Joey Ricotta | October 8th, 2019
The Tampa Bay Rays were able to stave off elimination yesterday by knocking the baseball all around the yard and defeating the Astros 10-3. But today will be even more challenging as they get the daunting task of trying to hit the timeless ace, Justin Verlander. Will they be able to do it? Who knows. What I do know is I have some top-notch options for you to use in your DFS lineups tonight. At least I hope they are top-notch.
When it comes to Showdown style contests, I don’t generally play cash games. I play more GPPs/Tournaments. That’s not to say you can’t or shouldn’t play cash games, it’s just what I feel more comfortable with given the volatility of Showdowns. With that said, these picks will be geared more towards tournaments. Without further ado, let’s get to the picks.
Disclaimer: Pricing included is for DraftKings.
Michael Brantley ($9,600 Captain, $6,400 Utility)
Brantley has struggled down the stretch and hasn’t done much so far this series, but he’s a veteran who makes a ton of contact and had a great overall regular season, hitting .311 with 22 bombs and 88 driven in. From the sounds of it, the Rays will go with more right-handed arms in an effort to slow down Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and the rest of the Astros’ tough right-handed hitters. Brantley hit right-handed pitchers better than lefties this season (.323/.282), with 19 of his 22 homers coming against them. Here’s where the chess match starts. If manager AJ Hinch sandwiches him between Altuve and Bregman again in the lineup, Kevin Cash may opt to leave one of his righties in to face Brantley in a critical situation with runners on base, hoping that he can get past the recently struggling hitter and stay in the game to face Bregman. Brantley could be in a good position to cash in tonight and I don’t mind using him at Captain or Utility because of his salary saving cost.
Brandon Lowe ($11,100 Captain, $7,400 Utility)
Well, he bombed last night, and by bombed I don’t mean failed miserably. He went yard to the opposite field, blistering a Zack Greinke breaking ball. Normally, when a guy goes yard to the opposite field, they are getting locked in at the plate. The rookie has played himself into Rookie of the Year talks, hitting .270 with 17 HRs in only 82 regular-season games. Lowe got injured in early July and didn’t return until September 22nd. Manager Kevin Cash said in August that Lowe would miss the rest of the season due to a strained quad injury. But Lowe was resilient in his recovery, made good progress, and returned just before the end of the regular season. He closed out the season hitting 3-17 (.176). Not spectacular, but he is 3-11(.273) in the ALDS.
Verlander isn’t immune to the home run ball. He gave up a staggering 36 big flies this season which tied him for third-most in the Majors. A lot of those just so happened to be solo shots, because he doesn’t allow many base runners. Verlander struck out 300 batters in the regular season, second-most in the majors to his teammate Gerrit Cole. Lowe strikes out a criminal rate of 34.6%. In summary, this is a GPP only play. Most likely, only one of two things are going to happen when these two square off against one another tonight. One, Lowe strikes out. Or two, Lowe hits a homer.
Justin Verlander ($13,000 Utility)
As good as Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, and others have been this year, there’s no one I’d rather have pitching in a potential series clincher than JV. Verlander is the most obvious option every time he pitches. But allow me to tell you why he’s a great option again tonight. Strikeouts.
With Diego Castillo expected to get the start, the Rays will deploy their patented opener tactic. That means, while there might be one main long reliever, it will essentially be a bullpen game for them and no one is guaranteed a lengthy outing. Generally, the best plan of attack is to get at least one pitcher in your lineup on a Showdown slate because they have the highest floor when it comes to fantasy points. As long as Verlander doesn’t run into too many issues, he’ll be out there for a minimum of six or seven innings. He’s super expensive at $19,500 for the Captain spot, and using him there will severely limit the number of quality players you can play alongside him. I won’t blame you if you do, but I’ll be using him to fill a utility spot.
Austin Meadows ($13,200 Captain, $8,800 Flex)
Meadows has had a terrific season, much to the chagrin of Pittsburgh Pirates fans everywhere. He slashed .291/.364/.558 (.922 OPS) with 33 HRs and 89 RBIs. Also, he really closed the season out strong, slashing .378/.472/.744 (1.216 OPS) in the month of September. Will we be lucky enough to get a terrific Verlander, while also getting two players who hit solo home runs? It’s certainly possible. In nine plate-appearances against JV, Meadows is 1-6 with two walks. However, the one hit was a home run. I’ll take a stab with Meadows doing it again tonight.
Other Targets: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Tommy Pham, Yonny Chirinos, Emilio Pagan, Roberto Osuna.
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