This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The main Sunday slate consists of eight games and leaves off those on the West Coast late in the afternoon. There are plenty of intriguing matchups in the later slate, which of course also includes the always entertaining Coors Field contest. However, there's plenty to dig into in the main slate, which will be the focus of this article.
The Pirates surprised Kyle Hendricks backers on Opening Day, but looked much more like the poor offense projected on Saturday. That makes Zach Davies ($7,900) an interesting option to consider. The eighth-most expensive pitcher on the slate isn't high on upside (17.3 K%), but worked as many as 4.1 innings in spring training and should be fairly stretched out with a strong chance to supplement any strikeouts with a win bonus. Cubs' pitchers have also racked up 22 Ks across 18 innings over the first two games of the series.
Aaron Civale ($9,600) also offers some appeal due to matchup. Even though the Tigers have won the first two games against Cleveland, that has largely been due to their pitching rather than hitting. Though not the strikeout pitcher Shane Bieber is, Civale still boasts more strikeout upside (21.3 K%) than Davies. Considering value and less appealing matchup, Civale may not make sense to jam into lineups, but is viable nevertheless.
On the other side of that matchup, there is a case to be made for Tarik Skubal ($7,300). He experienced a shaky major-league debut in 2020, leaving hope primarily with offseason development. If spring training reports are accurate, Skubal may have in fact taken a big step forward growing less reliant on his fastball and more willing to turn to his offspeed and breaking pitches. Undoubtedly able to rack up strikeouts, he's also well stretched out having only gone 4.0 and 5.0 innings from his last two spring training starts.
Brady Singer ($8,700) presents the opposite case to that of Skubal, as he was very impressive in his big-league debut. The Rangers' offense has performed better than expected in the early going, making Singer a somewhat risky option as the highest valued pitcher on the slate.
Ian Anderson ($9,800) comes in with the top salary, but will face a strong Phillies' lineup even if J.T. Realmuto is on the bench. In a hitters' park and on the road, avoiding Anderson may be the right call when contemplating cost. Zach Eflin ($8,200) is a borderline call as his primary struggles are against left-handed hitters, an area where the Braves are light.
J.D. Martinez ($4,500) is coming off of one of his worst seasons in the majors, but has always hit left-handed pitching exceptionally well. He should be in a favorable position to keep the strong start to his season going against Bruce Zimmermann ($6,700) while showing signs of returning to form by recording the second-hardest hit ball in Saturday's game at 107.8 mph.
Anthony Rizzo ($4,900) draws a favorable matchup against Mitch Keller, who has struggled to keep the ball in the yard both on the road and against lefties early in his career. Rizzo has one extra-base hit in two games, but registered two of the hardest hit balls in the frigid Opening Day matchup.
Jorge Soler ($3,100) has a wonderful matchup against what is projected to be a combination of Jordan Lyles ($6,200) and Taylor Hearn ($4,700). Soler is a premium power hitter, while Lyles has surrendered a combined 1.7 HR/9 combined between 2019 and 2020.
Tyler Naquin ($2,600) is likely to get in the lineup with either/both Jesse Winker ($3,700) and Nick Senzel ($2,700) sidelined. Carlos Martinez ($7,100) allowed 2.7 HR/9 in 2020 and looked inconsistent in spring action. In one of the league's best home run parks, Naquin should be a cheap source of upside even if his skills are uninspiring.
Stacks to Consider
Cardinals vs. RHP Jeff Hoffman ($5,400)
It's probably unfair to judge Hoffman on his career to this point as he had called Coors Field home prior to 2020. Unfortunately, his assignment doesn't get much easier in his second stop as he'll head to the aforementioned homer-friendly Great American Ballpark. The Cardinals have already hit five home runs across the first two games of the series and will now face the easiest matchup of the series from a pitching perspective. While there were some high-salaried options listed in the stack above, there are plenty of intriguing options to consider highlighted by Tyler O'Neill ($3,600) and Dylan Carlson ($3,400) at a more palatable value.
Yankees vs. RHP T.J. Zeuch ($5,200)
The Yankees' biggest power hitters have been striking out an alarming rate to start the season. Yet, they are in for a reprieve on Sunday as Zeuch has managed a measly 15.8 K% in 24 career big-league innings. Though a small sample, he's surrendered a .354 wOBA to left-handed hitters. While Stanton and Judge are both righties, this offers opportunity to seek some salary relief by mixing in value targets such Hicks or Jay Bruce ($2,700). Hicks in particular stands out as a nice target given the possibility of salary relief while rostering a hitter locked into the spot in the order in a premium matchup. Be prepared to pivot to Brett Gardner ($3,200) if he makes his first start of 2021.
Brewers vs. RHP Michael Pineda ($9,200)
This is the chance to get a little contrarian. Fresh off a pitcher's duel in which neither the Brewers nor Twins were capable of making much contact, this likely won't be a game many target for the bats. Add in that Pineda is one of the more appealing pitchers on the slate and Brewers' hitters fall even more off the map. However, he's consistently allowed home runs throughout his career and has only posted a 36.4 BB% across 2019 and 2020. That presents the opportunity for the Brewers' bats to start to get on track with their first dingers of the new season.