After the MLB Leadoff game gets things underway with a matchup between the Orioles and Braves, the main part of Sunday’s baseball action gets underway between 1:30 p.m. ET and 2:30 p.m. ET. The eight games scheduled for that window make up the main slate on DraftKings. Only two of the eight games are divisional matchups, but there are lots of fascinating matchups to dive into. Check out my top plays for Sunday afternoon listed below.
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 $250K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st]
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Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians ($10,000) – Sure, you could pay all the way up and poke the bear by playing Gerrit Cole ($11,500) against the Rays. Cole has an extremely high ceiling as always, but you can get a much safer play and save $1.5K while getting almost the same upside by pivoting to Ryan in a much more fantasy-friendly matchup. Coming into play on Saturday, the Rays had scored the most runs in the Majors, while the Guardians had scored the third-fewest while hitting only .224 as a team with a .282 wOBA—the lowest mark in the Majors.
Ryan doesn’t have the name recognition of Cole, but the 26-year-old has looked very sharp this season going 5-0 in his first six starts and accumulating 43 strikeouts in 38 innings with a 2.37 ERA and 3.01 FIP. Ryan has over 24 DKFP in five of his six starts including each of his past two outings. His best start came against Cole’s Yankees in New York when he struck out 10 and finished with 36 DKFP, showing he has the ceiling of a true ace. Ryan and the Twins are in the top spot in the AL Central and will look to get a series win after splitting their first two games in the ‘Land.
Other Options – Gerrit Cole ($11,500), Joey Lucchesi ($8,200)
Mason Miller, Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals ($7,600) – This series between the Athletics and Royals has been a bargain shoppers’ paradise for the first two games of the series with both teams putting out starting pitchers who have been hammered, allowing cheap bats to put up big numbers. On Sunday, I think there’s value to be had in a different spot as Miller takes the mound for the A’s.
In his most recent outing, Miller didn’t allow a hit while striking out six in seven shutout innings against Seattle. He did issue four walks, though, and had to be removed from his potential no-no due to elevated pitch count. Miller finished with 25.4 DKFP after the bullpen blew the lead, but it was still a strong outing for the 24-year-old right-hander looking to stake his claim to a rotation spot. He has excellent stuff and good strikeout upside, as demonstrated by his 17 K’s in 15 1⁄3 innings so far this season. He has battled injury throughout his climb to the Majors, but looks to have the raw materials to be a serviceable starter for the pitching-starved Athletics. He needs to improve his command from his last start, but he should be in a much better spot against the Royals and comes with the best potential of the available options under $8K on this slate.
Other Option – Tanner Houck ($8,000) Hayden Wesneski ($5,600)
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Detroit Tigers ($5,400) – Something is clearly wrong with the Cardinals. They’ve dropped two in a row at home to the Tigers and are just 10-24 on the season. It’s hard to blame Goldschmidt, though, who is hitting .302 with a .392 wOBA. He has averaged 10.2 DKFP per game over his past 10 contests by going 14-for-42 (.333) with seven doubles, two home runs and even a stolen base. Goldschmidt and the Cards are desperate for a win, and they should be in a spot to produce one going up against Alex Faedo ($5,900), who will be making his first MLB start of the season after posting a 5.53 ERA in 12 starts last year, surrendering seven home runs and 34 runs across 53 2⁄3 innings.
Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians ($4,500) – Correa smashed his fifth homer of the season in Saturday’s loss to the Guardians and seems to be finding his footing after a slow start. He is still hitting only .200 on the season, but has collected five extra-base hits in his nine most recent contests, including three home runs. He has at least 7.0 DKFP in six of those nine games with double-digit DKFP in three of his past four. Correa has also fared well against Guardians starter Cal Quantrill ($7,300) in the past, going 4-for-10. He’s still very reasonably priced and should be in a good spot to continue his resurgence on Sunday.
Other Options – Nico Hoerner ($5,200), Taylor Walls ($4,100)
Eric Haase, Detroit Tigers at St. Louis Cardinals ($3,000) – Haase went 1-for-4 in Saturday’s extra-inning win in St. Louis, producing 9.0 DKFP with a walk, single, run scored and RBI. He has hit safely in six of his seven most recent starts, averaging 12.0 DKFP per game. Haase has two homers on the season and both have come during that stretch during, which he is 9-for-26 (.346) to raise his average to .277 with a .324 wOBA on the season. He comes with catcher eligibility, and at just $3K is a great way to get good upside at the tricky position. He and the Tigers will look to extend the Cardinals’ woes against the struggling Steven Matz ($6,600), who is 0-4 with a 6.39 ERA in his six starts this season.
Enmanuel Valdez, Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies ($2,600) – Acquired from the Astros in the trade for Christian Vázquez, Valdez has been a very nice option in the Red Sox infield during their recent run of success. He played 10 games before being left out of the lineup on Saturday and went 12-for-35 (.343) with three doubles, three stolen bases and a home run, to average 8.6 DKFP per contest. His three stolen bases all came in his four most recent games, and the speed he brings is a nice added element to Boston’s offense. The lefty should be back in the lineup against Taijuan Walker ($7,800) and brings lots of momentum and upside at 2B for a player with a salary so low.
Other Options – Maikel Garcia ($2,700), Trey Mancini ($2,500)
Masataka Yoshida ($5,100), Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies – Yoshida got Saturday off against a lefty but has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the past few weeks. After making a stance adjustment, the rookie from Japan has hit safely in 15 straight games, going 26-for-60 (.433) with five doubles, five home runs and a .521 wOBA. He has multiple hits in nine of those 15 games and is hitting just about everything right on the screws with a 61.8% hard-hit rate during his hitting streak.
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs vs. Miami Marlins ($4,200) – Leaving Los Angeles apparently was exactly what Bellinger needed since the 2017 Rookie of the Year has turned his career back around in his first season with the Cubs. In his 30 games, he has seven home runs and seven stolen bases while hitting .296 with a .392 wOBA. Those numbers are in stark contrast to his .203 batting average and .281 wOBA over the last three seasons with the Dodgers. Bellinger and the Cubs have taken the first two games from Miami in this series and will look to complete the sweep against Sandy Alcantara ($9,400). Alcantara hasn’t been a matchup you have to avoid this season, allowing 22 runs in 35 1⁄3 innings and going 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA. Bellinger brings good value potential at this price and can post a big number with either his power or his speed.
Other Options – Bryan Reynolds ($5,700), Cody Bellinger ($4,200)
Esteury Ruiz ($3,200), Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals – Ruiz has been a lot of fun in the leadoff spot for the A’s, who grabbed him as part of the Sean Murphy trade. He stole his 16th base of the season on Saturday night to take over the MLB lead. He has been giving off Rickey Henderson vibes with 11 thefts in his past 10 games, highlighted by a four-stolen-base game against the Angels. He has also been hitting the ball well, hitting .324 (12-for-37) with three doubles, a triple and a .375 wOBA over his previous nine games coming into Saturday’s contest. He should be in an especially good spot against lefty Ryan Yarbrough ($5,000), since he is hitting .344 against southpaws this season with a .392 wOBA. The Athletics’ lineup still is far from a juggernaut behind him, but Ruiz brings a high ceiling Sunday and has been a fun value play to have a piece of whenever possible over the past couple of weeks.
Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians ($2,700) – Kirilloff has not started since being activated from the IL, striking out as a pinch hitter on Saturday in his first at-bat of the season. Kirilloff was regarded as one of the top prospects in all of baseball before sustaining a wrist injury last summer and has shown flashes of brilliance in the Majors after dominating in the minors. He looked good during his rehab, going 15-for-50 (.300) with four homers and two stolen bases. The 25-year-old still oozes with potential if he can stay healthy and should be a regular in the lineup right away, at least against righties. He should get his first start of the season on Sunday and this seems like a spot to act quickly while he’s still available at a discount.
Other Options – Jaren Duran ($3,600), Randal Grichuk ($3,500), Raimel Tapia ($2,100)
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K 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.