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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for August 21

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays for Sunday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Another summer Sunday afternoon sets up to be a great slate of fantasy baseball with eight games on the main slate on DraftKings, starting at 1:35 p.m. ET. There are a few weather situations to watch closely, so be sure to check back leading up to game time to make sure there are no soggy surprises to spoil your fantasy success. All stats referenced below are coming into play on Saturday unless otherwise indicated

To keep up with pregame lineups and player news, install the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $222K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st]

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.



Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers, ($10,500) – The Tigers have the highest strikeout rate in the Majors since the All-Star break at 27.6% to go with the lowest team wOBA (.260) over that span. That combination along with Ohtani’s strikeout potential gives him a sky-high ceiling Sunday and makes him too good of an opportunity to pass up. Ohtani has only gone 1-3 in his past five starts, but has still struck out 42 in 30 innings with a 3.60 ERA and 3.09 FIP. He just hasn’t been getting much run support. He’s 7-3 with exactly 100 strikeouts over his past 11 starts with a 1.81 ERA and 1.92 FIP. Given the Tigers’ struggles at the plate and a good head-to-head matchup against Eduardo Rodríguez ($6,900), he comes with a high ceiling and low risk in this road start.

Other Options – Brandon Woodruff ($10,000), Charlie Morton ($8,600)


Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers ($7,200) – Steele has allowed only two earned runs in his past four starts combined, although he has struggled to go deep into games, totaling just 20 13 innings in those starts, but piling up 30 strikeouts. Even without a ton of innings or any wins, he has produced over 19 DKFP in three straight outings and in five of his past eight. He has an impressive 1.07 ERA and 2.69 FIP with an 11.37 K/9 since the All-Star break. One of his best outings of the season came earlier this season in Milwaukee when Steele held the Brew Crew to two hits in 6 23 innings while striking out nine on his way to 26.8 DKFP. Against lefties, the Brewers have a .218 batting average on the season, better than only the lowly Marlins along with a well below average 87 wRC+, so this should be a good spot for the man of Steele to deliver a super performance.

Other Option – José Urquidy ($8,400), Kohei Arihara ($5,800)



Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros ($5,000) – Swanson has built on his breakout performance from last year and continued to deliver on a regular basis for the defending World Series Champions. Swanson has been outstanding at home all season, where he has a .329 average, 10 of his 16 home runs and a .387 wOBA. He also has been riding a hot streak, going 16-for-50 (.320) over his past dozen games with a stolen base, five doubles, a home run and a .357 wOBA. Since the Braves are at home as they wrap up this marquee series with the Astros, Swanson is a solid SS to build around.


Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees ($4,800) – While the Blue Jays have plenty of more-hyped offensive options, Chapman has been much better this season when facing lefties, who he has a .270 average and .361 wOBA against. He will take on lefty Nestor Cortes ($9,400) on Sunday, against whom he has gone 3-for-9 with two home runs in the past. Chapman has been flashing power since the All-Star break with eight home runs and a .396 wOBA over 25 games coming into Saturday’s contest in which he added his 24th homer of the season.

Other Options – Francisco Lindor ($5,600), Matt Olson ($4,600)


Luis Rengifo, Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers ($3,900) – Rengifo has been one of the few bright spots in a rough season for the Halos. The 25-year-old is hitting .269 with five stolen bases, nine homers and a .320 wOBA overall on the year, but he has done most of his damage against lefties like E-Rod, who he’ll face Sunday. Against southpaws, Rengifo is hitting .340 with seven homers and a .420 wOBA. His seven-game hitting streak came to a halt on Friday, but he went 25-for-84 (.298) with a .368 wOBA over his previous 20 games, and he should benefit from hitting behind Ohtani and Mike Trout ($5,600) in the lineup for the rest of the year.


Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds ($3,200) – Newman hasn’t homered since September 6, 2021, a drought spanning 280 plate appearances. However, he still has value as a low-cost middle infielder since he almost always finds a way to contribute, especially when taking on a lefty. Newman is batting .349 against lefties this season with six doubles and a .376 wOBA. He has hit safely in seven of his past nine games, going 13-for-34 (.382) with a stolen base and a .378 wOBA. With a great matchup (see stacks below), he should continue to rake against southpaws and do enough to be productive even without much power potential.

Other Options – Whit Merrifield ($3,900), Nick Madrigal ($2,900), Vaughn Grissom ($2,100)



Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves, ($4,600) – Tucker and the Astros will face former-Astro Charlie Morton ($8,600), who has been pitching well lately but definitely struggles more against lefties (.338 wOBA) than righties (.276 wOBA). Tucker will be on the favorable side of that split and has 15 of his 22 homers this year against righties, against whom he has posted a .386 wOBA and 158 wRC+ this year. Tucker has also been red hot in August, posting a 207 wRC+ and .455 wOBA with three homers in his first 15 games this month.


Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds, ($4,100) – Reynolds is another outfielder who has been swinging a hot stick in August, and he’s available at a relatively affordable mid-range salary in a favorable matchup (highlighted below). Reynolds went 21-for-63 (.333) with three doubles and five home runs in 17 games this month, resulting in a .450 wOBA and 194 wRC+. The switch-hitter has fairly even splits across the board, but he’s been productive enough to be worth a look at barely more than $4K.

Other Options – Ronald Acuña Jr. ($5,400), Randy Arozarena ($4,800)


Harold Ramírez, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals ($3,500) – Since returning from a month-long stay on the IL, Ramírez is 6-for-17 (.353) with a double and a home run including his 2-for-4 performance Saturday against the Royals. The Rays OF usually hits in the middle of the order and contributes solid numbers across the board, but he remains under-priced in the mid-$3K range. On the year, he is hitting .331 with a solid .362 wOBA, three stolen bases and five home runs.


Franmil Reyes, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($3,200) – Reyes hit safely in each of his first nine games with the Cubs, going 14-for-38 (.368) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and a .455 wOBA. Reyes has always had plenty of raw power, but sometimes struggles to make contact. His 26.3% strikeout rate with the Cubs shows that continues to be a problem, but his upside is enough to still give him a look at barely over $3K, especially if your roster needs an infusion of power potential to raise its ceiling.

Other Options – Manuel Margot ($4,000), Jake Fraley ($2,600), Bubba Thompson ($2,000)


New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies – Since the All-Star break, the Mets have been the third-best offense in baseball measured by wRC+ and wOBA while leading the league with a .278 team batting average. Kyle Gibson ($7,800) usually pitches to contact with just 7.19 K/9 this year, but he did have an outlier with 11 strikeouts in his most recent start. Before that outing, he did look hittable while giving up 12 runs over 24 13 innings in his previous four starts with a 4.07 ERA and 4.64 FIP. The red-hot Francisco Lindor ($5,600) is 16-for-48 (.333) against Gibson in the past, while Starling Marte ($4,900) is 3-for-7 and Brandon Nimmo ($4,600) is 4-for-13 (.308) with a home run. You can also get some potential bargains with Mark Canha ($3,400) or Brett Baty ($2,300).

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds – The Pirates are one of the worst offenses in the Majors, so they aren’t usually a stack I’m chasing, but they have a great matchup on Sunday afternoon and come at such affordable salaries that you can stack stars in other spots. Mike Minor ($5,500) will start for the Reds, and the veteran has gone an ugly 1-10 in his 13 starts with 18 home runs allowed, a 6.31 ERA and 6.41 FIP. Right-handed hitters are hitting .312 against Minor with 14 homers and a .422 wOBA. Bryan Reynolds (highlighted above) and Kevin Newman (discussed above) are the only right-handed starting options priced over $3K and both have been playing well while Rodolfo Castro ($2,400), Michael Chavis ($2,000), and Greg Allen ($2,000) are all extremely cheap plays that will be on the right side of those splits and have also been hitting the ball pretty well over the past 10 games.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $222K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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