Happy Mother’s Day! Sunday features an 11-game main slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
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Jacob deGrom, New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($11,700) – Like a fine wine, deGrom somehow continues to get better with age. He has been brilliant to start the year, pitching to a 0.51 ERA and a 0.82 FIP over his first five starts. His average fastball velocity has also peaked at a career-high 98.8 miles per hour this season, and he’s struck out a whopping 15.17 batters per nine innings. He was scratched from his last start due to tightness in his side, but it ultimately isn’t considered a serious injury.
He’ll be on the mound Sunday vs. the Diamondbacks, and his Vegas data is tremendous. He owns an opponent implied team total of just 2.4 runs, and he’s also a massive -330 favorite. Both of those marks are tops on today’s slate.
Other Options – Lucas Giolito ($9,500), Sandy Alcantara ($9,400)
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($6,900) – Hendricks has gotten off to a dreadful start this season, pitching to a 6.07 ERA and 7.32 FIP through his first six starts. That said, perhaps a matchup vs. the Pirates will be just what the doctor ordered. They rank just 24th in wRC+ vs. right-handers this season, and they rank 29th in runs per game. They’re currently implied for just 2.9 runs in this matchup, so this is an excellent spot for Hendricks to bounce back. He’s been a quality starting pitcher in the past, posting an ERA of 2.88 just last season.
Other Options – Kenta Maeda ($8,300), Adam Wainwright ($8,000)
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Christian Vazquez, Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles ($4,200) – Boston’s offense is rolling to start the season, ranking first in the league with an average of 5.38 runs per game. Vazquez has been a part of that success, and he’s on track to post his third consecutive season as an above-average hitter. You’ll definitely take above average at the catcher position.
The Red Sox are taking on right-hander Dean Kremer ($5,800) on today’s slate, and their implied team total of 4.9 runs is the fourth-highest mark on the slate. Vazquez has also fared well against right-handers to start the season, posting a 116 wRC+.
Other Options – Mitch Garver ($4,900; currently questionable), Yasmani Grandal ($4,600)
Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds @ Cleveland Indians ($3,600) – Stephenson was considered a top-100 prospect heading into the 2020 season, and he’s lived up to the billing at the major-league level. He crushed over a small sample size last season, and he’s posted a 125 wRC+ in his first 55 plate appearances in 2021. The Reds are taking on right-hander Sam Hentges ($6,800) on Sunday, who is making the first start of his career. He’s pitched nine innings out of the bullpen so far this season, and he’s struggled to a 7.77 FIP over those outings. He’s been at his worst against right-handed batters – they’ve posted a .538 wOBA and averaged 5.68 home runs per nine innings – so Stephenson has significant upside in this matchup.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s Reds-Cleveland game has been postponed due to inclement weather.
Other Options – Luis Torrens ($3,300), Danny Jansen ($2,400)
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals ($5,400) – The Yankees have turned things around after a slow start to the season, winning 10 of their past 16 games, and LeMahieu has been at the center of their offense. He’s posted a 124 wRC+ to start the year, and he’s increased that mark to 174 during the month of May.
The Yankees are currently implied for 5.4 runs vs. Nationals right-hander Joe Ross ($6,500), which is tied for the top mark on today’s slate.
Other Options – Jose Abreu ($4,700), Trey Mancini ($4,600)
Marwin Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles ($3,300) – Gonzalez isn’t a huge threat with the bat, but cheap leadoff hitters are typically excellent investments in MLB DFS, particularly ones that play for an offense as good as the Red Sox.
Other Options – Mike Ford ($3,500), Alex Blandino ($2,200)
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($5,200) – The Astros are the other team on today’s slate with an implied team total of 5.4 runs. They’re taking on Blue Jays right-hander Nate Pearson ($5,700), who is an interesting pitcher. He has the pedigree of a future star – he entered the year as the No. 9 overall prospect according to FanGraphs – but he struggled to a 6.00 ERA and 7.14 FIP in his brief major-league action last season. The Astros’ offense ranks fifth in runs per game this season, so this is a tough spot for Pearson to make his season debut.
Other Options – Nick Solak ($4,700), Jeff McNeil ($4,300)
Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds @ Cleveland Indians ($3,100) – Senzel is expected to occupy the leadoff spot against Hentges, which makes him an extremely appealing value given Hentges’ struggles against right-handed batters. Senzel has fared well against southpaws so far this season, posting a 121 wRC+.
Other Options – Cesar Hernandez ($3,700), Nick Madrigal ($2,600)
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles ($5,200) – Devers had a bit of a down year by his standards in 2020, but he’s back in a big way to start the year. His walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is way down, and his expected wOBA of .461 is easily the best mark of his career.
Unsurprisingly, Devers has feasted against right-handers in particular. He’s posted a .313 ISO in those matchups, and 14 of his 22 hits against right-handers have gone for extra bases.
Other Options – Alex Bregman ($4,800), Gio Urshela ($4,600; currently questionable)
Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays @ Houston Astros ($3,100) – Biggio obviously has good MLB bloodlines, and he’s been a solid player since joining the big-league club. He’s posted a solid 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season, and he’s posted 114 wRC+ in those matchups for his career. He’s taking on Zack Greinke ($10,800) on Sunday, who is not the same pitcher now that he was in his prime. He’s averaged a paltry 6.86 strikeouts per nine innings this season, resulting in a 4.31 FIP.
Other Options – Charlie Culberson ($3,400), Jonathan Villar ($3,400)
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals ($5,200) – Anderson and the White Sox are taking on Royals left-hander Mike Minor ($6,000) on Sunday, and I’m always interested in targeting Anderson against a southpaw. He’s absolutely destroyed left-handed pitching over the past 12 months, posting a .552 wOBA and .415 ISO. Minor is pretty mediocre as far as left-handed pitchers go, posting a 5.23 ERA and 5.04 FIP through his first six starts this season.
Other Options – Xander Bogaerts ($5,000), Gleyber Torres ($4,700)
Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds @ Cleveland Indians ($4,200) – I’m interested in all the Reds’ right-handed batters vs. Hentges, and Suarez is one of the best. He’s off to a slow start this season, which has caused his price tag to dip to just $4,200, but he historically posted some of the best Statcast data in baseball. He is known for making elite contact, posting a hard hit rate of at least 40.1% in three straight seasons. Expect him to turn things around before long.
Other Options – Miguel Rojas ($4,400), Amed Rosario ($3,600)
Michael Brantley, Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($4,500) – Branley is one of the more underappreciated players in baseball. He’s posted a wRC+ of at least 125 in each of the past three seasons, and he’s posted a 141 wRC+ to start the year. He’s been potent against right-handers, in particular, increasing that mark to 164. That makes him an appealing option vs. Pearson at just $4,500.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($5,000), Yordan Alvarez ($4,800)
Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles ($3,900) – Verdugo may not be Mookie Betts, but he’s a pretty darn good baseball player. He’ll be on the positive side of his splits Sunday vs. Kremer, and he’s posted a .379 wOBA and .209 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months.
Other Options – Joey Gallo ($3,700), Kyle Tucker ($3,300)
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