This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Justin Verlander ($12,000) is incredibly difficult to fade and likely is a highly owned captain in cash formats. The 20.8 DraftKings points (DKP) he posted in Game 2 was the second-lowest total he's had in his last 10 on normal rest, which he'll be operating on Friday. That sort of stability with the potential for 1.5x points makes too much sense. He did allow six runs and 11 hits over 13 regular season innings against the Yankees, but fanned 15. After striking out seven in 6.2 frames last week, nothing suggests a blow up here.
James Paxton ($8,600) is a huge wildcard. He hasn't thrown more than six innings in his last five appearances, and lasted only 51 pitches (2.1 innings) in Game 2. He's got strikeout potential, but isn't the same guy who won 10 straight starts in July and August. There's no clear news on his potential workload here, but with the Yankees facing elimination, he'll have a short leash.
Paxton's left-handed presence may make the Astros' bats as chalky as Verlander is on the mound. Five Houston regulars posted wOBAs north of .383 against lefties during the regular season, led by Alex Bregman's ($9,800) .473, adding a 205 wRC+ and .393 ISO. He's cooled tremendously in the ALCS, however, making Jose Altuve ($10,000) the safer choice. He owns a .429 wOBA and .346 ISO against lefties and is 10-of-30 with two homers in his career against Paxton. The price shows you how well Altuve is swinging presently. Yordan Alvarez ($9,200) was sound against lefties as well but is ice cold in the ALCS, while George Springer ($9,400) and Carlos Correa ($8,400) both have found success against Paxton. There's no getting around all things Houston for cash lineups.
The GPP play is clearly to fade Verlander and go as Yankee-heavy as possible. I'm not sure that includes Paxton however, but there are plenty of big-name bats in this lineup with favorable price tags. Gleyber Torres ($8,200) and DJ LeMahieu ($9,000) are both enjoying fine series, while Gary Sanchez ($5,200), Didi Gregorius ($5,400), Brett Gardner ($6,200) and Gio Urshela ($6,000) all have upside if it weren't for Verlander's presence. Gardner and Gregorius have had relative success against him.
Giancarlo Stanton ($6,600) reportedly could return here, which seems to have become a recurring theme that rarely comes to fruition. Given the price point and power upside, he'd be targetable for GPPs if in the lineup.
Squeezing in any two of the Astros' stud bats, and Verlander is challenging to say the least. Captaining Michael Brantley ($10,200 as captain, $6,800 normal), who's hit safely in five straight, may help that cause rather than going with a studs and duds approach.