This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Both leagues feature on Saturday, so we've got a full lineup requirement rather than a showdown slate for the main contest, with Houston-Boston going off at 4:20 p.m. ET. In theory, Game 1 of the NCLS has team aces throwing, while Game 2 in Houston has more getable pitchers. We shall see if that plays out, as there's some familiarity amongst the NL's matchups.
I'm putting FanDuel on blast here, and my editors can delete as necessary. Mid-season, we had some rain outs and FD then felt inclined to not post the next day's slate until 10 pm et or later, severely hindering my ability to break down slates given deadlines. Friday night, they feel it prudent to post players, but not pitchers, in the NLCS when we know full well it's Max Scherzer vs. Max Fried. Sans pricing, I'm hamstrung. I'll edit in the morning rendering this rant moot. But there it is.
Max Scherzer, LAD at ATL ($9,900): I'm a noted Braves homer, and feel as if the Braves have faired well, relatively speaking, when facing Scherzer. But Freddie Freeman ($3,800) is the only ATL regular hitting above .200 against him in their careers, and he's at .234. Scherzer was roughed up a few times down the stretch, and his adversary in Max Fried ($8,500) is white hot, likely garnering heavy usage as a result. Atlanta scored only 12 runs in the NLDS, hitting .234 with an OPS of .698. Yes, it's just four games, but it's indicative of their long standing postseason form. I'm a little surprised by the run total sitting at eight, and I expect it to go under. The price isn't huge given how discounted a lot of bats are, and I'm banking on a pitchers duel and lower usage from the top-priced arm.
Nathan Eovaldi, BOS at HOU ($8,800): I don't want to go straight chalk on the bump, but there's no way we can recommend Luis Garcia ($8,200) for this price; it's a daunting matchup, and he's not in good form. The only appeal is he'll be so obviously unwanted, the usage has to be miniscule. And since I'm loosely fading Fried, we land on Eovaldi as the only remaining option. He's only worked more than five innings once in his last six starts, so he'll need strikeouts to meet this price. But that's something the Astros have done 9.4 times during the postseason, and I expect Eovaldi to be at his best as the Sox try to even the series.
Rafael Devers, BOS at HOU ($4,000): A simple play based on all numbers. Devers had a .401 wOBA, 152 wRC+ and .341 ISO against righties during the regular season. Pair that with the 1.64 HR/9 allowed by Garcia, and there should be a decent floor with big upside.
Mookie Betts, LAD at ATL ($3,800): Betts is 11-of-24 during the postseason, homering once, driving in four, scoring twice, walking once and stealing two bases. Perhaps the peripherals aren't elite, but are we really nit picking on this stable floor?
Enrique Hernandez, BOS at HOU ($3,200): The price, especially relative to most other bats on Saturday, is getting higher than I'm personally comfortable with. But Hernandez is arguably the postseason's hottest bat. He flirted with the cycle Friday, giving him 13 knocks in six games. He's sure to be highly used, but there's no downside in that, as the worst thing that happens is you get the same production everyone else does. The only downside I see is how many bats/names are priced below.
Alex Bregman, HOU vs. BOS ($3,100): There are other bats in the Astros lineup with more upside, as Bregman's power stroke has been nonexistent this season. But he's performing at a stable level in the postseason, collecting hits in every game thus far, seven in total, walking three times to boot. Low ceiling, but a stable floor is a nice anchor while seeking bigger points elsewhere.
Joc Pederson, ATL vs. LAD ($2,200): I've got to include at least one ATL bat here, and the choices come down to Freeman, Austin Riley ($3,700) and Pederson. Given how volatile the Braves' bats can be, I'd rather pay down and power hunt, as the risk here isn't great given the low tag. We know Pederson will be in the lineup with Jorge Soler ($3,400) out, and he's homered in three of his last five games. Expect a little extra juice from him in this series against his former team.
Stack to Consider
This is an either/or with Betts above. I love Betts' stability, but he's likely heavily used for sure-fire points. Loading up on Dodgers doesn't seem like a favored option, however, given Fried's second-half success (1.74 ERA), so maybe we get some low usage of top tier bats. The two Turners, however, have just decimated the Braves, and Fried alike. They're a combined 12-of-31 (.387) against Fried with two homers, two doubles, three RBI and three walks. And they work counts, which could force Fried out earlier than Atlanta wants, giving this lineup shots at a shaky bullpen. Seager meanwhile? He homered five times against Atlanta in last year's NLCS and has hit safely in five of six postseason games.