MLB DFS: DraftKings Plays and Strategy for Sunday, April 21

MLB DFS: DraftKings Plays and Strategy for Sunday, April 21

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

The NBA and NHL are taking advantage of the weekend for some daytime postseason action, but don't let MLB slip through the cracks. There's plenty of afternoon baseball with 10 games on the DFS slate. First pitches are at 1:35 p.m. EDT. Here are my lineup recommendations.

Pitching

Aaron Nola, PHI vs. CWS ($10,800): "Good pitcher faces terrible offense" is an easy road map to follow. After an understandable rough outing in his first start when he had to face Atlanta, Nola has posted an 1.42 ERA across three easy matchups. And going up against the White Sox is definitely not going to increase the difficulty. It's early, but not too soon to say Chicago will probably finish last in runs scored and OPS.

Tanner Bibee, CLE vs. OAK ($9,700): Bibee's worst start of the season was against the White Sox, though weird stuff will happen over the course of a season where 30 teams play 162 games. As a rookie, he posted a 2.98 ERA across 25 starts. Thanks to the White Sox, the Athletics likely won't end up last in offense, but they're still a solid bet to finish 29th.

Colin Rea, MIL at STL ($7,000): I don't believe in Rea. Neither do the underlying numbers, such as his 4.15 FIP compared to a 2.70 ERA through three starts. That being said, the Cardinals are worrying me offensively to start 2024 as they're bottom-10 in runs scored and 29th in homers.

Top Targets

Only 10 of the 49 stolen bases Bobby Witt ($6,400) registered last season came against lefties, owing partially to fewer opportunities and partially to the fact stealing second on a southpaw is tough. However, he also batted .297 and slugged .529 against left-handed pitchers. Cole Irvin, a lefty, has struggled to a 4.79 ERA since joining the Orioles last season. He's also only struck out 6.65 batters per nine innings while allowing 1.25 innings per nine during his career.

It seems like Jose Altuve ($5,300) is keeping the same approach and production from his previous two seasons. That is to say he's hitting .300 with double-digit homers and steals, as opposed to when he wasn't running and sold out his average a bit to hit 30 homers a year. Mitchell Parker, a lefty, did surprisingly well against the Dodgers in his first MLB start only allowing four hits and two runs over 5.0 innings. At the same time, he produced a 4.28 ERA at Double-A and a 10.45 in three Triple-A starts last year.

Bargain Bats

In his first season with the Tigers, Matt Vierling ($3,600) went .261 with 10 homers, five triples, and 21 doubles. His .724 OPS against righties was better than lefties along with a .752 on the road. There was talk of whether Louie Varland would be a bullpen arm for the Twins or a starter. They opted for the latter, and it's not going well with an 8.36 ERA from three outings. Varland's fellow righties have also hit .285 against over his MLB career.

The Nationals have been one of the top base-stealing teams this season. Luis Garcia ($3,100) only swiped nine bags last year, but has four to start 2024 while batting .288. Cristian Javier may list a 1.54 ERA, yet has also recorded a 3.62 FIP. He's only struck out 6.94 batters per nine while walking 4.24. If Garcia gets to first base, he could be stealing second before you know it.

Stacks to Consider

Phillies vs. White Sox (Nick Nastrini): Kyle Schwarber ($5,700), Bryson Stott ($4,500), Brandon Marsh ($4,200)

I'll admit to not really knowing a lot about Nastrini, but to be fair he's only made one MLB start for the White Sox and isn't even a top-five prospect in their system. The 24-year-old allowed three hits, two walks, two runs, and a homer while striking out five in 5.0 innings in his first Chicago start, which came at home against the Royals. Nastrini, who's a righty, slumped to a 7.71 ERA across 7.0 innings at Triple-A before getting promoted and a 4.12 from 19.2 frames at the same level last year. I doubt he carries a ceiling higher than fourth starter in the bigs, and he's far from that while being someone to stack against.

After two straight seasons with over 45 homers, Schwarber has five so far. Since 2022, he's slugged .519 against righties and .489 at home. Stott is off to a slow start, though he's a second baseman and the offensive threshold he needs to cross is lower. He also accumulated 15 home runs and 31 stolen bases last season as a lefty who can't be neutralized with a southpaw out of the bullpen based on a career .739 OPS against them. Marsh looked solid in 2022 after arriving from the Angels, yet he managed an .864 OPS against righties and an .896 at home as a full-timer in Philly last year.

Reds vs. Angels (Jose Soriano): Jake Fraley ($4,500), Jonathan India ($4,400), Will Benson ($3,900)

Last year, Soriano had a 3.96 FIP pitching out of the bullpen. This season, that mark has risen to 5.59 as it isn't so easy for him to suppress home runs. Soriano's HR/9 rate is up to 1.80 and he's still walking over 12 percent of batters. A mediocre reliever has turned into a poor starter, and that bodes well for the Reds.

Over the last couple campaigns, Fraley has posted an .839 OPS versus righties and an .824 at home. He hit 15 homers and swiped 21 bags in 2023 while receiving his first regular playing stint. And he's already at five steals so far. India has been overshadowed by the young hitters who've followed him into the Reds lineup, yet he still registered 17 homers and 14 stolen bases last season. The second baseman is better against righties with a .730 OPS against then since 2022 and also prefers playing at home with a .780 OPS. Benson has two home runs and five steals, even though he's only hit .197. He posted a .365 OBP last season, so I think he'll improve while adding more counting stats.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Morgan plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: cmorgan3, DraftKings: cmorgan3.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.
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