FanDuel MLB: Sunday Championship Series Targets

FanDuel MLB: Sunday Championship Series Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

The Dodgers' victory in Game 6 of the NLCS on Saturday means we're in line for a single-game contest Sunday. A reminder for how FanDuel's single-game contests work: Your lineup will contain six players, all of whom must be hitters. The positions of those hitters do not matter. One of those hitters will be designated as your "MVP" and will earn double points. Another is designated your "Star" and will earn 1.5 times his point total. You must select at least one player from each team, but you're under no obligation to select more than one. This column will highlight three players worthy of MVP consideration and three cheap options to help fill out your lineup.

MVP Candidates

Freddie Freeman ($9,000): I'm leaning towards a Braves-based lineup in this one, as they seem to have an advantage in the pitching matchup. Ian Anderson and Tony Gonsolin have thrown a combined 119 career regular-season innings, with Anderson leading in ERA (1.95 vs. 2.60), FIP (2.54 vs. 3.02) and xFIP (3.45 vs. 4.31). He's also posted 15.2 scoreless innings this postseason, while Gonsolin allowed 5 runs in 4.1 frames in his only playoff appearance thus far. Freeman will get the platoon advantage against Gonsolin and has been the Braves' best hitter this season. Despite a tough battle with COVID-19 prior to the start of the campaign, he put himself firmly in MVP consideration by hitting .341/.462/.640 with 13 homers. Freeman hasn't slowed down much in the postseason, hitting .300/.429/.525 with a pair of homers.

Ronald Acuna Jr. ($8,000): Acuna hasn't produced the greatest postseason, but he's far too talented to remain mediocre for much longer. And if his recent performances cause others to turn elsewhere, he'll make for a great alternative to Freeman. Acuna has only homered once while hitting a modest .233/.340/.395 over 11 playoff contests, but we know that's not who he is. The 22-year-old's batting average dropped to .250 during the regular season, but his overall .250/.406/.581 slash line was good for a career-best 159 wRC+. Acuna also added 14 homers and eight steals in 46 games, which would translate to 47.5 homers and 27.1 steals if he played the same number of games - 156 - as last season.

Corey Seager ($9,500): While I'm slightly leaning towards the Braves in this one, it's quite close so building a Dodgers-focused lineup certainly isn't a bad idea. Seager will earn the platoon advantage against Anderson and has been on fire lately, making him the best choice to lead such a lineup. He was quite good throughout the regular season, hitting .307/.358/.585 with 15 homers in 52 games. That's an entirely new level of power for the shortstop, who averaged just 7.8 homers every 52 games in his first five seasons. Seager's only gotten better in the postseason by hitting .333/.393/.857 with an incredible six homers, 13 runs and 15 RBI across 11 outings.

Bargain Bats

Dansby Swanson ($6,500): Swanson enjoyed a career year during the regular season by posting an above-average batting line (116 wRC+) for the first time since his 38-game debut back in 2016. All three elements of his .274/.345/.464 slash line represented his best marks since his arrival - or his career peak in slugging percentage - and Statcast doesn't indicate he overachieved by giving him a .266 xBA and a .471 xSLG. Swanson's 10 homers were the equivalent of 27 over a 162-game season, which would have easily surpassed his career high of 17. He hasn't slowed down in the playoffs by hitting .262/.319/.500 with a pair of long balls and a pair of steals.

Travis d'Arnaud ($5,500): D'Arnaud would be more valuable in a format where his catcher eligibility was worth something, though his bat this season would have played anywhere. The 31-year-old produced a .246/.307/.412 career slash line prior to this year, respectable enough for a backstop but hardly noteworthy - although he hit an excellent .321/.386/.533 with nine homers in 44 games this season. His batted-ball data backs up his breakout with a 57.8 percent hard-hit rate that ranked second in the league. D'Arnaud has remained hot in the postseason by slashing .316/.413/.526 with two home runs.

Will Smith ($6,000): The opposing catcher was even more dominant at the plate than d'Arnaud this season by posting a .289/.407/.579 line in 37 games, good for a 163 wRC+. It was an improvement on his already excellent .253/.337/.571 line and 132 wRC+ from his 54-game rookie season last year. Perhaps most impressively, Smith made dramatic improvements in his plate discipline, seeing his walk rate jump from 9.2 percent to 14.6 percent while reducing his strikeout rate from 26.5 percent to 16.1 percent. Statcast suggests he overachieved somewhat in the slugging department, giving him a .538 xSLG, though that's still quite a strong number. Smith hasn't had the most impressive postseason having recorded a .655 OPS, though his home run in Game 5 could be the start of him turning things around.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Erik Halterman plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: ehalt, FanDuel: ehalt.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Halterman
Erik Halterman is an MLB staff writer at RotoWire. He also covers KBO, NPB and CPBL daily fantasy contests.
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