This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Following an impressive 8-3 victory for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, the Rays look to even matters up Wednesday behind their true staff ace, southpaw Blake Snell. Los Angeles counters with right-hander Tony Gonsolin, who threw 41 pitches in Game 7 of the NLCS versus Atlanta on Sunday.
With just one game on the ledger, we're dealing with FanDuel's single-game MLB contest rosters, comprised of the following:
- MVP: (Garners points at 2x the normal rate)
- STAR: (Garners points at 1.5x the normal rate)
- Three Utility spots: (Garner points at normal rate)
With the pricing also being different than in conventional multi-game FanDuel slates and top players inevitably highly popular, there are strategic elements particular to single-game rosters. Finding viable value plays for the three utility spots is key, as it enables you to fill out the multiplier spots with some of the top projected producers. Additionally, selecting the optimal MVP play is critical to having a chance to take down a tournament, as the 2x multiplier can send your point tallies to the stratosphere with the right bat in that slot.
FanDuel MLB single-game rosters don't use traditional positions, so we'll instead break down some candidates for the two multiplier positions and utility spots.
MVP (2x) Plays To Consider
Mookie Betts, LAD ($9,500)
Betts is renowned for his prowess in same-handed matchups, but that's not to say the slugging outfielder hasn't been good versus southpaws. He boasts a .297/.379/.509 line, .374 wOBA and .212 ISO in his career against lefties, even as he struggled considerably against that handedness over a modest 2020 sample of 64 plate appearances. Betts is also slashing .304/.370/.522 in 27 career PAs against Snell, including two doubles, a home run, and only two strikeouts. Snell's most frequently thrown pitch, the four-seam fastball, was an Achilles heel for the hurler more often than not this season. Eight of the 10 homers he allowed over his 50 innings came on that offering, and he yielded a .326 average and .452 wOBA when throwing it. In turn, Betts slashed .309/.387/.574 versus the four-seamer while producing six homers and a .406 wOBA against it.
Corey Seager, LAD ($9,000)
Seager has been making a case for himself all postseason, belting six homers and amassing a 1.124 OPS coming into the World Series. He didn't get much to hit in Tuesday's Game 1 but still drew three walks. That level of plate discipline will serve him well against Snell, who's been plagued by control issues throughout his career and generated a 3.2 BB/9 in the regular season, following that up with 10 free passes across 19.2 frames so far this postseason. Seager doesn't find same-handed matchups prohibitive either, as he owns a career .336 wOBA against southpaws, including a .347 wOBA and .232 ISO this year. Finally, Seager also lines up very well versus Snell's four-seam fastball vulnerabilities – he pounded the pitch for a .365/.420/.608 line and .435 wOBA during the 2020 campaign.
STAR (1.5x) Plays To Consider
Randy Arozarena, TAM ($8,500)
Similar to Seager on the Dodgers' end of things, Arozarena has been raking this postseason. The outfielder has left the yard on seven occasions in these playoffs on his way to a .382/.433/.855 line across 14 games coming into Game 1. While he only drew a walk over four at-bats in the 8-3 loss, Arozarena has already proven capable of wreaking havoc on any given swing of the bat. While he was originally considered a platoon option versus left-handers by the matchup-happy Rays, Arozarena posted a .349 wOBA and .250 ISO versus righties as well, and he slashed .357/.436/.607 with 28 extra-base hits, including 10 homers, versus righties at Triple-A Memphis in 2019. He should also have little trouble with Gonsolin's four-seam fastball, a pitch Arozarena mashed to the tune of a .375 average and .590 wOBA this season. There's also a good chance Dodgers manager Dave Roberts rolls out southpaw Julio Urias after Gonsolin tosses a few innings to start the game, which would then give Arozarena that coveted matchup against a lefty as well.
Cody Bellinger, LAD ($8,000)
Bellinger smacked his third career homer off Tyler Glasnow in Game 1 to get the Dodgers scoring going, his fourth homer of the postseason. The 25-year-old had a mostly disappointing regular season that included a career-worst .239/.333/.455 slash line, but given he had an impressively modest 17.3 percent strikeout rate, it's safe to say his unusually low .245 BABIP was partly to blame for his misfortune. Like his teammate Seager, Bellinger also more than holds his own in same-handed matchups (career .349 wOBA, .240 ISO against lefties) and versus the four-seam fastball, a pitch that resulted in 52 of his 123 career homers and which he owns a .381 career wOBA against.
Utility Plays To Consider
Max Muncy, LAD ($7,000)
Muncy is yet another high-upside Dodgers bat that can be rolled out against Snell, and although he comes with a bit more risk than the teammates highlighted thus far, that's reflected in his bargain price. The lefty-swinging Muncy has been better in same-handed matchups throughout his career, as he's posted a .362 OBP, .503 slugging percentage, .367 wOBA and .247 ISO against southpaws. While he has been hit or miss at times during these playoffs – he's struck out 17 times but also delivered a grand slam, another homer, three doubles and eight RBI overall – he can pay off his modest salary with one swing. He showed as much in a 2-for-4 night in Tuesday's Game 1 that included an RBI double off lefty Josh Fleming, and he could be set up for success against Snell's four-seamer, a pitch he took deep for 11 of his 12 home runs on the season and generated a .475 wOBA against.
Manuel Margot, TAM ($6,500)
Margot's teammate Yandy Diaz ($5,500) is another Utility option, but his starts during the postseason have been sporadic. If he's in the lineup Wednesday and you need to save some extra cash, he's certainly in play as well due to his excellent track record against right-handed pitching. Meanwhile, Margot has been on a homer tear during the playoffs after hitting one round tripper across 159 plate appearances during the regular season. He has sent five balls out of the park across 14 playoff games thus far, and he's now reached safely in eight straight contests. Despite the relative lack of long balls, Margot did put together a solid body of work versus right-handed pitching in 2020, posting a .284 average and .336 OBP against that handedness over 119 plate appearances in the regular season.
Joey Wendle, TAM ($4,500)
Wendle is a quality hitter who's scuffling this postseason, as he owns just a .227 average (10-for-44), including Tuesday's Game 1 double and two RBI, over 15 games. However, the veteran utility man posted a solid .284/.336/.463 line and .340 wOBA versus right-handed pitching this season, and he belted all four of his homers against that handedness as well. Wendle even offers some stolen-base potential (six steals in '20, 32 overall since '18), is an above-average contact hitter (sub-20.0 percent strikeout rates in three straight seasons) and sports a very modest 14.0 percent strikeout rate lifetime against the four-seam fastball, Gonsolin's most-used pitch. Even if Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opts to bring in Urias behind Gonsolin, it's worth noting Wendle posted a .294 average and .368 OBP over 38 plate appearances in same-handed matchups this season.