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?
Yuli Gurriel, 1B, Houston Astros ($2,900)
I'm always down for Yulieski Gurriel against a lefty.
Against left-handed pitching this season, Gurriel has a stellar .227 isolated power (ISO) and has accrued 136 weighted runs created plus (wRC+). Against righties, those marks are just .082 and 35, respectively. In essence, Gurriel is a $4,000 hitter against left-handed pitching, and he's not worth a roster spot against righties.
Thankfully, Marco Gonzales will toe the slab for the Mariners in their series opener with Houston. Gonzales' 3.65 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) is sporty, but there are potential signs for concern. His swinging-strike rate (9.3%) and hard-hit rate (37.5%) are nearly identical to last season when he was drilled for a 4.94 SIERA.
The 8.5-run total in Houston is one of few signs of offense on today's main slate, and thankfully, the 'Stros can fill the role as a value stack. Gurriel, Chas McCormick, Michael Brantley, and Jeremy Pena should be candidates for a decent hitting spot under $3,000 in salary.
Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins ($2,800)
Max Kepler will look to keep his scorching run last week rolling into a new one.
Kepler used four dongs to post a 1.450 on-base plus slugging (OPS) the past seven days, and that's been a welcome sight for a scuffling Twins offense. He's got a tremendous matchup on Monday to keep it going.
The Twinkies are in Baltimore, and they'll be the latest with a date to face Tyler Wells. Wells' inaugural campaign as a starter has been pretty brutal; he's posted just a 5.70 fielding-independent pitching (FIP) and a below-average 17.5% strikeout rate in four starts.
Minnesota's 4.06 implied team total is one of the higher marks of the day, and there are plenty of value sticks in this lineup. Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and Gio Urshela are all candidates to save salary in this stack, propelling those so inclined back in the direction of Byron Buxton.
Adam Frazier, 2B, Seattle Mariners ($2,700)
Though largely considered the weaker offense, the M's have the easier matchup in Houston.
They draw Houston right-hander Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi's 2022 has been nothing short of dreadful through four passes. He's posted a 5.69 SIERA with a massive 48.0% flyball rate. Believe it or not, that's resulted in just 0.60 home runs per nine innings, meaning regression should be headed his way if the batted-ball peripherals don't improve.
Seattle's 118 wRC+ against righties is actually fifth-best in baseball, but they've still got several friendly salaries to make their stack work with an ace.
Adam Frazier is amongst the value options as the leadoff man. He's posted 101 wRC+ in this year's limited action, and he's got a mark of 108 for his career. He's an above-average hitter against orthodox hurlers.