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Fantasy Baseball Picks Today: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for September 17

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

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB season is just two weeks from wrapping up, and there is already plenty of drama as playoff races take shape for the closing fortnight of baseball action. Sunday afternoon, DraftKings has a 10-game featured slate that starts at 1:35 p.m. ET and includes four divisional games. The Coors Field matchup is not on the main slate, but there should be plenty of good options to consider from the 20 teams scheduled to be in action.

As always when playing DFS fantasy baseball, you’ll want to keep up with the latest news about lineups, injuries, and weather issues. Be sure to install the DK Live app and follow DraftKings Network on X (@DKNetwork). I’m also on X (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the regular season races play out and we get geared up for what should be an outstanding postseason.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $20K Relay Throw [$5K to 1st]



Framber Valdez, Houston Astros at Kansas City Royals ($9,900) – Valdez has gone 11-10 in 28 games with a 3.32 ERA, 3.51 FIP and 8.82 K/9 rate. He has had several hot and cold streaks but has been gathering momentum as the regular season wraps up. In his last four games, he went 2-1 with just a 2.00 ERA and 3.59 FIP with 25 strikeouts in 27 innings. He went at least six innings in each of those starts and produced at least 19.8 DKFP in each outing. Typically, he works deep into games, averaging 6.5 innings per start this season. His strikeouts can be hit-or-miss, especially on the road, but he did have 10 punchouts in his most recent start when he posted 26.8 DKFP in a loss to the Athletics.

This should be a good matchup for Valdez against the Royals, who are hitting just .246 as a team against lefties this season—and a .305 wOBA against lefties—both of which rank in the bottom 10 of all the teams in the MLB. The Royals also rank in the top 10 for K% vs. LHP. In his four daytime starts this season, Valdez has a 1.67 ERA, 1.96 FIP and 25 strikeouts in 27 innings. Sunday afternoon sets up for Framber time!

Other Options – Brandon Woodruff ($10,800), Taijuan Walker ($8,000)


Brandon Williamson, Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets ($7,500) – Williamson only lasted four innings in his last start and was knocked around a little bit in Detroit. He was just returning from the COVID-19-related IL, though, so he wasn’t quite at full strength. Prior to the injury, Williamson was on a very nice roll, and the 25-year-old lefty was starting to establish himself as a regular fantasy option. In his five starts before the layoff, he went 1-2 but had a 2.70 ERA and 2.83 FIP with 32 strikeouts in 30 innings. Typically, Williamson doesn’t have elite strikeout stuff, but he does enough to limit damage and work out of trouble to be the best option under $8K on this slate.

The Mets’ offense has been a big disappointment this season, and over the last 30 days, they are hitting just .246 as a team with a .329 team wOBA. They rank in the middle of the pack in most categories over that span, but are in the top 10 in K%. Williamson and the Reds are still in the middle of the NL Wild Card chase, so they’ll be looking to get another big win Sunday afternoon.

Other Option – Nick Pivetta ($7,200), Zack Littell ($6,200)



Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($6,300) – The Phillies are in a great matchup on Sunday afternoon against a struggling Dakota Hudson ($5,800), who has allowed five runs or more in three of his last four starts and posted a 7.36 ERA over that span. Turner has been scalding hot and definitely deserves consideration as a centerpiece of a Phillies stack on Sunday. Turner has hit safely in 22 of his last 24 games with 14 homers, five stolen bases and a .380 (38-for-100) batting average. Turner could get to the 30-30 club by the end of the year since he has 26 homers and 27 stolen bases in his 144 games. He’ll need to stay hot, though, starting in this smash spot in St. Louis.


Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins ($5,800) – Riley is always a great power option to consider when the Braves face a lefty and his salary is under $6K. He has hit 10 of his 35 dingers this season against southpaws with a .289 batting average and .386 wOBA in the split. Riley started the season a little slowly but has picked things up. Over his last 16 games, he connected on five home runs with a .313 batting average (21-for-67) and a .415 wOBA. On Sunday, he’s lined up to face lefty Jesus Luzardo ($8,900), who he has gone 4-for-13 (.308) against in his career.

Other Options – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,100), Spencer Steer ($5,100), Alec Bohm ($4,400)


José Abreu, Houston Astros at Kansas City Royals ($4,000) – Abreu hit just .214 with no home runs in his first 50 games with the Astros this season, but the veteran 1B has turned things around and now has 15 homers. Five of those long balls have come in his past 15 games, and he has hit .260 with a .397 wOBA over that span. Abreu and the Astros have a great matchup against former Astro Jordan Lyles ($5,400), who has given up 36 home runs in his 28 starts this year while going 4-16 with a 6.44 ERA and 5.68 FIP.


Noelvi Marte, Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets ($3,300) – Marte is an under-priced part of the Reds’ youth movement this season. In his 24 games, the 21-year-old has posted an impressive .306 batting average to go with one home run, five doubles, a .345 wOBA, and six stolen bases. His work on the basepaths has boosted him to an average of 6.7 DKFP per game and 7.6 DKFP over his 10 most recent contests. Marte had three hits and 11 DKFP on Friday before getting the day off on Saturday. He should return to the lineup when the Reds take on lefty Jose Quintana ($7,800) on Sunday afternoon.

Other Options – Ronny Mauricio ($3,500), Edmundo Sosa ($2,700)



Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros at Kansas City Royals ($6,200) – With that juicy matchup against Lyles discussed above, Alvarez is the best pay-up option in the outfield. The Astros’ slugger smashed 27 homers in his 100 games this season with a .298 batting average and .419 wOBA. He produced six of those homers over his last 16 contests with an impressive .550 wOBA and an average of 13.0 DKFP per contest. Alvarez doesn’t bring the dual-threat production of some of the other elite outfielders—with only two stolen bases in his 468 MLB games—but his sheer power potential in this matchup with Lyles makes him a strong anchor pick to consider.


Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves ($5,000) – The Marlins have taken the first two games of their three-game set against the mighty Braves and remain in the thick of the NL Wild Card race. Chisholm returned from an injury and went 1-for-4 on Friday, then had a huge game Saturday with 42 DKFP by going 2-for-3 with a home run, four RBI and three stolen bases. The 25-year-old has that kind of dynamic, exciting upside but has dealt with multiple injuries. He still has 17 homers and 22 stolen bases to go with a .255 average and .321 wOBA. He’ll look to follow up his huge Saturday with another big game against Charlie Morton ($9,500). Chisholm has had Morton’s number in the past, going 8-for-23 (.348) with two home runs and six RBI. The Marlins look to finish off a massive sweep with another big win.

Other Options – Kyle Schwarber ($5,700), Bryan Reynolds ($4,900), Nick Castellanos ($4,800)


Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox ($3,800) – Kepler has hit safely in six straight games after going 1-for-4 on Saturday. He has gone 8-for-23 (.348) over that stretch with a double, triple, home run and .474 wOBA. Kepler has compiled a .253 batting average with a .341 wOBA on the season and has been much hotter hitting lately, owning .314 with a .405 wOBA over his past 20 games. In the past, Kepler has three homers against Dylan Cease ($8,600) while going 6-for-25 in their past matchups.


Estevan Florial, New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates ($2,500) – Florial was called up to fill the spot on the Yankees’ roster previously occupied by Jasson Dominguez (elbow). The 25-year-old isn’t quite that elite of a prospect, but he does have a ton of upside for a player at just $2.5K. In 101 games at Triple-A, he had 28 homers and 25 stolen bases while hitting .284 with a .403 wOBA. Since being called up, he has only managed to go 4-for-22 (.181) but has worked four walks and stolen a base. Florial hit leadoff for a few games and should remain the primary CF for the Yankees the rest of the way.

Other Options – Ceddanne Rafaela ($3,400), Henry Davis ($3,000), Heston Kjerstad ($2,600)

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $20K Relay Throw [$5K 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 skills 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.