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MLB DFS: Best/worst plays for Sunday, June 20th

Heath gives an overview of today’s 1:05 PM ET slate of games on DraftKings, highlighted by a red-hot (and cheap) Bryan Reynolds.

Cleveland Indians v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It’s a happy Father’s Day in my house, as I’m using this sweet new “Best Dad Ever” mug to down my coffee. Shout-out to all you fellow best dads, and shout-out to anyone just being a parent in general—adulting is much harder than MLB DFS, on that I think we can all agree.

Today’s slate at DraftKings begins at 1:05 PM ET and is comprised of nine games. It looks like there could be some weather for MIA/CHC and CLE/PIT, but it’s too soon for me to call that stuff. Just check before lock. Lastly, STL/ATL is Game 1 of a double-header, so know that going in if you’re using any bats or pitchers.

PITCHING

Best play: Taijuan Walker @ Washington Nationals ($9,400)

I’m not quite sure why Mike Minor is $100 more expensive, so if you want to go full YOLO feel free to do so with Minor at home against Boston. Me, I want Walker, who has been ELECTRIC this year and is coming of off two straight 32+ point DK efforts. He stymied the red-hot Orioles two turns ago, then mowed through the Cubs in his last time out, with zero walks against a career-high 12 strikeouts. The only ‘blemish’ here is a 9.0% walk rate that’s a tad above average, but the 26.9% strikeout rate will play. The Mets and Nats played a double-header yesterday, and the Mets used six of their relievers in those two games. Luckily, Walker has been able to work seven innings in each of his last two games, and I’m certain they’d love to see him hit that ceiling today if he can. Washington (10.1%) does have a top five walk rate over the last week, but against RHP on the season that number craters to 7.8%, which is 24th in the league. The Nationals appear to have sorted out the top of their order, with Kyle Schwarber leading off in front of Trea Turner and Juan Soto—and I admit that’s a formidable trio, especially if Schwarber keeps raking. But after that it’s hot garbage. And Walker stymied a red-hot Orioles team two turns ago. I think he can do the same thing here.

Bonus “best” play: Kenta Maeda @ Texas Rangers ($6,300)

It’s just too cheap, and I’m a sucker for a quality MLB pitcher in a favorable matchup. Maeda is $300 cheaper than Zach Thompson, who has made a whopping total of TWO major league starts. He’s $500 less than southpaw Dallas Keuchel, who draws the lefty-bashing Houston Astros at home. Maeda worked up to 76 pitches in his return from the injured list in his last turn, and managed 17.4 DK points against the Mariners. The Rangers have a bottom five K-rate against right-handed pitching, at 25.8%. And while the lineup reads as powerful with bats like Nate Lowe, Adolis Garcia, and Joey Gallo, it’s a collective .146 ISO (20th) against right-handed pitching for this team. There’s also TONS of swing-and-miss, with even the top-of-the-order bats boasting gargantuan strikeout rates. Lowe (27.3%), Gallo (28.9%), Garcia (32.0%), and even Nick Solak (28.5%) are all pretty ghastly. Maeda’s 5.01 ERA is uncharacteristic, but he’s got a 3.96 xFIP and a solid 46:14 K:BB ratio. He’s been stung by homers more than ever (20.5% HR/FB rate), but he’s got a career mark of just 14.1%. If better times are indeed around the corner, today’s the day to load up on him at his bargain bin price point.

Worst play: Matt Harvey vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($5,500)

Do I really need to elaborate on this one? How about we do so under the best hitting plays?

HITTING

Best play: Toronto Blue Jays @ RHP Matt Harvey

Toronto let us down on Friday, but they responded with an 10-run beating yesterday, with most of the damage coming off of the Baltimore bullpen (Kremer actually held TOR to two runs over six innings). Of note is that these were the better bullpen pieces, too, in Tanner Scott, Hunter Harvey, and Paul Fry, as well as Tyler Wells.

If beating on the bullpen repeats today, that’s bad news for anyone who doesn’t play some Toronto sticks, as Matt Harvey reads like a sacrificial lamb at this juncture of his MLB career. Per MLB.com, Harvey has a 14.09 ERA over his last seven starts dating back to mid-May, and he hasn’t completed four innings in any of his last four starts. This is a complete and total smash spot for the Blue Jays. So if you’re looking to get contrarian, this play isn’t for you. Whatever you decide, I think you have to consider the affordably-priced Randal Grichuk ($4,100), as he gives you the cleanup hitter in that loaded offense, where the top three bats are all super-expensive.

Bonus “best” play: Adam Duvall @ RHP Alec Mills ($3,500)

I don’t know if he qualifies as a “best” play, but Duvall has an ability to go deep and has a really friendly price point today. You’ve got to find some way to work up to those Toronto sticks. Duvall is one of the hottest hitters in the league over the last week, with four homers, a steal, a .389 BA, and a league-leading 11 RBI over the last seven days. Mills generates a lot of ground balls, but he hasn’t been good overall in 2021 and isn’t a pitcher I’m afraid to target.

Bonus bonus “best” play: Bryan Reynolds vs. LHP Sam Hentges ($3,100)

Here’s another way to save some salary, and with a RED-HOT stick. Reynolds’ last three games reads like this (in DK points): 21.0, 19.0, 10.0. He has four straight two-hit games, with a home run in each of his last two—and one measly strikeout four games ago. He doesn’t have a walk over this stretch, either—he’s just putting the ball into play, something I love to see in DFS. Against lefties on the year, Reynolds is slashing .347/.410/.600, with a .253 ISO and .426 woBA. It has been his more powerful split, and he’s way too cheap against a pitcher like Hentges.

Who sticks out to you in your first pass, gamers?