This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
With 11 games making up the main afternoon slate on DraftKings, we have plenty of options to sift through. Let's get right down to business and highlight some of the better players to target on your way to creating what will hopefully be a winning entry.
There is no shortage of top-tier pitching options on the schedule. One that has an extremely favorable matchup is Shane Bieber ($11,800), who will take the mound against the Royals. Although they got to him for five runs the last time these two teams faced off, KC own one of the worst lineups in baseball. Bieber has also allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his six starts after that poor outing, so look for him to have a strong showing this time around. His 30.9 percent strikeout rate certainly leaves him with plenty of upside.
Another star facing a lackluster lineup is Aaron Nola ($11,000) with his outing against the Marlins. The first two times he's faced them this season, he's allowed three runs - including two earned - and recorded 14 strikeouts across 14.2 innings. He's taken a step backwards compared to his production last season, but still has managed a respectable 1.23 WHIP to go along with a 26.6 percent strikeout rate. With how poorly the Marlins have played, expect to see Nola included in a lot of entries.
If you're looking to take a chance on a cheap starter in tournament play, Martin Perez ($8,100) is someone to consider. Normally, he's not very appealing when you consider his 1.47 WHIP and 18.9 percent strikeout rate. However, he's in play here against the anemic Tigers' lineup. They've also struck out the second-most times in baseball, so Perez might be able to provide more value in that department than usual.
It doesn't take much to make the Astros one of the chalk stacks of the day considering the talent that they possess up and down their lineup. Add in a matchup against Jaime Barria and their upside goes off the charts. Barria has allowed 2.4 HR/9 to go along with a 5.67 FIP and a 1.46 WHIP, so this could get ugly in a hurry. Despite being right-handed, he's posted better career numbers against left-handed hitters with a .284 wOBA allowed than righties with a .380 wOBA allowed. Expect to see the likes of Alex Bregman ($5,400), George Springer ($5,100), Jose Altuve ($5,100) and Yuli Gurriel ($4,800) in a lot of entries.
Elieser Hernandez has experienced his share of problems down the stretch, recording a 6.46 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP across his last six outings. He allowed eight home runs over 23.2 innings during that stretch, which didn't help his cause. Left-handed hitters boast a .395 wOBA against him for his career, which makes Corey Dickerson ($4,200) someone to consider. Bryce Harper ($5,200) would also be an excellent option if he makes his return from paternity leave.
The Rockies are nowhere near the same team offensively when they are on the road, but a matchup against Michael Wacha might be too good to pass up. Wacha has endured major difficulties keeping runners off base, leaving him with a 1.61 WHIP. He's also allowed 1.9 HR/9, which is odd considering he's allowed 1.0 HR/9 for his career. One of the top players to build a Rockies stack around would be Charlie Blackmon ($5,600), who is .337 with six home runs and eight doubles over his last 20 games.
Indians vs. Eric Skoglund (Royals)
Despite posting a 5.96 FIP and a 1.52 WHIP at Triple-A this season, Skoglund will earn his first start in the majors Sunday. That immediately makes the Indians one of the top teams to target. Santana and Lindor are two anchors to build a lineup around, while Mercado has shown a nice mix of speed and power during his first taste of action in the big leagues with 10 home runs and 11 steals.
Angels vs. Framber Valdez (Astros)
With Aaron Sanchez (pectoral) on the IL, Valdez will get another shot in the starting rotation. He left a lot to be desired during his earlier stint in the majors with a 4.66 FIP and a 1.58 WHIP, and showed major control issues that left him with an 11.4 percent walk rate. Trout is a great option most nights, but he could really thrive here. Fletcher has come on strong recently, hitting .365 with six doubles in his last 14 games.
Orioles vs. Diego Castillo (Rays)
Castillo will serve as the opener for this game with Jalen Beeks set to follow him and pitch the majority of the innings. Beeks has bounced between starting and following an opener lately, but neither role has gone well with him allowing 24 runs - with 21 of those earned - over 25.1 innings in his last six appearances. That makes the Orioles an intriguing team to pursue, especially given their reasonable price tags. Even though Alberto doesn't provide a ton of power, he might be a key target based on his 154 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.