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 overnight pitching changes and 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
The early game returns to the final Sunday of the regular season with the Minnesota Twins wrapping up a series with the Detroit Tigers at 12:10 PM ET in Comerica Park. Simeon Woods Richardson (less than 1% rostered in ESPN leagues) is expected to make his MLB debut. The Twins acquired him last summer in the deal sending Jose Berrios to Toronto. Richardson has posted a 2.21 ERA and 0.86 WHIP over seven starts, fanning 38 in 36 2/3 innings since being promoted to Triple-A St. Paul. He was exceptional in September, with a 1.29 ERA and an 0.79 WHIP with 26 punchouts in 28 frames. With the tame Tigers offense as his inaugural opponent, Richardson is in play as a streamer.
On the flip side, Tigers starter Joey Wentz (2%) quietly also pitched well in September, registering a 2.11 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, albeit with a tempered 18 whiffs in 21 1/3 stanzas. Still, facing a Twins lineup struggling over the second half against southpaws, Wentz is another option to give a fantasy spot start.
Unfortunately, there isn't much else by way of viable streaming candidates. It's a good thing most fantasy head-to-head finals roll in the last three days, so team managers can focus elsewhere on Sunday and wait for the final series to fortify pitching. If forced to select another option, Los Angeles Angels southpaw Tucker Davidson (1%) faces a middling Texas Rangers lineup. Just beware, Davidson has mixed a few solid outings with several clunkers.
We're at the point of the season where playoff-bound starting pitchers with nothing to play for may hit the showers earlier then usual. An example is Cleveland Guardians righty Shane Bieber, earmarked to open the Wild Card series on Friday, on standard four-days rest. However, the AL Central champs will probably limit Bieber to five innings, if that. He's safe to use in fantasy, but an early departure takes him out of DFS consideration and tilts strikeout props to the under.
Starting pitchers taking the hill on Saturday are likely done for the regular season. In redraft formats, there is no reason to carry them, unless they're on the no-drop list. Stocking up on dominant relievers is a great way to take advantage of the open spots. The optimal bullpens to target are the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. Both clubs have a doubleheader on Tuesday, so they have four games. Seattle is still vying for the top Wild Card seed and they draw a weak Tigers team at home. Meanwhile, the Yankees will probably limit starter innings, availing more to their relievers. Everyone in both bullpens except for Clay Holmes in the Bronx is available in more than half of ESPN leagues, and Holmes is nursing a shoulder injury and won't return until the playoffs. The top targets for Seattle are Paul Sewald, Andres Munoz, Diego Castillo and Erik Swanson. The premier options for the Yankees are Scott Effross and Lou Trivino.
Here is Sunday's six-pack of solid sticks for those fantasy managers thirsting for hitting. The Philadelphia Phillies' Alec Bohm (55%) and Matt Vierling (1%) are slated to enjoy the platoon edge on Patrick Corbin. Jose Miranda (33%) has cooled a bit, but his hard-hit metrics have been impressive, warranting a plug and play against Wentz. For those not desperate enough to use Davidson in their rotation, Josh Jung and (7%) Bubba Thompson (6%) should be productive with the platoon edge. Lastly, Zach McKinstry (1%) is in a good spot leading off against Chase Anderson.
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.
Gio Urshela (MIN, 3B -- 26%) at Wentz
Nico Hoerner (CHC, 2B -- 31%) vs. Anderson
Dylan Moore (SEA, 2B -- 1%) vs. Kaprielian
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
Tommy Pham (BOS, LF -- 52%) at Gausman
Dylan Carlson (STL, CF -- 50%) vs. Contreras
Eloy Jimenez (CHW, LF -- 92%) at Snell
Mark Canha (NYM, LF -- 69%) at Morton
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Seattle Mariners vs. Kaprielian
Prop of the Day
Robbie Ray strikeouts: Over/Under 7.5 (+110/-140)
THE BAT X sees Ray putting up 8.5 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 64.4% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $35.30.
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
Ray projects as the 19th-best pitcher in the game when assessing his strikeout talent, per THE BAT X.
THE BAT X projects Ray to throw 105 pitches today (third-most of all pitchers on today's slate), considering both his underlying tendencies and the matchup.
T-Mobile Park profiles as the No. 2 stadium in the league for strikeouts, per THE BAT X projection system.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The weather report calls for the third-best pitching weather of all games on today's slate, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
Ray's fastball velocity has fallen 1.8 mph this year (92.4 mph) below where it was last year (94.2 mph).