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 low-salary options stand out today?
Eric Lauer, SP, Brewers ($7,100)
We have some quality top-end arms on this slate -- guys like Sean Manaea, Clayton Kershaw, Shane McClanahan and Frankie Montas -- so it's risky to use a value option at pitcher. But if you want to give it a whirl, Eric Lauer is capable of posting a good score at his low salary.
Lauer put up career-best numbers pretty much across the board in 2021, finishing with a 4.24 SIERA, 23.9% strikeout rate and 10.6% swinging-strike rate. He was solid in his 2022 debut, as well, fanning five in 4 1/3 innings while throwing 89 pitches. While that's not very efficient, Lauer being allowed to throw 89 pitches means he could push for a full workload today.
He's got a delectable matchup versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the game's worst lineups. FanGraphs' rest-of-season projections rate Pittsburgh as the second-worst offense, and the Pirates' 3.72 implied total is a number we can feel good about attacking.
Our projections have Lauer totaling 31.9 FanDuel points, the sixth-most on what is a pretty stout pitching slate. He rates as the second-best point-per-dollar arm, trailing only Luis Garcia ($6,700), another viable value hurler.
Didi Gregorius, SS, Phillies ($2,800)
We're usually going to have some level of interest in any $2,800 bat at Coors. When that guy fills shortstop for us, it only enhances his appeal.
Didi Gregorius does that tonight.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in Denver, and they're up against Chad Kuhl. Since the start of 2020, Kuhl owns a 5.04 SIERA and 13.1% walk rate. His move to the Colorado Rockies this offseason isn't going to help those numbers.
Kuhl has a particularly difficult time with lefties. In the split in 2021, he permitted a .369 wOBA and 1.96 homers per nine.
While Gregorius' offensive output last year was wretched (.275 wOBA), Didi can do some damage at Coors against an underwhelming pitcher, and he's low-salary access to Philly's slate-leading 6.09 implied total.
Michael Brantley, OF, Astros ($2,800)
Houston is going up against Michael Lorenzen. In his first start of this year, Lorenzen carved up the Miami Marlins, and maybe his move to the rotation is going to be a success. But Houston is a much, much tougher matchup. As the Astros' implied total suggests, Houston should have some success today against Lorenzen.
Brantley was excellent against right-handers in 2021, posting a .399 wOBA in the split. He's easy to love at this salary and fits well in Astros stacks.