Happy Hump Day! We’ve got a fun and challenging seven-game main DraftKings MLB slate tonight with plenty of fun matchups everywhere, like the Atlanta Braves taking on the New York Yankees. There are also a huge complement of exciting bats at a low cost, and some pitchers with great value. With so much variety, this should be a fun slate to play.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your DraftKings lineups.
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $150K Bat Flip [$50K to 1st]
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Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees, $8,400 - The Yankees’ offense is in shambles right now, ranking 23rd in wRC+ against righties, and Anderson is about as tough as they come. His 4.9% career barrel rate should match well with the Yankees’ lack of hard contact this year, and his swing-and-miss stuff should play up against a team with the 11th-highest whiff rate in baseball. Anderson’s hovered around a 30% strikeout rate during his young two-year career which has always made him an intriguing option, and against a strikeout-happy team he should get the job done here at a great price.
Jakob Junis, Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Rays, $6,400 - Pitching isn’t very fun on this slate, so naturally I’m going with a guy who no one likes rostering. The fact of the matter is, at 28, Junis may very well be figuring something out. The spin rate is up on his four-seam fastball, and he’s now throwing it 62.7% of the time and almost eliminating the rest of his arsenal. It may seem like a bad idea, but it’s worked; hitters are hitting just .187 versus his primary pitch. He’s also introduced a new pitch, a cutter, which has generated a 55.6% whiff rate and been nearly unhittable. At his age, fighting for a spot in the rotation, you can expect Junis to go deep into the game as long as he’s able to. The Rays haven’t been menacing at the plate, either, so I think this new version of Junis could fins some success.
Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets, $4,600 - Contreras is one of the few guys the Cubs have left who can hit, which is why he’s locked in right near the top of the order in the two spot. He’s facing the mediocre David Peterson ($7,100) who lacks any sort of velocity from the left side and pitches to contact. That is just the type of pitcher Contreras can thrive against, and he’s also packed more of a punch against southpaws in his career with a slugging percentage that’s 40 points higher.
Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,900 - Speaking of splits, Barnhart, a left-handed hitter, has rocked right-handed pitching over his career, to the tune of a .737 OPS. He’s got a pretty bad one throwing him the ball in Merrill Kelly ($7,300), and as a result Cincinnati has an implied total of 4.5 runs. He doesn’t hit in a premium lineup spot, but even hitting seventh I think Barnhart should have a shot at four at-bats given how many runs Cincinnati should score here.
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees, $5,900 - The only thing not to love about Freeman is his ridiculous price tag. Other than that, he might be the best option on the entire slate. Corey Kluber ($9,300) looks like a shell of himself, ranking in the bottom 32% of the league in average exit velocity and posting a 5.34 xERA. He’s had numerous issues with control, so if Freeman’s not mashing the ball he will be getting on base.
Pablo Sandoval, Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees, $2,200 - I am looking to the judges to see if this is considered cheating. Is it? Two first basemen from the same team?
Well, I laid out above why Kluber is a great matchup, and here’s another guy who’s been hitting the ball well and will have a splits advantage against a righty. Sandoval has shown he can still hit home runs, and he hit sixth in the order as Atlanta’s DH on Tuesday. At this price, sign me up right now.
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Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Rays, $5,400 - Merrifield will match up with the unexciting Michael Wacha ($7,200), who has had issues with hard contact, ranking in the bottom 1% in average exit velocity. Some are bullish on Wacha because of his last outing, which came against the Yankees. The thing is, the Yankees are hot garbage at the plate right now. Merrifield will greet Wacha at the top of the order and present a much more difficult challenge, and we seen an 11% bump in his wOBA when he faces a righty.
Ehire Adrianza, Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees, $2,100 - I apologize for sticking in the same game yet again, but I really hate Kluber that much tonight, and also the slate is pretty short. Lay off!
This is a value bat you just have to have in your lineup; Adrianza led off on Tuesday night with the Braves in a pinch in the outfield, and I’d expect the same here against another righty, and with a bunch of guys still out. It’s hard to find an argument against him, given he’s hitting .320.
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays, $5,600 - The Sox have the highest implied total on the slate and Devers will be right in the middle of all the fun in what’s been a very exciting order. Anthony Kay ($6,000) should be the one eating the bulk of the innings here, and he’s been exceptionally bad so far this year. Devers is a stud from the left side with 11.4 DKFP per game in his last 10, and he’s historically mashed righties.
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets, $4,500 - I’m going to attack our friend David Peterson again because, uh, whoa. Only $4,500 for the former MVP? For all that’s gone wrong with this Chicago offense, you can’t put any of the blame on Bryant. He’s hit five homers, and from a fantasy perspective he’s been one of their only reliable performers with 9.5 DKFP per game. KB is .308 off of lefties this year with three of his five homers coming in the split, and we have already touched on how Peterson and his slow, slow pitches are going to be no match for the few talented hitters the Cubs have. Bryant should homer here.
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox, $5,800 - Bichette will have the pleasure of hitting right near the top of the order against the middling Garrett Richards ($7,000), who’s a miracle of modern medicine, frankly, but that’s the only nice thing I can say about him. His many surgeries and years removed from his good days, and this year he’s given up a lot of hard contact. Bichette’s got the talent, and his bat is beginning too warm with 25 DKFP in his last two.
Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $2,800 - You won’t see it on his game log, but Farmer had a really nice night at the plate on Wednesday before the Reds and D-Backs were suspended, going two-for-three with three RBIs to get Cincy back in the game. He stands to be a pretty nice value here in a good matchup with Kelly, hitting seventh in the order and seeing the ball well.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves, $5,300 - Okay, hear me out. I like Anderson but also like Judge?
Well, Judge might hit a solo homer here, and I still don’t think that will make Anderson all that bad of a play. The righty has already allowed three gopher balls this season, and Judge could be the next to take him deep, playing at home in the bandbox known as Yankee Stadium, and facing a pitcher who loves to throw his four-seamer. Judge has destroyed fastballs over his career, and has a .538 xwOBA with four dingers off the pitch already this year. I think this is the right night to roll the dice with Judge.
Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays, $4,100 - Verdugo is as talented as hitters come, and should be in a good spot here against Trent Thornton ($6,600) and Anthony Kay, neither of whom have flashed the kind of swing-and-miss stuff that has plagued the lefty in the past. This price is too nice to pass up on a guy hitting second in what might end up being the best lineup of the day.
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $150K Bat Flip [$50K to 1st]
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