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?
Jake Cronenworth, 2B/3B/SS, San Diego Padres ($2,800)
The 8.5-run total in Cincinnati is one of the few places you'll find offense on this afternoon slate that is mired by cold weather.
The San Diego Padres have beaten up the Reds for 17 runs over the first two games of this series, and it may not slow down with Tyler Mahle on the bump today. Mahle's career 5.08 fielding independent pitching (FIP) at home is much worse than his overall mark, and the 2.04 home runs per nine innings he cedes at Great American Ball Park is just frightening.
Versatile infielder Jake Cronenworth is having a tough start to his 2022 campaign, but Mahle, as a right-hander, is the right side to catch "Cro" on. He's still got a .693 on-base plus slugging (OPS) against righties, but that number is just .612 against lefties.
Tommy Pham, OF, Cincinnati Reds ($2,600)
Bizarrely, though, the 3-15 Reds are favored in their matinee showdown with San Diego.
That's because Nick Martinez is toeing the slab for the Padres. Martinez's promising spring has unraveled when the games started counting. He's ceded 3.09 homers per nine innings, leading to a 5.04 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA).
Not only is this a revenge spot for Pham, but he's also got the power to make Martinez pay. He owns a .196 isolated power (ISO) in all splits this season, and that mark is .185 against righties for his career as a reverse-splits batter.
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Miami Marlins ($2,400)
The Miami Marlins should be another team that gets plenty of love on this slate.
They've got a 4.35-run implied total in a matchup with Patrick Corbin. I had hopes for a bounce-back for the former ace in 2022, but Corbin's 4.86 skill-interactive ERA is actually worse than it was in 2021. Given that he's also missing fewer bats (8.7% swinging-strike rate), we can expect his mark of 0.66 homers per nine to eventually move closer to the 1.94 clip he posted a year ago.
The Fish have plenty of value, but with one swing of the bat, Jesus Aguilar absolutely can pay off this salary. Of Aguilar's five career hits against Corbin, two have been homers.
Aguilar's 57.1% fly-ball rate against lefties is stellar, and his soft-contact rate in the split is pretty low (14.7%). He just hasn't quite been finding the barrel to start this new season. But, with a career ISO of .193 against lefties, he's going to start blistering them before too long.