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?
Luis Garcia, P, Astros ($8,500)
We have a few solid value arms on the slate. Luis Garcia is the one I’m most drawn to.
Garcia has a mouth-watering matchup against the Detroit Tigers. Detroit is 27th in wOBA (.282) with the 6th-highest strikeout rate (24.9%). The Tigers have plated three or fewer runs in seven of their past eight games. They’re bad offensively.
After a breakout 2021 campaign, Garcia has started slowly this year. His 22.4% strikeout rate and 10.2% swinging-strike rate are both lower than what he generated last season. However, he’s still got a 3.94 SIERA, and his average fastball velocity is actually up 1.2 MPH from 2021.
In short, Garcia should be in for another good year, and he can mow through the Tigers tonight. And, unlike several other pitchers on this slate, Garcia comes without weather concerns.
Ryan O’Hearn, 1B, Royals (2,000)
Jordan Lyles is a guy we pick on a lot, and we can do it once more tonight.
Since the start of 2021, Lyles has a 4.65 SIERA and 18.8% strikeout rate while allowing 1.83 jacks per nine.
I’m into Ryan O'Hearn, who is salaried at the minimum. He’s a lefty, and Lyles permitted a 45.3% fly-ball rate in this split a year ago. O’Hearn hit fourth the last time the Royals saw a righty, and he’s got a 42.2% hard-hit rate and 38.5% fly-ball rate with the platoon advantage in his career.
O’Hearn can be a useful low-salary one-off or a part of Royals stacks. Lyles was mauled by both lefties (.347 wOBA) and righties (.359) last year, so if you grab a couple of KC pieces, you don’t need to worry about handedness.
Daulton Varsho, C/1B, Diamondbacks ($2,900)
Kuhl has a lengthy track record of being a blah hurler. Across 2020 and 2021 (126 2/3 innings), Kuhl pitched to a 5.03 SIERA with a 12.8% walk rate and surrendered 1.49 homers per nine. Left-handed hitters hammed Kuhl last year, recording a .369 wOBA against him with a whopping 1.96 homers per nine.
Varsho owns a .379 expected wOBA overall this season, and for his career, he’s tagged righties for a 40.0% hard-hit rate and 46.3% fly-ball rate.