Major League Baseball has one more week before the All-Star break, and this Sunday there are seven games on DraftKings’ main fantasy baseball slate, which gets underway at 1:35 p.m. ET. Five of the seven contests are divisional matchups while the other two feature the Rays taking on the Reds and the Phillies wrapping up their stay in St. Louis.
With 14 teams in the player pool, there are many different ways to consider constructing your roster for Sunday afternoon’s contests. To keep up with all the latest lineups and player news, install the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), so let me know if you have any questions or want to discuss these picks any further.
Taijuan Walker, New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins ($8,800) – Walker and his opponent Sandy Alcantara ($10,700) are each facing their divisional opponent for the third time in the past month. They went head-to-head on June 24th and Walker emerged with a win. Walker held the Fish to four runs on 10 hits over 12 2⁄3 innings in those starts while striking out a total of 14 and posting 33.2 and 15.2 DKFP. He has over 15 DKFP in five straight starts and has improved to 7-2 on the year with a 2.69 ERA and 3.09 FIP. His strikeout rate for the year is down to just 6.98 K/9, but he has picked that up by averaging 10.13 K/9 over those five successful outings. Walker doesn’t have quite the strikeout upside that Alcantara brings, but he does have a much better matchup and is at home, where he has a 1.86 ERA. Walker also comes at a discount of almost $2K, leaving you plenty of room to bulk up on top power bats.
Other Options – Sandy Alcantara ($10,700), Eric Lauer ($10,100)
Shane Baz, Tampa Bay Rays at Cincinnati Reds ($8,100) – The 23-year-old righty entered the year as the Rays’ top prospect and has delivered in his first five MLB starts. He has gone just 1-1 but has 28 strikeouts in his 24 2⁄3 innings while allowing just eight runs for a 2.92 ERA and 3.10 FIP. He has at least six strikeouts and 16 DKFP in each of his past four games, and he’ll be looking to shut down the Reds and help his Rays avoid a sweep in Cincinnati. It should be a good strikeout spot for Baz since the Reds have piled up an MLB-leading 162 strikeouts over their past 15 games, almost 20 more than any other team over that same span.
Other Options – José Quintana ($7,800), Christopher Sánchez ($6,400)
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins ($5,300) – Lindor has homered in consecutive games, giving him 15 homers on the season. He is still hitting just .240 with a .323 wOBA, but he has been much better at home, hitting .262 with a .348 home wOBA and six of his nine stolen bases. Lindor has a great history against Alcantara as well, having gone 7-for-19 (.368) against him in the past with two doubles, a home run and six RBI. If you think the chalk will be on Alcantara, playing Walker and Lindor is an interesting contrarian play to consider, especially in GPP.
Yandy Díaz, Tampa Bay Rays at Cincinnati Reds ($4,500) – Díaz didn’t start on Saturday and got out in his only at-bat as a pinch-hitter, ending his 12-game hitting streak. During that run, he went 21-for-46 (.457) with eight doubles. Díaz historically fares well against lefties, hitting .289 with a .357 wOBA against southpaws in his career, so he should be set up to start another hitting streak against Nick Lodolo ($6,900) and the Reds.
Other Options – Amed Rosario ($5,400), Matt Olson ($4,700)
Darick Hall, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($3,200) – When Bryce Harper (thumb) was placed on the IL, the Phillies called up Hall to help fill his power production from the left hand side. Hall hit 20 homers in his 72 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and has made an immediate impact in the cleanup spot for the Phillies. In his 10 games, he has gone 11-for-38 (.289) with three doubles and four home runs. Hall had 10 DKFP on Saturday and has reached double-digit DKFP in five of his nine contests, making him a great value option in an opposite-hand matchup against homer-prone Andre Pallante ($6,500).
Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,000) – Hiura has hit safely in six straight games with an at-bat and usually gets into the lineup against left-handed starters like José Quintana ($7,800). Hiura has gone 9-for-22 with a double and two home runs in those six games. He has three homers and is hitting .353 over his past 10 contests after going 2-for-4 on Saturday. He still has an extremely high strikeout rate, but brings enough upside at just $3K to still be worth a look in a thin 2B pool on this slate.
Other Options – Brian Anderson ($2,900), Taylor Walls ($2,400)
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves ($5,500) – While I like the other side of this NL East matchup for a stack (see below), I think Soto makes a strong play in this spot against inconsistent Ian Anderson ($7,100). Soto started the season slow but has been catching fire. He has multiple hits and double-digit DKFP in four straight games and has gone 12-for-29 (.414) with nine walks and three homers over his 10 most recent games, averaging 10.9 DKFP per contest over that stretch.
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals ($4,200) – Ozuna is one of the best mid-range plays with upside based on his matchup (highlighted below) and his recent form. He had his seven-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday, but he went 8-for-27 (.296) with three homers during that span. Even though he’s a righty, 16 of his 17 homers this year have come off righties, against whom he has a .242 average and .333 wOBA.
Other Options – Ronald Acuña Jr. ($6,200), Andrew Benintendi ($4,100)
Harold Ramírez, Tampa Bay Rays at Cincinnati Reds ($3,200) – Ramírez continued his red-hot summer by going 3-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI on his way to 21 DKFP on Saturday in the Rays’ 5-4 loss. He has been excellent going 38-for-100 (.380) in his 31 games since June 1st with 10 doubles, two home runs and a wOBA over .400. Ramírez has hit lefties especially well this season with a .369 average and .400 wOBA, so look for him to thrive against Lodolo and make a very nice mini-stack with Díaz.
Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox ($2,700) – Greene was one of the top prospects in all of baseball coming into the season, and he has adjusted well through his first 20 games in the Majors. He has locked into the leadoff spot for Detroit and is hitting .241 with a home run, a stolen base and a .309 wOBA. He hasn’t had a great series in Chicago, but he is in a good matchup highlighted below in stacks as he hits atop the Tigers’ ultra-value lineup.
Other Options – Michael Harris II ($3,800), Nick Senzel ($3,100)
TEAMS TO STACK
Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – The Braves have won five of their past six games including the first two in this series and get a great matchup against Paolo Espino ($6,100) as they go for the sweep. Espino has worked mostly out of the bullpen this season, but has struggled in his four most recent games, allowing 12 runs on 20 hits including six home runs in 18 1⁄3 innings. He has been hit hard by both righties and lefties, allowing righties to post a .311 wOBA and lefties to post a .308 wOBA. In his five starts, though, he has given up a .373 wOBA and gotten significantly worse each time through the lineup. Several Braves already know him well and have a good history against him. Austin Riley ($5,900) is 4-for-9 (.444) with a home run and Marcell Ozuna (discussed above) is 2-for-6 (.333), but both hits have been home runs. Ronald Acuña Jr. ($6,200), Dansby Swanson ($5,900) and Matt Olson ($4,700) are high-upside plays coming in with good momentum while Michael Harris II ($3,800) and Orlando Arcia ($3,600) hit lower in the order, but offer some salary relief while still bringing solid potential.
Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox – It’s definitely not a traditional approach to stack the Tigers, but they bring home very solid potential value to a good spot against a struggling Michael Kopech ($8,200). Kopech has a high ceiling and great strikeout potential, but he has dropped four straight starts, allowing 17 runs in 21 innings with a 6.86 ERA and 7.53 FIP. He has given up seven home runs in those four starts after giving up just two long balls in his first 11 games of the season. Kopech’s splits clearly point to playing lefties against him, since left-handed hitters are hitting .220 with five homers and a .338 wOBA on the season, compared to just a .226 wOBA for right-handed hitters. Riley Greene (discussed above) is a lefty who looks great in the leadoff spot while Robbie Grossman ($2,500), Victor Reyes ($2,300) and Jeimer Candelario ($2,000) are all switch-hitters who will hit lefty against Kopech if they’re in the lineup. Javier Báez ($4,200) and Eric Haase ($4,300) are the big bats, but the Tigers can help if you need to fill in roster spots with very affordable players. Remember, they won six straight before slipping up Saturday, so the offense isn’t nearly as ugly as it was early in the season.
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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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