Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Sunday's MLB games

Aaron Nola is one of the top options on the mound on Sunday. Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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. Game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

For an in-depth look at what to expect in this daily article and how to best use the information, check out our handy primer here.

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's action begins with an early 12:05 p.m. ET contest in the nation's capital between the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals. However, it ends a few hours sooner than usual since there isn't the normal ESPN Sunday night affair as teams are heading into the All-Star break. The final set of games commences in the early 4:00 p.m. ET hour. In addition, the slate is short one game with the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers heading into the break a day early.

  • Normally, Sunday is the time to pull out all the stops for those behind in their head-to-head matchups. However, with the three-day week coming out of the break, those games are rolled into the past week, rendering Matchup 14 a 10-day scoring week, so there is still time to catch up. To that end, please keep in mind the maximum number of starts for this scoring period is extended to 17 in standard ESPN leagues.

  • It's a good thing Sunday isn't the last day of the fantasy period since the streaming inventory is light. To wit, Ben Lively (2.2% rostered) is the highest ranked probable starter with under 50% rostership, and he's returning from a visit to the 15-day IL without a rehab outing. Lively's high ranking is driven by a matchup with the disappointing Milwaukee Brewers offense, as they sit 25th in wOBA facing righties while fanning 25% of the time.

  • The next two are paired off with Kyle Hendricks (12.6%) taking the hill for the Chicago Cubs in the Bronx with Domingo German (21.1%) toeing the rubber for the New York Yankees. Hendricks has recorded five quality starts in eight outings, including his last three efforts. However, he's only fanned 27 in 47 2/3 innings and as disappointing as the Yankees offense has been, there's still potentially dangerous when they're allowed to put the ball in play at home. German is one start removed from his perfect game. In the follow-up, German fanned five with no walks in 4 1/3 innings, but the Baltimore Orioles totaled nine hits, good for three runs (two earned). The Cubs offense is middle-of-the-pack, but before German's 27-batter gem, he 15 runs over 5 1/3 combined innings in his prior pair of starts.

  • If these are the mostly highly rated streaming candidates, imagine the risk in the lower portion of the schedule. This signals a focus on hitters to close out the week, especially since many regulars will begin their midseason hiatus a bit sooner than others.

  • The South Side of Chicago is a great place to look for offense on Sunday with the White Sox hosting southpaw Steven Matz and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Chicago White Sox right-handed brethren are in a great spot, led by Tim Anderson (37.7%), Jake Burger (5.3%) and Zach Remillard (1%).

  • You'll have to act early since it's the first game on the docket, but the righty contingent for the Rangers line up for a productive afternoon facing Patrick Corbin. Josh Jung (64.7%), Ezequiel Duran (30.4%) and Mitch Garver (0.7%) are the chief beneficiaries.

Starting pitcher rankings for Sunday

Bullpen usage for Sunday

By Todd Zola

  • For the fourth straight outing, David Bednar recorded more than three outs as he pitched a clean ninth in a 1-1 tie between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks but surrendered two runs in the bottom of the 10th to give the Diamondbacks a 3-2 win. Bednar's own throwing error on a sacrifice bunt rendered both of the runs unearned. He threw 22 pitches, but had not worked since Tuesday, so Bednar could look for retribution today before heading to Seattle.

  • Alexis Diaz secured his 26th save yesterday as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5. He threw 19 pitches, after tossing 17 on Thursday. However, this is a big series for the Reds, and Diaz has worked in back-to-back fashion with a higher recent workload, so he's likely available today,

  • The Cleveland Guardians scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth, extending their lead to four over the Kansas City Royals. The club didn't want to take any chances, so they brought in Emmanuel Clase for a non-save situation. He posted a clean inning with 10 pitches, but he also threw nine the previous day. Clase has yet to pitch three days in a row, but the Guardians need wins now that they've taken over first place in the AL Central. Furthermore, Clase will get the whole break to rest, so he's probably available today in a game Cleveland should win.

  • Josh Hader logged his 19th save yesterday, using 19 pitches in the process. However, he was working on two day's rest, so even though he'll be boarding a plane to Seattle after the game, Hader should be available if needed today.

  • Camilo Doval is in a similar scenario as Hader, but Doval only threw 10 pitches after not having appeared since last Wednesday. As is the case with everyone else today, Doval should be good if the scenario arises.

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.

Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Saturday

The BAT X's Best Stacks for Sunday