October is easily my favorite sports month of the year. With football beginning to sort itself out and basketball around the corner there’s action to be had all month. But what I enjoy most is the baseball playoffs. The matchups provided offer some great value for making cash with shrewd daily fantasy maneuvering. This has saved me the last couple years in bad NFL weeks. To make this easier I’ll be basing this off the DraftKings scoring system but this Daily Fantasy guide for the MLB Playoffs should work for most games.
1) Super Bullpens
We live in an era where playoff series are decided by lockdown bullpens more and more. If last years World Series is any indicator teams will live and die by the bullpen and once again we have some good ones. In the 2016 World Series the Cubs and Indians combined to send out 14 starting pitchers. Only seven made it to the 5.0 inning mark with none exceeding 6.0. Lesson? The points available to starting pitchers in innings and wins are going to be very limited.
The smart approach is target pitchers with high strikeout rates. You’re going to have to use a majority of your budget going after Sale, Kershaw and Scherzer but those guys are well worth it. They’ll for sure be given longer leashes. Let’s go back to last year. In Game 3 Cleveland won 1-0. Josh Tomlin pitched the most innings at 4.2. The teams combined to send ten pitchers out to the hill. Expect more of the same this year. This was the lowest scoring game possible yet looking at the pitching changes you would think that both starting pitchers struggled. Playing the matchups is the norm now which leads me to…..
2) Managers Matter
Dusty Baker has this incredible ability to coach himself out of wins with horrible bullpen usage. This goes way beyond handing Russ Ortiz the game ball in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. My friend David Rosenberg calls him “the black Lou Pinella” which isn’t fair to Lou because he was able to ride the Nasty Boys bullpen to a World Series title in 1990. But I digress. With the Nats matched up against the Cubs in the first round look to exploit Dusty here.
The Cubs have a stacked lineup and although Joe Maddon uses different combinations seemingly everyday you’ll get great value with guys in the bottom of the lineup. Look at Javier Baez last year. His hot bat won a lot of contests at good value at a key position. Fade Baker bullpen moves with the hope the starters don’t go too deep and the Cubs depth proves itself again. Hitters going against Strasburg and Scherzer will be devalued so take advantage knowing most likely Dusty will go full Dusty and make a few…..
3) Unsung Heroes
Last year Baez announced his presence at the plate and with his glove. In 2015 Daniel Murphy turned into Reggie Jackson out of nowhere to lead the Mets to a pennant. They’ll be there this year and if somebody starts to look hot just ride them. The sample size is so small any MLB level hitter has the potential to get hot during a series so don’t assume guys can’t keep it up. Daniel Murphy has proved to not be a fluke since then. Chris Taylor of the Dodgers stands out to me as a guy who can really break out here. That’s because…
4) Speed and Patience Are Crucial
Taylor, Trea Turner, Charlie Blackmon and a few others are all dynamic threats that have a solid amount of extra base ability but are absolute terrors on he base paths. Home runs can be difficult to come by as the dominant bullpens take over. Sometimes a walk, stolen base and run scored will be enough. Look to target guys that get on base and can create on the bases. When power is scarce speed can get you over.
If you have the right two starting pitchers each day you won’t need too much offense to get you in the money. It’s best to target value position players and high money pitchers. When the series gets to the bottom of the rotations is when you want to look at the big ticket hitters.
Good luck everyone! As much as I love the theater and drama of postseason baseball I like stacking cash a lot better. I’ve came out ahead last two years and wanted to share what’s worked for me. I’m always open to suggestions though so comment with your favorite value players. I’ll be back with more next week and hopefully much richer. I am going to be at a comedy festival in Humboldt County, CA this weekend so I need to make my picks before I kill too many brain cells.