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. They don't allow many runs and strike opponents out often.
Therefore, crushing your value plays -- whether it be a pitcher unexpectedly piling up strikeouts or a lower-salaried batter racking up points -- is the true secret sauce to taking down a baseball tournament.
Which budget options stand out today?
Max Muncy, 1B/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,900)
Consider this the most jaw-dropping salary of the day.
The Dodgers are arguably the best offense in baseball, yet their cleanup hitter sits below $3,000 in a positive matchup. They'll be battling a piggyback tandem from the Reds consisting of Luis Cessa and Reiver Sanmartin. Both most skill interactive ERA (SIERA) marks below 4.00 a year ago, but they both hold SIERAs upwards of 6.00 to start the new year.
Max Muncy is viable against either side of the plate. The 2021 All-Star posted over 130 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against both lefties and righties, and his marks against lefties, like Sanmartin, were actually higher despite batting left-handed.
Muncy is a god-tier one-off option, but this stack is also more affordable than one would presume given its name value. Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger can also be found at or below $3,100.
Yoshi Tsutsugo, 3B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates ($2,400)
Daily fantasy baseball volatility should be present in Pittsburgh.
The Nationals visit the Pirates in a game with two poor offenses and two poor starting pitchers. Washington is starting Joan Adon, who's ceded a hard-hit rate of at least 54% in both of his career starts. Last year's start was luckier, but he surrender four earning runs in 4.1 innings in his first start this season.
Therefore, we can attack the Buccos in this spot against the righty, and that usually starts with Yoshi Tsutsugo. Tsutsugo was one of Pittsburgh's few capable bats against righties in 2021, overcoming them for a .308 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and a .165 isolated slugging percentage (ISO).
Pittsburgh's entire stack -- if you're daring -- is one oozing with value. Tsutsugo, Bryan Reynolds, Dan Vogelbach, and Ben Gamel can all be had under $3,000 without leaving the top-five spots of the lineup.
Hunter Dozier, OF, Kansas City Royals ($2,300)
One of the Tigers' most burning questions entering this season would be whether Casey Mize would take a leap.
It's still unanswered through his first start. Mize surrendered four runs in five innings against the White Sox, and his 9.6% swinging-strike rate was a continuation of his inability to keep balls out of play. As a result, we should be fine to turn to the Royals with the wind blowing out at Kauffman Stadium.
Surprisingly, Hunter Dozier was one of Kansas City's best hitters against right-handers a season ago. Dozier held a sporty .170 ISO and had a higher wRC+ mark against righties (80) than his platoon advantage against lefties (78).
He should bat in the middle of the order, and there are plenty of K.C. value pieces to get to Salvador Perez or Whit Merrifield when stacking them. Dozier, Carlos Santana, and rookie phenom Bobby Witt Jr. all sit at or below $2,500 in the thick of this lineup.