The MLB regular season wraps up next Sunday, October 1, but there is still plenty of drama to play out in the final week of the season. There are also still plenty of fantasy baseball opportunities, including a juicy 12-game main slate on DraftKings, which begins at 1:05 p.m. ET. The 12 games on the schedule all get underway within 90 minutes of that start time. The matchups include five divisional matchups along with several other games that could have a huge impact on the race for the wild card spots and the undecided divisional races.
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.
Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals ($12,900) – Strider has been one of the top arms all season and still has an outside shot at 20 wins if he gets the victory in this start and one next weekend before the postseason. He leads the MLB in strikeouts by 38 and in K/9 by over a full strikeout per nine innings. Those strikeout totals make him hard to pass up, even at this elevated salary. He has reached double-digit strikeouts in 11 of his 30 starts while averaging 24.8 DKFP per outing.
Strider has had a couple of outliers, but for the most part has been dialed in lately. He put up over 32 DKFP in four of his past six games and had 31.9 DKFP in his one start against the Nationals earlier this season, which came all the way back on April 1. He’ll look to continue his strong case for the NL Cy Young in this favorable spot on Sunday afternoon, and he’ll have the backing of the Braves’ outstanding lineup, who will be facing Jackson Rutledge ($5,500) or Tommy Romero ($10,000). The scored game for the main slate will be Game 1 of the doubleheader, so be sure Strider is the confirmed starter for the opener.
Other Options – Freddy Peralta ($11,200), Joe Ryan ($9,500)
Mike Clevinger, Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox ($7,600) – It has been a rough season for the White Sox, and Clevinger has definitely had his ups and downs as well. However, his total numbers aren’t bad at all, and he is finishing the season in brilliant form.
In four of his past five starts, he has allowed two earned runs or fewer with at least seven strikeouts in each of those four outings. He has over 30 DKFP in three of those four starts, including in his most recent outing, when he was just one out from a complete-game shutout. Even after a solo home run spoiled his shutout, he finished with 35.2 DKFP in his complete game. While he isn’t likely to reach that ceiling in back-to-back starts, he still should be able to produce well above his salary-based expectations since he has such high strikeout potential.
Other Options – Taj Bradley ($7,800), Jordan Wicks ($7,000), Jose Butto ($6,400)
Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets ($6,000) – Harper has been limited to 121 games this season after his late start after offseason surgery, but he reached 20 homers on Saturday after a second-inning blast off of José Quintana. Harper finished that game with 21 DKFP and has averaged 11.8 DKFP over his past 13 games with five home runs, a stolen base and a .279 batting average (12-for-43). He and the Phillies are in the top Wild Card spot and lead the third spot by five games. They should be headed back to the postseason, and Harper is rounding into form just in time for another heroic October.
Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles at Cleveland Guardians ($5,500) – Henderson is also finishing the season with a flourish after going 2-for-4 on Friday on his way to 18 DKFP and adding 12 DKFP on Saturday. Over his past 11 games, he is 13-for-48 (.271) with two doubles, two triples, two homers and three stolen bases. He has averaged 10.0 DKFP over that span, and he’ll look to keep rolling against Triston McKenzie ($8,500), who will come off the 60-day IL after being sidelined by a right UCL sprain. McKenzie only made two starts before the injury, and in his two rehab starts he allowed four runs in 6 2⁄3 innings in the minors. If he’s still a little rusty, Henderson and the Orioles should be in a smash spot Sunday.
Other Options – Bobby Witt Jr. ($6,100), Pete Alonso ($5,300), Jorge Polanco ($4,900)
Liover Peguero, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds ($3,500) – Peguero is only hitting .237 on the year, but his batting average jumps all the way to .339 against lefties like Brandon Williamson ($7,000), who the Buccos are expected to face Sunday. Peguero has seven homers and five stolen bases in his 53 games overall and has shown enough upside to be a good value play when the Pirates face a lefty. He can slot in at either 2B or SS depending on how the rest of your roster shakes out.
Curtis Mead, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($2,900) – The Rays have called up several young stars as they gear up for the postseason, and the 22-year-old Mead has started producing right away. In his first seven games after being recalled, Mead went 7-for-21 (.333) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run for a .414 wOBA and .333 ISO. He’s typically been hitting in the heart of the Rays’ order and should be set up well against lefty Yusei Kikuchi ($8,200) since he has hit lefties well so far in his brief time in the majors.
Other Options – Nolan Schanuel ($3,400), Gabriel Moreno ($3,000), Mark Vientos ($2,800)
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals ($6,900) – Acuña has been the definition of “stud” this season and has regularly delivered such big totals that he needs to be considered even though his salary is so much higher than other very good players. Acuña has averaged an incredible 13.1 DKFP on the season with 40 homers and 68 stolen bases. He has been even better over his past 10 games, averaging 16.4 DKFP with five homers and four stolen bases. He has to stop sometime, but it looks like it won’t be until the Braves head home for the offseason, and if Acuña keeps rolling like this, it’s easy to see how that could be after a long run into October.
Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets ($4,800) – Harper has been helped in the Phillies lineup lately by the scorching-hot Nick Castellanos, whose salary is still surprisingly under $5K. He is known as a streaky producer and right now he’s on a great run of form. He has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games after going 2-for-4 on Saturday with 13 DKFP. During that span, he went 16-for-44 (.364) with one double, one triple, six homers, two stolen bases and an average of 13.6 DKFP per contest. He and Harper are a nice but expensive one-two punch to build around Sunday.
Other Options – Luis Robert Jr. ($5,400), Marcell Ozuna ($4,700), Chas McCormick ($4,500)
Willi Castro, Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Angels ($3,200) – Castro and several other Twins’ regulars hit the bench on Saturday after the team secured the AL Central with a win on Friday night. The switch-hitting Castro has been a nice option throughout the season and comes with eligibility at 3B and in the OF on Sunday’s slate. He has been getting more regular time due to multiple injuries for Minnesota and has made the most of his changes. The 26-year-old has gone 19-for-62 (.307) in his 16 starts this month and averaged 9.9 DKFP per contest with three doubles, two triples, four homers and three stolen bases. He’s up to a career-high 32 stolen bases on the season, and he makes a good cheap option that still gives plenty of upside against Jaime Barria ($5,900) and the Angels.
Edward Olivares, Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros ($3,000) – Olivares has reached 100 games for the first time in his MLB career this season, and as a result, he has set multiple career highs. With 10 homers, 11 stolen bases and a .330 wOBA, he has been one of the Royals best bats aside from Bobby Witt Jr. ($6,100) and Salvador Perez (concussion). Olivares was most recently recalled on Sept. 3, and since then he has gone 18-for-47 (.383) with four doubles four homers and a pair of stolen bases. In those 15 contests, he averaged 10.3 DKFP per contest, so if he’s back in the lineup after a day off on Saturday, he’s a nice bargain play at $3K.
Other Options – Jarred Kelenic ($3,700), Jo Adell ($3,300), Estevan Florial ($2,500)
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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.