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Wednesday features a two-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 5:08 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Julio Urías, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves ($8,800) -- Two pitchers must be selected tonight. Retreating in fear and picking relievers won’t work. On paper and based on the way these series are playing out, there is little that suggests any of these pitchers will have elite fantasy performances. The trick is to pick the two that don’t score the least. It’s almost guaranteed that Urías won’t pitch five innings, but it’s hard to imagine any pitcher on Wednesday’s slate lasting five innings. In the end, DFS players will have to rely on the fact that Urías was a Cy Young contender this season with the stats to back it up. The Braves are not crushing extra base hits and they’re striking out, so if Urías can scatter singles across four innings and strand runners, then he’ll be one of the two pitchers that DFS player need tonight.
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros ($7,400) -- Sale has not been good in his appearances in the postseason, but the hope is that the veteran and leader is fired up for this pivotal game. Via adrenaline, Sale throws several scoreless innings and strikes out a couple Astros, then he quickly gets yanked before anything goes wrong. Framber Valdez ($7,500) is the other option on Wednesday night, and statistically he looks like the best play. However, intuition posits doubt. Valdez is a ground ball pitcher that does not strike out a lot of batters. While that worked in the regular season, in the postseason he has run into too many bats and the results have been terrible -- 13 hits, four walks and seven runs in seven innings.
Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves ($4,300) -- On paper, Will Smith is the best catcher in the postseason (.364 wOBA, .237 ISO and 130 wRC+ in 2021). In reality, he has been the best catcher in the postseason (10 hits, three home runs and seven walks).
Christian Vázquez, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($3,900) -- Last night was his second hitless start of the series. Value catchers fail often during the regular season on 14-game slates, so expecting a cheap catcher to score fantasy points on a two-game slate is a fantasy. Framber Valdez is an extreme ground ball pitcher, so Vázquez could squeeze a single through the infield and if he later comes around to score, then he might be all DFS players need from the position.
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,500) -- The Dodgers are in trouble now, they woke Freddie Freeman up. Before Tuesday night, the 2020 NL MVP was held hitless in the series, but that changed in Game 3. Freeman punished the ball with exit velocities of 96.0, 98.1, 87.5 and 96.6 mph — three of which went for hits.
Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox ($4,000) -- He’s on a five-game hit streak with eight hits and two walks during that run. During the season, Gurriel had a .389 wOBA, .204 ISO, 152 wRC+ and 8% K rate against left-handed pitching. Chris Sale could have a magical postseason performance, but realistically, he’ll probably continue to struggle -- nine hits and six runs in 3 2⁄3 innings.
Other Option: Cody Bellinger ($3,300)
Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($5,400) -- Jose Altuve -- listed as one of the few “other options” in Tuesday’s Targets article -- had a big night, but Kiké Hernández has a big night every night. His hit streak now extends to seven games and his hit total is 19 just 10 shy of the record set during an extended 2020 postseason. Hernández is two-thirds of the way to Randy Arozarena’s record and he’s done it in half of the at-bats.
Other Option: Jose Altuve ($4,900)
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,100) -- Yesterday, the Targets article mentioned that the Braves’ lineup was pesky and Ozzie Albies best represented their death by a thousand needles approach. In Game 3, the Braves plated five runs in the first five innings with just one extra base hit. Albies knocked in a run with a 95.3 mph single and ripped a 99.6 mph grounder, but that unfortunately resulted in a double play. Either way, Albies is seeing the ball well in the postseason with hits in each of the last six games (eight total).
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($5,300) -- The lefty on lefty matchup is not preferential, but there aren’t any high priced options at third base worth considering. Besides, if the postseason has taught us anything, it’s that starting pitchers do not last long. The majority of Devers’ at-bats will likely come against right-handed pitching, and if readers are familiar with this article, then they should have Devers’ splits against right-handed pitching memorized by now, but if not -- .401 wOBA, .341 ISO, 152 wRC+ and a 46% hard contact rate.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,900) -- In Game 3, Riley picked up another hit (a double with a 106.8 mph exit velocity), and he walked and scored a run. His raw totals are not that impressive, but he has been clutch in this series and the Braves will be in need of a clutch performance after dropping Game 3 on Tuesday.
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves ($4,700) -- If Freddie Freeman is a problem for the Dodgers, then Seager is an even bigger problem for the Braves. The shortstop knows a thing or two about postseason hitting (2020 NLCS MVP and World Series MVP). Seager extended his hit streak to five games on Tuesday and he homered for the second consecutive game.
Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,700) -- His six hits in the postseason might seem unimpressive, but he’s faced nothing but Cy Young contenders on Milwaukee and Los Angeles. In Game 3, Swanson singled twice with exit velocities of 107.0 and 81.8 mph. Alone, Swanson doesn’t do much for a fantasy team, but the Braves offense swarms like bees. They do no hit harmless singles; it’s one after another with runs and RBIs making the cheaper bats viable.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves ($5,000) -- With the Dodgers’ season on the line, Betts delivered a tie-breaking RBI in the bottom of the eighth. The double was his second hit of the night and 14th postseason hit; he also walked twice. There tends to be a different breed of hitter in the postseason. Some guys are clutch in playoffs and some great hitters shrink under the spotlight, Betts is clutch.
Eddie Rosario, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,700) -- In the NLDS, Rosario earned a hit in every game. For the NLCS, Rosario was moved from the bottom of the lineup to leadoff and he has continued to hit -- one hit in Game 1 and four hits in Game 2. In Game 3, Rosario collected two hard hits raising his total to seven in the NLCS and he walked twice.
Other Option: Alex Verdugo ($4,100)
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