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?
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros ($2,900)
Monday's short slate features some of the brightest arms in the sport, but Dane Dunning isn't amongst them.
In defense of Dunning, his 3.58 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) is pretty solid to open 2022. However, Dunning's 5.68 ERA might hold for a good duration of the season if his batted-ball numbers stay where they are. His low swinging-strike rate (7.9%) leaves plenty of balls in play, and his 51.3% hard-hit rate is too high for a contact pitcher.
The Astros -- by default of not facing a true stud -- will be popular on Monday. They've also come out of the box slowly, creating plenty of value opportunities in the heart of their order.
Pegged as a sleeper MVP candidate to begin the year, Kyle Tucker is among those value opportunities. He's just stumbled out of the gate in April, but with at least a 144 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against both lefties and righties a year ago, his bat will heat up before too long.
A low-whiff righty like Dunning is the perfect spot to see if the myriad of Astros below $3,000 -- Tucker, Yulieski Gurriel, Michael Brantley, and Jeremy Pena -- can post their first monstrous output of the year.
Christian Walker, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks ($2,700)
Well, those two statements need additional context. In regards to Buehler, the Dodgers' franchise pitcher has struggled thus far with a human-like 16.2% strikeout rate, translating to a 4.57 SIERA. He's not quite been the same, and his walk rate (8.8%) is elevated, as well.
The D-Backs -- as a collective -- have a 88 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. That's not stellar, but their low salaries are largely related to their league-worst mark of a 56 wRC+ against lefties.
Surprisingly, right-handed first baseman Christian Walker popped off the charts for his work against orthodox pitchers so far. Walker has posted a 137 wRC+ and .341 isolated power (ISO) against them in 14 plate appearances to start the year. Obviously, that's a small sample, but dude has been swinging it well.
For the daring, there are low salaries up and down this Arizona lineup on a slate where we desperately need a value stack. Seth Beer and Daulton Varsho are mashing righties currently, and we know David Peralta and Ketel Marte have historically. Stacking the Snakes is a contrarian move that makes some sense.
Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Mets ($2,500)
He said, "Quit it with your advanced stats, nerd," and tossed five scoreless innings with five strikeouts in Miami. I expected Mikolas' peripherals to be improved following the effort, but that isn't the case. He still has just a 6.9% swinging-strike rate in 2022, but now, that's combined with an unsustainable 20.6% strikeout rate. I have a feeling regression will hit like a monsoon tonight.
The New York Mets are baseball's best offense against right-handers thus far. They've posted a league-best 134 wRC+ as a team with a .156 ISO.
The problem? All of their salaries in the middle of the order reflect this hot start -- except one: Robinson Cano, who should hit sixth.
Cano has a .208 career ISO against right-handed pitching, and his only dinger this year came off a righty.
He's a necessary value plug to stack the Mets -- unless you're planning on fading the aces on this slate.