The final Sunday of Major League Baseball’s regular season has games spread throughout the afternoon and early evening, including an eight-game main slate on DraftKings, which gets underway at 1:35 p.m. ET. There is still critical playoff positioning and the final NL Wild Card spot to be determined.
Leading up to the first pitch, make sure to keep up with all the latest news and monitor starting lineups by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with my picks for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Shane Bieber, Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals ($10,700) – It isn’t too late now to say sorry for not paying attention to the Guardians as they took over the AL Central with a red-hot September which has them bound for the postseason. Bieber has gone 4-0 over his past five starts during his team’s surge with a 2.25 ERA, 3.00 FIP and 31 strikeouts in 36 innings. He started that run of success with eight strong innings against the Royals in which he allowed just one run and earned 31 DKFP.
In his most recent outing, Bieber was hit around a little bit by the Rays, but he should be able to bounce back against Kansas City, who he has allowed just one run in 12 2⁄3 innings this season while striking out 11. His strikeout totals keep him out of the very top of the elite tier of SP this season, but on this slate, he’s the surest option available. If the Phillies and Nationals somehow avoid the weather, Zack Wheeler ($9,600) would be a great play as well; however, that looks highly unlikely as of early Sunday morning.
Other Options – Zack Wheeler ($9,600), Luis Garcia ($8,600)
Marcus Stroman, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds ($7,300) – Stroman has put together a solid season in Chicago, despite his 5-7 record in 24 starts. He has a 3.66 ERA and 3.56 FIP, and his strikeout rate has remained around his career norm at 7.60 K/9.
He’s finishing the season showcasing some of his best form of the year, with one run or fewer allowed in four of his six most recent starts. Over that span, he has a 2.50 ERA and 3.92 FIP with a 7.00 K/9 rate. Like Bieber, he isn’t an option I target all the time since his strikeout rate is a little lower, but on a slate with plenty of potential disasters, he is one of the surer picks available. Stroman also gets a good matchup with the Reds, who have the second-lowest team wOBA in the Majors over the past two weeks, hitting just .201 with a .263 wOBA and producing just 27 runs. The Reds have dropped five straight and eight of their past nine games, and they haven’t scored more than three runs in any of those contests.
Other Option – Adam Wainwright ($7,900), Corey Kluber ($7,100)
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox ($5,300) – The Blue Jays look to be headed for the top Wild Card spot in the American League and have celebrated by pounding Red Sox pitching this weekend, racking up 19 runs in the first two games of the series. Bichette has been crushing the ball all month, going 52-for-123 (.423) since September 1 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, three stolen bases and a .495 wOBA. He has seven multi-hit games in his 10 most recent contests and is actually relatively affordable as only the fifth-most expensive SS in play Sunday afternoon.
José Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($5,600) – Altuve has also been almost unstoppable this month, posting great production out of the Astros’ leadoff spot. He has hit .350 over his last 100 at-bats with seven doubles, seven home runs and six stolen bases helping him average 11.6 DKFP per contest. He and the Astros look ready for another deep October run and will close out their series against the Rays as they take on Corey Kluber ($7,100).
Other Options – Rhys Hoskins ($4,900), Alex Bregman ($4,700)
Brendan Donovan, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,500) – Donovan has put together a good rookie season and has settled in as the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter over the past couple of weeks. He’s in a great spot for run production and has been doing a good job setting the table, with hits in seven straight starts while adding seven walks as well. He has averaged 10 DKFP per contest in those seven starts and adds even more value due to his eligibility at either 2B or 3B.
Tristan Casas, Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays ($2,300) – There haven’t been many bright spots as the Red Sox’ disappointing season comes to a close, but Casas’ production has been one of them. Over his past 10 games, the 22-year-old top prospect has flashed good power with three home runs and good plate discipline with 12 walks on his way to a .535 wOBA, .345 ISO and an average of 11 DKFP per contest. As such a low salary, Casas brings a high ceiling and steady production despite a tough matchup against Kevin Gausman ($10,000).
Other Options – Harold Ramírez ($3,600), Esteban Quiroz ($2,300)
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros ($5,600) – Arozarena is known for his October heroics and will look to add to that legacy this month with the Rays in the postseason. He has played a career-high 150 games this season, hitting .266 with 20 homers, 32 stolen bases and a .339 wOBA. His power and speed blend always give him a high ceiling, and he has hit .295 (36-for-122) over his past 30 games with nine stolen bases, three home runs and a .353 wOBA.
George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox ($5,000) – Springer had three more hits on Saturday and has seven multi-hit games in his past 13 contests. He has five home runs in his past 14 games, hitting .339 (19-for-56) over that span with three doubles, a triple and a .452 wOBA. He and Bichette can form the core of a strong stack with their red-hot bats right now, and they’ll look to keep rolling against the Red Sox and Michael Wacha ($8,400).
Other Options – Steven Kwan ($5,400), Teoscar Hernández ($4,200)
Oswaldo Cabrera, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles ($3,100) – Cabrera’s seven-game hitting streak came to a screeching halt with an 0-for-4 performance on Saturday, but the rookie has been very productive lately for the Yankees. In the 20 games before Saturday’s letdown, he hit safely in 17 games while going 22-for-73 (.301) with five doubles, five homers, three stolen bases and a .408 wOBA. He averaged 10.4 DKFP per contest over that stretch and will be a good value at barely over $3K as long as the weather allows this game to be played as scheduled.
Garrett Mitchell, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Miami Marlins ($2,100) – Mitchell didn’t get the start on Saturday when he was in my picks, but I’m hoping he’s back in there on Sunday as a bargain option. After getting two hits and 15 DKFP on Friday in the series opener against Miami, the rookie has had multiple hits in four straight games in which he has gotten multiple at-bats. He often enters as a defensive replacement which skews his DKFP per game average down, but he has gone 12-for-25 (.522) over his past 11 contests with two doubles and three stolen bases. He often ends up serving as a “second leadoff” hitter from the ninth spot in the order, making him a nice play at barely over the minimum salary.
Other Options – Whit Merrifield ($3,000), Trayce Thompson ($2,400)
TEAMS TO STACK
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox – If the Phillies game isn’t washed away they’ll be a strong stack vs. Patrick Corbin ($5,200), but assuming they’re off the board, the Blue Jays look like the next best option. They’ve piled up 19 runs on 34 hits in the series' first two games, so even though Wacha has been solid, the hit parade should continue in Toronto.
Springer and Bichette in the top two spots are a great place to start, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,500) and Alejandro Kirk ($4,800) pack power potential in the heart of the order. If you need some bargains to balance salaries, Ramiel Tapia ($2,800) and Whit Merrifield ($3,000) have both been productive lately as well.
Cleveland Guardians vs Kansas City Royals – Backing Bieber, the Guardians should have a good chance to produce against Max Castillo ($5,000). Castillo gave up two walks and a hit out of the bullpen without retiring a batter a few days ago after surrendering six runs in four innings in his most recent start. In his 8 2⁄3 MLB innings this month, Castillo has given up 12 hits, seven walks and 11 runs.
Due to all their recent production, Cleveland’s lineup has risen in salary with Steven Kwan ($5,400) and Amed Rosario ($5,100) leading the way, typically in the top two spots in the order. José Ramírez ($6,200), Josh Naylor ($4,600) and Andres Giménez ($5,200) have been bringing the power from the middle of the order, and there are some value options in Gabriel Arias ($2,600) and Will Brennan ($2,400).
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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.