Sunday afternoon sets up another great slate of fantasy baseball on DraftKings with nine games on the main slate which starts at 1:10 p.m. ET. The Pirates-Cubs matchup is the only one with weather concerns coming into the day, but as always, be sure to check back on weather forecasts before the first pitch.
Throughout the day, stay locked into the DK Live app for updates, and you can also follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive for the latest news and analysis leading up to the first pitch. You can also let me know what you think of these picks, ask any questions and find more bargain-specific content on my Twitter, @ZT_Sports.
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds ($9,600) – The 40-year-old veteran has shown he still has plenty of fuel left in the tank in his first three starts of the season. He posted 26.5 DKFP against the Pirates in his first start of the season and 22.6 DKFP in his most recent outing against the Marlins with a disappointing 9.8 DKFP outing sandwiched in the middle. He gets a great matchup on Sunday afternoon against the Reds. Coming into Saturday’s game, Cincinnati has hit just .181 as a team with the third-worst total of 37 runs scored in 15 games. They also have racked up 144 strikeouts in 15 games, the second-most in the Majors, so Wainwright couldn’t ask for a much more favorable matchup. He has a 10.69 K/9 rate with 19 punchouts in 16 innings so far, which would be a career high if he can maintain it through the season.
Other Options – Logan Webb ($10,000), Shane McClanahan ($8,700)
Bryce Elder, Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins ($5,000) – From an elder statesman to a different kind of Elder, this one is only 22-years-old but has already made his way to the Majors after being drafted in the fifth round in 2020. He’s the latest in a long line of dynamite arms to come through the Atlanta system and was ranked as the team’s No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline coming into the season. He used a mix of five pitches across three levels of the minors last year finishing with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers, and he went a combined 11-5 with a 2.75 ERA and 10.1 K/9 rate. He had 15.2 DKFP in his MLB debut against the Nationals but struggled with his control against the Padres walking five but still finishing with 6.4 DKFP. At just $5K, I love the upside in backing Elder since it leaves you plenty of salary to stack your lineup with big bats, and I think the rookie can deliver good returns at this minimal investment.
Other Options – Josiah Gray ($8,200), Chad Kuhl ($5,700)
Vladimir Guerrero, Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros ($5,500) – Vladdy Jr. had two more hits on Saturday and has multiple hits in six of his past 11 games while averaging 9.7 DKFP and going 12-for-39 (.308). On the season, he has five home runs and 11 RBIs while posting a .315 ISO and .448 wOBA. He has a 56.8% hard-hit rate this year and consistently hits the ball hard. The king of exit velocity will take on Luis Garcia ($9,000) as the Blue Jays look to close out a three-game sweep in Houston.
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox ($5,200) – Franco hit a pair of home runs on Friday night against the Red Sox and had a 52.8% hard-hit rate at the end of the night. In his first 13 games of the year, he went 22-for-56 (.393) with seven doubles, a triple, and three home runs. All those extra-base hits resulted in a .321 ISO with a .482 wOBA. He’ll be in an opposite-hand matchup against lefty Rich Hill ($7,300) in the series finale, and he’s another dynamic young slugger to build your lineup around this Sunday.
Other Options – C.J. Cron ($5,600), Jeremy Peña ($4,900)
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Guardians ($3,400) – The Yankees’ big bats have yet to produce as expected, but IKF has been a nice bright spot for New York, who acquired him as part of the Josh Donaldson ($4,600) trade. Kiner-Falefa has gone 13-for-25 (.520) over his past eight games with three doubles, a pair of stolen bases and an average of 9.4 DKFP per contest over that stretch. He has a hard-hit rate just under 50% and has been a solid producer at the plate while also contributing his solid defense at SS.
Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers vs. Colorado Rockies ($2,900) – Torkelson homered on Saturday as part of the Tigers’ 13-0 rout of the Rockies in Game 1 of the doubleheader, and he now has three home runs in his past nine games. He started his rookie year slow out of the gate but has gone 8-for-28 (.286) over those past nine games. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft has made a quick rise through the minors and looks ready to be a regular contributor. Getting him under $3K won’t last much longer if he keeps producing, so take advantage of the discount while you can.
Other Options – Zack Collins ($3,400), Taylor Walls ($2,500)
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox ($5,800) – Buxton deserves a look whenever he’s in the lineup, especially in day games. He has only played nine games this year, but has gone 11-for-32 (.344) with four homers and an average of 12 DKFP per game. Three of those four home runs have come in day games this year and last year 10 of his 19 long balls came in day games when he also hit an impressive .372. He obviously sees the ball well in day games and brings an incredibly high ceiling when healthy. He had four hits and 33 DKFP to power the Twins to a win on Saturday, and he has homered off of Lucas Giolito ($9,400) in their past meetings.
Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins ($4,600) – On the other side of this AL Central matchup, Vaughn also brings good power potential, especially as he slots into a higher position in the batting order. With Eloy Jiménez (hamstring) and Luis Robert (groin) both ailing, Vaughn should be locked into a lineup spot and needs to step up his production. He moved up to second and went 1-for-4 with a double on Saturday after going 10-for-32 (.313) over his first 10 games this season with three home runs, a .313 ISO, a .446 wOBA and a 60.7% hard-hit rate. Vaughn and the White Sox take on Chris Archer ($6,100) in his third start of the season with Minnesota.
Other Options – George Springer ($5,600), Randy Arozarena ($4,700)
Jesús Sánchez, Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves ($3,500) – While I do like Elder as a cheap SP against the Marlins, I’m back for more of Sánchez after featuring him in Saturday’s picks as well. Over his first 12 games this season, he went 16-for-49 (.327) with a double, two triples and three home runs. The 24-year-old lefty had a 50% hard-hit rate and is locked into the cleanup spot for Miami. He had a double, a walk and two more hits on Saturday night, and is continuing to blossom into a middle-of-the-order bat with power in an improving Miami lineup.
Josh Naylor, Cleveland Guardians at New York Yankees ($2,500) – Naylor has come off the injured list swinging a bat made from a tree hit by lightning—or something like that. He’s been scorching hot and collected multiple hits in five straight games, going 10-for-18 (.556) with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs. He’s always had a ton of raw power, but he can be inconsistent at times. So far this season, though, he has been consistently making great contact and is settling into the middle-third of the Guardians lineup very well. The lefty is on the favorable side of the splits to start against righty Gerrit Cole ($10,400) in this matchup, and the short porch in RF and Cole’s recent lack of form make Naylor a great bargain option at only $2.5K. The fact that he is also eligible at 1B only gives you more flexibility to get him into your lineup.
Other Options – Joc Pederson ($3,300), Manuel Margot ($2,900)
TEAMS TO STACK
Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays – The Astros will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of Toronto by taking on familiar foe Yusei Kikuchi ($6,400), who they have faced many times during his years with the Mariners. Kikuchi is 1-5 against Houston in his career with a 6.00 ERA and 10 home runs allowed in 11 games. He has given up one home run and four runs in his two starts for Toronto but has only managed to cover 8 1⁄3 innings. Yordan Alvarez ($5,500) leads a large group of players with favorable histories against Kikuchi, having gone 6-for-18 with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs in their previous meetings. Yuli Gurriel ($3,800) has also homered multiple times off him in the past and Niko Goodrum ($3,100) and Alex Bregman ($4,900) have hit almost .500 against him. You can mix in the red-hot Jeremy Peña ($4,900) at the top of the lineup and quickly come up with a very nice stack even if you do want to avoid the lefty-lefty matchups with Kyle Tucker ($4,500) and Michael Brantley ($3,900).
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds – Young lefty Nick Lodolo ($6,700) will try to slow down the Cardinals but hasn’t looked quite ready for prime time in his two starts so far this season. He has given up eight runs, 13 hits and three home runs over nine innings and has let righties post a .492 wOBA against him with a double and all three of those home runs. While I’d avoid left-handed bats, the Cardinals lineup usually starts with Dylan Carlson ($3,800), Paul Goldschmidt ($5,200), Tyler O’Neill ($4,800) and Nolan Arenado ($5,900), who is always a great option against southpaws and has started the season red hot. Depending on who rounds out the lineup, it may not have quite as much depth or quite as many value plays to consider, but the top section is loaded with upside against any lefty, especially one that struggles with right-handed power.
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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.
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