It’s a very nice slate with a couple of true aces on the mound as well as a couple lame arms that should put offenses in a great position to light up the sky with the longball. It’s important with these expensive pitchers to find a competent offense to stack beneath them if we really want the upside, so lets dig in and find out the best options for Sunday’s 11-game slate!
StudStephen Strasburg, WAS at MIA, $10,700 — The price is attainable for Strasburg in a great matchup with the Marlins in Miami, and it makes this a pretty easy pick. Honestly, I don’t think that Stras is the best pitcher on this slate by any means and firmly believe that Tyler Glasnow ($10,100) is the more talented stud but the matchup with a Red Sox team that has a .328 xwOBA and just a 39% two-strike percentage overall make it difficult to force him into a build while Strasburg is just a couple hundred more in a matchup with marks in the same categories of .300 and 48.45%. Glasnow may make for the better GPP target but Strasburg is your cash play.
Other Options — Tyler Glasnow ($10,100), Noah Syndergaard ($9,800)
ValueJerad Eickhoff, PHI at COL, $5,600 — Okay, yeah, I get it, Eickhoff has been a bad pitcher his entire career and is pitching at Coors Field. But hear me out: He pitched incredibly well in his lone relief appearance and threw a cutter 20% more than last year, which helped to induce 66% ground balls in the start. His SIERA and xFIP numbers (1.18 and 1.47) in the excessively short sample are really promising and the strikeouts looked good. The Rockies are trash right now with a .276 xwOBA and only have two solid LHH in Charlie Blackmon ($5,000) and David Dahl ($4,900), so Eickhoff’s splits shouldn’t be a huge issue. He’s really cheap and only needs six strikeouts with two or fewer earned runs to make value. I’m not insane and you can’t prove otherwise.
Other Options — Dereck Rodriguez ($6,600)
StudRobinson Chirinos, HOU at TEX, $3,800 — The Astros as a whole have a fantastic matchup against Shelby Miller ($5,200) in Arlington and are in a great spot to hit some home runs, hence Chirinos being my top play at his position. On the year, Chirinos has a .250 ISO percentage to go with a 136 wRC+ and two homers with six RBI as he continues to hit in the later part of a potent Astros’ batting order. Miller has a paltry 37% groundball rate and just a 5% strikeout rate, which is exactly the kind of combo we want when hunting dingers in a solid hitter’s park.
Other Options —
J.T. Realmuto ($4,700), Willians Astudillo ($4,300)
ValueWelington Castillo, CWS at DET, $3,400 — The White sox are probably going to be a big form of salary relief for smart players on this slate who have gotten on them after a horrific 2018. Castillo has looked great this year in 10 starts while splitting time with James McCann ($3,300), and has two home runs in his last three games. His matchup with LHP Daniel Norris ($7,700) is a power hitter’s dream and gives us a great shot at a cheap home run from Castillo as the field pays up for better all-around guys.
Other Options — John Ryan Murphy ($3,300)
FIRST BASERhys Hoskins, PHI at COL, $5,200 — I really like Cody Bellinger ($5,700) all the way at the top of the first baseman list but the idea of a slugger like Hoskins against Jon Gray ($8,200) in Coors is equally as enticing. Gray has been better about allowing flyballs this year with just a 24.2% rate through his few starts, but he’s allowing a bevy of hard contact at a staggering 40% clip as well as a significant pull percentage at 41.8% of hits. With no change in his pitching mix we should expect the current groundball rate to be a lie and when it regresses, the hard contact is still going to exist. Hoskins might strike out twice, but he has a good chance at a double-dong as well.
Other Options — Cody Bellinger ($5,700)
ValueNiko Goodrum, DET vs. CWS, $3,800 — As bad as Daniel Norris is, Reynaldo Lopez ($6,000) is worse and should set up plenty of the Tigers’ power hitters with ample opportunity for runs scored. Goodrum is arguably the best hitter on the Tigers to start the year with a .281 batting average and five games with 10-plus DKFP under his belt. Being a switch hitter, he can take advantage of Reynaldo’s HR splits as he has given up many more home runs to LHH and has an extremely friendly price tag allowing the bigger bats in better spots to be taken without sacrificing too much pitcher equity.
Other Options — Jose Abreu ($3,800), Miguel Cabrera ($3,600)
StudJose Altuve, HOU at TEX, $5,300 — Altuve is coming off an 0-5 performance after lighting the world on fire through his first 20 games with eight home runs, 16 RBI and a .958 OPS while averaging 10.4 DKFP per contest. He draws a matchup against Miller, who hasn’t been able to miss bats to save his life this year and has a walk rate nearly four times as high as his strikeout rate. This offers massive upside potential to a hitter like Altuve, who can hit home runs as well as steal bases. He is by far the best play at second base on the slate.
Editor’s Note: Altuve is not in the starting lineup for today’s game vs. the Rangers.
Other Options — Kike Hernandez ($4,500)
ValueRobinson Cano, NYM at STL, $3,600 — It’s a strong matchup against Dakota Hudson ($5,300) that gives Cano justification as a cheaper option at second base. Cano has been heating up at the plate with seven hits in his last five games and just one strikeout in his last three. Hudson has a 4.35 xFIP to start the year, which is about right in terms of his 2018 sample and the walks are still a massive problem at 6.75 BB/9 thus far while ending 2018 with a 5.93 mark, so even if Cano isn’t getting things together at the plate in terms of hit quality he should still represent a nice floor due to walks.
Other Options — Brian Dozier ($3,600)
StudYoan Moncada, CWS at DET, $4,600 — Moncada’s breakout this year is as real as it is beautiful, and we need to begin considering him in the upper-echelon of offensive third basemen as the season pushes on. He has a matchup with Norris, who has a 6.1 xFIP, 3.24 HR/9 and 43.3% groundball rate while throwing his fastball 64.6% of the time. The league does a lot more damage to fastballs than any other pitch, but Moncada is an extreme example as 80% of his production has come against the baseline pitch. There should be plenty of contact made for Moncada in this matchup and his upside is as high as anyone’s this year.
Other Options — Alex Bregman ($4,900), Max Muncy ($4,700)
ValueJeimer Candelario, DET vs. CWS, $3,300 — Keeping it in the ballpark, I really like Candelario and his chances against Lopez. Candelario has had a rough start to the season for sure, batting just .224 with a .590 OPS and averaging just 5.1 DKFP, but he has gotten it together and has six hits in his last five games while getting at least two DKFP in each. Not much more needs to be said about how bad Reynaldo is (7.11 xFIP by far the highest on the slate), and Candelario is in a great position to get his first home run of the season in this matchup.
Other Options — Gio Urshela ($3,300)
StudJorge Polanco, MIN vs. TOR, $4,900 — The Twins scored about a million runs while Polanco took to the bench in the second half of their double header yesterday so he should be fresh for a matchup with home-run prone Dylan Bundy ($7,000) and a decimated Orioles bullpen today. Bundy has given up at least one home run in all but one start in 2019 — and multiple in half of his starts — which is going to continue to be an issue for him considering his minuscule 30.4% groundball rate. There are a lot of solid shortstop options on this slate but Polanco has the best matchup and should be prioritized.
Other Options — Trevor Story ($5,100), Tim Anderson ($4,800)
ValueMiguel Rojas, MIA vs. WAS, $3,100 — I do really like Strasburg against the Marlins in this spot but I do have my concerns with guys like Rojas just not being good strikeout targets. He has just a 6.8% strikeout rate and a 5.1% walk rate, which can complicate things for someone like Strasburg, who relies on guys to chase out of the zone for success. I don’t think Rojas is going to hit a cheap home run but I do think he can get on base twice and get a run to make ownerships happy with the value.
Other Options — Richie Martin ($3,100)
StudBryce Harper, PHI at COL, $5,400 — Harper started the season slowly and has been on an absolute tear through the Rockies series while looking to continue that success against Jon Gray. The Rockies’ starter is nearly even on his splits and has allowed an equal distribution of power to both sides of the plate, but Harper goes from being a slightly above-average player against LHP to an MVP talent when facing a RHP, and he gets that opportunity in the best hitting environment in the league. His 150 wRC+ and .254 ISO in his career against RHPs should be on full display and with cheaper bats in better spots he may go underowned.
Other Options — Christian Yelich ($5,600), Cody Bellinger ($5,700)
ValueRyan Cordell, CWS at DET, $3,600 — Cordell may not be known by those who haven’t been paying attention but the kid has been phenomenal in his short stint as the every day right fielder and draws another great matchup from a fantasy perspective. On the season, he has just three strikeouts total, all in the same game, while having just as many 15-plus DKFP games under his belt with two home runs and a stolen base to show his flexibility. He is averaging 8.1 DKFP per game and will be hitting towards the six or seven slot in the batting order, which gives him plenty of room to bring in some RBI. He’s in a great spot and could provide massive value to savvy grinders.
Other Options — Brandon Belt ($3,700)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Multichem) 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.