This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We have an ugly slate from a pitching perspective as there are talented hurlers, but they're largely up against tough matchups in hitter-friendly environments. Keeping that in mind, it may be wise to pay up for with bats as a lot of studs are in a great position to produce plenty of points. Sundays usually feel like a day with weaker offensive performances due to watered down lineups, but this one seems to be an exception.
From a skills perspective, Sean Manaea ($10,400) lags behind when compared to other pitchers such as Aaron Nola and Eduardo Rodriguez. However, his matchup against the Rangers should make up for that skills deficiency. In 14 games since the trade deadline, the Rangers have only averaged 3.0 runs per game. Manaea ranks seventh on the slate in K% and fifth in SIERA, which are good enough given the matchup and salary.
Drew Smyly ($8,300) is difficult to trust due to his inability to work deep into games. However, this is a poor pitching slate that's only worsened by difficult matchups and a lot of home parks that are positive for hitters. The Nationals have been better offensively than the Rangers since the trade deadline, but their lineup is far from imposing. And even if Smyly is limited in terms of length, he should be able to rack up strikeouts to earn a nice baseline of points.
Triston McKenzie ($7,800) isn't necessarily ideal for cash games, but he offers a great ceiling for GPPs and has been inconsistent enough where his value remains relatively deflated. While he continues to give up too many home runs, he's significantly cut back on his walks over six starts since being recalled. That's allowed McKenzie to work deeper into the game, increasing his chances to rack up strikeouts and earn a win. He draws the Tigers today. That isn't the easiest matchup, but the lineup isn't solid enough to start fading pitchers.
Renato Nunez ($3,900) has had the chance for regular at-bats since being recalled in the middle of the week. He's flashed plenty of power since by slugging a homer in two of his three starts. That backs his 2020 effort when he posted a solid .236 ISO. As mentioned above, McKenzie continues to give up way too many home runs (1.9 HR/9). That combination makes Nunez an intriguing play at a reasonable salary.
Bobby Dalbec ($3,100) has largely had a season to forget. Despite that, he's hit lefties well as highlighted by a .230 ISO and .847 OPS. Much of Keegan Akin's struggles have actually stemmed from bad luck (.393 BABIP, 56.2 LOB%), but he still has an uninspiring 12 K-BB% and that should provide Dalbec and the Red Sox the chance to put up runs.
We don't usually get the Athletics on Sunday's main slate because they typically play on the West Coast. However, they draw a matchup worth covering with southpaw Kolby Allard on the mound. Entering the start, he's allowed 1.8 HR/9. Meanwhile, Matt Olson ($5,700) has been excellent all season but particularly against lefties with a .364 ISO and 180 wRC+.
Drew Hutchison has actually performed quite well with Triple-A Toledo this season. But across his last 66.2 MLB innings spanning 2016 and 2018, he's allowed 2.0 HR/9. Cleveland power bats are the way to go as a result, with Jose Ramirez ($6,000) and Franmil Reyes ($5,400) fitting the bill.
Austin Riley ($4,800) has terrorized opposing pitchers for a good part of the last three months. Overall, he's posted a .248 ISO against right-handed pitching along with a 146 wRC+. Riley's matchup today is against Paolo Espino, who has surprisingly only allowed 1.3 HR/9 this season. However, he's had drastic same-handedness splits giving up 2.2 HR/9 to opposing righties.
Stacks to Consider
Charlie Barnes has only struck out six batters though his first 13.1 innings at the major-league level. Though that's a small sample, he's never posted gaudy K rates coming through the minors. That should mean the Rays will be able to make plenty of contact and open the possibility of scoring runs via both the homer and lengthy rallies. There are plenty of options to take advantage depending on exactly who is in the lineup, with cheap options such as Jordan Luplow ($3,100), Francisco Mejia ($3,100), Yandy Diaz ($4,200) and Manuel Margot ($2,800) all potential candidates.
There are a lot of reasons to like the Red Sox on this slate. They haven't had any trouble racking up runs on the Orioles' pitching staff all weekend, something we shouldn't expect to change Sunday. A whopping six Boston regulars enter with a wRC+ above 100 and three boast an ISO above .200. There are a wide variety of choices from a value perspective, so there should be an opportunity to jam in players regardless of the rest of your build.