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

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

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

Sunday afternoon is going to be great for sports fans. We have the NHL and NBA playoffs with plenty of MLB action, including 10 games on the slate with first pitch at 1:35 p.m. EDT. Ready for some lineup recommendations? Let's get to it!

Pitching

Sonny Gray, STL vs. MIL ($10,000): Through two games, Gray has yet to allow a run or issue a walk. He posted a 2.79 ERA with the Twins last season and a 3.08 the year before. While Milwaukee is off to a good start offensively, it's still early. And Christian Yelich is injured to deplete the Brewers of their top hitter.

Cristian Javier, HOU at WAS ($8,500): I don't believe in Javier's hot start as he's produced a 3.62 FIP compared to a 1.54 ERA. But aside from stealing bases, the Nationals aren't terribly imposing on the offensive side. Javier has also gone at least 5.0 innings in all four of his starts, and I expect the Astros to win this matchup.

Casey Mize, DET at MIN ($7,800): In Mize's return after missing all of 2023, he's registered a 4.11 ERA through three starts. However, he also carries a 3.25 FIP. Mize is still solid at avoiding walks while his fastball has increased by two MPH. The Twins, meanwhile, are down in the bottom-five in runs scored and team batting average.

Top Targets

Even with a slow start to 2024, Jose Ramirez ($3,800) has slashed .294/.367/.509 against right-handed pitchers the last couple years. If you remove 2020 from the equation, he's had five consecutive 20/20 seasons, so why not bet on a sixth? Ross Stripling is on pace for his third of five campaigns with an ERA over 5.00, and that's with him making three of his four starts in Oakland's pitcher-friendly park.

Am I concerned about Spencer Torkelson ($2,800) showing little to no power this season? I may be as a Tigers' fan, but he did hit 31 homers last year while slugging .502 on the road. Maybe playing in Minnesota on Sunday and facing Louie Varland will help considering his 8.36 ERA and a career 2.08 home runs per nine innings.

Bargain Bats

As a player with little power, Luis Arraez ($2,700) generated his fantasy value last season through hitting for a remarkable average while regularly getting on base. So seeing him bat .282 is a concern. That being said, the lefty holds a career .323 mark and has faced an unusual amount of lefties to start the season. Kyle Hendricks is a righty, one who's gotten by with guile for years. The problem for such pitchers is things can get ugly fast. To that end, Hendricks has notched an 8.66 FIP through four starts while giving up 3.71 homers per nine innings.

I get why the Royals are letting Maikel Garcia ($2,700) lead off even though he's hitting below the Mendoza line. He went .272 as a rookie with the speed to rack up 23 steals and four triples. The 24-year-old also managed a .790 OPS against lefties and a .768 at home. Cole Irvin is a southpaw who's never finished a season with a FIP below 4.20.

Stacks to Consider

Astros at Nationals (Mitchell Parker): Jose Altuve ($4,200), Jeremy Pena ($3,100), Chas McCormick ($2,800)

Parker's first MLB start went well as he emerged from a game against the Dodgers with a 3.60 ERA. He didn't allow a single run in his one Triple-A start in 2024. On the other hand, Parker produced a 10.45 ERA in three Triple-A outings in 2023 and a 4.28 at Double-A. RotoWire has him listed as the 14th-best prospect in the Nationals system, which wouldn't be encouraging in a decent system. Neither is the fact he couldn't crack this rotation until Josiah Gray went down with injury. So I'm happy to stack three right-handed Astros against the southpaw.

Altuve completed a couple 20/30 seasons earlier in his career, but last season could have been his first 30/20 if not for injury as he collected 17 home runs and 14 stolen bases across 90 appearances. This year, he's at five and three of each while batting .367. Pena exchanged homers for doubles during his sophomore season, yet he got his average up to .263 and OBP to .324. He's really excelled against lefties over his career with an .833 OPS. McCormick racked up 22 homers and 19 stolen bases in 2023 and could have easily built upon those numbers if not for Dusty Baker's weird dislike for his play. While the outfielder is off to a slow start, he's posted a .967 OPS against southpaws since 2022.

Angels at Reds (Frankie Montas): Mike Trout ($4,300), Taylor Ward ($3,900), Nolan Schanuel ($2,500)

When a pitcher who's spent the majority of his time with the Athletics in arguably the MLB's most pitcher-friendly park while recording a career 3.91 ERA, I'm skeptical. After basically not appearing in 2023, Montas signed with the Reds and things began well. Even during his second start where he conceded three walks in 5.2 innings, he only allowed one run. Though four starts, he's at a 5.22 FIP and a 1.56 K/BB rate. Montas just gave up two home runs in Seattle, and Cincinnati's stadium is known to be partial to offense. The Angels have a lot of questions after Trout, but there's still enough for a stack.

Simply as a fan of baseball, I hope Trout stays healthy. It would also be nice for DFS players. This year, he's tallied eight homers and five stolen bases. And since 2022, Trout has recorded a .953 OPS versus righties. Ward hasn't walked, though he's hit .287 and slugged .529. He's also been much stronger on the road to start, and that was also true last season with an .804 OPS. Schanuel showed an unacceptable lack of power for a first baseman last year. To be fair, he had literally been drafted that summer as a first-rounder and the lefty did go .275 with a .402 OBP. Schanuel is still only 22 while clearly displaying a solid approach at the plate. I also wanted to include one lefty since Montas has let lefties go .289 against to start 2024.

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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