Major League Baseball has another summer Sunday afternoon set up with eight games on the main fantasy baseball slate for DraftKings, which gets underway at 1:35 p.m. ET. Three games get started right away, with the other five games starting just after 2:00 p.m. ET since they’re hosted in cities in Central Time.
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Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals ($10,000) – The two big-ticket aces on the bump Sunday afternoon are Nola and Corbin Burnes ($10,300), who both have favorable matchups and electric strikeout upside. Of the two, Nola has slightly better form, so I’m leaning his way for this start in D.C. In his most recent outing, Nola fanned eight in six one-run innings against the Pirates, picking up his seventh win of the season and producing 27.3 DKFP. Nola has at least seven strikeouts in seven of his past eight starts, totaling 61 strikeouts in 57 innings over that span with a 3.00 ERA and 2.53 FIP. He started that run with a very nice start in Washington, holding the Nats to four hits over eight scoreless innings and posting 31 DKFP. With Washington’s lineup even lighter now after the trade deadline, Nola should be able to post another strong daytime start. In six daytime games this year, he has a 2.33 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 10.7 K/9.
Other Options – Corbin Burnes ($10,300), Kevin Gausman ($9,200)
Kutter Crawford, Boston Red Sox at Kansas City Royals ($6,800) – There’s a significant dropoff to the cheaper arms on the slate, but Crawford has been doing very well lately, showing off nice upside. He is coming off his most impressive start of the year in which he held the Astros to just one run over six innings and struck out six on his way to 22.7 DKFP. He has over 11 DKFP in six straight appearances and over 15 DKFP in four of those outings. In those six games, he has a 2.38 ERA, 2.52 FIP and 8.47 K/9 even though those games have included tough matchups against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays. The Royals should be a favorable setup for him to keep dealing and Boston should be able to give him run support against a struggling Brad Keller ($7,000).
Other Options – Drew Rasmussen ($7,400)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins ($6,000) – The Blue Jays are surging a bit after making a manager change, and Guerrero has been central to their success, as usual. The slugger has hit safely in 16 straight games coming into play on Saturday night, going 27-for-64 (.422) with eight doubles, three homers, a .266 ISO and a .497 wOBA. Guerrero and the Jays have a good matchup highlighted below in stacks, and he’s a big bat to build around this Sunday.
Kolten Wong, Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds ($4,400) – Wong hasn’t had a great season overall, but he has been heating up since the All-Star break. Coming into Saturday, Wong hit safely in 12 of his 13 games since the All-Star break, going 19-for-46 (.413) with a 50% hard-hit rate resulting in six doubles, two homers and a .479 wOBA. Wong has settled into the middle of the Brewers lineup, which gives him more chances for RBIs as the Brew Crew look to close out their home series against the Reds with a win.
Other Options – JT Realmuto ($5,600), Xander Bogaerts ($4,900)
Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals ($4,000) – After a slow start, Bohm has established himself as one of the top young hitters in the Majors. Coming into Saturday, the 26-year-old top prospect has hit .395 (45-for-114) over his past 30 games with seven doubles, a triple and four homers on his way to a .423 wOBA and 174 wRC+ over that span. Bohm has moved into the third spot in the Phillies’ usual lineup and will likely be in that spot against Cory Abbott ($6,000) Sunday.
Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles ($3,200) – While he doesn’t bring much power or play a role in a dynamic offense, he does regularly contribute for the Pirates and usually bats in the leadoff spot. In his 21 games since returning from the injury list before Saturday, he went 25-for-85 (.294) with eight doubles, a triple and three stolen bases averaging 7.1 DKFP per contest. Newman has hit safely in seven of his past eight games and usually finds a way to contribute from the top of Pittsburgh’s batter order.
Other Options – Jose Miranda ($3,600), Hunter Dozier ($2,900)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals ($6,400) – Judge’s salary continues to rise, but it’s still hard to argue against him on almost any slate. Coming into Saturday, over his 14 most recent contests, he went 21-for-52 (.404) with 13 walks, three stolen bases, 10 home runs and a .624 wOBA. Judge has done most of his damage against righties, against whom he has a .309 average and .453 wOBA, meaning his matchup with Adam Wainwright ($8,400) plays to the positive side of his splits.
Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($4,900) – The Orioles’ lefties have a great matchup highlighted below in stacks, and Mullins can pile up points in a variety of ways when he’s at his best. The leadoff lefty had multiple hits in three of four games coming into Saturday night’s game and had gone 15-for-48 (.315) in his 14 games since the All-Star break. Mullins had two doubles, two homers and five stolen bases during that span as well. His dual threat of power and speed lowers his risk and raises his ceiling, especially in such a good matchup.
Other Options – Byron Buxton ($5,200), Teoscar Hernández ($4,600)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins ($3,800) – With George Springer (elbow) on the injured list, Gurriel hit leadoff again on Saturday night and could get more opportunities in that spot moving forward based on his recent production. Coming into Saturday, he had hit safely in 16 of his past 18 starts and had gone a combined 27-for-72 (.375) with four doubles during that span. He hasn’t homered since July 1 but has been getting on base enough to be a great option if he sticks in the leadoff spot in Sunday's great matchup.
Terrin Vavra, Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($2,000) – The Orioles' moves at the deadline paved the way for Vavra to join the roster and make his MLB debut. He was the O’s No. 14 prospect, per MLB Pipeline and was hitting .324 with two homers and a .403 wOBA in his 25 games with Triple-A Norfolk, and he went 6-for-13 (.462) with a double and four runs scored in his first seven games with Baltimore. He has a good plate approach and provides another nice left-handed bat in the middle of the order, which makes him a very nice option in this matchup at the minimum salary.
Other Options – Nick Castellanos ($3,700), Alex Verdugo ($2,800)
TEAMS TO STACK
Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins – Since July 1, the Blue Jays rank in the top five in the Majors in just about every offensive category—runs, OPS, wOBA, wRC+—and lead the Majors with a .284 batting average over that span. They get a favorable matchup against Chris Archer ($6,200) in their series finale in Minnesota. Archer has yet to pitch more than five innings and has surrendered 12 runs and 20 baserunners over 12 innings in his past three outings. The Blue Jays usually bring plenty of power potential led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (highlighted above). Bo Bichette ($4,300) and Whit Merrifield ($4,200) are all great midrange plays with high ceilings and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (highlighted above), Santiago Espinal ($3,100) and Raimel Tapia ($3,000) able to produce at bargain rates when in the lineup.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pirates SP Bryse Wilson ($5,700) has been a good matchup to target this year, allowing 11 home runs in 14 games while going 1-6 with a 6.20 ERA, 5.16 FIP and 1.57 WHIP. Wilson has been an especially favorable matchup for left-handed hitters, who have a .475 wOBA and six home runs against him. Cedric Mullins (highlighted above), Adley Rutschman ($4,600) and Anthony Santander ($4,500) usually start the Orioles’ lineup with three batters who will hit lefty against Wilson while Terrin Vavra (highlighted above) and Rougned Odor ($2,300) also provide salary relief and more left-handed production potential lower in the lineup.
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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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