This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Baseball kicks off the month of September with a packed schedule Sunday, including the 10 games that will make up the main slate on DraftKings. Let's try to start things off on the right foot with a winning entry. Here are some players to target based on their favorable matchups.
Patrick Corbin ($11,100) has lived up to expectations during his first season with the Nationals, recording a 3.15 ERA that is supported by a 3.28 FIP. He also has produced a 28.2 percent strikeout rate, which leaves him with significant upside whenever he steps on the mound. As far as favorable matchups go, it doesn't get much better than this one against the Marlins. Corbin's already faced them three times, allowing two runs and recording 21 strikeouts across 23 innings. Expect him to be one of the more popular pitching options.
After he couldn't find the plate earlier this season, Yu Darvish ($10,200) has issued only three walks over his last 55.1 innings. He also has a 0.80 WHIP and posted 72 strikeouts during that stretch, proving to be a key starter during the Cubs' push for a playoff spot. The Brewers represent a tough opponent, but they do have a 92 wRC+ on the road compared to a 101 wRC+ at home so Darvish does get a slight edge with this game being played at Wrigley Field. With his strikeout upside, he's at least worth considering if you want to fade Corbin.
Working our way down the price scale brings us to Michael Pineda ($9,300), who owns a respectable 4.22 FIP for the Twins after having missed all of last season due to injury. He'll face an underwhelming foe in the Tigers, who have scored the fewest runs in baseball. Pineda's strikeout upside is nowhere near that of Corbin or Darvish, but this matchup makes him a viable target if you are looking for a cheaper pitcher to help balance out your budget.
The Pirates have taken full advantage of playing at Coors Field, scoring 29 runs across their first three games against the Rockies. They'll look to keep things rolling against Jeff Hoffman, who is expected to be recalled from the minors to make this start. He enters with a 6.44 FIP through his first nine starts in the majors this year, so expect the Pirates to be one of the chalk stacks once again. It's not difficult to make an argument for most of the hitters in their lineup, but one who stands out is Kevin Newman ($5,500). He's scorching hot right now having hit .465 with three home runs and two doubles over his last 10 games.
While the Rockies haven't been as prolific as the Pirates, they have scored 16 runs in this series. They'll look to keep things rolling against Steven Brault, who has recorded an unappealing 1.43 WHIP this season. With the lefty on the mound, Nolan Arenado ($5,600), Trevor Story ($5,700) and Ian Desmond ($4,500) are all excellent targets. They each hit southpaws extremely well, with Arenado leading the way with a .416 wOBA against.
The Royals don't present a lot of hitters to be excited about, but they could have one of their better offensive performances with Aaron Brooks set to take the mound for the Orioles. Despite pitching well against the Nationals in his last outing, he comes in with a bloated 5.63 FIP for the season. Brooks has also allowed 2.0 HR/9, making Jorge Soler ($4,600) an extremely appealing option. This could also be a favorable spot to deploy Ryan O'Hearn ($3,400), who has gone deep three times over his last six games.
Astros vs. Wilmer Font (Blue Jays)
Font is set to serve as the opener for this game and will be followed by either Zack Godley or Sam Gaviglio. Godley has registered a 5.29 FIP while Gaviglio's mark is 4.65, so both could have plenty of trouble against the Astros' potent lineup. Gurriel is coming off a stellar month of August that saw him hit .344 with seven home runs, 11 doubles, 29 RBI and 20 runs scored. Bregman enters this contest having gone 16-for-36 with two home runs and four doubles over his last nine contests.
Athletics vs. J.A. Happ (Yankees)
The Yankees don't exactly possess a ton of great options, but it's going to be difficult for them to feel good about pitching Happ in a playoff game. He's struggled mightily to keep hitters inside the ball park, allowing 2.2 HR/9. Combine that with a 1.36 WHIP and a FIP that sits at 5.66. Semien and Chapman look to be top-tier options on the A's to consider, while Profar could also provide some value since he is batting .357 with three home runs and four doubles over his last nine games.
Rangers vs. Yusei Kikuchi (Mariners)
To say Kikuchi's first season in the majors has not gone well would be an understatement based on his 5.88 FIP and 1.48 WHIP. He's allowed 2.1 HR/9 and has recorded a measly 16.9 percent strikeout rate, leaving the Rangers as a viable stack to consider. Calhoun might not have the platoon advantage here, but that's not a big concern since he's managed a 138 wRC+ versus southpaws.