This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
Things can seemingly change awfully fast during the MLB season. Not all that long ago, the New York Mets were considered jokes who had people scratching their heads over trading for Marcus Stroman. Then they got red hot, and suddenly they are back in the playoff race. Some things still remain the same, like the Yankees being great and the Tigers being terrible. What I'm saying is that surprises abound in baseball, which can make deciding on your daily fantasy lineup tricky. Hopefully I can help on that front. As per usual, there are 15 MLB games Sunday, almost all of them in the afternoon. Here are my recommendations.
There are a couple elite pitchers - and former Cy Young winners - taking the mound Sunday in Justin Verlander ($62) and Jacob deGrom ($52). If you aren't afraid of spending money, they both represent excellent options. However, deGrom is facing the Nationals, who rank 13th in runs scored and boast a couple of hot hitters in Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. Verlander, on the other hand, is facing the Orioles. So if you want to grab and ace and go, Verlander is the choice.
German Marquez's ($37) numbers have risen from last year, when he posted a 3.77 ERA. This season, his ERA has jumped to 4.82 but with a 3.91 FIP. And a lot of his issues have been related to his issues at Coors Field. On the road, Marquez has recorded a 3.53 ERA, and he gets to pitch at Petco Park against the Padres. You can't find a field that's more of the polar opposite to Coors.
Chris Bassitt ($42) has managed a solid 3.80 ERA for the Athletics, but has sparkled with a 2.48 ERA over his last five starts. He's also struck out 8.52 batters per nine innings, highest in his career. The White Sox rank 28th in runs scored, which is worst in the majors in the non-Tigers-and-Marlins category.
Speaking of the Tigers and Marlins, both of their offenses have looked so putrid any pitcher going against them is basically an automatic recommendation. Jakob Junis ($41) is taking on Detroit for the Royals. While his ERA sits at 4.88, that drops to 3.98 on the road. On the other hand, Mike Foltynewicz ($38) is starting for the Braves against the Marlins. It's been a terrible season for Folty, with his 6.26 ERA. Yes, the Marlins come in with a .662 team OPS, which is remarkably terrible. That being said, if I am choosing one of these two, I have to go with Junis.
Xander Bogaerts ($23) is enjoying the best season of his career, and he owes a lot of it to the friendly confines of Fenway Park with his home OPS coming in at a sparkling 1.123. The Angels are in town and are expected to start Patrick Sandoval, who only has recorded five innings in the majors to his name. There's not much of a track record to consider for this matchup, but I'm still happy to bet on Bogaerts at home.
All Yordan Alvarez ($24) does is hit home runs. Since he got called up, the hefty lefty has smashed 17 homers in a mere 45 games. The Orioles are starting Asher Wojciechowski, and if I took the time to figure out how to spell his name, you know it's worth it. Indeed, Baltimore's hurler has given up 1.99 homers per nine innings in his career.
Hunter Dozier ($19) is toiling in relative obscurity in Kansas City, but he's emerged as an entirely different hitter in 2019 by slashing .280/.363/.538 with 20 homers. Maybe this is going to end up being a career year - he is 27, after all - but have faith in this matchup. Daniel Norris sports a career 4.62 ERA, and righties have absolutely mashed against him this year with a .293 batting average against.
If you look at Rougned Odor's ($19) overall numbers, complete with a .204 batting average, you may not be impressed. However, his batting average is up to .241 since the start of July. Just as importantly, he maintains a .517 slugging percentage with 10 of his 20 homers during that stretch. Jordan Lyles is in his first full season as a starter since 2014, and it hasn't gone great. The newly-minted Brewer enters with a 4.92 FIP, and he's also allowed 1.75 homers per nine innings.
Yankees vs. Trent Thornton (Blue Jays)
Home has not been where the heart is for Thornton this season, as the rookie year is sporting a woeful 6.58 ERA in Toronto's home ballpark. He's also given up 2.3 home runs per nine innings in the Jays' stadium. Even though the Yankees are still dealing with a ton of injuries, there are enough impressive bats in the lineup to justify a stack.
LeMahieu is on pace to have the best batting average in the majors, and at this point it would take something unexpected for that not to happen. His .336 batting average is quite impressive, but it's not even the best number he's posted in his career. He once had a .348 average over an entire season back in Colorado, so we know what kind of hitter he's capable of being. One that can rack up hits against Thornton, that's who.
Urshela was an afterthought for the Yankees when the year began, but the former Indian - and, briefly, Blue Jay - started to get a chance to take the field once the injuries started piling up. What has happened since has admitted been head scratching. A guy who hit like a replacement level player suddenly has 17 homers and a .570 slugging percentage. Will he keep that up long-term? Probably not, but he's certainly hot now and this provides a great matchup.
Gardner has been a guy who has regularly notched double-digit homers and stolen bases over the last few years. He's going to do that again this season, currently with 17 home runs and nine swiped bags. Gardner is also a lefty and has registered a .893 OPS versus righties, which is why I wanted to recommend him against a right-handed pitcher.
Braves vs. Hector Noesi (Marlins)
Noesi has pitched all of five innings this season, so I'm not basing this on his 9.00 ERA. The fact he's a pitcher who has not pitched in the majors since 2015 and could only just get a chance with a team like the Marlins probably speaks to the kind of pitcher he is. He was also not good back in the day during his initial MLB stint as his 5.12 career FIP will prove, even though he mostly pitched out of the bullpen. There may not be many more opportunities to take advantage of Noesi being on the mound, so let's strike while the iron is hot.
This could end up being Freeman's best season at the plate, which is saying something. He's on pace to produce a batting average over .300 for the fourth-straight season, and he's on pace to top his previous career high of 34 homers with 29 at the moment. I also was excited to recommend him because he's a lefty, and he's managed a 1.014 OPS versus righties this year.
Albies has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last month, thanks to a 1.000 OPS. He's walking a lot more than he did last season, but as a fantasy player you probably care about that less than some other stuff. As such, let me also tell you about his 18 homers and stolen 11 bases.
Inciarte has struggled a bit swinging the bat this year, as he comes in with a .234 batting average. However, his career average sits at .285, and his career BABIP is .318. As such, Inciarte's .273 BABIP this year shows he's been a bit unlucky. Maybe the southpaw just need a matchup against an awful righty to start turning things around. I certainly think he's worth a shot Sunday.