We’ve got another full day of baseball action on Sunday. Today’s main slate starts at 1:05 p.m. ET and features eight games to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite targets and values to help you build your lineups.
Jacob deGrom, NYM vs. MIA, $11,600 – It’s going to be hard to look past deGrom at the top of the pricing spectrum today. He’s taking on the Miami Marlins, who were one of the worst offensive teams in baseball last season. Miami ranked just 29th in wRC+ while also posting the eighth-highest strikeout rate. This isn’t the exact same team as last season, but the Marlins have just one projected starter who posted an expected wOBA of above .344 vs. right-handers last season.
The Marlins are currently implied for just 2.8 runs – which is the lowest mark on the slate – and deGrom is a massive -250 favorite.
deGrom is also pitching during the day, which is when he’s historically been at his best. He’s averaged 24.49 DKFP when taking the mound before 4 p.m. ET and he’s posted a 1.83 ERA during day games throughout his career.
Other Options – Charlie Morton ($9,100), James Paxton ($8,600)
Vince Velasquez, PHI vs. ATL, $6,500 – It’s always tough to trust Velasquez in cash games, but he has a tantalizing ceiling for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). Most of that stems from his elite strikeout ability. He’s posted a K/9 of at least 9.38 In four of his first five seasons, and he’s coming off four strikeouts over three innings in his first start. Of course, he only lasted three innings because he got lit up thanks to two walks and two HRs allowed.
Maybe he can bounce back today vs. the Braves, who have been quite generous with strikeouts to begin the season. Atlanta has whiffed in 26.2% of at-bats vs. right-handers, which is the seventh-highest mark in the league. If Velasquez can avoid the free passes and keep the ball in the ballpark, he has some potential at $6,500.
Other Options – Andrew Heaney ($7,800), Nate Eovaldi ($6,600)
Salvador Perez, KC vs. MIN, $4,000 – It does not seem like a particularly good day to pay up at catcher. Perez, Christian Vazquez ($4,500) and Gary Sanchez ($4,400) are the only players priced at $4,000 or higher and none of them stands out as a great option.
Of the three, Perez is the best bet. He’s gotten off to a strong start this season vs. right-handed pitchers, posting a 138 wRC+ over his first 15 games. His batted ball profile is also solid: He’s posted a hard-hit rate of 45.1% in 2020.
Other Options – Christian Vazquez ($4,500)
Wilson Ramos, NYM vs. MIA, $3,000 – Ramos is one of the better hitting catchers in baseball, so it’s a bit surprising to see him priced at just $3,000. He’s off to a slow start this season, posting just a .196 batting average, but he’s definitely been a bit unlucky. He’s actually posted a hard-hit rate of 43.8% to start the year, which would be a new career high if he can sustain it. With that in mind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that he’s posted the second-lowest batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of his career. He’s a definite progression candidate moving forward.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ramos is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Marlins.
Other Options – Alex Avila ($3,000),
Jacob Stallings ($2,900)
Pete Alonso, NYM vs. MIA, ($4,500) – Alonso has failed to build on an outstanding debut season where he broke the record for most HRs by a rookie. That said, he did hit a homer on Saturday, so it’s possible he’s starting to heat up.
He’s taking on Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez ($7,000) and Alonso tore the cover off the ball vs. right-handers last season. He posted a 144 wRC+ and an expected wOBA of .370, thanks in part to an average exit velocity of 95.2 miles per hour. Thirty-nine of his 53 HRs also came vs. right-handers in 2019.
Other Options – Freddie Freeman ($5,500), Shohei Ohtani ($4,800)
C.J. Cron, DET @ PIT, $3,100 – There are a handful of solid value options to choose from at first base today, but Cron is my personal favorite. He has much more pop than his $3,100 salary implies.
Cron has historically been at his best vs. left-handers and he’ll get to face a left-hander in Steven Brault ($6,400) for his first at-bat at a minimum. Cron posted a .461 expected wOBA vs. southpaws last season, so he can do some serious damage in this matchup.
Other Options – Rhys Hoskins ($3,800), Travis Shaw ($3,500)
Cavan Biggio, TOR @ BOS, $4,900 – Biggio is will occupy the leadoff spot for the Blue Jays vs. Eovaldi, which has historically been one of the most valuable spots in daily fantasy baseball. Batting first gives you the greatest chance of getting an extra at-bat and you also benefit from having good hitters ready to drive you in if you get on base.
Biggio is also a very capable hitter vs. right-handers. He posted an expected wOBA of .359 vs. right-handers in 2019, and 13 of his 16 HRs came against right-handers as well.
Other Options – Keston Hiura ($5,000), Adam Frazier ($3,700)
Jonathan Schoop, DET @ PIT, $3,200 – The Tigers, in general, look like nice values on this slate, particularly when you factor in the team’s recent offensive explosion. Detroit scored 17 runs vs. the Pirates on Friday and followed that up with 11 runs on Saturday.
Schoop is yet another Tigers right-hander who absolutely smashes vs. southpaws. He posted a hard-hit rate of 46.8% vs. left-handers last season and his expected wOBA of .365 trails only Cron’s on the Tigers’ roster.
Other Options – Kevin Newman ($3,600), Eric Sogard ($3,600)
Rafael Devers, BOS vs. TOR, $5,100 – There aren’t a ton of high-priced hitters I’m interested in today – I think you’re better off spending up for deGrom – but Devers is the exception. He’s taking on Blue Jays right-hander Matt Shoemaker ($7,200) and Devers was one of the best hitters in baseball when facing a right-hander last season. He posted a 153 wRC+ and an average exit velocity of 98.1 miles per hour. Devers has gotten off to a slow start this season, but he’s too talented not to break out of his slump.
Other Options –
Austin Riley ($4,100), Jeff McNeil ($4,000)
Yandy Diaz, TB vs. NYY, ($3,400) – Most people will likely shy away from Diaz given his difficult matchup vs. Paxton, but Diaz was outstanding vs. left-handers in 2019. He posted a .408 wOBA and 158 wRC+ and his .389 expected wOBA suggests he didn’t get all that lucky.
Paxton is a great pitcher, but he does have some struggles vs. right-handed batters. He allowed righties to post a .211 ISO against him last year, resulting in an average of 1.66 HRs per nine innings. Overall, his 4.39 FIP vs. right-handers is actually a pretty mediocre mark, so you can fire up Diaz with confidence.
Other Options – Colin Moran ($3,200), Jeimer Candelario ($2,500)
Xander Bogaerts, BOS vs. TOR, $4,300 – Grabbing Bogaerts at $4,300 feels like larceny in this matchup. Bogaerts is on the wrong side of his splits vs. Shoemaker, but he’s actually one of the few right-handed batters who fare better against right-handers. The Red Sox lead the slate with an implied team total of 5.3 runs, so this could be an excellent opportunity to buy low on him.
Other Options – Bo Bichette ($4,800), Jorge Polanco ($4,200)
Niko Goodrum, DET @ PIT, $3,600 – Another position, another Tigers value. Goodrum is actually one of the more expensive options on the squad, but he provides a few additional benefits. For starters, he’s a switch-hitter, so he will continue to have to platoon advantage once Brault leaves the game.
Goodrum also occupies the leadoff spot in the order, which could lead to some additional value.
Other Options – Didi Gregorius ($4,000), Elvis Andrus ($3,800)
Ronald Acuna Jr, ATL @ PHI, $5,700 – Acuna is a fantasy machine at this point in his career. He’s already a phenomenal hitter – he posted a .386 expected wOBA vs. right-handers last season – but he’s also very capable of doing damage on the bases. He’s averaged .151 steals per game over the past 12 months, which is the third-highest mark among today’s outfielders. The two guys in front of him, Jonathan Villar ($4,100) and Jon Berti ($3,900), combined to hit 30 HRs last season. Acuna hit 41 all by himself.
Other Options – J.D. Martinez ($5,400), Nelson Cruz ($5,300)
Alex Verdugo, BOS vs. TOR, $3,300 – Verdugo checks virtually every box for cash games on today’s slate. He’s expected to bat leadoff. The Red Sox have a high implied team total. His salary is very reasonable.
What makes things even better is that Verdugo is actually a pretty good hitter. He’ll be on the positive side of his batting splits vs. Shoemaker and he posted a .347 expected wOBA and .193 ISO vs. right-handers last season. He will likely be one of the highest-owned batters on the slate, but there’s a reason why.
Other Options – Jay Bruce ($3,200), Brandon Nimmo ($3,100)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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 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.