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. 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 hurlers.
Therefore, crushing your value plays -- whether it be a pitcher unexpectedly piling up strikeouts or a low-salaried batter racking up points -- can be the secret sauce to taking down a tournament.
Which budget options stand out today on FanDuel?
Ranger Suarez, P, Phillies ($7,300)
Ranger Suarez's salary was $9,600 for his first start of the season. Today, his salary is just the 17th-highest on the slate.
It's a good time to buy in.
Of course, Suarez's salary is where it is because he hasn't been good so far, pitching to a 13.2% strikeout rate and 5.87 ERA. But his underlying metrics aren't that bad, including a 4.53 SIERA and 64.3% ground-ball rate.
Big things were expected from Suarez this season after he thrived last year to the tune of a 3.51 SIERA and 25.6% strikeout rate. The significant drop in salary will most likely turn out to be an overreaction to a pair of meh starts, one of which came against a New York Mets offense that is red-hot out of the gates.
Suarez has a really friendly matchup today at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. So far in 2022, Milwaukee is 20th in wOBA (.290) with an above-average strikeout rate (23.9%). The Brewers finished last campaign with the eighth-highest strikeout rate (24.0%).
While this slate has some high-upside arms on it, none are no-doubt smash plays and some are in really tough matchups. It's not a bad slate to take a gamble on a value hurler. My lone fear with Suarez is that Citizens Bank Park can play like a bandbox. But in terms of bang for your buck, he is easy to like at this salary and in this matchup.
We project him for 29.7 FanDuel points, the fourth-most on the slate.
Austin Slater, OF, Giants ($2,200)
Any leadoff hitter with a salary this low has to be on our radar (assuming Slater is atop the order again today), but on top of that, this is a legitimately great spot for Slater. Corbin was mauled by righties for a .378 wOBA and 2.49 homers per nine last season. Slater tagged lefties for a .379 wOBA a year ago.
The Giants' 4.43 implied total is the slate's sixth-highest, and on a slate that is pretty wide open, San Fran is on the stacking radar. Slater is a great way to get in on the fun.
We project Slater for 11.2 FanDuel points and rank him as the fifth-best point-per-dollar hitter.
You can also check out San Fran's Darin Ruf ($2,600), a righty who should hit second and also rates out as a stellar point-per-dollar choice.
Anthony Santander, OF, Orioles ($2,700)
While the Baltimore Orioles' 3.69 implied total isn't all that fun, I think they're a sneaky-good stacking option -- or place to look for mini stacks and one-off plays -- that will be off the radar.
The O's are taking on Reid Detmers, the owner of a 4.85 SIERA across a small sample of 28 MLB innings. He's allowed 2.25 jacks per nine overall, and righties have tattooed him for a .414 wOBA with just a 17.8% strikeout rate. The minor-league numbers are great for Detmers, but he hasn't shown it yet in The Show.
Santander, a switch-hitter, will bat from the right side against Detmers, and he put up a 46.2% fly-ball rate in the split last year.
Our algorithm has Santander scoring 13.7 FanDuel points and has him as the sixth-best point-per-dollar bat.