I feel before we begin the MLB DFS 10-7-21 AL Division Series Picks, I should provide full disclosure. Despite still feeling like the Houston Astros stole a title recently, I am heavily invested in them from a financial perspective. I have quite a few wagers on them to both win the American League and the World Series. So it is possible, I am seeing what I want to see.
But what I see is a team that despite not having the best slugger, the craftiest base-stealer, or even the top duo of arms, the Astros are in my opinion one of the deepest clubs in this year's postseason. Their starting rotation reminds me of the 1986 New York Mets staff, arguably one of the best rotations I am old enough to remember. If needed, that team could have easily pitched six starting pitchers and so too could the '21 Astros. And even the 12th through 15th best hitters on Houston could probably be regular starters on at least 10 other major league clubs. They're good.
So you'll forgive me if my Thursday night picks have a definite Houston slant to them. The one reason I'm not "all in" on the Astros is that I like the Rays almost as much.
The Rays were the first MLB team I ever placed a futures bet on that won me three figures, so they always have a special place in my heart. But this team is darn good too, and probably better at the top as well. I see both of these teams winning Game 1 and therefore will be stacking heavily from each of those teams.
In these two-game postseason slates, you basically need to pick two teams not facing one another and just run with it. That is especially true if you are playing GPPs, which for those familiar with my DFS previews know is my preferred route. It is going to be a painful process as you definitely leave some talent on the table. However, for those options that I think are the obvious cash options, I will let you know.
Got it? Let's play ball!
MLB DFS 10-7-21 AL Division Series Picks
Pitching Options - Cash Game Play/GPP Anchor
Shane McClanahan, Silly 85mph Curveball. ?? pic.twitter.com/BnBE2zuLW3
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 20, 2021
Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays (DK $7700, FD $8800)
McClanahan is a flamethrower whose fastball hovers right around triple digits. His third and fourth pitches are about average, yet were good enough for him to put up an impressive 10.29 k/9 this year to go with his 3.43 ERA and acceptable 1.27 WHIP. But the Red Sox will also have to deal with his curveball which can be nasty.
DraftKings SP2 or GPP Play
Lance McCullers, Houston Astros (DK $8000, FD $9600)
I'll be honest with you, I really wanted to go with Lynn here as I think he is a better pitcher than McCullers. But as I said, I like the Houston lineup. Furthermore, 185 Ks, a 1.22 WHIP and a 3.16 ERA is not exactly a bad season. Plus, I think the ownership will lean towards McClanahan and Lynn, making McCullers a leverage play.
Jason Castro, C, Houston Astros (DK $3300, FD $2400)
I wouldn't even bother with Castro on FanDuel (where you don't HAVE to play a catcher) and if you don't go with McCullers, Yasmani Grandal (23 HRs and .960 OPS!) is the obvious cash play. But Castro is a left-handed hitting catcher and at just $3300 allows us to spend up elsewhere. Castro is not the only left-handed Astro you will see in this piece as Lynn's wOBA is 65 points better against right-hand hitters than lefties. Castro is not sexy, but he allows us to do what we want elsewhere.
Yuli Gurriel, 1B, Houston Astros (DK $4200, FD $2900)
I like Bobby Dalbec here as a cheap option if you fade McClanahan. But I'm not fading McClanahan, so I'll go with one of the few hitters with a batting average near .320 but also chipped in 15 homers this season. Gavin Sheets makes for an interesting pivot if you are stacking the Chicago White Sox.
Mike Brosseau, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays (DK $2100, $2000)
Brosseau's splits against right-handers are Bob Uecker-like. They are stats you should be ashamed of, but they make us laugh. However, he can hold his against left-handers and my guess is that he starts today. Given his rock bottom price and my suspicion that most will spend up at 2B today, I love him as GPP play.
Yoan Moncada, 3B, Chicago White Sox (DK $3500, FD $2800)
I think Alex Bregman is overpriced and I didn't want to make all Rays and Astros suggestions. I'm not going against McClanahan and Rafael Devers is just too expensive. But there is Moncada sitting in a nice little sweet spot in the middle. He only has six plate appearances against McCullers, but the fact that Moncada has an OPS of 1.000 against him gives me a slight bolt of confidence.
Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (DK $4500, FD $3400)
Lots of options at SS today and I wouldn't fault you for selecting any of the four starters. But I like that Wander Franco has slugged .556 against Eduardo Rodriguez this year and I think he'll be a leverage play as I see the ownership trending toward the other three shortstops.
Let's take care of this today
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 22, 2021
Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (DK $3300, FD $2700)
Fade Meadows and his .574 SLG at your own risk.
Although I really like Randy Arozarena ($4900) today, who did hit .274 with 20 homers. I'll be mulling this decision over all day.
Yordan Alvarez, OF, Houston Astros ($4300, FD $3400)
So, it's not .574, but you gotta like the left-handed Yordan Alvarez and his .534 SLG going against the right-hander Lynn. Alvarez hit 20 HRs this year off RHPs. Yordan will be in every one of my GPP and cash lineups today.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros (DK $4100, FD $3600)
Tucker will likely be accompanying Alvarez in any lineup where I am stacking Astros. He has the LHvRH advantage and all he did this year was hit .294 with 30 HRs. Lock and load!
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