Wednesday, Oct. 6, brings the National League Wild Card game, as the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers will be hosting the St. Louis Cardinals. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and hitters for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.
MLB DFS Picks: NL Wild Card Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks, Wednesday, Oct. 6
The National League takes their turn tonight, as the St. Louis Cardinals head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers. This is a win-or-go-home game, so the stakes are of the highest nature. A single-game slates means two starting pitchers and two stacks. The basic strategy is similar to the regular season in that the goal is to find strikeouts and home runs.
There are several different formats for single-game MLB DFS contests across the various sites. Some utilize pitchers, others, like Yahoo, are hitters only. Generally, there is a multiplier or two in play to help augment the fantasy score for the designated player. This provides an extra layer of decision making and strategy.
In a twist, there is a bizarre dichotomy for single-game formats that makes the player pool both smaller and deeper at the same time. The smaller part is obvious: There are nine starting hitters and two pitchers. The deeper part is that home runs can come from anywhere at any time. This means there is a justification for playing pretty much everyone in the starting lineups. The decision points will be many, so here are some thoughts to get things rolling.
Top MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Max Scherzer — 2.9 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo N/A | FanDuel $10,400 | DraftKings $11,400
It looks like the National League Cy Young Award is coming down to Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes and Max Scherzer. It has been quite a season for Scherzer, as his 2.46 ERA was behind only Burnes (2.43) and a tick ahead of new teammate Walker Buehler (2.47). Excluding the shortened season last year, Scherzer has also rolled up 230-plus strikeouts for the ninth consecutive season. He is no stranger to the playoffs, with tonight marking his 23rd game and 19th start.
Solo home runs tend to be the price for the strikeouts, as Scherzer is constantly challenging batters. However, Tommy Edman is the only active Cardinal with a home run off Scherzer. The Redbirds do not see Scherzer all that often, so collectively they have just 156 plate appearances against him.
Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Adam Wainwright at Los Angeles Dodgers— 4.1 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo N/A | FanDuel $9,000 | DraftKings $10,400
This was a good season for veteran pitchers. In his age-40 season, Adam Wainwright’s 3.05 ERA ended up 11th among quality starters, his 22 quality starts in 32 innings were fourth, and his 17-7 record was second. Probably the most impressive thing was he was one of four pitchers to surpass 200 innings. The other three pitchers are 12 years younger than Wainwright on average.
Like with Gerrit Cole last night, managers are not going to be afraid to pull their pitchers if they are struggling in this win-or-go-home game. This adds an element of uncertainty in an already variant sport.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. RHP Adam Wainwright — 4.6 implied runs
Max Muncy (elbow) will not play tonight for the Dodgers, but they still have a loaded lineup. Trea Turner is the top option for the Dodgers tonight. Not only does he have extra-base-hit upside, he has elite speed on the base path and was third in MLB with 32 steals this season. Wainwright and the venerable Yadier Molina are good at preventing steals, though in a game like this, every at-bat, pitch and opportunity are magnified.
Corey Seager, Mookie Betts and Justin Turner are the next trio to target, and they all have their bona fides. And while Wainwright does an excellent job of limiting power and baserunners, he has pedestrian strikeout stuff at this stage of his career. That means the hitters will be making contact, and when the ball is in play anything can happen.
The bottom half of the Dodgers order would easily be the top half for over a third of the teams in the league. Will Smith has pop, and gamers are not fans of playing catchers, especially when they are not required. Cody Bellinger is in the midst of a dreadful season in which he posted an anemic .165 average that is 90 points below his career mark. Still, he is just two seasons removed from earning the National League MVP trophy and is still worth giving a whirl tonight.
Gavin Lux is dealing with a sore neck/shoulder, but he is likely to be in the lineup for Muncy. If Lux cannot go, then it will be the versatile Chris Taylor who becomes a dart throw. Finally, A.J. Pollock at least has postseason experience, though very little success, with a .145/.219/.304 triple slash in 68 at-bats, mostly over the last two seasons with the Dodgers.
St. Louis Cardinals at Max Scherzer — 2.6 implied runs
Facing Scherzer is never a treat, and since this battle is for all the marbles, should he exit after only a few innings, it will likely be Julio Urias replacing him if the game is close. Urias was the only 20-game winner in the league this season, and he was a fringe Cy Young candidate all year.
Clearly the Cardinals have their work cut out tonight. Their two best hitters are Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, both of whom have impressive resumes. Combined they have won the home run title four times, notched the most RBIs three times, and each has four Silver Slugger Awards and six All-Star appearances apiece.
Though he logged 110 at-bats last year, Dylan Carlson still qualified as a rookie heading into this season. He is a switch-hitter and has been a solid every-day contributor, playing in 151 games, and while the strikeouts have been plentiful, he has 53 extra-base hits. Fellow switch-hitter Tommy Edman should have a shot at five plate appearances as the leadoff man for the visiting team.
Tyler O’Neill will likely hit third, and he has the Cardinals’ best advanced power metrics against righties the last two seasons. Paul DeJong should get the nod over rookie Edmundo Sosa for his veteran presence, though that will not be known for sure until the lineup card comes out. Harrison Bader has cheap power, keeping him in play as a discount dandy. Finally, while veteran catcher Yadier Molina has just one lonely hit in 20 at-bats against Scherzer, he at least puts the ball in play, with just four strikeouts.
Final Thoughts for the Wednesday, Oct. 6 NL Wild Card MLB DFS Slate
As Tuesday night showed, single-game slates make the games fun to watch, as every pitch and at-bat is meaningful. Pitchers can get pulled at any time, and the same goes for the weaker bats in the lineup if it is their turn at the plate in a high-leverage situation. Home runs are king, which means every batter has a chance of leading the slate in scoring with one or two good swings.
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