Despite multiple postponements, Major League Baseball still has a solid Sunday afternoon main slate for fantasy baseball players to take advantage of on DraftKings. There were seven games on the slate when salaries came out, but the Brewers and Cardinals were forced to postpone their double-header due to positive COLID-19 tests within the organization. Each of the six remaining games on the slate are divisional matchups and should provide some entertaining baseball this afternoon.
Based on form, matchup and expected opportunity, I’ve selected my favorite value plays and studs at each position. Make sure to stay locked in to @DKLive on Twitter and check the latest news in the DK Live app as we approach the first pitch for any breaking news that should impact your roster.
Jon Lester, CHC vs. PIT, $9,000 — After a rough 2019, Lester looked sharp in his first outing of this season, throwing five shutout innings and allowing just one walk against the Reds. He only struck out one but got the win and finished with 16.1 DKFP. The veteran lefty posted a 4.46 ERA last year but still fared pretty well against the Pirates, going 3-0 in five starts against Pittsburgh with a 3.16 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 25 and two thirds innings. He was also better at home than on the road, and he’ll make the start this afternoon at Wrigley Field looking to improve to 2-0. Lester isn’t the lock-him-in Ace he was in his prime, but he’s still a solid play in this matchup against the Pirates, who rank in the bottom 10 in the league in runs scored per game and the top 10 in the league is strikeouts per game.
Other Options — Aaron Civale ($9,600), Yonny Chirinos ($8,600)
David Peterson, NYM at ATL, $7,000 — Facing the Braves at home is a tough matchup for Peterson, but there are a lot of even worse options among the rest of the value starting pitchers for the day, leaving Peterson as the best cheap play. The 24-year-old lefty was impressive in his MLB debut last week against the Red Sox, holding Boston to just seven hits and two runs over five and two thirds. He only struck out three but got the win to finish with 13.4 DKFP. None of the Braves have faced him before, and he does have strikeout upside after fanning 122 in 116 innings at Double-A last season.
Other Option — Jakob Junis ($7,100), Antonio Senzatela ($5,900)
Willson Contreras, CHC vs. PIT, $4,300 — Contreras served as the Cubs’ DH in the first game of this series and may return to that spot after catching Saturday, or he could be back behind the dish. Either way, manager David Ross will probably try to get his bat in the lineup since he has started the season 8-for-23 (.348) with four doubles, a home run and a solid 1.097 OPS. Contreras should get at least one at-bat against lefty Steven Brault ($6,500), and he crushed lefties last season going 24-for-75 (.320) with six home runs and a 1.027 OPS. He also seemed to particularly enjoy facing Pittsburgh, who he went 12-for-38 (.316) against with four home runs and a 1.159 OPS, and he even has a good history against Brault, going 5-for-11 with a pair of home runs in previous meetings. If you have the salary to pay over $4K for a catcher, Contreras provides enough thump to be a solid option.
Other Options — Francisco Mejía ($4,700), Salvador Perez ($4,400)
Travis d’Arnaud, ATL vs. NYM, $4,000 — After having to start the season on the COVID-19 injured list, d’Arnaud has gone 4-for-7 since his return with two doubles, six RBI, and even a stolen base to produce 9.0 and 28.0 DKFP in his two contests. He had Saturday off as the Braves continue to manage his workload but should be back in the lineup Sunday, especially against a lefty starting pitcher. Throughout his career, d’Arnaud has hit southpaws well and is worth a look if he returns to the lineup as expected.
Other Options — James McCann ($3,400), Beau Taylor ($2,600)
José Martínez, TB at BAL, $4,500 — The Rays traded for Martínez this past offseason, and the veteran has added a solid bat to the middle of their order in the early going this season. He has gone 7-for-25 (.280) with a double, home run, and five RBI. He was a little rusty after a late arrival to Summer camp but seems to have settled in nicely. He typically hits lefties very well, so a matchup against Tommy Milone ($7,300) sets up well for him. He is 3-for-5 with a double in their few meetings before this matchup and had an impressive .997 OPS last season against southpaws during his time in St. Louis.
Other Options — Freddie Freeman ($5,500), Wil Myers ($4,800)
Renato Núñez, BAL vs. TB, $3,700 — The Orioles lineup has been sneaky-decent so far this season, and Núñez appears to have made some major swing adjustments. The 26-year-old righty is 7-for-28 (.250) but five of those hits have been for extra bases with four doubles and home run. Núñez has also hit a pair of home runs in his 12 at-bats against Yonny Chirinos ($8,600) in his career, while going 4-for-12. He can be a little boom-or-bust, to be sure, but he’s a solid bat in the heart of the lineup for the Orioles and will look to keep hitting the ball hard like he has so far this season in this matchup against the Rays.
Other Options — José Abreu ($3,900), Ryan O’Hearn ($3,200)
Whit Merrifield, KC vs. CWS, $4,800 — Merrifield has started the season red-hot atop the Royals lineup, going 12-for-37 (.375) with three doubles, three homers and a stolen base. He picked up three more hits on Saturday and finished with 22 DKFP to raise his average to 12.0 DKFP per contest over his first nine games. Merrifield and the Royals could be a nice stack against Dylan Cease ($8,400), who lasted just two and one third innings and gave up four runs on seven hits in his first start this season after going 4-7 with a 5.79 ERA last season. Merrifield homered off Cease, going 1-for-3 against him last season.
Other Option — Ryan McMahon ($4,700), Brandon Lowe ($4,600)
Nico Hoerner, CHC vs. PIT, $3,000 — Hoerner was the Cubs No. 1 prospect last season, per MLB Pipeline, and they’ve given the first-round pick from 2018 a good look to start the season. Hoerner has played seven games and gone 7-for-20 with a double, five RBI and a solid 6.7 DKFP per game average. He doesn’t have elite power but makes consistent hard contact. He probably won’t go off for a monster game very often at this point in his career but will almost always chip in some production while he’s part of this strong lineup. He’s splitting time at 2B with Jason Kipnis ($3,100) but will likely get the nod against a lefty Sunday afternoon.
Other Options — César Hernández ($3,900), Hanser Alberto ($3,500)
Nolan Arenado, COL vs. SD, $5,500 — Arenado has hit safely in each of the Rockies six games since the season opener and is 7-for-27 (.259) with three walks on the season. He’s still looking for his first extra-base hit, which is usually where he piles up his fantasy value especially when playing at home. Arenado had a 1.057 home OPS with 21 of his 41 homers coming at Coors Field. He hasn’t hit a long ball yet this season but would seem to be overdue for one and has been making solid contact. He is 2-for-10 in his career against Padres’ starter Zach Davies ($7,900) with a double and a home run.
Other Options — José Ramírez ($4,700), Maikel Franco ($4,600)
Yoán Moncada, CWS at KC, $4,000 — Moncada is one of my favorite plays of the day as he looks to continue his strong start to the season. He has been locked into the No. 2 spot in the White Sox order all season and has flourished going 10-for-29 with two doubles and a home run for a .941 OPS. Moncada also has a good history of success against Jakob Junis ($7,100), who will make his season debut coming off the COVID-19 list. Moncada has gone 9-for-20 (.450) in his previous meetings with Junis, including a pair of home runs. While there are definitely some attractive high-ceiling sluggers at 3B, Moncada can offer great upside and production from this mid-range value salary.
Other Option — David Bote ($3,600), Rio Ruiz ($3,300)
Trevor Story, COL vs. SD, $6,000 — The start of the Rockies’ season at Coors Field has been more of the same Story for their SS, who continues to rake at his home park. Story had a 1.064 home OPS last season and hit 24 of his 35 home runs in Denver. This season, he has homered in each of their first two games at Coors, going a total of 5-for-8 with 22 and 19 DKFP. He is hitting an impressive .385 on the season and already has four home runs. If you are paying up at SS, Story comes with the most potential boom for your buck and is always worth a look when the Rockies are at home.
Other Options — Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,900), Dansby Swanson ($4,800)
Jorge Polanco, MIN vs. CLE, $4,100 — Polanco can sometimes fly under the radar at SS behind all the power bats, but he has become a key cog in the Twins’ very productive offense. Polanco is 8-for-33 (.242) to start the season with a home run and four RBI. The switch-hitter is much better against righties, hitting .306 with an .891 OPS against them last year, a fact that should play to his advantage against Civale and Cleveland as the Twins wrap up their four-game series.
Other Option — Willy Adames ($3,900), Cole Tucker ($2,700)
Nelson Cruz, MIN vs. CLE, $4,600 — Cruz continues to show no sign of slowing down despite turning 40 at the start of July. He has started the season 10-for-30 with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. He has a 1.127 OPS and has averaged over 12 DKFP per contest so far on the young season. He has hit safely in three of his past four games and should be ready to power up the Twins’ attack on this Sunday afternoon. All three of his home runs this season have come in afternoon games, and he’ll try to keep that trend going with another big day game against Civale.
Other Option — Trent Grisham ($5,200), Tommy Pham ($5,100), Marcell Ozuna ($4,700)
Luis Robert, CWS at KC, $3,600 — I’ve said all year that I’m all-in on Robert as a breakout candidate for the White Sox, and the rookie has been delivering so far, going 12-for-33 with two home runs, three doubles, a stolen base and an average of over 10 DKFP per game. With Tim Anderson (groin) on the injured list, Robert moved into the leadoff spot Saturday and ignited the White Sox to 11 runs by going 4-for-6 with a home run and 31 DKFP. Robert will continue to be a regular in my lineups and should continue to rise to the occasion as he steps into the top spot in the White Sox order.
Other Option — Brandon Nimmo ($4,100), Eloy Jiménez ($3,700), Brett Phillips ($2,600)
Set your lineups here: MLB $300K Relay Throw [$100K 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 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.