This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Sunday's main slate on DraftKings brings us nine games to choose from, including a key matchup between the Brewers and Cubs. There will also be several top-tier pitchers set to take the mound, including Justin Verlander ($12,000), Shane Bieber ($10,900) and Noah Syndergaard ($10,500). Let's dive into the options and discuss which players to consider targeting while constructing your lineup.
Verlander is the most expensive pitcher by a wide margin. While he'll eat up a huge part of your budget, it's difficult not to be excited about his matchup at home against the Mariners. He's been a strikeout machine with his 33.7 percent strikeout rate and the Mariners have struck out the most times in baseball. If you're playing in a cash game, Verlander is someone to consider building your lineup around.
While catching the Yankees in the AL East won't be an easy task, the Rays are right in the thick of the Wild Card hunt. They'll look to keep things rolling against the lowly Marlins, who have scored the second-fewest runs in baseball. That immediately makes Yonny Chirinos ($8,600) an intriguing option. Although he was roughed up by the Blue Jays his last time out, he had allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his previous nine starts. He's also been successful by limiting baserunners, resulting in an impressive 1.08 WHIP.
If you're looking to take a chance on a cheap pitcher in tournament play, deploying Drew Smyly ($6,600) against the White Sox might not be a crazy idea. He's looked like a different pitcher since joining the Phillies, allowing one run and recording 13 strikeouts across 13 innings in two starts. Granted, Smyly didn't exactly face potent lineups in the Giants and Pirates. With that being said, he won't be facing one Sunday when he takes on a White Sox team that has averaged 2.1 runs over their last 10 games.
The Brewers' starting rotation doesn't really look like that of a team fighting for a playoff spot. Injuries have done a number on their staff, forcing Adrian Houser to make another start against the Cubs. While pitching mostly out of the bullpen, he's proved unimpressive with his 4.17 FIP and 1.35 WHIP. Left-handed hitters have dominated him to the tune of a .392 wOBA, leaving Anthony Rizzo ($4,500), Kyle Schwarber ($4,300) and Jason Heyward ($4,100) as viable targets.
It's not hard to make a case for stacking the Twins on any given day. They boast one of the most potent lineups in baseball, led by Nelson Cruz ($5,600) and his outstanding .357 ISO. Trying to slow them down will be Brad Keller, who enters with a 4.67 FIP and a 1.51 WHIP on the road. Not only will Cruz likely be included in a lot of entries, but so will Max Kepler ($5,300), who is 18-for-54 with seven home runs and five doubles over his last 14 games.
Staying in that same game, the Royals might actually be able to provide value at some reasonable prices. They will be facing Jake Odorizzi, who has allowed 31 runs - with 30 of those earned - across 38.1 innings in his last eight starts. Two of those actually came against the Royals when he allowed eight runs across 10 total innings. Among the players on the Royals to consider is Jorge Soler ($4,100), who is .326 with three home runs and three doubles over his last 12 games.
Astros vs. TBD (Mariners)
The Mariners are set to deploy an opener with left-hander Tommy Milone expected to follow and pitch the bulk of the innings. Milone has allowed 2.1 HR/9, so this has the potential to be a disastrous outing against the lethal Astros' lineup. Altuve is scorching hot right now, hitting .424 with eight home runs and seven doubles across his last 20 games. Correa is quickly trying to make up for lost time due to injury, going deep three times over eight games since being activated from the IL.
Indians vs. Jaime Barria (Angels)
Although Barria's supporting numbers indicate he hasn't pitched as poorly as his 6.28 ERA would lead you to believe, his FIP is still poor at 4.96 and has allowed 1.9 HR/9. Combine that with his 1.47 WHIP and the Indians carry significant upside heading into this matchup. Lindor is locked in at the plate, hitting .406 with four home runs and six doubles over his last 15 games. Barria has also allowed a higher wOBA to right-handed hitters (.367) than he has lefties (.284) during his career, so don't shy away from Mercado and Puig just because they don't own the platoon advantage.
Blue Jays vs. Jimmy Yacabonis (Orioles)
The Blue Jays have feasted on the Orioles atrocious pitching staff, scoring 20 runs across the first three games of this series. They'll look to keep scoring in bunches against Tom Eshelman, who will follow the opener Yacabonis and pitch the bulk of the innings. Eshelman has allowed 20 runs - including 16 earned - over 22.2 innings in five major-league appearances this season. Guerrero has produced a whopping 23 RBI over his last 14 games, while Bichette has at least one hit in all six games since being recalled from the minors. After experiencing a brief rough patch, Gurriel has rebounded by hitting .348 over his last seven games, so this might be the time to get him back on your radar.