On the final Sunday before fantasy football takes center stage, Major League Baseball has a jam-packed Sunday afternoon of fantasy baseball lined up with 10 games making up the main slate on DraftKings, which starts at 1:35 p.m. ET. It shapes up to be a wild slate with plenty of offense based on the starting pitchers scheduled to be in action. You can find my favorite options listed below. All stats are as of Saturday unless otherwise noted.
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George Kirby, Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Guardians ($9,900) – Saturday’s slate was well-stocked with stud starting pitchers, but Sunday’s is stretched pretty thin with lots of wild cards and straight-up adventures as cheaper options. Kirby isn’t a sure thing since the Mariners are trying to be so careful with his workload, but the 24-year-old rookie has been exceptional when on the mound and brings good upside in a favorable matchup against the scuffling Guardians. In nine starts since the start of July, Kirby has allowed three runs or fewer in every outing while posting a 2.17 ERA, 1.39 FIP and 10.51 K/9. He has 41 strikeouts in 33 1⁄3 innings over his past six outings and seems to be getting stronger as the season winds down. He did get pulled early after his teammates built a commanding lead against the Tigers in his most recent outing, but that should just mean he’s rested and ready to carry the load for this start in Cleveland. He’s actually been better on the road than at home, so Kirby is my top starter to build around on Sunday’s slate.
Other Options – Max Fried ($10,500), Frankie Montas ($8,400)
Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals ($7,300) – Manning’s last outing was brutal, but before that the No. 9 overall pick from the 2016 MLB Draft was showing signs of being ready to contribute at the Major League level. He is only 1-2 in his eight starts despite a solid 3.79 ERA and 3.89 FIP. Before being blasted by the Mariners, though, he had posted over 23 DKFP in three of four starts, highlighted by his first MLB win in which he twirled six shutout innings with eight strikeouts against the Giants, earning 30.5 DKFP. Manning has a high ceiling in a favorable spot against the Royals, and I’m buying his upside among the many high-risk plays under $9K.
Other Options – Dane Dunning ($7,000), Ryan Yarbrough ($6,100)
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers ($5,200) – Bogaerts had multiple hits in eight of his past nine games coming into Saturday’s contest, and over that span, he went 17-for-36 (.472) with four doubles, two homers, 11 RBIs and a .529 wOBA. He has been significantly better at home than on the road this season, and he should be in a good spot to stay hot as Boston faces righty Dane Dunning ($7,000) in their series finale against the Rangers.
Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,000) – It’s been a rough year for the Reds, but India has looked much more like his Rookie-of-the-Year self in the second half, showing he should be a piece of their core for many years to come. Since the All-Star break, he’s hitting .310 with a .380 wOBA and 138 wRC+ after a difficult first half in which he hit .231 with a .284 wOBA and just a 74 wRC+. Recently, he has been even hotter, going 16-for-38 (.421) in his past 10 games with seven walks, three doubles and a .448 wOBA. Against José Ureña ($5,400) and the Rockies, you could make a case to stack the Reds, but the rest of their lineup has been so inconsistent that I’d rather just isolate India’s hot bat in this matchup.
Other Options – Paul Goldschmidt ($6,400), Corey Seager ($5,400)
Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox ($3,900) – The Rangers are in a beautiful matchup highlighted in stacks below, and Lowe is a great way to get a big bat with a high ceiling for under $4K. Lowe has smashed six home runs in his past 14 games while going 24-for-55 (.436) with 17 RBIs, two doubles, a triple and an impressive .560 wOBA. Lowe has been making tons of hard contact lately and is one of the most potent mid-level 1B options to consider on almost any slate when facing a right-handed pitcher.
Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics ($3,000) – The 21-year-old prospect’s salary is on the rise, so take advantage of his reduced rate while you still can. On Wednesday, Henderson homered in his second MLB at-bat and is 5-for-12 (.417) with two doubles and a stolen baseball coming into Saturday’s contest. In his 65 games at Triple-A, Henderson showed his dual-threat potential with 11 homers, 10 stolen bases and a .393 wOBA. He is expected to be in the O’s lineup every day as they make a push for the playoffs, and especially when facing a hittable righty like Adrián Martínez ($7,500), Henderson brings plenty of exciting sizzle to go with his high ceiling.
Other Options – Vaughn Grissom ($2,900), Nick Gordon ($2,300)
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees ($5,700) – For some reason, Arozarena just seems to be an Autumn producer. He went on a historic postseason run in 2020 and is starting to catch fire coming down the stretch in the push for the playoffs. He’s only hitting .268 with a .344 wOBA on the season, but in his past 25 games, he has hit .337 with nine doubles, six home runs and a .448 wOBA with seven stolen bases added on top for good measure. With so much potential power and some speed mixed in, Arozarena brings a high ceiling to every contest and has averaged an impressive 11.9 DKFP per contest over his past 25 games.
Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins ($4,300) – Harris brings similar power-speed upside although the 21-year-old rookie is still not nearly as proven as Arozarena. He’s made a huge splash in his first 86 games though, hitting .301 with 15 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He has also been heating up coming down the stretch and has hit safely in 10 straight games coming into Saturday, going 15-for-34 (.441) with five doubles, three home runs and a .572 wOBA over that stretch. Opposing SP Pablo López ($8,200) has been more generous to lefties like Harris this season, allowing them to post a .323 wOBA compared to a .287 wOBA for right-handed hitters. Harris brings a high ceiling without having to pay an elite salary for a top OF.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($6,500), Mitch Haniger ($5,000)
Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals ($3,500) – Greene is another young prospect that can give your lineup an affordable boost and seems to be finding his groove at the Major League level. He is 19-for-45 (.422) over his past 11 games with two doubles, two triples and two home runs with a .501 wOBA. He has only one steal in his five attempts in 66 games, so he hasn’t brought a lot of stolen base potential. However, his bat is in a good enough place that he makes sense in the leadoff spot against Max Castillo ($5,900) and the Royals.
TJ Friedl, Cincinnati Reds vs. Colorado Rockies ($2,300) – If you need a bargain OF, the Reds have a few interesting options in that favorable spot against Ureña and the Rockies. Freidl got an audition in the leadoff spot Saturday after going 17-for-44 (.386) in his 15 games since coming back to the Majors. He had two doubles, two triples, three home runs, 10 RBIs and a .487 wOBA over that 15-game stretch with a solid average of 9.1 DKFP per contest. Especially in the leadoff spot, but wherever he hits against right-handed pitching, Friedl is a punt play worth a look when the Reds are in a good spot.
Other Options – Lars Nootbaar ($3,100), Brian Anderson ($2,700), Bubba Thompson ($2,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs – Over the past 30 days, the Cardinals lead the Major Leagues in home runs, runs scored, ISO, wOBA and wRC+. Not only are they tops in those categories, but they also lead most by a comfortable margin coming into Sunday’s matchup with Marcus Stroman ($7,900). Stroman has been pretty decent lately after a rough start but gave up 11 hits and five runs in five innings against the Cardinals when he faced them just over a week ago. Paul Goldschmidt ($6,400) is 7-for-15 (.467) in his career against Stroman with three home runs, Tommy Edman ($4,600) is 5-for-12 (.417) and Corey Dickerson ($2,300) is 19-for-44 (.432) with three home runs, mostly from their shared history in the AL East. Nolan Arenado ($6,300), Tyler O’Neill ($5,500) and Lars Nootbaar ($3,100) have all been hot lately, contributing to St. Louis’ offensive success while Albert Pujols ($2,600) and Brendan Donvan ($2,700) can finish your stack as value options.
Editor’s Note: Red Sox SP Kutter Crawford (shoulder) has been placed on the 15-day injured list.
Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox – The Rangers are finishing their series at hitter-friendly Fenway with a hitter-friendly matchup against Kutter Crawford ($6,300). Crawford typically allows a ton of contact which has resulted in 25 runs allowed in 23 2⁄3 innings over his past five starts. Crawford has been especially vulnerable to left-handed bats, who have a .407 wOBA against him and nine of the 12 home runs he has allowed. Corey Seager ($5,400), Nathaniel Lowe ($3,900) and Kole Calhoun ($2,200) are the strongest lefty bats to consider. Switch-hitting Jonah Heim ($3,500) will also bat from the left while Adolis García ($4,800) and Marcus Semien ($4,700) are viable right-handed options. Bubba Thompson ($2,000) and Leody Taveras ($2,300) are punt plays in the outfield that can round out your Rangers stack at a minimal investment.
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