Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file has been updated with any overnight pitching changes or weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Sunday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Sunday marks the end of fantasy Week 16, meaning there are only four periods remaining before playoffs commence in ESPN standard head-to-head formats. Games begin at 12:05 PM ET with Cristian Javier and the Houston Astros wrapping up a series in Progressive Field against Triston McKenzie and the Cleveland Guardians. Both hurlers are rostered in most ESPN and will provide a challenge for the opposing batters. That said, even though it's better this season, historically Javier has been prone to the long ball, rendering Josh Naylor (58% rostered in ESPN leagues) and Nolan Jones (6%) as hitting streamers.
Hopefully you don't need a last-minute pitching boost as the streaming inventory is light. The top two options square off in Wrigley Field with Jesus Luzardo (26%) toeing the rubber for the Marlins and Adrian Sampson (2%) taking the ball for the Cubs. Both lineups are among the least productive in the league. Sampson is the safer option while Luzardo is riskier, but with greater strikeout potential. Team needs dictate the choice between the two, with Luzardo favored by fantasy teams needing whiffs or to make up a lot of ground.
The next best candidates also oppose each other with Kutter Crawford (7%) and the Boston Red Sox wrapping up a series in Kauffmann Stadium with Brady Singer (30%) and the Kansas City Royals. Singer is the more established hurler amid a breakout campaign, but Crawford draws an easier lineup. That said, the Red Sox lineup is clicking on all cylinders, so consider Singer if you're behind and need a high strikeout option to make up ground.
While we'll obviously have you covered with notes for Monday's action, sometimes it helps to plan ahead. There are seven games on the Monday docket, meaning the demand to fill lineup holes will be high but the supply will be low. Grabbing players to use Sunday and Monday is a keen way to stay ahead of the competition. San Diego has a pair of southpaws on tap so targeting righty swinging Ha-Seong Kim (10%), Austin Nola (8%), Wil Myers (6%) and/or Jorge Alfaro (4%) offers twice the exposure to a potent lineup. The Angels also are earmarked to face a pair of lefties rendering Luis Rengifo (5%), Max Stassi (2%), Jo Adell (4%) and Phil Gosselin (<1%) in play. Stassi is especially intriguing since it's rare to slot in a catcher batting cleanup.
Similarly, identifying closers with a chance to pick up saves Sunday and Monday could prove prescient. Further, there is a rather long list of possibilities as Felix Bautista, Rowan Wick, Hunter Strickland, Jose Quijada, Zach Jackson, Wil Crowe, Paul Sewald, Kyle Finnegan and Ian Kennedy are all widely available and in action both days.
It's not too late to start another free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday.
Starting pitcher rankings for Sunday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.
JJ Bleday (MIA, RF -- 2%) at Sampson
Nick Fortes (MIA, C -- 0%) at Sampson
Joey Wendle (MIA, SS -- 12%) at Sampson
Michael Chavis (PIT, 2B -- 2%) at Watkins
Alek Thomas (ARI, CF -- 8%) vs. Urena
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
Marcell Ozuna (ATL, LF -- 89%) at deGrom
Michael Harris II (ATL, CF -- 61%) at deGrom
Austin Riley (ATL, 3B -- 100%) at deGrom
Adolis Garcia (TEX, CF -- 85%) vs. Giolito
Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL, RF -- 100%) at deGrom
Nathaniel Lowe (TEX, 1B -- 53%) vs. Giolito
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Tyler Anderson Pitching Outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-145/+110)
THE BAT sees Anderson putting up 15.6 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 37.0% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $32.22.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
THE BAT projects Anderson in the 75th percentile when assessing his overall pitching talent level.
Anderson has relied on his change-up 8.4% more often this year (32.9%) than he did last season (24.5%).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Padres projected offense profiles as the 2nd-best on the slate today.
The Padres have been the unluckiest offense in the majors this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to perform better going forward
Dodger Stadium ranks as the #3 field in the game for home runs, via THE BAT projection system.
High temperatures are strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer whiffs), and the weatherman calls for the 4th-hottest temperature of all games today at 91°.