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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for May 21

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

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds get the leadoff spot on Sunday’s MLB schedule, followed by a busy afternoon including a massive 11-game main slate for DFS fantasy baseball on DraftKings, which gets underway at 1:35 p.m. ET. With 22 teams in action in the afternoon, there are plenty of intriguing storylines to weigh and options to consider. Whether you like to stack teams in favorable matchups or just pick off the top options from each lineup, the roster options abound this Sunday afternoon, so get ready to get in on the action!

Make sure to keep a close eye on pregame lineups and the latest player news 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 all my picks as the season continues.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $200K Relay Throw [$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.



Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles ($9,800) – Gausman ranks second in the Majors in strikeouts and K/9 rate this season, racking up 77 K’s in just 55 innings pitched. He also checks in second in the Majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio and second in K%. His punchout potential gives him elite upside and getting him under $10K feels like a bargain even in a matchup against the Orioles.

Gausman has gone at least six innings in four of his past five starts and posted over 27 DKFP in each of those outings, even though he only has one win during that span. His one rough outing during that stretch was a brutal start at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox in which he surrendered eight runs in 3 13 innings. He also had a bad road start against the Houston Astros earlier this season, allowing eight runs in 4 23 innings. Aside from those two stinkers, he has allowed a total of only five earned runs over his seven other starts. He has averaged an impressive 30.8 DKFP in those seven other starts, and he has averaged 32.0 DKFP in his three home starts. At home against his former team, the Orioles, Gausman is a good pick to continue to establish himself as one of the Cy Young frontrunners. He has such a high ceiling that it’s shocking that he’s only the fourth-most expensive pitcher on this slate.

Other Option – Framber Valdez ($10,800), George Kirby ($8,700)


Andrew Heaney, Texas Rangers vs. Colorado Rockies ($7,600) – While he wasn’t even close to the Rangers’ biggest offseason pitching pickup, Heaney has been solid in his first year in Texas. Since being crushed in his first start of the year against the Baltimore Orioles, he has allowed more than three earned runs just once in his seven most recent starts and has piled up 45 punchouts in 39 13 innings. He has gone at least six innings in four of his past five as well, settling into his role as a solid mid-rotation contributor.

Heaney is coming off a strong outing against just four hits and one run in six innings in Oakland. He struck out nine in that contest and totaled 25.9 DKFP in the no-decision. That performance was his second-best of the season, although he has been steady with at least 15 DKFP in six of his seven outings since his struggles in his Rangers’ debut. Heaney gets a great matchup against the Rockies, who have managed to compile a negative WAR on FanGraphs as a team, which is mighty tricky to do! Their offense has been especially shaky away from Coors Field. They have the third-fewest road home runs in the Majors, the third-worst road wOBA and the third-worst road wRC+. They are hitting just .224 on the road as a team and have scored just seven runs in losing the first two games of this series. Heaney and the Rangers will be going for a sweep on Sunday, and the matchup sets up well for the 31-year-old to continue his strong results this season.

Other Option – Josiah Gray ($8,000), Lance Lynn ($7,300)



Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers at ($4,600) – Arenado comes in well under $5K, which seems like a great deal since he has caught fire after starting the season slowly. Over his past 14 games, Arenado is 20-for-60 (.333) with seven home runs, 20 RBI, a .441 wOBA, and a .295 ISO. Those numbers are even more impressive since he hit just .236 with only two home runs and a .269 wOBA over his first 31 games this season. He enters Sunday’s game with an 11-game hitting streak and should be in a well-known matchup as he tries to keep rolling. He is 21-for-67 (.313) with five home runs in his past career meetings with Sunday’s starter Clayton Kershaw ($10,200).


Christopher Morel, Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies ($4,500) – Morel continues to impress, and the 23-year-old prospect likely has a lineup spot locked up for a while after his blistering hot start in Triple-A has carried over to the Majors. After hitting .330 with 11 homers and a .482 wOBA for the Iowa Cubs, Morel has hit .359 (14-for-39) with six home runs and a .521 wOBA in his first nine games in the Majors this season. He has averaged 16.6 DKFP per contest and homered in five of his past six contests. He’ll look to stay hot in the series finale in Philly as he takes on Taijuan Walker ($8,200).

Other Options – Marcus Semien ($5,500), Freddie Freeman ($5,000)


Owen Miller, Milwaukee Brewers at Tampa Bay Rays ($2,700) – Whenever the Brewers face a lefty, it’s Miller time! The utility man has become the team’s leadoff hitter against lefties and has been making the most of his chances, hitting .345 with one home run, four stolen bases and a .366 wOBA over his first 29 games this season. He is hitting .361 against Southpaws and has been heating up lately, averaging 10.8 DKFP over his past eight games. He homered on Saturday against a righty and may be working himself into a more full-time role with his excellent production. He is eligible at both 2B and SS on Sunday’s slate when he’s scheduled to take on Rays’ lefty Jalen Beeks ($8,400).


Ezequiel Duran, Texas Rangers vs. Colorado Rockies ($2,800) – With Corey Seager ($5,100) back from the IL, Duran’s spot in the lineup is a little uncertain. However, the 23-year-old prospect has shown he is ready to contribute on a daily basis, so the Rangers will continue to find ways to get him playing time. He has started the past two games at DH since Seager’s return and has kept right on raking. In his past 14 games, he is hitting .327 (18-for-55) with four doubles, four home runs and a .411 wOBA while also adding a stolen base for good measure. The Rangers still lead the AL West despite being without Seager for so long in part because Duran has emerged as such a great option. They’ll look to finish a sweep of the visiting Rockies as they face Connor Seabold ($5,300) Sunday.

Other Options – Nick Pratto ($2,900), Miguel Vargas ($2,600)



Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics ($6,100) – Yordan went yard in the eighth inning with the deciding run on Saturday night against the Athletics. The long ball was his 10th of the season, and he has really turned things around this month, going 20-for-61 (.328) with six doubles, four homers and a .418 wOBA over his 16 most recent games. Alvarez has averaged 10.3 DKFP over his past 10 games and 10.1 DKFP on the season, so he is always one of the elite sluggers to consider playing. When he’s heating up like this, he can single-handedly carry the Astros offense and your fantasy roster to plenty of success. He and Kyle Tucker ($5,500) will both be on the right side of the splits against James Kaprielian ($6,400), who has allowed five home runs and a .478 wOBA to left-handed hitters in his seven games this season.

Adolis García, Texas Rangers vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,300) – Garcia’s increased production is another reason why the Rangers’ offense has kept on humming all season. In fact, only the Tampa Bay Rays have scored more runs than Texas. Garcia leads the Majors with 49 RBI, and he has hit .259 with 14 home runs, a .289 ISO and a .365 wOBA. He is hitting .306 (11-for-36) in his 10 most recent games and has smashed five home runs in that span to produce 12.5 DKFP per game. García and Alvarez are both big-league bashers and can be the core of a heavy-hitting lineup on Sunday afternoon.

Other Options – Ronald Acuña Jr. ($6,400), J.D. Martinez ($4,700)


Esteury Ruiz, Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros ($3,600) – Ruiz has been one of the few bright spots this season for the Athletics and brings a high ceiling at this salary primarily due to his speed and premium lineup spot. He’s locked into the leadoff spot, so he’ll get plenty of at-bats against Framber Valdez ($10,800) and the Astros. On the season, Ruiz is hitting lefties like Valdez well, going 17-for-51 (.333) against southpaws with one homer and a .387 wOBA. Once he gets on base, Ruiz can really pile up points since he leads the Majors with 23 stolen bases. He had a pair of stolen bases and 18 DKFP on Saturday and has posted double-digit DKFP in five straight games. The way he puts up big games is different than the sluggers listed above, but at this price, he is a great option with a high ceiling.


Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals ($2,400) – Baddoo hit his first homer of the season on Friday and added a stolen base for 30 DKFP, but he was still sent to the bench for Saturday’s matchup with a lefty. Even though his power is only starting to come around, he has put together a solid May, going 11-for-37 (.297) with three doubles, that home run, and two stolen bases. He has hit safely in five of his past six starts and should be back in the lineup Sunday. His power and speed potential give him enough upside to make him worth a look as a sub-$2.5K play on Sunday.

Other Options – Dominic Fletcher ($3,300), Brenton Doyle ($2,900), Leody Taveras ($2,400)

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $200K Relay Throw [$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.