This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Sunday's main afternoon slate on DraftKings consists of 11 games, leaving us with plenty of options to choose from. Whether it be ace starting pitchers or lineups with favorable opportunities to put up a crooked number, there's something for everyone with these matchups. Let's dive in and discuss some potential ownership percentages and players who could provide value.
The most expensive pitcher for the afternoon will be Stephen Strasburg ($10,700) for his matchup against the Marlins. His 5.56 ERA out of the gate looks ugly, but his 3.25 xFIP indicates he hasn't pitched that poorly. He's also continued to be a strikeout machine with a 28.6 percent strikeout rate. The Marlins have scored the second-fewest runs (60) in the league, so expect Strasburg to be highly owned for this contest.
After Strasburg, James Paxton ($9,400) should also be popular in his start against the Royals. After not pitching well across his first three starts with the Yankees, he thrived in his last outing by pitching eight shutout innings and recording 12 strikeouts against the Red Sox. There was some talk heading into that game that he may have been tipping his pitches in his previous start against the Astros, so it looks like he fixed that potential issue. With his ability to rack up strikeouts, he carries plenty of upside.
The Yankees season is off to a disastrous start in terms of injury. Aaron Judge (oblique) will join their incredibly long list of players on the IL, which is going to leave them with a bottom-half of the lineup that is not very scary. That brings Jorge Lopez ($5,800) into the discussion for tournament play. Not known for his strikeout abilities, he's shown improvement with an 11.8 percent swinging strike rate and a 23.7 percent strikeout rate across his first four starts.
To say Tyler Chatwood's tenure with Cubs has been disappointing would be an understatement. His first season with the team last year was marred by wildness, leaving him to record more walks (95) than strikeouts (85) - resulting in a 1.80 WHIP. Moved to the bullpen for the start of this season, he hasn't been any better with five walks and six strikeouts over six innings. He'll be making his first start Sunday, setting up the Diamondbacks with an opportunity to shine. David Peralta ($4,400), Christian Walker ($4,600) and Adam Jones ($4,500) should all be popular options, especially since none of them will destroy your budget.
The Astros have another favorable opportunity to be productive with Shelby Miller starting for the Rangers. Injuries have put a damper on Miller's career, so the good news is that he's finally healthy. The bad news is that he's allowed 10 runs in his first 10 innings. He's been extremely wild, racking up 11 walks to go along with just three strikeouts. Jose Altuve ($5,300), Alex Bregman ($4,900), George Springer ($5,000) and Carlos Correa ($4,600) should all be highly owned despite their lofty price tags.
Another matchup that will likely be popular to attack is when the Mets face Dakota Hudson and the Cardinals. Hudson didn't have the greatest numbers at Triple-A last year, recording a 4.35 xFIP and an 18.4 percent strikeout rate. On a positive note, he's recorded 13 strikeouts over 13.1 innings this year. However, he's also allowed five home runs and a 2.33 WHIP. Expect to see Michael Conforto ($5,100) in plenty of entries.
It's going to be hard to resist stacking against Chatwood. With how many runners he puts on base, it could lead to some lofty DFS point totals. Outside of the three players already mentioned, Eduardo Escobar ($3,900) makes a lot of sense as a viable cheaper option. Even though he's off to a slow start, he recorded a .351 wOBA against right-handed pitchers last year.
The Astros' top players have tremendously high ceilings, but they'll also do a number on your budget. Miller has allowed a .291 wOBA versus right-handed hitters in his career, but lefties have had more success against him with a .337 wOBA. That leaves Michael Brantley ($4,600) and Josh Reddick ($4,000) as two more options to consider. Reddick is especially appealing considering the salary relief that he provides.
If deploying a Mets stack, building around Conforto is key. As expensive as he is, his teammates Jeff McNeil ($4,200) and Robinson Cano ($3,600) could provide significant value. Cano's increased strikeout rate this year has been alarming, but his line drive rate is excellent at 26.2 percent, so he's been a bit unlucky considering his .267 BABIP.
For those looking for a stack that might not have a high ownership percentage in tournament play, consider the White Sox against Daniel Norris and the Tigers. The left-handed Norris owns a career 1.45 WHIP and has yet to live up to lofty expectations that followed him throughout the minor leagues. Jose Abreu ($3,800), Tim Anderson ($4,800) and Eloy Jimenez ($3,900) could all be in line for productive afternoons.