This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Sunday's main slate on FanDuel features six games, covering all those starting between 1:05 PM and 2:10 PM ET, with the exception of both halves of the Reds-Tigers doubleheader- at least, that's the case as of writing Saturday night. With the rate at which games have gotten cancelled so far this season, who really knows how many will remain on the schedule by the time this is posted. This article will assume we won't be losing any games beyond the Cardinals-Brewers game that has already been cancelled. Rain doesn't appear to be a factor for this slate, so there seems to be a good chance all six games will go forward.
Jon Lester ($8,900) wouldn't get the top billing among many groups of pitchers, but he appears to be the best option among this unusually uninspiring group. The 36-year-old lefty isn't the pitcher he once was, as he posted an unremarkable 4.46 ERA with a 21.6 percent strikeout rate last season. Still, those mediocre numbers compare favorably to many of the other pitchers on this slate, and he gets a major boost from the fact he'll be facing the Pirates, who sat last in the league with an awful 54 wRC+ - the product of a .177/.240/.301 slash line - through Friday's games. Additionally, Lester only threw 76 pitches in his first start of the year, so he should be able to throw around 90 in this one.
Yonny Chirinos ($7,900) won't throw much more than 80 pitches, as he tossed just 68 in his first start of the year, though he should be able to do plenty with those pitches against the lowly Orioles. He looked good in his opener by holding the Braves to a single unearned run over four innings. Chirinos is by no means an elite arm, but his 3.85 ERA last season represents a solid mark. Unfortunately for fantasy purposes, that low number was due more to his low 5.3 percent walk rate than his strikeout rate. The latter came in at a below-average 21.5 percent, but his overall profile should be more than enough to get the job done against Baltimore.
Dylan Cease ($5,800) comes with plenty of risk, as he was terrible in his first start of the year against Cleveland, allowing four runs on seven hits while recording just seven outs. A game against Kansas City could be exactly what he needs to bounce back. Cease has yet to put things together at the big-league level, but that's baked into his price and he comes with at least a modest amount of upside. A 5.79 ERA in his 14-start debut came with a far more respectable 4.42 xFIP and an above-average 24.9 percent strikeout rate.
Jose Ramirez ($3,900) has either been incredibly hot or incredibly cold in recent seasons, but he appears to be on one of the former runs to start this campaign. Through nine games, he's hitting .375/.474/.625 with a pair of homers and a steal. That follows a second half last season in which Ramirez slashed .327/.365/.739 over 43 games.
Zach Davies recorded a surprisingly decent 3.55 ERA last season despite striking out only 15.2 percent of opposing batters, though that contact-heavy approach is unlikely to suit him well Sunday at Coors Field. Most of the Rockies' top hitters should be strong plays in this one - as they typically are at home - although Charlie Blackmon ($3,900), who will get the platoon advantage, could be the best of the bunch. He's shown no ill effects after missing most of summer camp due to a positive COVID-19 test by hitting a solid .333/.355/.467. Davies didn't keep the ball on the ground particularly well last season, recording a below-average 40.1 percent groundball rate, so Blackmon should offer a good shot at his second homer of the season.
Luis Robert ($2,800) may have just eight big-league appearances under his belt, but he's still far too cheap for a man of his talents. He came into the season with plenty of hype after hitting .328/.376/.624 with 32 homers and 36 steals across the three highest levels of the minors last year, and he's already delivering by hitting .364 with two homers and a stolen base. Robert moved up to the leadoff role after Tim Anderson hit the injured list with a groin issue Saturday. While he won't get the platoon advantage against Jakob Junis, the matchup is still quite an easy one given Junis struggled to a 5.24 ERA last year.
Aaron Civale may be coming off a strong season debut and is the second most expensive pitcher on the slate, but he's by no means intimidating enough that he should scare you away from the Twins' lineup if you already aren't including him. His 2.34 ERA in his 10-start debut last year came with a decidedly mediocre 4.61 xFIP, while he struck out just 20.3 percent of opposing batters. With that in mind, leadoff man Max Kepler ($3,000) will get the platoon advantage against Civale and looks like a strong mid-priced play. Kepler's .105 BABIP so far this season has held his batting average to just .172, but he's already homered three times. The German-born outfielder hit .252/.336/.519 with 36 homers last season.
Stacks to Consider
It's never a bad idea to stack a lineup at Coors Field, and it's a solid play to stack against a pitcher who produced a 6.71 ERA last season. When those two come together, like they will for the Padres against Senzatela on Sunday, it's a relative no-brainer. While Senzatela allowed only two runs in five innings against a quality Oakland lineup in his season debut, his 3:3 K:BB hardly suggests he's noticeably better than he was last year when he combined a 13.1 percent strikeout rate with a 9.8 percent walk rate en route to that awful aforementioned ERA. The stack featured here contains the Padres' typical top three hitters, though it's admittedly quite expensive. Consider swapping out Tatis for number five hitter Jurickson Profar ($3,200) if you're strapped for cash.
Wright possesses a fair amount of prospect pedigree, but he hasn't come close to putting things together at the big-league level. After allowing five runs in just 2.2 innings in his season debut against the Rays, he now owns an 8.58 career ERA over a small sample of 28.1 innings. Both of Wright's 19.1 percent strikeout rate and 16.2 percent walk rate are quite poor. To be fair, he did strike out 24.4 percent of opposing batters while walking just 7.3 percent in 21 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett last season, but he needs to show something at the big-league level before he's considered a particularly intimidating matchup. The stack featured here skips Pete Alonso ($5,100) in favor of a trio of cheaper options who will all earn the platoon advantage against Wright.