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 Nola
Fantasy Week 17 concludes on Sunday, leaving just three precious weeks to secure a playoff berth in standard ESPN Head-to-Head leagues. The early game takes place in Nationals Park at 12:05 PM ET with the San Diego Padres wrapping up a series with the Washington Nationals. The visitors now know they'll be without Fernando Tatis Jr. for the duration of this season and part of next. Ha-Seong Kim's playing time is now locked in for the rest of the season. He's still only a streamer, but Kim should finish with double homers and steals. Kim (10% rostered in ESPN leagues) doesn't enjoy the platoon edge on Paulo Espino, but he's still an option against a hurler ranked only above the two starters scheduled for Coors Field.
The day's top streaming candidate is Keegan Thompson, as the Cubs and Reds finish a series started in Iowa. Since experiencing a rough patch in early June, Thompson has spun a 3.06 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 50 innings, fanning 47 while issuing only 13 walks and five homers. A road game in The Great American Ballpark isn't ideal, but the Reds offense is only league average at home, while fanning 25% of the time with a righthander on the hill.
There are a handful of pitchers with roster levels below 50% who have been frequent streaming options. Unfortunately, the schedule-maker saddled each with a risky matchup. However, the last day of the head-to-head period may require rolling the dice. In order of our rankings, Braxton Garrett (15% rostered) against the Braves, Cole Irvin (45%) facing the Astros, Brady Singer (33%) squaring off with the Dodgers, Aaron Ashby (12%) drawing the Cardinals and Michael Wacha (37%) closing the slate at home against the Yankees are all in the "break glass in case of emergency" class. That said, if possible, waiting for lineups avail an easier than normal matchup as clubs often use Sunday to give their stars a rest.
Given stolen bases are far more integral to category leagues than points scoring, the need for speed elevates on Sunday as many head-to-head matchups may come down to a steal or two. There has been some shuffling of the best teams to target when aiming to pilfer points as clubs have been running wild on the Red Sox, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Athletics and Nationals since the break. Some speedy players to pick up on Sunday with matchups against these five batteries include Isiah Kiner-Falefa (15%), Josh Rojas (53%), Jake McCarthy (1%) and Kim, mentioned earlier.
Let's close with a nod to the deeper fantasy leagues by listing five batters with very low rostership, all enjoying the platoon edge for Sunday's action. They are Albert Pujols (4%), Michael Chavis (2%), Elehuris Montero (2%), Joey Meneses (2%) and Terrin Vavra (<1%).
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.
Connor Joe (COL, LF -- 39%) vs. Henry
Jake McCarthy (ARI, CF -- 1%) at Feltner
Cooper Hummel (ARI, LF -- 0%) at Feltner
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Friday
THE BAT X is 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.
Prop of the Day
Cole Irvin Pitching Outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-145/+110)
THE BAT sees Irvin putting up 15.4 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 35.9% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $34.67.
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
Minute Maid Park has the third-tallest average fence height among all parks.
The Minute Maid Park roof projects to be closed today, making conditions in this matchup -6 degrees colder than the average outdoor game of all games today -- favorable for pitching.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Astros' projected offense ranks as the third-best of all teams today.
Minute Maid Park grades out as the No. 9 field in Major League Baseball for walks, via THE BAT projection system.
Minute Maid Park has the second-shallowest left field dimensions among all parks.
The Astros have seven bats in the projected lineup that will have the handedness advantage against Irvin in this matchup.