FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball World Series Helper: Phillies at Astros, Game 1
With neither championship series lasting very long, this postseason has been on pause for several days, but the break means that both World Series combatants have had plenty of time to rest up and reset. Game 1 between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros begins on Friday night at 8:03 pm ET.
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.
Aaron Nola will take the mound for Philadelphia, and despite getting knocked around by the Padres in his last start, he's otherwise been excellent this postseason, accumulating a 2.59 SIERA, 25.0% strikeout rate, and 4.2% walk rate over three outings. Nola produced an even better 29.1% strikeout rate and 3.6% walk rate during the regular season, so the Astros will certainly have their work cut out for them.
While it technically isn't official yet, Justin Verlander is expected to take the ball for Houston, and following a dud in the ALDS, he bounced back with a brilliant 11-strikeout performance in the last round. Even including the clunker, he's produced a 2.34 SIERA, 31.1% strikeout rate, and 4.4% walk rate in his two 2022 playoff starts, and he's coming off a fantastic regular season (3.09 SIERA). However, a notable storyline will be Verlander's struggles across seven career starts in the World Series, which includes a woeful 5.68 ERA.
Perhaps no one has been hotter than Bryce Harper ($9,000), rocking a 1.351 OPS while slugging five home runs in these playoffs. Whether or not you buy into Verlander having some mental hurdle to overcome in the World Series, Harper is a no-brainer MVP but one who will also be popular by default.
World Series struggles or not, Verlander did seem to get lucky in the home run department during the regular season, though.
Despite allowing a 43.6% fly-ball rate, he only gave up 0.62 dingers per nine innings off an uncharacteristically low 6.2% homer-to-fly-ball rate. Not only was that homer-to-fly-ball rate well below his career average (8.9%), but it was the league's second-lowest mark among qualified starters. Perhaps he's due for regression, and he's already given up a pair of home runs this postseason.
This Phillies offense revolves around the first four bats in the order between Kyle Schwarber ($8,500), Rhys Hoskins ($7,500), J.T. Realmuto ($7,000), and the aforementioned Harper, and every member of this group has slugged multiple home runs in the playoffs. Like Harper, Hoskins has also hit five bombs, and the duo is tied with Harrison Bader for the most.
Put it all together and Schwarber, Hoskins, and Realmuto should also be considered for the multiplier slots. Of that group, I'm guessing that Realmuto sees fairly low rostership at MVP.
While the rest of Philadelphia's lineup is less exciting, there's value in rostering number-five hitter Nick Castellanos ($6,500) behind the "Big Four," and Bryson Stott ($5,000) has one of the lowest salaries.
For the Astros, the MVP conversation has to begin with Yordan Alvarez ($9,500), and he figures to rival Harper in popularity.
Nola hasn't given up a ton of home runs this season, either, but perhaps he's been more lucky than good against lefties. While the right-hander allowed a modest 32.1% fly-ball rate in same-sided matchups, he gave up a 41.3% fly-ball rate to left-handed sticks despite just 0.72 home runs per nine innings in the split.
That gives us added incentive to roster Alvarez, and fellow lefty Kyle Tucker ($7,000) joins him and could go overlooked as a possible MVP.
Nola is tough on righties all around, but Jose Altuve ($8,000), Jeremy Pena ($6,500), and Alex Bregman ($7,500) all bat high in the order. Altuve could be a contrarian MVP play given how poorly he's performed at the plate lately.
Yuli Gurriel ($5,500) and Chas McCormick ($5,500) have both played well this postseason and can round out lineups as value plays.