This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
There aren't many late start times Sunday, leaving us with 11 games to choose from for the main afternoon slate on DraftKings. That leaves us with a bevy of options to choose from, so let's break down the matchups and discuss some of the better players to target.
Justin Verlander ($12,800) is having another stellar season for the Astros, heading into the final week with a 3.28 FIP, 0.79 WHIP and a 35.3 percent strikeout rate. He's allowed six runs across his last seven starts and even gave up just three home runs during that stretch, representing the only area that he has struggled in this season. Facing an Angels' squad that has been decimated by injuries makes Verlander a top option despite his hefty price tag.
The Braves have already punched their playoff ticket and one of the reasons for their success has been the performance of Dallas Keuchel ($8,800). He's been a steadying presence since joining the team in June and has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his last seven outings. While Keuchel can't be counted upon for many strikeouts, he could still provide value for this start against the Giants, who have scored the third-fewest runs in baseball.
John Means ($6,500) endured a disappointing performance the last time he took the mound, allowing five runs over 5.2 innings to the lowly Tigers. However, that was a rare dud for him considering he had allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his previous five starts. Means will look to rebound against the Mariners at home, which could lead to productive performance considering a 3.90 FIP and a 0.96 WHIP there compared to a 5.91 FIP and a 1.36 WHIP on the road.
It's still amazing the Yankees have a chance to finish with the best record in baseball despite their mountain of injuries. Their offense has been lethal and will look to keep things rolling against Trent Thornton, who enters with a 4.66 FIP and a 1.43 WHIP. One Yankee to specifically target is Aaron Judge ($4,800), who is locked in at the plate having hit .316 with five home runs and three doubles over his last 11 games.
Jorge Lopez has actually strung together a few strong outings, but it's difficult to have much faith in him given his 5.16 FIP and 1.45 WHIP. He certainly is facing a tough matchup against the Twins, who own one of the most potent lineups. Left-handed hitters have recorded a .398 wOBA against Lopez, making Eddie Rosario ($4,900), Jorge Polanco ($4,900) and Luis Arraez ($4,000) excellent options to consider.
Verlander isn't the only player on the Astros worth considering for this slate. Their offense could also be in for a big afternoon against the Angels, who will have Jose Rodriguez open the game and Jose Suarez follow. Suarez has been awful with a 6.80 FIP and while Rodriguez has produced a 1.84 ERA through his first 14.2 innings, his 5.94 FIP indicates he's been pretty lucky. It's not difficult to make a case for most of the hitters on the Astros, including Yordan Alvarez ($5,600), Jose Altuve ($5,100) and Alex Bregman ($5,400).
Braves vs. Logan Webb (Giants)
With Webb recording a 1.70 WHIP through his first six starts, this represents a prime opportunity to deploy the Braves. However, be sure to keep an eye out for their lineup as they might rest a couple of starters since they have already locked up their playoff spot. If Acuna and Freeman play, they should provide the pillars of any Braves stack. Markakis is also a viable target having gone 9-for-26 with a double over six games since coming off the IL.
White Sox vs. Matthew Boyd (Tigers)
The good news with Boyd is that he's increased his strikeout rate to 30.7 percent this season. However, he's also allowed 1.9 HR/9, so he's not someone to avoid stacking against. Abreu has compiled a 169 wRC+ against lest-handed pitchers, leaving him with plenty of upside for this matchup. Moncada is arguably the hottest hitter in baseball having gone .471 with two home runs, eight doubles and two triples over his last 16 games.
Royals vs. Martin Perez (Twins)
Even though the Royals are usually a lineup to avoid, they could be in line for a big afternoon against Perez given his 1.49 WHIP and lackluster 18.5 percent strikeout rate. Soler is putting the finishing touches on a breakout campaign that has seen him hit 45 home runs on his way to a .296 ISO. Dozier is also someone to focus on for this matchup based on his .376 wOBA against southpaws.