After the early game on Sunday morning between the Mets and the Marlins, 18 teams are set to take the field in the early afternoon contests across Major League Baseball, which are the focus of the main fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings. Of the nine games, only one is a divisional matchup, as the Cubs and Cardinals finish out their series with one of the later games on the slate.
With such a large slate and no major weather concerns, there are plenty of good options in the player pool. You can keep tabs on all the latest availability news and player updates by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also available on Twitter (@ZT_Sports).
Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($10,300) – Taking on the Pirates at home, McClanahan is in a premier spot and brings a very high ceiling due to his strikeout potential. The 25-year-old lefty has racked up an impressive 113 strikeouts in 84 1⁄3 innings for a 12.06 K/9 rate. He has gone 7-3 with a 1.81 ERA and 2.74 FIP. His strikeout production has resulted in over 22 DKFP in eight straight outings including back-to-back starts against the Yankees in his two most recent games. The Pirates will offer a much more favorable matchup and have scored the third-fewest runs in the majors this season while hitting only .221 with 72 home runs in 71 games. They are fourth in the MLB in strikeouts and second in the league in strikeouts against lefties, which should set up another dominant performance from McClanahan.
Other Options – Nestor Cortes ($10,100), Joe Ryan ($9,100)
Aaron Civale, Cleveland Guardians vs. Boston Red Sox ($6,400) – There’s a steep drop off from the top options to the lower tier of starting pitchers, who all come with significant risk factors. Civale has struggled this season and enters this start with an ugly 7.25 ERA. He just returned from a month off with a glute injury, but he also appears to be finding his form. He had 17.7 DKFP in five innings against the Twins in his return and had more than that against the Tigers and Blue Jays in his two home starts just before the injury. He has been much better at home than on the road all year, and his 9.25 K/9 strikeout rate is enough to give him a high enough ceiling to be worth a look at such an affordable price point.
Other Options – José Urquidy ($7,600), James Kaprielian ($5,600)
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs ($5,500) – Arenado had three more hits on Saturday and has multiple hits in six of his past nine games including three home runs while averaging 11.3 DKFP per contest. He is hitting .288 with a .385 wOBA at home and has thrived in day games with a .295 batting average and a .369 wOBA along with six of his home runs. Given his splits, recent form, and matchup highlighted below in stacks, Arenado is a great option at the hot corner Sunday afternoon.
Amed Rosario, Cleveland Guardians vs. Boston Red Sox ($4,700) – Rosario is flying a little under the radar playing anonymously in Cleveland, but he has been heating up lately and brings high upside due to his dual speed-power threat. Over his past 11 games before Saturday, he went 19-for-48 (.396) with two home runs, three stolen bases and a .455 wOBA. He hit safely in 16 of his past 17 games, and he especially excels against lefties with a .301 career average and .346 career wOBA against southpaws like Rich Hill ($7,900), who he has gone 3-for-8 with two doubles and two walks against in previous meetings.
Other Options – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($6,000), Alex Bregman ($5,100)
Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers vs. Washington Nationals ($3,100) – Lowe homered on Saturday afternoon against Washington, giving him 10 long balls on the season to go with his .275 average, .158 ISO and .329 wOBA. He has hit safely in 16 of his past 17 games with five homers during that span, showing he has a nice ceiling if you decide to go cheap at 1B. He and the Rangers will face righty Jackson Tetreault ($5,100), who is the cheapest SP on this slate.
Vidal Bruján, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($2,700) – The 24-year-old rookie has become a productive regular lately and has shown he can deliver value from his sub-$3K salary in multiple ways. He had a pair of RBIs and 11 DKFP Saturday, a stolen base and seven DKFP Friday and a home run and 18 DKFP on Wednesday. With his speed, power and solid lineup spot, he’s a great play under $3K in a favorable matchup against Roansy Contreras ($8,000) and the Pirates.
Other Options – Oneil Cruz ($3,300), Ryan McMahon ($3,000)
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles ($5,800) – Robert’s leg injury has limited how aggressive he can be on the bases, but he still continues to offer elite production at the plate. He went 2-for-4 on Saturday with a double to lift his average to .299 and his wOBA to .330. It was a nice bounce-back for La Pantera after his 13-game hitting streak was snapped on Friday. During that streak, he went 20-for-57 (.351) with three doubles, three stolen bases and a .358 wOBA. Jordan Lyles ($7,300) has been homer-prone the past two seasons, so Robert and the White Sox have a high ceiling in this series finale.
Adolis García, Texas Rangers vs. Washington Nationals ($5,000) – On Saturday afternoon, García’s ninth-inning blast helped the Rangers walk off as winners over Washington. García has homered in each of the first two games of this series against the Nats and produced double-digit DKFP in nine of his past 14 contests. El Bombi has gone 23-for-60 (.383) with five home runs, four stolen bases and 11 RBIs over that 14-game span while establishing himself as a key part of the heart of the order in Texas.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($6,300), Austin Hays ($4,100)
Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Guardians ($3,500) – Due to his vaccination status, Duran won’t be available for the upcoming series in Toronto, but he’ll be able to get in one more game before the team heads to Canada. While filling in for Kiké Hernández (hip) in the leadoff spot, the rookie has gone 15-for-47 (.319) over the past eight games. He had a huge game Saturday, stealing two bases while going 4-for-5 with a double on his way to a season-high 26 DKFP. He has at least 11 DKFP in three of his past five games and will likely again be setting the table in front of a strong lineup.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Milwaukee Brewers ($3,000) – Gurriel and the Blue Jays have a good matchup (highlighted below), and the 28-year-old outfielder has been heating up lately. He has multiple hits in 11 of his past 16 games, going 28-for-67 (.418) with six doubles and two home runs. Even though he usually hits near the bottom of the lineup, he has been putting up excellent production with double-digit DKFP in five straight games.
Other Options – Christopher Morel ($3,600), Hunter Dozier ($3,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs – The Cardinals will be facing Cubs’ starter Matt Swarmer ($7,400) for the second time this season. In their first meeting, he stymied them and allowed just two hits and one run over six innings. Since then, though, Swarmer has been riding the struggle bus, allowing at least four runs in each of his three starts and giving up 15 runs on 16 hits and eight home runs. In his five starts, he has already allowed 11 long balls. Righties have hit six of those 11 home runs and have a .417 wOBA against him, so look to stack righties in the Cards’ starting nine. MVP candidates Paul Goldschmidt ($6,100) and Nolan Arenado (highlighted above) both come in scorching hot and give the St. Louis lineup a strong 1-2 punch. Tommy Edman ($5,200) and Nolan Gorman ($4,300) have been productive ahead of those two big bats, and further down the lineup Dylan Carlson ($3,300), Harrison Bader ($2,600) and Juan Yepez ($3,800) offer some salary relief while still bringing plenty of upside.
Toronto Blue Jays at Milwaukee Brewers – The Blue Jays get a tasty matchup against Chi Chi Gonzalez ($5,700) who is with his second team of the season. He made two starts for the Twins before joining the Brewers and has allowed exactly three runs in each start but has only lasted three or four innings in each outing. He has allowed 16 hits and three home runs along with those nine runs in 11 innings. Righties have a .427 wOBA against him and two of his three home runs allowed, so like with the Cardinals’ stack—it makes sense to start with the right-handed thunder in the middle of the lineup. In Toronto’s case, that means Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($6,000), who already has a home run against Gonzalez in their past meetings. Bo Bichette ($5,400), Alejandro Kirk ($4,300) and Teoscar Hernández ($5,500) are all strong options in the middle of the lineup as well, and George Springer ($4,800) will be a great option if he can return from his elbow issue. Matt Chapman ($3,600) homered Saturday and has also been heating up along with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (highlighted above), who are both solid value considerations.
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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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