For the first time this season, Sunday’s schedule includes MLB Sunday Leadoff, which means one game gets the early 12:05 p.m. ET start time. This week it’s the Rockies and the Phillies getting the action underway. The new cadence means the main slate on DraftKings will get underway at 1:30 p.m. ET when the main wave of games gets started. This week, there are 10 games starting between 1:30 and 2:35 p.m. ET, providing plenty of options to consider as you build your Sunday afternoon DraftKings lineups.
As always, make sure to keep a close eye on pregame lineups and the latest player news by installing the DK Live app and following 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.
Sonny Gray, Minnesota Twins vs. Washington Nationals ($8,700) – As long as the weather doesn’t force a postponement, Sonny Gray should be set to bring sunshine to your Sunday afternoon, especially since he gets to take on the Nationals. Coming into play Saturday, Washington had the fewest home runs in the Majors, the third-lowest wOBA and had scored the fourth-fewest runs. The Nationals took the first two games of the series, but Gray will hope to step in as the stopper on Sunday. The Twins should be able to back Gray with some good run support since they’ll be facing Patrick Corbin ($5,300).
In his four starts this season, Gray has allowed a total of only two runs on 17 hits while striking out 26 in 22 innings. He was especially masterful with 18 strikeouts in 12 innings in his two home starts against tough opponents in the Astros and White Sox. He brings elite upside, which he showcased with 36.8 DKFP against the Astros, and getting him for under $9K leaves you plenty of salary to spend in other spots.
Other Options – Jacob deGrom ($11,000), Corbin Burnes ($9,200)
Logan Allen, Cleveland Guardians vs. Miami Marlins ($5,000) – The Guardians’ farm system continues to churn out young pitchers with high strikeout rates, and the latest product of that line is on track to arrive on Sunday. Allen is expected to make his MLB debut after making three excellent starts for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. The 24-year-old lefty posted a 1.26 ERA, 2.65 FIP and 20 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings. Last season, he had a much higher ERA but still had 73 strikeouts in 59 2⁄3 innings, so he definitely has the potential to pile up strikeouts.
As long as the weather cooperates, Allen will be poised to be in a good matchup. The Marlins rank in the top 10 in K% and the bottom 10 in wOBA as a team. Miami only managed 59 runs in their first 19 games while hitting .249 as a team.
Other Options – Zach Eflin ($7,600), Eduardo Rodríguez ($6,400)
Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,700) – Hoerner has been outstanding for the Cubs this season, averaging 12.0 DKFP per game over his first 20 games. He homered for the second straight day on Saturday while boosting his average to .400 with a .396 wOBA and .122 ISO. Prior to his recent power surge, most of his production came from his work on the basepaths, where he has been successful on nine of 11 stolen base attempts. Hoerner has been especially effective against lefties like Clayton Kershaw ($10,700), so even though Kershaw has been pitching well, Hoerner brings elite upside due to both his power and speed potential.
Connor Joe, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds ($4,100) – Joe flashed a high ceiling last season with the Rockies, spending plenty of the time in the leadoff spot. This offseason he was traded to the Pirates and got off to a strong start over his first 16 games of the season coming into Saturday’s play. He went 20-for-53 (.377) with six doubles, two triples, two homers and an impressive .484 wOBA. Joe has bounced around in the order but typically hits fifth. Before Saturday, he had multiple hits in three of his previous four games with an extra-base hit in each of those four games and an average of 17.75 DKFP per game.
Other Options – Willy Adames ($5,200), Max Muncy ($5,100),
Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($3,800) – Volpe is only hitting .200 (13-for-65), but he still brings a high ceiling since he’s established himself atop the Yankees' potent batting order. On Saturday, he hit his second homer of the season and had 16 DKFP in New York’s walk-off win, and he has reached base safely in 10 straight games, averaging 10.2 DKFP per contest. Volpe has eight stolen bases, and with his speed and run production potential, he can overcome his low batting average.
Taylor Walls, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox ($3,300) – Walls went 0-for-2 on Saturday but still produced 9.0 DKFP since he stole his second base of the season. Both those steals have come in his past four games, and he has at least 9.0 DKFP in eight of his past nine. Lining up with the rest of his career, Walls hits lefties better than righties, but the switch-hitter has been performing well on both sides of the plate so far this season. He’s hitting .333 on the season with a .470 wOBA and .333 ISO. Getting him at this low price makes him a strong option to consider at both 2B and 3B.
Other Options – Joey Meneses ($3,700), Elvis Andrus ($2,700)
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros ($6,500) – Acuña is showing no signs of slowing down after bursting out of the gate with 12.6 DKFP per game over his first 20 games. In those 20 games, he hit .369 with three home runs, a .441 wOBA and .190 ISO. On Saturday, he added two more stolen bases against the Astros and is up to 11 thefts on the season. He has the potential to post a huge game with home runs or stolen bases and has been productive in both facets of the game to this point in the season.
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins vs. Washington Nationals ($4,900) – Buxton smashed his third homer of the season on Saturday and is hitting .243 with a .331 wOBA in his first 19 games. He has an extra-base hit in each of his past three games and has averaged 11.7 DKFP in those contests. On Sunday afternoon, he and the Twins get a great matchup against Corbin and the Nats. In his first four starts, the veteran lefty has given up 18 runs on 29 hits and three home runs over his first 20 innings. All three of those homers have come from right-handed hitters, who have a .386 wOBA against him. While he hasn’t had many chances against southpaws this season, Buxton had a .389 wOBA and .340 ISO against lefties last season.
Other Options – Randy Arozarena ($6,300), Jake Fraley ($4,500)
Eloy Jiménez, Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays ($3,400) – Jiménez missed 10 days on the IL and started the season just 5-for-31 (.161) with no home runs over his first eight games. His salary slid along with his batting average, and he’s now a bargain given his power potential. Jiménez started to turn things around in the White Sox doubleheader on Tuesday. Since then, he has hit safely in five straight games with home runs on both Friday and Saturday against the Rays. He went 5-for-19 (.263) with 8.2 DKFP per game over that five-game stretch and will look to continue his mini resurgence with another strong game Sunday against Zach Eflin ($7,600).
Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox at Milwaukee Brewers ($2,700) – At one point, Duran was a top prospect for the Red Sox but his defensive adventures and questionable attitude have taken some of the shine off his upside. However, since coming back to the Majors after the Adam Duvall (wrist) injury, Duran has been reminding everyone that he brings dynamic upside. In each of his five games, Duran has at least 9.0 DKFP, averaging 10.8 DKFP by hitting .412 (7-for-17) with four doubles and a stolen base. This is a tough matchup against Corbin Burnes ($9,200) and the Brew Crew, but Duran could still make enough happen to be worth a look at this salary under $3K. His speed and approach give him intriguing upside.
Other Options – Riley Greene ($3,600), Jack Suwinski ($2,900), Corey Julks ($2,600)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.