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?
Luis Arraez, 3B/2B, Minnesota Twins ($2,800)
Zack Greinke's illustrious career will likely leave 2022 as a small footnote.
The 38-year-old is back in Kansas City, but he's encountered the same issue he had in Houston to close his tenure -- he can't throw the ball past hitters anymore. Greinke has just a 4.1% swinging-strike rate and a 2.3% strikeout rate to start 2022.
Arraez hasn't suffered the same fate as some of his teammates with a slow start. Against righties, Arraez has posted 222 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and a .217 isolated power (ISO). He's used his platoon advantage well.
Gavin Sheets, 1B, Chicago White Sox ($2,700)
Though Zach Plesac's 2022 primary stats are significantly improved, he's still targetable in daily fantasy.
Plesac's 1.64 ERA seems sparkling, but a 4.09 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) indicates some regression could be on the way. After all, Plesac's 15.9% strikeout rate overall remains very low and subject to chance. That's playing with fire against a solid offense.
The Chicago White Sox absolutely fit that bill. Chicago's star-studded lineup has produced just an 83 wRC+ overall so far, but with individual talent like Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and Jose Abreu, these sticks won't be quiet for long.
Those three are still high-salaried, but Gavin Sheets is not. Sheets also mashed right-handers like Plesac in 2021 for a .378 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and a mammoth .289 ISO.
Seth Brown, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics ($2,600)
Patience will be required in Oakland today.
The weather is overwhelmingly dicey, but MLB weather guru Kevin Roth believes there will be a window to play later today. They'll likely also be patient since Oakland doesn't have fans anymore. So, while there is some risk involved, two of the best value stacks of the day will battle there.
Specifically, the A's stand out at home. Tyler Wells has a 6.25 fielding independent pitching (FIP) in two appearances to open the year, but importantly, he's gone just 5.2 innings across them. We'll likely see the Orioles' bullpen -- which is always a welcome sight -- before too long.
Seth Brown has a decent chance to get after the righty before he departs. Brown has crushed righties in the heart of the Athletics' lineup for 135 wRC+ and a .250 ISO in 2022.
This entire stack will be low-salaried all year, so in a friendly matchup, feel free to target Tony Kemp, Sheldon Neuse, and Billy McKinney, too, if you're willing to gamble through a long rain delay by the bay.