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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for April 17

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays for Sunday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings.

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah (6) throws a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Easter! Major League Baseball is ready to help you celebrate spring with a full 10-game mega slate at DraftKings. With 20 teams in action, it should be a great Sunday afternoon of baseball to go along with your Easter dinner, baskets of treasure and egg hunts. Whether you’re more into the chocolate treats or fruity goodness, there is always plenty of sugar to go around, and hopefully, there are plenty of fantasy points to be found all across the slate as well.

Let’s take a look at some of the best treasures for Sunday’s slate. The players listed below are in the best positions to succeed based on current form and expected matchup. Throughout the day, stay locked into the DK Live app for updates, and you also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive for the latest news and analysis leading up to the first pitch. You can also let me know what you think of these picks, ask any questions and find more bargain-specific content on my Twitter, @ZT_Sports.


Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K Relay Throw [$100K to 1st]


For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.


PITCHER

Stud

Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics ($10,000) – The 24-year-old was impressive in his first start of the season, allowing just one hit over six shutout innings against the Yankees while striking out seven on his way to 28.5 DKFP. He gets a much easier matchup in this outing and should get plenty of run support based on the matchup (more below). He looked good all of Spring Training with 12 strikeouts and just one run allowed over 14 innings. Last year, he was much better at home where he went 5-0 with a 2.32 ERA. His 10.24 career K/9 rate shows he has a high ceiling, and he should be set up to dominate this matchup and help the Blue Jays bounce back after a tough loss Saturday.

Other Options – Alex Wood ($9,500), Eliesar Hernandez ($8,400)

Value

Drew Peterson, New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6,700) – The Diamondbacks are hitting a paltry .152 as a team over their first eight games and have scored 21 runs, which is more than only the Orioles. While Peterson is the seventh starter on the Mets, he has stepped into this starting role after injuries to Jacob deGrom (shoulder) and Taijuan Walker (shoulder). Peterson stepped in after Walker left his start Monday and threw four shutout innings against the Phillies. The 26-year-old lefty did have a solid 9.32 K/9 rate last year but struggled to a 5.54 ERA and 4.78 FIP in 15 starts. He did have some solid outings, especially at home, where he went 2-2 and averaged 15.6 DKFP per start. In this matchup, he should be able to get to around that average again and be a solid value play as a result.

Other Options – Vince Velasquez ($7,700), Michael Wacha ($6,200)


INFIELD

Stud

Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($5,700) – After serving a two-game suspension, Anderson has returned to his regular spot atop the White Sox order. Hitting at the top of a stacked lineup would make him attractive by itself, but his production has been outstanding as well, as he has gone 11-for-25 (.440) with three doubles and a home run due to a 55.6% hard-hit rate. He’s hit triple-digits in exit velocity at least once in each of his games and will look to continue teeing off as the White Sox look to finish off a sweep of the reigning AL East champion Rays.

Stud

Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers ($4,700) – I’ve been driving the Arenado hype train, and this should be another great matchup for him as he gets to face a lefty in the series finale against the Brewers. Last season, Arenado hit .295 against southpaws with a .295 ISO and a .387 wOBA. Coming into Saturday’s game, he was 10-for-23 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and a 40.0% hard-hit rate highlighted by a 25.0% barrel rate. Against a lefty with a price under $5K, Arenado is again a cornerstone play to consider.

Other Options – José Ramírez ($5,400), Josh Bell ($4,300)

Value

Jeff McNeil, New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($3,600) – In his two most recent games, McNeil has moved into the leadoff spot for the Mets with Mark Canha and Brandon Nimmo on the COVID-19 injured list. He has collected two hits in each game, posting eight and 10 DKFP. He is 11-for-30 (.367) on the season and 8-for-20 (.400) against right-handed pitchers. Throughout his career, he has been much better against righties, so an opposite-hand matchup against Humberto Castellanos ($5,400) will make him a strong play, especially if he stays at the top of the lineup. His eligibility at both 2B and OF gives him even more flexibility.

Value

Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers ($2,600) – Witt was the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball coming into the year, per MLB Pipeline, and so far he has been locked into the second spot of the Royals’ lineup on a regular basis. Witt had the first multi-hit game of his career on Saturday to improve to 5-for-32 (.156). He has a stolen base as well and has produced at least 8.0 DKFP in four of his past six games. He showed power and speed throughout his rise to the Majors and has a high ceiling as a result, especially in the second spot in the order.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s Tigers-Royals game has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Other Options – César Hernández ($3,500), Cavan Biggio ($3,000)


OUTFIELD

Stud

Starling Marte, New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6,000) – After signing a big contract with the Mets this offseason, Marte has started the season red-hot and looks to be worth the investment so far. He has gone 10-for-34 (.294) with two home runs and 10 RBIs in his first eight games with the Mets while adding two stolen bases as well to average 12.3 DKFP per game. He has homered in each of the first two games of this home series against his former team and has posted 33 and 18 DKFP in those two contests. Castellanos should be another good matchup for Marte on Sunday.

Stud

Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Washington Nationals ($4,900) – Reynolds has hit safely in seven of his first eight games this season and went 8-for-29 (.276) with two home runs, a 43.5% hard-hit rate, a .207 ISO and .355 wOBA coming into Saturday night’s matchup. He will have a good matchup against a lefty (more on that below), and last year he hit .325 against southpaws with a .187 ISO and .385 wOBA. He and Ke’Bryan Hayes ($4,400) are a nice 1-2 punch in an otherwise thin Pirates batting order.

Other Options – Bryce Harper ($6,200), Aaron Judge ($5,500)

Value

Joc Pederson, San Francisco Giants at Cleveland Guardians ($3,300) – Pederson went 0-for-2 before leaving Saturday’s game for a pinch-hitter, but prior to that letdown, he had been on a nice role for his new team. Pederson has started six games for San Francisco and hit cleanup each time. Before Saturday, he had an extremely impressive 81.5% hard-hit rate while going 6-for-16 (.375) with two home runs and an average of 9.2 DKFP per game.

Value

Oscar Mercado, Cleveland Guardians vs. San Francisco Giants ($2,500) – On the other side of that same matchup, Mercado offers a high ceiling since he usually starts vs. LHP like Alex Wood ($9,500). In his seven games this year, he has gone 5-for-28 (.179) with a double, a triple and three home runs. He has a 40.0% hard-hit rate and an unsustainable .429 ISO. While he’s not going to keep up this power production throughout the season, he’s a very solid cheap play with a high ceiling after posting over 18 DKFP in three of his five most recent contests.

Other Options – Pavin Smith ($3,100), Manuel Margot ($3,000)


TEAMS TO STACK

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics – Through their first nine games of the season, no team has hit more home runs than the Blue Jays, who have 14 home runs and have scored 38 runs with a .254 batting average. They have a juicy matchup against Adam Oller ($6,800), who joined the Oakland rotation after Sean Manaea was traded. In his first start of the year, Oller made his Major League debut and gave up five runs on five hits and two home runs while only recording four outs and surrendering a 66.7% hard-hit rate. Both home runs he gave up were to left-handed hitters, so the few lefty bats like Raimel Tapia ($3,000), Zack Collins ($2,300) and Cavan Biggio ($3,000) get a boost. It’s also hard to argue against any of the Blue Jays bats that usually hit at the top of the order since George Springer ($5,000), Bo Bichette ($5,000) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,700) have all started the season so strong.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Washington Nationals – While the Blue Jays have a super-high ceiling, they come at a high price point as well. If you’re looking for a bargain stack to consider, check out the Pirates as they take on Patrick Corbin ($6,500) and the Nationals. The veteran lefty gave up six runs on nine hits to the Braves in his most recent start and has allowed right-handed hitters to go 12-for-27 with four doubles and a .488 wOBA. While I’d avoid lefty Yoshi Tsutsugo ($3,400), the right-handed bats of Ke’Bryan Hayes ($4,400), Bryan Reynolds ($4,900) and Michael Chavis ($2,600) are definitely worth a look especially since Reynolds and Hayes have had so much success against southpaws.


Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K Relay Throw [$100K 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 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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