Since most of Major League Baseball’s series have taken place this weekend in Eastern and Central time zones, there’s a massive 11-game slate in Sunday afternoon’s main window on DraftKings, which is scheduled to get underway at 1:35 p.m. ET. Five games start right around contest lock, five more at 2:10 p.m. ET, and the Tigers and Rangers close out the main slate with a 2:35 p.m. ET start in Texas.
To keep up with pregame lineups and the latest 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. All stats referenced in the preview below are through Saturday unless otherwise stated.
Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals ($9,300) – There are definitely much bigger names at the top of the board, but this seems like a nice matchup to attack while saving a little salary by going with Lodolo. The rookie lefty has gone 3-4 in his 12 MLB starts with a 4.35 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 11.55 K/9. He has been even sharper lately with at least six strikeouts in four of his past six starts and 39 punchouts over 33 2⁄3 innings during that span. Not surprisingly, the Nationals have struggled in August after trading big bats away, hitting just .249 with a .298 wOBA and scoring the fourth-fewest runs in the Majors. Lodolo has posted impressive outings against lighter-hitting teams, including 31.3 DKFP against the Marlins and 21.9 DKFP against the Orioles. If he can bring back over 20 DKFP at this salary, he could end up the key to success on Sunday’s slate.
Other Options – Justin Verlander ($11,000), Noah Syndergaard ($8,200)
Kohei Arihara, Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers ($6,700) – Arihara has only made two MLB starts this season, but he brings enough upside to be worth a look in this outing against the struggling Tigers. Arihara threw six shutout innings in his most recent start, which was on the road against the Twins. He only had three strikeouts but still earned 20.5 DKFP in the win. He had six strikeouts in his first start of the year, and the Tigers’ MLB-high 29.4% K% in August should boost his strikeout numbers in this outing. Detroit has also scored the third-fewest runs in the month and is only hitting .218 with an MLB-low .257 wOBA during the month. Arihara should be able to hold them in check if he continues the form he has shown so far.
Other Options – Nick Pivetta ($7,900), Ross Stripling ($7,400)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels ($5,700) – Vladdy has been on a very nice roll since just before the All-Star break and has hit safely in 31 of his past 34 games. Over that span, he’s hitting a healthy .329 with 13 doubles, six home runs, a .396 wOBA and a 163 wRC+. Opposing lefty SP Tucker Davidson ($5,700) has struggled some with right-handed hitters, allowing them to post a .361 wOBA this season, so Toronto should be able to attack him with their righty-heavy lineup led by Guerrero.
Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals vs. San Diego Padres ($4,800) – Like many of his fellow rookies this year, Witt started slowly but has found his footing and become a great emerging fantasy option. The 22-year-old can slot into either 3B or SS, which also boosts his flexibility. He extended his hitting streak to eight games on Saturday, and in the first seven games went 9-for-27 (.333) with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and a .481 wOBA. Like Guerrero, he’ll be on the favorable side of an opposite-hand matchup against a lefty in Sean Manaea ($8,600). Witt has also been significantly better at home than on the road this season, hitting .283 with a .348 wOBA at Kauffman Stadium, where he has also had 17 of his 24 stolen bases.
Other Options – Pete Alonso ($5,400), Alex Bregman ($4,900)
Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies ($3,400) – Hayes’ salary is still low due to his 12-day absence from the Pirates’ lineup due to a minor back issue. He has gone 3-for-12 (.250) with a pair of doubles and a stolen base since returning. On the season, he’s hitting .251 with a .303 wOBA, but he was just finding his stride before his IL stint. He’s hitting .304 in his past 12 contests with a .335 wOBA. He hits in the heart of the order and brings a high ceiling for a player under $3,5K.
Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($3,400) – Hernández also just returned from a trip to the IL and is slightly under-priced as a result. He has hit safely in seven of his past eight starts through Saturday, going 10-for-32 (.313) with one double and two home runs. His production has always run hot and cold, and it looks like he’s at the start of a hot stretch.
Other Options – Donovan Solano ($3,100), Wil Myers ($3,000), Romy González ($2,000)
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays ($5,500) – Trout has gone 8-for-28 (.286) with three home runs since returning from the injured list with a .390 wOBA and 15.0% barrel rate. He hit three home runs on three barrels in three straight games coming into Saturday’s play, and he has owned Ross Stripling ($7,400) in their past meetings. Trout is 7-for-11 (.636) against Stripling and three of those hits have been home runs. Trout seems to be finding his groove, and he couldn't ask for a much better Sunday afternoon matchup.
Starling Marte, New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,200) – Marte has been great for the Mets over the past few weeks, hitting .333 (14-for-42) with three doubles, a triple, two homers, a .428 wOBA and an average of 12 DKFP per game over his past 10 contests. His blend of power and speed has resulted in 14 homers and 18 stolen bases, showing he can produce fantasy goodness in multiple ways. He and the Mets get a good matchup highlighted below, so I’m using Marte as one of my key OF to build around again on Sunday.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Starling Marte is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Rockies.
Other Options –
Yordan Alvarez ($5,600), Tommy Pham ($4,600)
Mark Canha, New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies ($3,700) – The Mets brought in some extra pieces at the trade deadline, but Canha has caught fire to keep a firm hold on his regular starting spot in LF. He has gone 14-for-34 (.412) over his past 12 games with seven doubles and three home runs boosting him to a .563 wOBA and .471 ISO in the small sample size.
Bubba Thompson, Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers ($2,000) – Thompson is still at the minimum salary despite three straight double-digit DKFP performances earlier this week. The speedy CF hit .274 over his first 19 games with at least one hit in 11 of his past 12 starts. He also has seven stolen bases on the year, including four in his past eight games. Thompson usually hits at the bottom of the order but that does mean he’s typically on base when the lineup turns over since he serves as a “second leadoff” ahead of Marcus Semien ($5,100) after the first time through the lineup. His speed and solid recent showing make him a solid punt play against Drew Hutchinson ($3,000) and the Tigers.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bubba Thompson is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Tigers.
Other Options –
Eloy Jiménez ($3,900), David Peralta ($2,900), Aristedes Aquino ($2,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies – The Mets have been a great offense all year at home and get a good matchup to wrap up their series against the visiting Rockies as they face Germán Márquez ($7,200). Márquez has served up 23 home runs in 24 starts with a 5.22 ERA and 4.70 FIP. Lefties have hit .280 against him with a .357 wOBA while taking him deep 11 times. Márquez has been a little better since the All-Star break, but a deeper look shows he’s still giving up plenty of hard contact, just getting a little bit luckier with outcomes. Left-handed bats like Brandon Nimmo ($4,700) and Daniel Vogelbach ($3,900) can make up the core of the stack, but there are some big bats with high ceilings to consider as well like Francisco Lindor ($5,700), Pete Alonso ($5,400), Mark Canha (highlighted above) and Starling Marte (highlighted above). Eduardo Escobar ($3,600), who returned from the IL Saturday, is 13-for-26 (.500) with a home run against Márquez in their previous meetings, making him an intriguing midrange play as well.
Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals – Stacking against Patrick Corbin ($6,200) has been a great strategy all season. The veteran lefty has a 6.81 ERA, 6.34 FIP and 23 home runs allowed in 25 starts. Right-handed hitters have smashed 20 of those 23 home runs and have a .399 wOBA against him, although lefties have a .388 wOBA against him, so they’re not off the table either. Jonathan India ($4,600) is the most expensive bat in what can be a nice value stack with Kyle Farmer ($3,800) and Donovan Solano ($3,100) both posting good numbers against lefties so far this season. Aristedes Aquino ($2,000) and Stuart Fairchild ($2,000) are two more right-handers you can consider at the minimum while Jake Fraley ($2,800) has been hitting well enough from the leadoff spot to overlook the lefty-lefty matchup against Corbin. As a whole, Cincinnati seems to be set up in a smash spot to deliver strong value.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jake Fraley is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Nationals.
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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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