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?
Kolten Wong, 2B, Brewers ($2,300)
Hendricks owns a mere 17.2% strikeout rate over 201 1/3 innings since the start of 2021, and he's got a 4.63 SIERA in that time. Lefties tagged him for a .377 wOBA and 38.2% fly-ball rate in 2021.
While Wong is off to a slow start this year, he was pretty productive last campaign, finishing with a .336 wOBA against right-handers and 14 homers overall.
I wouldn't full-on stack the Milwaukee Brewers (4.06 implied total), but with only one bat above $2,800 (Willy Adames), they're a great place to look for a low-salary mini-stack or one-off plays. Wong fits the bill and projects as the third-best point-per-dollar hitter, according to our projections.
Nelson Cruz, OF, Nationals ($2,300)
I know Nelson Cruz currently sports a .234 wOBA with a 25.4% hard-hit rate. But, man, this is a really low salary for a dude who popped 32 jacks last year, and he'll see a lefty tonight -- a split in which Cruz has a long track record of mashing.
In 2021, Cruz put up a .377 wOBA and 43.7% hard-hit rate against left-handers. Alex Wood is no pushover, but Cruz can be lethal with the platoon advantage.
Cruz also hasn't been as bad this year as his bottom-line numbers suggest. His production is being bogged down by a lowly .175 BABIP, and his expected wOBA of .346 isn't far off from his 2021 expected wOBA of .358.
I'm willing to roll the dice on Cruz tonight at this tiny salary.
Sam Hilliard, OF, Rockies ($2,500)
Any $2,500 bat at Coors needs to at least be on our radar, and Hillard offers some upside versus Hunter Greene. At home against righties for his career, Hilliard has a .360 wOBA, and he recorded two walks and a triple Thursday in Philadelphia.
With Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers and Kris Bryant banged up, Hilliard could draw another start, and he's an economical way to get a piece of Colorado's slate-leading 5.44 implied total if he gets the nod.