DraftKings' showdown contests and will also offer a pick on both the moneyline and the over/under. As a reminder, showdown contests require fantasy players to select six total players at any position (including pitcher), with one designated as a captain, who costs 50 percent more but earns 50 percent more points. The prices listed here are given for the utility spots rather than the captain. Lineups must contain at least one player from both teams.
Won Joon Choi, Bears ($10,200): My default plan for any showdown contest is to captain one of the two starting pitchers, as they simply average far more points per dollar than the best hitters do. I'm willing to pay up for those expensive options if I think a pitcher will be allowed to pitch deep into the game, which I think is true of both options here. Choi hasn't been quite as good as David Buchanan this season, but he's had himself quite a good year and will get to face the Lions' sixth-ranked lineup while Buchanan is stuck facing the Bears' top-ranked unit. Choi got to his 3.30 ERA in large part thanks to his 5.3 percent walk rate, which offset a modest 16.3 percent strikeout rate. The relative lack of whiffs does cap his fantasy value, but he's very likely to be allowed to go deep in this game given that the Bears' injuries mean they won't be able to ask for much from their other starters in the rest of the series. Choi didn't close the regular season on a strong note, stumbling to a 7.31 ERA and 1.81 WHIP over his last four starts, but he rebounded with five scoreless innings to kick off the previous round against the Twins, so I'd have enough faith to look his way at the captain spot in any Bears-based lineup.
David Buchanan, Lions ($10,600): Just as Choi is a strong choice to lead a Bears-heavy lineup, Buchanan is an excellent choice for anyone looking to build around the Lions. Buchanan edges out Choi with a 3.10 ERA, the sixth-best mark among qualified starters, and he's gotten there in a more fantasy-friendly way, striking out 21.4 percent of opposing batters. The main argument against selecting him as captain is probably the fact that he faded a bit down the stretch, posting a pedestrian 4.12 ERA and 1.46 WHIP over his final 10 starts. Additionally, the game will be played at the most hitter-friendly park in the league, which tilts the scales slightly towards the hitters, but given that Buchanan's teammates on the offensive side face a tough matchup against Choi, he still seems like the best captain option if you're predicting a win for the Lions.
Bears hitters: My preference would be to go with one of the pitchers as your captain for this slate, but the Bears have a number of strong bats who get even more tempting at Daegu Samsung Lions Park. Jose Fernandez ($9,800) and Jae Hwan Kim ($9,200) have both been in fine form recently, with the former riding a streak of two straight three-hit games. Both will get the platoon advantage against Buchanan, which further enhances their case for captain. The biggest problem with building a Bears-based lineup is that none of the team's likely starters are priced anywhere close to the minimum, with Seung Ho Kang ($6,800) standing as the team's cheapest regular, so you'll likely have to include multiple of the cheapest Lions if you're pairing Choi with some of the Bears' best bats.
Lions hitters: As with Choi and the Bears, I'd lean towards Buchanan as my captain for a Lions-heavy lineup, but selecting a hitter instead shouldn't be completely ruled out if you want to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Ja Wook Koo ($10,000) doesn't offer much in terms of savings compared to Buchanan but was the highest-scoring hitter in the regular season among both teams, hitting .306 with 22 homers and 27 steals. Jae Il Oh ($8,400) will also get the platoon advantage against Choi and has the power you want in a captain choice, homering 25 times in 120 games. The Lions are also likely to start a trio of players who are all cheaper than the most inexpensive Bear, including Won Seok Lee ($6,600), Sang Su Kim ($6,400) and Ji Chan Kim ($6,000).
Bears (+135) and Under 8.5 runs (-110). The two teams are very evenly matched, with the Bears' stronger lineup making up for the gap between Buchanan and Choi, which isn't particularly large. This one feels very close to a coin flip, which means I'm happy tilting in either direction for daily fantasy purposes but will jump at the plus money here. I like both starters enough to lean slightly towards the under, but the hitter-friendly park and the Bears' firepower means I'm not doing so with a ton of confidence.