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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for September 18

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

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

With just three weeks left in the Major League Baseball regular season, Sunday afternoon wraps up another weekend of important series in the playoff race. There are 11 games on tap for Sunday afternoon’s main slate on DraftKings, which gets underway at 1:05 p.m. ET. All stats provided are coming into Saturday’s play unless otherwise noted.

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Jacob deGrom, New York Mets vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($11,900) – There are several studs in good spots on Sunday afternoon, but deGrom has both a very high ceiling and a high floor due to his high strikeout rate. In his 49 13 innings across eight games, deGrom has piled up 73 strikeouts while going 5-2 with a 2.01 ERA and 1.45 FIP. He has at least eight strikeouts in seven straight starts and has posted over 31 DKFP in five of those starts. He did scuffle a little bit against the Cubs in his most recent outing with only 24.5 DKFP, but he held the Pirates to three hits over seven shutout innings for 33.5 DKFP two starts ago. In this rematch against Pittsburgh, he should be set up to bounce back and put up a big number since he has good career splits in day games and the Pirates’ offense has been struggling recently.

Other Options – Framber Valdez ($10,900), Alek Manoah ($9,600)


Javier Assad, Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies ($7,000) – If you don’t go with a pair of stud SP, Assad is an option that makes sense at home against Colorado. The 25-year-old will be making his fifth start of the season for the Cubs and has averaged 13.8 DKFP per start. He is also coming off his strongest outing of the season, beating the Mets with six strong innings and earned 22.7 DKFP. He’ll get a good matchup against the Rockies, who have been a great matchup when on the road since they have only hit .211 away from Coors Field this season with a .300 road wOBA and a 26.4% K-rate. Assad has had six strikeouts in each of his two most recent starts and will be a great value if he has a similarly strong outing at Wrigley on Sunday afternoon.

Other Options – Joe Ryan ($8,200), Bailey Falter ($7,600)



Pete Alonso, New York Mets vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,600) – Alonso and the Mets should provide deGrom with good run support in their matchup against Johan Oviedo ($5,300). Alonso had a nine-game hitting streak snapped on Friday, and during that run, he went 13-for-36 (.361) with three homers and a .449 wOBA. Alonso has favorable splits against righties like Oviedo and at home, where he has a .368 wOBA and 150 wRC+ on the season. He’s at the heart of one of the most productive lineups in baseball, so he’s a strong centerpiece to consider for Sunday’s lineup.


Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays ($4,900) – Semien has had an uneven season in this first year in Texas, but he’s coming down the stretch on a nice roll. He is hitting .328 in September with seven doubles, a triple, three home runs and a .406 wOBA. He is 7-for-20 (.350) with one of those home runs and a .450 wOBA against left-handed pitching this month, so he should be in a good spot against Jeffrey Springs ($8,700). Semien has also had success against Springs in the past, going 5-for-10 with three home runs.

Other Options – Nolan Arenado ($5,600), Xander Bogaerts ($5,300)


Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays ($3,600) – Henderson has made a nice splash since being called up to the Majors 16 games ago, including Saturday afternoon’s loss in Toronto. The 21-year-old prospect has hit .345 (20-for-58) with six doubles, a triple, two home runs and an average of 8.9 DKFP per contest. He has collected multiple hits and at least 12 DKFP in four straight games on Baltimore’s current road trip, and he’s on the favorable side of the splits against Alek Manoah ($9,600), who allows lefties a .307 wOBA compared to only a .214 wOBA for righties.


Gio Urshela, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians ($2,600) – Urshela has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games, going 14-for-37 (.378) with one double, one home run and a .398 wOBA. Even though he doesn’t bring a ton of power potential, his steady production and premium spot in the middle of the batting order makes him a good play at such a low price. He and the Twins face rookie Cody Morris ($6,100), who still isn’t fully stretched out, so it should end up being a bullpen game for the Guardians and a favorable matchup for the Twins to provide some solid value offense.

Other Options – Bryson Stott ($3,000), Vinny Pasquantino ($2,500)



Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at Milwaukee Brewers ($6,500) – Judge continues to be the best pay-up option in the OF in almost every matchup. He has averaged 15.9 DKFP per contest over his 12 most recent games, going 22-for-45 (.489) with six home runs and a .610 wOBA. If you’re wondering why teams don’t just walk him, the scary thing is they are—he also has 11 walks in his past 10 games including six intentional walks. He’s so locked in during his home run chase that he’s still able to put up impressive performances in his remaining at-bats, and he’ll look to keep rolling against rookie righty Jason Alexander ($5,000), who has a 6.70 ERA across his 13 most recent appearances including a 1.77 HR/9.


Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Yankees ($4,800) – On the other side of that matchup in Milwaukee, Yelich will look to continue his career success against Gerrit Cole ($10,300). In the past, Yelich has gone 9-for-20 (.450) with three home runs against Cole in their past meetings and has also been heating up. Over his past 21 games, Yelich is hitting .305 with four doubles, three homers and a .367 wOBA. While his power numbers are still down for the season, he’s been hitting the ball well lately with a 56.3% hard-hit rate over that 21-game span.

Other Options – Ronald Acuña Jr. ($5,800), George Springer ($5,300)


Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals ($3,100) – Despite his injury-plagued season, Hernández has continued to produce against lefties. He’s hitting .257 with a .357 wOBA against southpaws on the season. He had two hits in Saturday’s loss and has three multi-hit games in his seven most recent starts. At just over $3K, Hernández brings lots of upside in the good matchup highlighted below in stacks.


Bryan De La Cruz, Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals ($2,000) – With Avisaíl García (hamstring) back on the injured list, the Marlins’ outfield has become full of young options with salaries at or near the minimum. De La Cruz started5 the first three games in García’s absence before taking a seat Saturday. He will likely be back in the lineup Sunday in a favorable matchup against Aníbal Sánchez ($6,300), who has surrendered 28 runs on 44 hits in his 53 13 innings this year, including 12 home runs. Righties have a .394 wOBA against him including eight of those homers, and De La Cruz has showcased decent power potential with nine homers in 99 games in the Majors this season including two in the past week. He’s a punt play with power upside if he’s back in the lineup Sunday.

Other Options – Oscar González ($3,700), David Peralta ($2,800), Aristedes Aquino ($2,100)


Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics The Astros have had the hottest offense in baseball over the past week with 38 runs, 14 homers and a .374 wOBA over their past seven games. To finish their series against Oakland, they get a good matchup against lefty Ken Waldichuk ($6,500), who has allowed three home runs and nine runs across 15 innings in his first three MLB starts. Left-handed hitters have struggled against Waldichuk (going 1-for-12), but he has allowed righties to post a .430 wOBA. As a result, stacking Astros’ right-handed options makes sense starting with José Altuve ($5,800), Jeremy Peña ($4,500) and Alex Bregman ($5,700) in the infield. Trey Mancini ($4,300) and Yuli Gurriel ($3,600) provide a pair of nice mid-range plays while Chas McCormick ($2,700) and David Hensley ($2,500) can be great values if they are in the lineup.

Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals – Another good situation to stack against a lefty on Sunday afternoon is in Fenway Park, where the Red Sox face Kris Bubic ($5,800). Bubic has lost six straight starts, allowing 24 runs in 30 23 innings with six home runs allowed in his four most recent starts. Oddly, most of the damage done against him has been done by left-handed hitters, who have a .457 wOBA against him on the season including six of his 18 homers allowed. As a result, lefties Rafael Devers ($5,500), Alex Verdugo ($4,100) and Tristan Casas ($2,000) aren’t stay-away options. It also makes sense to target righties Tommy Pham ($4,700) and Xander Bogaerts ($5,300), who have both been hitting well at home lately. Kiké Hernández (discussed above), Christian Arroyo ($3,300) and the recently-added Yu Chang ($2,400) can all be considered as value options as well since they typically thrive against southpaws and are set to face a struggling one Sunday.

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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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