This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
There might be only eight games to choose from for Sunday's main afternoon slate on DraftKings, but there is no shortage of top-tier starting pitchers. With so many quality options, it might be wise to allocate a good portion of your budget to the position. Let's dive in and try to project how ownership percentages might play out.
The top ace taking the mound will be Max Scherzer ($10,700) after he was pushed back a day to give his sore ankle extra rest. He's off to another incredible start in the strikeout department, racking up 28 of them across his first 19 innings. This is a prime matchup against a Pirates team that is tied for the fifth-fewest runs scored (47) in the league. Despite his lofty price tag, Scherzer is going to be included in a ton of lineups.
Jose Berrios ($9,900) looks primed for a huge season. He was already very good for the Twins last year, making the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finishing with a 3.89 xFIP, 1.14 WHIP and 25.4 percent strikeout rate. He hasn't exactly dealt with tough lineups in his three starts this year since two of them came against the Indians and Royals. However, he did limit the Phillies to two runs across six innings in his last start. This is another favorable opportunity for him to shine against the Tigers, who own the league's third-lowest OPS (.587).
The stars just keep on coming Sunday as Corey Kluber ($9,500) will also be on the mound against the Royals. He rebounded from a poor outing in his second start of the season against the White Sox to hold the Tigers to two runs - including one earned - across six innings in his last outing. He also recorded eight strikeouts in that game and still hasn't allowed a home run this season. His 34.1 percent strikeout rate in 2017 proved to be a fluke as he posted 26.4 percent strikeout rate last year, which is much more in line with his career mark of 27.1 percent. Look for him to be included in plenty of entries as well.
For those looking to save some money at starting pitcher, viable options are few and far between. One that might be worth considering is Jakob Junis ($7,300) against the Indians. Don't read too much into his 1.60 WHIP across three starts. Opponents have an abnormally high .409 BABIP against him and he hasn't exactly been overly wild with a seven percent walk rate. What is encouraging is his 28.2 percent strikeout rate and 12.2 percent swinging strike rate. The Indians enter with the second-lowest OPS (.582), so this could be a matchup to exploit.
With John Means on the mound for the Orioles, look for the Red Sox to be one of the most targeted lineups for DFS. Means only registered an 18.8 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A last year and allowed five runs - including one earned - over three innings in his only start this year against the A's. For those willing to spend money on hitters, Mookie Betts ($5,300) and J.D. Martinez ($5,200) are ones to build your entry around.
The other potent lineup that stands out as a good play for this slate is the Phillies against Jose Urena. They are off to a hot start, leaving them ranked inside the top-10 in both runs (76) and OPS (.803). Urena has been a mess, allowing at least four runs and pitching no more than five innings in any of his three previous starts. He's also allowed a whopping 24 hits in just 13.2 innings. He certainly doesn't possess an overpowering arsenal with his career 15.8 percent strikeout rate. Bryce Harper ($5,100) should be among the highest-owned players while Rhys Hoskins ($5,000) likely won't be too far behind.
Without question, the two stacks that stand out are the Red Sox and Phillies. With the lefty Means on the mound, don't sleep on Steve Pearce ($4,000). He recorded a .407 wOBA against lefties last year and his reasonable price could be key with so many people likely to pay up at starting pitcher. For the Phillies, Jean Segura ($4,100) and Odubel Herrera ($3,900) could be two cheaper options to consider.
There are a couple of stacks that stand out as options to target in tournament play. The first is the Marlins against Vince Velasquez. Velasquez just hasn't been able to put it all together for the Phillies and has trouble keeping runners off base, leaving him with a career 1.35 WHIP. Even though he held right-handed hitters to a .274 wOBA last year, lefties had plenty of success against him with a .377 wOBA. Curtis Granderson ($3,400) and Neil Walker ($3,300) are both worth considering at their extremely cheap prices.
Another under the radar stack could be the Angels against Tyler Chatwood. Losing Mike Trout (groin) is huge, especially since they already had a weak lineup around him. However, Chatwood has been a disaster since joining the Cubs. He couldn't find the plate last year and actually finished with more walks (95) than strikeouts (85). The Cubs moved him to the bullpen this season, but he'll be forced to start with Jon Lester (hamstring) on the IL. He's allowed a .358 wOBA against left-handed hitters for his career, so a stack consisting of Kole Calhoun ($3,600), Brian Goodwin ($3,800) and Justin Bour ($3,700) could provide value.