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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for May 22

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

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

After the MLB Sunday Leadoff matchup between the Cardinals and Pirates, the bulk of the Major League Baseball schedule is part of the main DraftKings slate for Sunday afternoon. Starting at 1:30 p.m. ET, there will be 10 games getting underway within an hour, and those 20 teams create the player pool for the main slate. With so many players available, there are lots of ways to consider building your lineup. I’ve listed some of my favorite studs and values below to help you get started.

Leading up to roster lock, you can keep up with all the news, lineups and updates in the DK Live app and by following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). You can also find me on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where to get my latest content and let me know who you like from my picks.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $200K Bat Flip [$50K to 1st]

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.



Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals ($10,500) – While there aren’t any of the big-name aces on this Sunday afternoon slate, Peralta has been pitching like a front-line starter and brings unmatched strikeout potential to this home matchup vs. the Nationals. Peralta has at least seven strikeouts in each of his past four starts and is coming off a dominant outing vs. the Braves, in which he fanned 11 in seven shutout innings on his way to 38 DKFP and his third win of the season. On the season, he has a 3.53 ERA and 2.02 FIP, which is mostly due to his 12.11 K/9 rate. He shouldn’t have too much trouble vs. Washington, who has hit the third-fewest home runs in the Majors this season and has scored only 52 runs in their 14 day games — the second-lowest total in the Majors. Peralta can bring a high ceiling if you can figure out a way to afford his hefty salary.

Other Options – Shane Bieber ($9,000), Sandy Alcantara ($8,800)


Yusei Kikuchi, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cincinnati Reds ($6,900) – Kikuchi has a nice salary and a favorable matchup as he takes on the Reds, whose already thin lineup is even more depleted in Canada. Cincinnati is hitting just .219 as a team this season and only .202 on the road. They have averaged 8.8 strikeouts per game on the road and are in the top 10 in team strikeouts overall. Kikuchi doesn’t usually pile up a ton of strikeouts, although he did have six Ks in his most recent outing while twirling six shutout innings vs. the Mariners, his former team. Prior to that start, he had to face the Astros and Yankees in each of his four previous starts. He held his own against those strong lineups and is 3-1 on the season with a 3.38 ERA and 4.53 FIP while averaging just over one strikeout per inning, with 33 in 32 innings pitched. He should be set for another strong start at home and has a good shot at a win going head-to-head with Graham Ashcraft ($4,000), making his MLB debut.

Other Option – Alex Faedo ($8,100), Brady Singer ($4,900)



Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies ($6,000) – Turner didn’t start the season with much going on in his first full season with the Dodgers, but he has been finding his groove over the past several games. Coming into play on Saturday, he had at least 14 DKFP in three of four games and had raised his average to 8.6 DKFP per game for the year. He is hitting .283 with a .336 wOBA on the year but has been much better pver the last 12 games, hitting .356 with a .426 wOBA while swiping four bags. He will be matched up against Zach Eflin ($8,000), who he has gone 6-for-21 against with a pair of home runs, having seen him a lot from his time in the NL East.


José Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers ($5,400) – After a day out of the lineup Saturday, Altuve will likely return to his leadoff spot in a favorable spot against lefty Taylor Hearn ($6,700). He’s only 1-for-7 against Hearn but has a career .323 average and .375 wOBA against southpaws. Altuve has been red hot, going 22-for-63 (.349) with seven home runs over his past 16 games, resulting in a .397 ISO and .493 wOBA over that span.

Other Options – Rafael Devers ($5,900)


Josh Naylor, Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,500) – Naylor was activated from the COVID-IL on Thursday after a week on the list, but he hasn’t been able to return to the field yet with Cleveland facing a lefty starter on Friday and Saturday getting rained out. He should be back in the middle of the order against righty Alex Faedo ($8,100), who has struggled with lefties this season. Naylor was heating up before his week off, going 14-for-36 (.389) in his previous 10 games with four home runs and a .508 wOBA over that stretch. He always brings boom-or-bust power potential, so he’s one of my favorite value plays on a regular basis.


Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($2,000) – This may be the only time in what is expected to be a long and storied career that you’ll be able to get Rutschman at the minimum price. He wasn’t in Saturday’s player pool for his MLB debut, so it’s also the first time you can get him in a regular season DFS contest. Rutschman went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double in his debut. He has a very solid approach at the plate and has been billed as a generational talent since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. In his 43 games at Triple-A last season, Rutschman hit .312 with five homers and a .481 wOBA, and now that he’s over a triceps injury suffered in Spring Training, he’s ready to begin the new era for the Orioles.

Other Options – Ryan Mountcastle ($2,600), Matt Reynolds ($2,400)



Jorge Soler, Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves ($5,300) – Soler is known as a streaky hitter, and even though his season-long numbers are not impressive, he has been heating up lately. He has multiple hits in three straight games and has put up double-digit DKFP in five straight contests. By going 2-for-5 on Saturday, Soler extended his hitting streak to nine games, and over the first eight games of that streak, he went 10-for-32 (.313) with four home runs and a .467 wOBA. He isn’t as high-priced as the top OF bats, but he has been producing like one lately, so hop on board this Soler heater.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jorge Soler is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Braves.


Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles ($4,600) – On May 5, Arozarena had no home runs and his average had sunk to .204 with a .248 wOBA. He has turned things around since then, though, and now has four home runs after going yard twice on Saturday. Even before that game, though, things were trending up for the playoff sensation. He went 16-for-49 (.327) over his previous 13 games with two homers, two stolen bases and a .369 wOBA over that span. He and the Rays are in a great matchup (see below), and he should be a nice option under $5K with a high ceiling and multiple ways to produce points.

Other Options – Byron Buxton ($6,100), Ronald Acuña Jr. ($5,800)


Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox ($3,500) – It’s been a rough road trip for the Mariners, but Rodríguez has been one of the few bright spots. The top prospect has started to find his footing and become a regular in the middle of the lineup. After a slow start, he has gone 26-for-76 (.342) since May 1 with three home runs and four stolen bases. His versatility brings a high ceiling in a good matchup spotlighted below.


Kevin Kiermaier ($2,900) – With Brandon Lowe (back) on the shelf, the Rays moved Kiermaier to the leadoff spot Saturday, and he responded with three hits and his fifth home run of the season. The veteran known for his glove has done damage with his bat lately, logging over 12 DKFP in three straight games, including 22 DKFP in his game in the leadoff spot. The Rays may put him back at the top of the order on Sunday against another righty, making him a nice option once again.

Other Options – Max Kepler ($3,400), Alek Thomas ($2,800)


Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles – The Rays will take on Orioles starter Spenser Watkins ($5,000) Sunday afternoon, who has only lasted 30 innings in seven starts while allowing 20 runs on 33 hits and 15 walks. He pitches to contact way too much for this matchup vs. Tampa Bay, and he has been especially pounded by righties, who have a .454 wOBA against him and have hit five home runs off him already this year. While Wander Franco ($5,300) might not be ready to return after suffering a quad injury on Friday, the rest of the Rays should be able to cover for his production. Specifically, I like Arozarena (discussed above), who has been heating up, in addition to Harold Ramírez ($3,200), Ji-Man Choi ($3,700) and Kiermaier (discussed above) if he leads off for a second straight day.

Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox – After allowing just 15 home runs in 182 1/3 innings last season, Nathan Eovaldi ($9,400) has already given up 14 home runs in only 41 2/3 innings over his eight starts this season. He served up five home runs to the Astros in his most recent outing and has been absolutely crushed at Fenway Park, allowing opponents to post a .526 wOBA against him in 11 1/3 innings. He has been beaten up by both lefties (.380 wOBA) and righties (.352 wOBA), so there isn’t just one side of the plate to target as you stack Seattle. Ty France ($3,800) has gone 3-for-6 with a double against Eovaldi in their past meetings, and he trails Eugenio Suárez ($4,200) for the team lead in long balls by just one home run. There are several nice plays under $4K that bring a high ceiling too with J.P. Crawford ($3,900), Jesse Winker ($3,200), Abraham Toro ($3,200) and Rodríguez (discussed above) all being solid value plays at their respective positions.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $200K Bat Flip [$50K 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 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.

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