With production being highly variable on a night-to-night basis, daily fantasy baseball plays a bit differently than other sports.
As a result of this, the primary method of selecting hitters is to "stack" certain teams in good spots to produce a lot of runs. Most of the top stacks on a given day come with hefty salaries.
In addition to that, a vast majority of pitchers with the upside to win tournaments are high-salaried. They don't allow many runs and strike out opponents often.
Therefore, crushing your value plays -- whether it be a pitcher unexpectedly piling up strikeouts with a value pitcher or getting a bunch of points from a lower-salaried batter -- is the true secret sauce to taking down a baseball tournament.
Which budget options stand out today?
Joey Gallo, OF, Yankees ($2,700)
New York is on the road at Camden Yards, and they'll see Jordan Lyles, a righty who sports a 4.95 SIERA and 17.4% strikeout rate since the start of 2020. He allowed 1.80 homers per nine last season, and a move to the Baltimore Orioles probably won't help him much on that front.
As such, the Yankees have a 5.17 implied total, the fourth-best of the night.
You know the deal with Gallo -- he fans a lot but has immense power. He boasts a 54.4% hard-hit rate in the early part of 2022 but has struck out 33.3% of the time. He whacked 38 jacks a year ago, and with the platoon advantage, he put up a .355 wOBA and 50.3% fly-ball rate.
We project Gallo to amass 15.2 FanDue points. Not only do we rank Gallo as the slate's top point-per-dollar bat, but we have him as the best overall hitter.
Mike Yastrzemski, OF, Giants ($2,500)
Since the start of 2020, Plesac owns a 4.71 SIERA and 16.7% strikeout rate.
The Giants ended up with the fifth-best wOBA against righties in 2021 (.332). They can do some damage in this spot, and Mike Yastrzemski is an economical way to get in on the fun. He also works as a quality one-off play.
Yaz led off the last time San Fran faced a righty. That in and of itself makes him appealing at this salary. But he's legit good in the split, mashing right-handers to the tune of a .355 wOBA and 50.4% fly-ball rate a season ago.
Our algorithm has Yastrzemski producing 12.6 FanDuel points, and we rate him as the fourth-best point-per-dollar play among all hitters.
Carlos Santana, 1B, Royals ($2,300)
A switch-hitter, Santana will swing from the right side against the left-handed Skubal. In that split in his career, Skubal has been tagged for a .350 wOBA and gives up 2.59 homers per nine.
Santana hit only 19 dingers in 2021, so he's lost some pop. But his overall line was hurt by a .227 wOBA. His expected wOBA of .334 is a lot easier to stomach than his actual wOBA of .294. And Santana has always had an excellent eye, recording a strikeout rate of at least 13.1% in every season of his MLB tenure, which dates back to 2010.
Santana fits well as a one-off play, and his salary is very handy.