FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball ALCS Helper: Yankees at Astros, Game 2
The Houston Astros took Game 1 of the series behind a brilliant performance by Justin Verlander, and they've yet to lose this postseason. Will the New York Yankees be able to bounce back and steal a win in Game 2?
For those unfamiliar with the single-game daily fantasy baseball format, scoring is identical to its full roster cousin, except you only roster hitters, and lineups consist of five flex spots. The one twist? One of the five roster spots is your designated "MVP," who receives 2-times his total fantasy points, along with a "STAR" slot that gets 1.5-times the points. Naturally, it's crucial that you choose your MVP and STAR carefully if you want to be at the top of the leaderboards when it's all said and done.
On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel single-game slate.
Last night's pitching matchup was a pretty obvious disadvantage for the Yankees, but they should have a bit more confidence with Luis Severino taking the ball on Thursday.
For the season, New York couldn't have hoped for much more than what they got out of Severino, who completed an excellent comeback campaign with a 3.37 SIERA, 27.7% strikeout rate, and 7.4% walk rate across 19 starts.
A late two-month stint on the injured list adds some uncertainty, but he threw seven no-hit innings against the Rangers in his final regular season outing, so he should still be able to pitch at a high level.
Severino's first 2022 playoff start was a mixed bag against the Guardians, allowing 3 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, but he also logged 6 punchouts and no walks. The good news for the Yankees is that ERA estimators and a high BABIP suggest that he pitched better than the final result.
On the other side, Framber Valdez brings his upside-crushing 66.5% ground-ball rate to the table. Despite a fairly pedestrian 23.5% strikeout rate and 8.1% walk rate, the southpaw posted a 3.14 SIERA and gave up just 0.49 home runs per nine innings this season.
Like Severino, Valdez wasn't lights out in his first postseason start, but there wasn't anything overly concerning about it, and he maintained his typical high ground-ball rate (60.0%).
It's easy to imagine either of these pitchers having a big game, which will make it that much more difficult to hone in on specific players for a single-game slate. But Houston lefties Yordan Alvarez ($9,000) and Kyle Tucker ($7,500) may have the best individual matchups.
Despite his success this season, Severino was much more average against left-handed batters, putting up a 4.05 xFIP and 19.5% strikeout rate while allowing a 42.5% fly-ball rate and 33.8% hard-hit rate. In a spot with few advantages, this could be one to exploit.
Alvarez and Tucker are logical MVPs, though Alvarez figures to be incredibly chalky.
Severino was predictably tough in same-sided matchups, though, with a 2.86 xFIP, 33.8% strikeout rate, and 49.2% ground-ball rate. Against numbers like that, it pretty much just boils down to prioritizing the Astros' best righties and hoping for the best in Jose Altuve ($8,500), Alex Bregman ($7,000), and Jeremy Pena ($6,500). Their high spots in the batting order increase their appeal in the multiplier spots.
As we saw last night, fantasy points can always come from more unexpected places, and both Yulieski Gurriel ($5,500) and Chas McCormick ($5,000) have played well in the playoffs, perhaps increasing their appeal as value plays.
For New York, facing Valdez will really hinder their chances of slugging dingers until they get to the bullpen, but Aaron Judge ($8,000) and Giancarlo Stanton ($7,500) are always dangerous with the platoon advantage and are no-brainer MVP choices. Judge figures to join Alvarez as the two most popular plays in the multiplier slots.
Anthony Rizzo ($8,000) hits well in lefty-lefty matchups, so he could be a slightly more sneaky MVP option. Otherwise, righties Gleyber Torres ($7,000), Josh Donaldson ($6,500), and red-hot Harrison Bader ($6,000) round out the other top Yankees bats.
Bader will likely see a sizable boost in roster percentage after slugging yet another postseason home run. He'll probably still see little attention in the multiplier slots if you believe in the hot hand, though.