This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We get the ALCS and NLCS in action Saturday, and both the Astros and Phillies will have the chance to take a commanding lead in their respective series. As for DFS, there's a pretty clear optimal build on paper, so roster rates are likely to condense quite a bit – even relative to a two-game slate.
Houston at New York
Pitching Matchup: Cristian Javier ($8,400) vs. Gerrit Cole ($9,800)
Cole is the most well-rounded pitcher of the four taking the mound Saturday with a 0.37 point advantage in SIERA over Javier. His problem with the long ball has been well-documented with a 1.5 HR/9. If there is positive news to take out of that, it's that 18 of the 33 home runs Cole allowed were solo shots. Even if he's taken yard twice, there's a pretty clear path to him posting a productive day from a DK perspective. There are two additional problems with rostering Cole: his salary and the extremely difficult matchup against the Astros.
Javier slightly outpaces Cole in strikeout rate and is far less homer-prone (1.1 HR/9). The disparity in salary seemingly comes primarily due to his 9.2 BB%. The Yankees bats should have a chance to wake up at home, but Javier is misvalued.
The primary thing that's unique about the pitchers on this slate is that these are clearly the two best pitchers and I'd have no issue rostering both. In theory, that cuts down on upside because only one can earn a win. On Saturday, that's likely not true due to the poor projected starting pitching matchup in the NLCS.
As you can probably guess, I'm not looking to build my lineups through hitters on either side. A few notes, though. Cole has had a homer problem against lefties (1.7 HR/9, accounting for 17 of his 33). That doesn't help all that much because Kyle Tucker ($4,700) and Yordan Alvarez ($5,600) are the only regular lefties in the Houston lineup and come at a steep salary, though they're likely to come at a low roster rate.
In contrast to how the lineup has looked to begin the series, I'd be more interested in stacking the Yankees. They return home and face a pitcher with a nine percent walk rate. If they can get to Javier, there's a chance it can be significant damage rather than solo homers. Javier doesn't have clear splits to attack, though Harrison Bader ($3,200) stands out as an obvious value and start to a stack if he remains the leadoff hitter.
San Diego at Philadelphia
Pitching Matchup: Mike Clevinger ($5,700) vs. Bailey Falter (TBD)
Falter has been announced as the starter for the Phillies, but Noah Syndergaard is currently the pitcher in the player pool so it's unclear how much Falter will go for. Pretty much regardless of where that number lands, Falter is not rosterable. That's not because of his skills, but instead because manager Rob Thompson said he wants Falter to only work one time through the San Diego order.
Clevinger has name value, but that's about it. He posted a 4.54 SIERA due to a 1.6 HR/9 and 11.4 K-BB%. He'll provide plenty of savings, but not much value. Odds aren't currently available on Clevinger earning a win, but I'd be willing to bet they won't be high.
Righties punished Falter during the regular season, so if you believe the Padres can get to him early there's a pretty easy route to take building through any portion of their lineup. However, Falter will only be in for three innings at the maximum, so planning on stacking against him isn't the ideal construction. Noah Syndergaard could throw a few innings after Falter, and he's also not an imposing matchup. I like the Padres bats, and Jurickson Profar ($4,100) leading off is a nice way to offset salary.
Clevinger has been hit by everyone, but particularly lefties. Trying to build a roster around both Javier and Cole plus Kyle Schwarber ($5,500) and Bryce Harper ($5,900) would leave $3,400 for the other six spots. Bryson Stott ($3,100) and Brandon Marsh ($2,800) would both be value plays, but I'd be happy jamming in as many Phillies hitters as possible.