This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We've reached the final day of the regular season and there is nothing left to be decided in terms of playoff teams or seeding. As a result, we'll see some shift in the starters used and likely some "B" quality lineups. Because Toronto and Baltimore are set for a doubleheader, neither team will accrue points on the main slate. I'll summarize the rest of what is known at the time of drafting, but pay attention to news prior to lineups locking at 4:05 EDT.
The pitching pool will change drastically from the time of drafting, so be careful to check all matchups close to lock. With the NL East settled, neither Jacob deGrom nor Max Fried should not be expected to take the mound. Clayton Kershaw ($9,800) and Framber Valdez ($10,200) have both been confirmed to start, but neither is expected to work deep into the game.
The two aces that appear to be relatively safe are Shohei Ohtani ($10,900) and Corbin Burnes ($10,400). Ohtani has the superior strikeout rate (33.1%) and HR/9. Add in a matchup against the Athletics, and on paper, Ohtani is in a great spot. Burnes isn't far behind, as he has a 30.2 K% and faces an Arizona lineup that is bottom-third in the league as measured by wOBA.
For the reasons laid out above, as things currently stand there's no reason to pay up for pitching in any other spots. Mike Clevinger ($7,400) is likely auditioning for a roster spot in the wild-card round for the Padres. He won't be needed as a starter, but with a good performance Wednesday, he could be included as a relief arm. He may not work a typical workload, but he will follow Adrian Morejon into the game and will be in a strong position to earn a win against a weak Giants lineup. Domingo German ($7,300) should be a solid cash game option. He doesn't have much of a ceiling but is a safe bet for a minimum of low-teens DK points. The Rangers boast a decent lineup, but they have struck out at a 24 percent clip this season.
Ken Waldichuk ($5,200) is a decent punt play starting opposite Ohtani. That diminishes his chance for a win, but he has reached double-digit DK points in half of his career starts – highlighted by a 22.3-point performance his last time out.
Elieser Hernandez has had significant home run problems this season, which has forced him to spend most of his time at Triple-A Jacksonville. Atlanta could opt to sit a lot of its starters, but William Contreras ($4,700) is a fairly strong bet to be in the lineup, and he could hit fairly high in the order.
Merrill Kelly has allowed multiple home runs in four of his last five starts, so it's worth considering Milwaukee's power hitters. Rowdy Tellez ($4,400) offers a nice discount, but both Hunter Renfroe ($4,900) and Willy Adames ($5,400) are good also choices.
Javier Baez ($3,900) has had a disappointing opening season in Detroit, but he still has hit lefties very well (.354 wOBA, .211 ISO). Marco Gonzales has only a 13 percent strikeout rate and has allowed 1.5 HR/9 this season, so Baez has a good opportunity to end his season in strong form.
Luis Ortiz is being recalled to start Wednesday's game for the Giants. He doesn't have a significant sample in the majors this season, but he has a career 46.5 FB% and 10.2 K%. That's the recipe for a lot of loud contact and home runs. The Padres have no shortage of star players, but Wil Myers ($2,600) has been hot at the plate and is cheap.
Will Brennan ($2,600) has hit well in his limited big-league sample, and he should be in the lineup for the regular-season finale. Jonathan Heasley has been a pitcher to target for the last several months, and there's no reason to expect that to change.
Stacks to Consider
Padres vs. Giants (Luis Ortiz): Ha-Seong Kim ($3,700), Juan Soto ($5,700), Manny Machado ($5,600)
Ortiz is a pitcher to target as was highlighted above, and the Padres have a deep enough lineup that even if they sit some of their stars, they will remain a decent team to target. Wil Myers, Brandon Drury, and Josh Bell could also factor into a stack.
Mariners vs. Tigers (Tyler Alexander): J.P. Crawford ($3,000), Ty France ($4,500), Eugenio Suarez ($4,500)
There are reasons to like both the Mariners and Tigers bats, as both Marco Gonzales and Alexander give up a lot of contact and home runs. The Mariners boast a better-projected lineup that also doesn't come at a prohibitive cost so they are the preferred option. The Tigers will be less popular, so keep them in mind for larger field tournaments.
Mets vs. Nationals (Erick Fedde): Tyler Naquin ($3,600), Daniel Vogelbach ($3,700), Mark Canha ($3,700)
While not as extreme as some of the other pitchers taking the mound Wednesday, Fedde checks a lot of boxes for pitchers we want to target. That includes a 16.8 percent strikeout rate, 10.1 percent walk rate and 1.4 HR/9. Presumably, the Mets will rest many of their stars to prepare for the playoffs which is why some mid-tier options are listed as the recommended stack. This will be a lineup to check before lock.