Sunday’s can be rather tricky for DFS, as coaches will occasionally use it to rest players. This does, however, allow for some good value plays around the industry.
Like everyday – especially Sunday – make sure you check MLBStartingNine.com for starting lineups to ensure your players are playing.
It’s also a good idea to check the Vegas lines to see how they expect the games to play out.
Sunday’s slate is top-heavy in starting pitching. Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainwright, Gerrit Cole, Jon Lester and Matt Harvey headline the position and all have favorable matchups – and Angels’ ace Garrett Richards will make his season debut against the strikeout-prone Astros.
The aforementioned pitchers represent the most elite plays for Sunday, but from a hitter’s prospective, there are certainly plenty of low-level starting pitchers to exploit.
Below I will break down the top options at each position, as well as value plays to help you maximize your roster construction.
Top Pitcher Plays: FanDuel Picks For Sunday, 4/19
Stephen Strasburg, RHP, WSH, $9,800
Strasburg will play the Philadelphia Phillies and their rather anemic offense. Although he has struggled through two starts this season, the Phillies’ bats at home in D.C. is the perfect antidote to get things back on track.
Matt Harvey, RHP, NYM, $10,500
Harvey has shown some rust through two starts, but has otherwise been incredibly dominant to start his 2015 campaign. Harvey will face a Miami Marlins team that is batting .226 on the season and who rank in the top-10 in strikeouts. Harvey is the highest priced pitcher on FanDuel but has an elite matchup against the Marlins at home.
Gerrit Cole, RHP, PIT, $9,000
Cole is coming off a strong performance against the Detroit Tigers where he pitched six innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with eight strikeouts. He now gets to face the Milwaukee Brewers who just placed Carlos Gomez – one of their best hitters – on the DL. The Brewers are also on a four-game losing streak and averaging just 1.75 runs a game during that span. At $9,000, Cole is my preferred option if you’re going to spend big on SP.
Garrett Richards, RHP, LAA, $8,600
Richards is making his first start of the season and he’ll do so against one of the worst offenses in baseball. The Astros are striking out at an alarming rate and are batting just .207 as a team. At $8,600, Richards is close to max price, and coming off an injury, there isn’t much of a discount. The elite matchup against the Astros, however, make him a strong tournament play.
Top Value Pitcher Plays
T.J. House, LHP, CLE, $5,900
House recorded just four outs, allowing six runs and three walks in his last outing against the Detroit Tigers. That shellacking has depressed his price even against a mediocre Twins’ offense that ranks among the bottom five in almost every offense category. House doesn’t come without risk, but at $5,900 he has an ideal matchup and could make for a strong option to couple with an elite-level pitcher.
Daniel Norris, RHP, TOR, $6,500
Norris faces an Atlanta Braves’ offense who could easily end the season as one of the worst in baseball. Although they have got off to a solid start, the Braves simply don’t have the talent to be a very good offense. Making just his fourth career start, Norris and his devastating changeup shouldn’t have much of an issue keeping the Braves’ bats off balance. Of course, there is always risk as Norris will occasionally struggle with control. Still, at $6,500 he’s a solid value with an elite matchup.
Top Catchers Plays
Buster Posey, C, SF, $4,100
Posey is the best Fantasy catcher in baseball and he gets a favorable matchup against Diamondbacks’ pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson has struggled mightily to start the season, averaging four earned runs and eight hits over his first two starts. If you’re going to pay up for catcher, Posey is worth the cost Sunday.
Victor Martinez, C, DET, $4,000
Nothing is better than a catcher that doesn’t catch. Martinez, who is listed as a catcher on FanDuel, will always rank among the elite options, as he is an elite hitter at a thin position. Martinez has a tough matchup against Jose Quintana, but one that is certainly beatable.
Top Value Catchers Plays
Mike Zunino, C, SEA, $2,200
Zunino has struggled to start 2015, hitting just .121 on the season. His slow start has severely depressed his value to minimum price on FanDuel. Zunino’s calling card is his home-run power, and he homered in Saturday’s game against the Rangers. If you’re looking for upside at minimum price, Zunino is a great option for Sunday’s game against lefty Ross Detwiler.
Derek Norris, C, SD, $2,300
Norris doesn’t have an ideal matchup against Jon Lester on Sunday but he bats in a much improved Padres’ lineup and has plenty of room for profit at just $2,300. He is batting .279 on the season with three doubles and four RBI – and while I won’t be stacking Padres on Sunday, Norris’ value makes for a strong play regardless of matchup.
Stephen Vogt, C, OAK, $3,300
While there is plenty of value at catcher Sunday, Vogt has been on a tear lately – hitting .353, three homers, two doubles and a triple on the season. He has been crushing Royals’ pitching over the past two days and now gets to face Danny Duffy. While the lefty-on-lefty matchup poses as a potential problem, Duffy’s early-season struggles should present a favorable matchup for the hot-hitting Vogt.
Top First Basemen Plays
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD, $5,200
Gonzalez is having a fantastic April and that should continue against Rockies right-hander Eddie Butler. Gonzalez is batting .567 and five homers against right-handers this season. He’s my top option at first base Sunday.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET, $5,100
Cabrera is batting .442 on the season. Yes – it’s early, but he’s crushing the ball and will always be in consideration as your top offensive player. He’s matched up against lefty Jose Quintana and makes for a great option if you’re paying up for first basemen. For a similar price, I prefer Adrian Gonzalez.
Top First Basemen Values Plays
Brandon Belt, 1B, SF, $3,000
Belt is going to breakout and it’s going to be soon. Sunday’s matchup against righty Jeremy Hellickson is favorable and represents a great matchup on paper. Belt’s price is severely depressed since he’s just 2-for-26 on the season. If you’re looking for a cheap tournament play, Belt makes a strong one.
Carlos Santana, 1B, CLE, $3,300
Santana is my favorite value play for Sunday as he faces Twins’ pitcher Trevor May at a very hitter-friendly Target Field in Minnesota. In May’s last outing against the Royals, he lasted 5.1 innings but gave up five runs on eight hits. Meanwhile, Santana is an on-base machine; drawing seven walks so far this season, with a homer and six RBI. Vegas projects this game to be a run-scoring affair and Santana will benefit.
Other values: Chris Davis, BAL ($3,500), Ryan Zimmerman, WSH ($3,600).
Top Second Basemen Plays
Robinson Cano, 2B, SEA, $3,800
Cano is my top second base play for Sunday, as he represents the most skills with the best matchup. Cano squares off against Ross Detwiler, but Cano handles lefties well so he shouldn’t have any problems handling Detwiler and the average Rangers’ bullpen.
Top Value Second Basemen Plays
Devon Travis, 2B, TOR, $2,800
Travis is a strong combination of hot hitter and favorable matchup. Batting .375 on the season and currently in a seven-game hit streak, Travis will face the Braves’ Shelby Miller in a game where Vegas projects a lot of runs to be scored. At $2,800, Travis is a hot-hitting bat you’ll want to stick in your lineup.
Ryan Flaherty, 2B, BAL, $2,400
With Jonathan Schoop on the DL, Flaherty will now take on a more active role in the Orioles offense. While not a great player, Flaherty handles the bat well and has solid power. Sunday’s matchup against Rick Porcello isn’t ideal, as Porcello is a ground-ball pitcher, but Flaherty – a left-handed hitter – is a much better hitter against righties and could be a fine punt play at second base. For a slight uptick in price, I’d much rather have Travis.
Top Third Basemen Plays
Josh Donaldson, 3B, TOR, $4,300
At this point, I don’t think there is any way I’m not putting Donaldson in my lineup. He’s 11-of-21 over his last five games, with three homers and seven RBI. He’ll face Shelby Miller and the Atlanta Braves on Sunday – a matchup that he should exploit.
Top Third Basemen Value Plays
Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC, $3,500
While the hype is a little out of control, I do believe Bryant is a legitimate future fantasy monster. After a terrible Major League debut, Bryant seemed much more relaxed at the plate Saturday, where he recorded two hits – but most importantly – drew three walks. He’ll likely continue to bat cleanup Sunday, where he’ll have a fairly tough matchup in Andrew Cashner. Cashner has a great fastball that he’ll sometimes fall in love with. Bryant, on the other hand, can hit a fastball, and could see a steady diet of them – and if he can catch up – will register his first career home run. I think Bryant will do just that.
Eric Campbell, 3B, NYM, $2,700
Since David Wright went down with an injury, Campbell has filled in admirably. Having hit safely in three out of four games, Campbell has an RBI in three straight contests and has recorded a stolen base. He isn’t Wright, but he’s solid cheap option at third if you need salary-cap relief.
Other values: Jacob Lamb, ARZ ($3,300), Manny Machado, BAL ($3,300).
Top Shortstops Plays
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL, $4,900
It doesn’t matter who is pitching, Tulowitzki is going to hit the ball. Tulowitzki recorded his first homer of the season Friday off Clayton Kershaw and is now hitting .359 on the young season. Having hit safely in all but one game this season, Tulowitzki has recorded seven doubles and continues to be the best shortstop in Fantasy. While you’ll have to pay the lofty price to use him, Tulowitzki is the best hitter at his position and is an elite play on Sunday’s slate.
Ian Desmond, SS, WSH, $3,900
After a slow start to the season, Desmond is now crushing the ball – having recorded 11 hits over the past five games. While the stolen bases aren’t there yet, Desmond is getting on base with regularity and now gets and elite matchup against the Phillies’ David Buchanan.
Top Value Shortstops Plays
Tim Beckham, SS, TB, $2,300
While the matchup against Michael Pineda isn’t a favorable one, Beckham is near minimum price and could be a fine punt-play if you load up at other positions. Just check the lineups before you start him.
Top Outfielders Plays
Mike Trout, OF, LAA, $6,100
He’s the best player in baseball with a dreamy matchup against the lowly Houston Astros and Scott Feldman. If you’re going to pay up for outfielders, Trout is the best.
Nelson Cruz, OF, SEA, $4,800
Cruz has picked up right where he left off in 2014. He has six homers in his last eight games and will face the left-handed arm of Ross Detwiler. Did I mention he currently has a seven-game hit steak? For a $4,800 price tag, Cruz should be a core player in your Sunday lineups.
Bryce Harper, OF, WSH, $4,500
Harper, too, has been on a tear of late – homering in back-to-back games and recording six walks in the past four games. With his Sunday matchup against David Buchanan, Harper should continue his hot hitting and will provide a mixture of safety and upside to your DFS lineup.
Top Outfielders Value Plays
Adam Eaton, OF, CHW, $2,600
Over his last four games, Eaton has recorded four hits and a stolen base. He’ll continue to bat atop the White Sox lineup and get plenty of at-bats.
Sunday’s matchup against the Tigers’ Shane Greene is neutral, but the left-handed hitting Eaton does have the slight edge over the right-handed Greene.
If you’re looking for salary-cap relief in the outfield, Eaton makes a strong option.
Chris Carter, OF, HOU, $2,600
Carter can’t seem to hit his way out of a wet paper bag right now, but with a price tag of just $2,600 what do you have to lose? Carter is a streaky hitter that can hit home runs in bunches. He appears to have a tough matchup against the Angels’ Garrett Richards, but a two-homer game is certainly possible. At $2,600, Carter is a fantastic tournament play because of his incredible power.
Mookie Betts, OF, BOS, $3,000
Betts is still mispriced on FanDuel at a measly $3,000 and makes a fantastic play for value and upside. He has the ability to hit for power and steal bases in bunches. He’ll face the Orioles’ Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday where he gets a favorable matchup, and one that he’ll likely exploit. Betts’ price, upside and favorable matchup against the Orioles make him a core play for your Sunday lineup.
Daniel Norris Photo Credit: Tom Hagerty
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