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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for August 22

Matt LaMarca gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Sunday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 1:05 p.m. ET.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday features a smaller slate than usual. There were initially 10 games scheduled for the 1:05 p.m. ET main slate on DraftKings, but two have already been postponed due to Tropical Storm Henri. The game between the Orioles and Braves also has some rainout potential, which would reduce the slate to just seven games.

Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.

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Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($9,300) – You know it’s not a great slate for pitching when Wainwright stands out as the top option. However, Wainwright has had a bit of a resurgence in 2021. He’s pitched to a 3.26 ERA and an 8.20 K/9, and his advanced metrics are also solid.

More importantly, he gets an excellent matchup Sunday vs. the Pirates. They rank just 28th in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers, and their implied team total of 3.2 runs is the lowest mark on the slate by a comfortable margin. Wainwright is also a sizable -210 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, so he has plenty of win equity in this matchup.

Other Options – Framber Valdez ($9,800)


Carlos Hernandez, Kansas City Royals @ Chicago Cubs ($5,900) – I very rarely punt at starting pitcher, but Hernandez has been much better than his current salary indicates. He’s scored at least 15.4 DKFP in three of his past four starts, including two outings of at least 22.5 DKFP. Those performances came against a strong White Sox lineup, and Sunday’s matchup vs. the Cubs is significantly easier on paper. They gutted their team before the trade deadline, and they rank 23rd in wRC+ and first in strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 14 days.

Other Options – Steven Matz ($8,200)

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Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins ($4,400) – The Reds are giving some of their regulars the day off on Sunday, so Stephenson will move up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup. That gives him a slight boost in value, and he’s an excellent hitter for a catcher to begin with. He’s posted a 122 wRC+ this season, including a 136 wRC+ in Cincinnati.

Other Options – Salvador Perez ($5,100; questionable)


Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,400) – The Cardinals are reportedly interested in bringing back Molina for another season, and he remains effective despite his advanced age. He’s been at his best this season against left-handers, posting a 115 wRC+ in that split, and he’ll be facing a southpaw on Sunday in Steven Brault ($7,500). Brault has pitched to a 1.84 ERA over 14 2/3 big league innings this season, but his 6.57 xERA suggests he’s been extremely hittable.

Other Options – Reese McGuire ($2,700)



Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers ($6,200) – The Blue Jays should be the highest-owned team on Sunday’s slate. They’re currently implied for 6.2 runs, which is the top mark on the slate by more than half a run. They’re facing right-hander Drew Hutchison ($4,900), who lasted just 1 2/3 innings in his first start of the season. The Blue Jays have been one of the best offensive teams in baseball, so they can clearly do some damage in this matchup.

Guerrero stands out as their best hitter, and he’s put together a monster season. He has crushed right-handers to the tune of a 178 wRC+ with a .323 ISO, and 30 of his 36 homers have come in that split as well.

Other Options – Joey Votto ($5,500), Paul Goldschmidt ($4,500)


Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,800) – If you’re looking for a more contrarian way to stack the Blue Jays, consider Gurriel at first base. The vast majority of Blue Jays’ stacks will have Guerrero at first, so using Gurriel in that spot should increase your chances at a unique lineup. Gurriel obviously benefits from the same matchup and implied team total, and he’s been an above-average hitter against right-handers this season.

Other Options – Jesus Aguilar ($3,600), Carlos Santana ($3,100)



Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners ($5,600) – The Astros are facing a left-hander on Sunday, and they are always a viable option when facing a southpaw. They rank first in the league in wRC+ vs. left-handers this season, and Altuve has historically been at his best in that split. His numbers this season are slightly down against left-handers, but he remains an extremely dangerous hitter in those matchups.

Other Options – Marcus Semien ($5,300), Whit Merrifield ($4,400)


Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,500) – Edman is one of the more underrated players in fantasy baseball. He’s a stolen base threat – he’s racked up 19 steals so far this season – and he’s also capable of doing some damage with his bat. He’s been particularly dangerous against left-handers, posting a 128 wRC+ in that split. He’s underpriced as the Cardinals’ expected leadoff hitter.

Other Options – Isan Diaz ($2,700)



Eduardo Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals ($5,600) – There is a bit of sticker shock with Escobar at this price tag, but he’s been hot recently. He’s also a switch-hitter who has historically performed better against left-handed pitchers, and he’ll be facing a southpaw in Sean Nolin ($5,100) on Sunday. Nolin has pitched to a 12.00 ERA over just three innings this season, and the Brewers’ implied team total of 5.5 runs ranks third on the slate.

Other Options – Nolan Arenado ($5,300), Mike Moustakas ($4,900)


Santiago Espinal, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,100) – Espinal is another cheap member of the Blue Jays you can use in contrarian stacks. He’s not the same caliber of hitter as some of his higher-priced teammates, but he still owns a 107 wRC+ vs. right-handers this season. That’s an excellent mark for a No. 8 hitter.

Other Options – Aledmys Diaz ($3,800), Hunter Dozier ($2,300; questionable)



Carlos Correa, Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners ($4,800) – Correa can occasionally be overlooked at shortstop, but he’s one of the best hitters in the league at the position. He’s had an excellent season, particularly against left-handed pitchers. He owns a 144 wRC+ in that split while opposing pitcher Tyler Anderson ($7,300) has pitched to a 4.55 FIP against right-handed batters. That gives him the clear edge in this matchup.

Other Options – Willy Adames ($5,500), Bo Bichette ($4,900)


Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins ($3,500) – Farmer will bat fifth in the lineup for the Reds on Sunday, which gives him a slight boost in value. The majority of his plate appearances have come from the No. 8 hole this season, so he should have a greater chance at five at-bats on Sunday. He’s also been scorching hot over the second half of the year, posting a 146 wRC+ since the All-Star break.

Other Options – Paul DeJong ($3,800), Nicky Lopez ($2,900)



Teoscar Hernandez, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers ($5,200) – Outfield is surprisingly thin at the top on Sunday. Hernandez should grab most of the attention given the fact that he plays for the Blue Jays, but the fact that he’s had an excellent season won’t hurt either. He’s hit 22 homers with a 140 wRC+, and while he’s been better against southpaws, he’s still more than held his own against traditional pitchers.

Other Options – Juan Soto ($5,900), Nick Castellanos ($4,800)


Tyler Naquin, Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins ($2,900) – Naquin started the year with a bang, and he’s trying to end the year on a high note as well. He’s posted a ridiculous 208 wRC+ since the start of August, which is why he finds himself at the top of the Reds’ lineup on Sunday. He’s simply too cheap in this matchup.

Other Options – Tyler O’Neill ($3,500), Corey Dickerson ($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.

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