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?
Connor Joe, OF, Colorado Rockies ($2,800)
The Rockies are hot to start 2022.
They've won three of their first four, including yesterday's extra-inning 6-4 victory in Texas. With two so-so pitchers (Chad Kuhl and Martin Perez) toeing the slab tonight, there's a 10.0-run total in Arlington -- and not many salaries that reflect that.
Connor Joe should lead off for the purple pinstripes, and he's been the head of their offense this season. He's tagged pitchers for a .375 isolated slugging (ISO) and 46.2% hard-hit rate to open the new year. Last season, Joe had a stellar 134 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against lefties.
Against Perez and a middling bullpen, there are two other heart-of-the-order Rockies below $3,000 -- Charlie Blackmon and Brendan Rodgers. Overall, they're one of the better value stacks of the day on a slate that has plenty of aces making their second start of the season.
Kolten Wong, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers ($2,400)
An old friend returns to Baltimore tonight.
Spenser Watkins was a daily fantasy dream-maker in 2021. The low-velocity righty had a minuscule 7.1% swinging-strike rate, and it led to an ugly 5.42 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). As a result, it's no surprise to see the Brewers with a projected total of 5.52 by numberFire today.
The Orioles' bullpen is obviously not filled with world-beaters, either. Therefore, it's pretty surprising to see Milwaukee's salaries sitting so low across the board, including leadoff man Kolten Wong.
Wong is definitely the straw that stirs the drink against righties for the Brewers, posting a .336 weighted on-base average (wOBA) against them last season. While Wong isn't perceived as a power threat, he did marry that wOBA with a .182 ISO against orthodox pitchers a year ago.
This stack is incredibly budget-friendly considering its potential. Wong is joined by Andrew McCutchen, Rowdy Tellez, and Hunter Renfroe at salaries under $3,000 and (likely) in the middle of the order, but he stands out with second base usually trickier to fill.
Jeremy Pena, SS, Houston Astros ($2,300)
The youth revolution for the Houston Astros appears to have not slowed their production.
With a 113 wRC+ to open the season, the Astros are the 12th-best offense in baseball so far -- and that's through a tough trip with the improved Angels pitching staff.
Houston is in Arizona tonight, and they'll be facing Madison Bumgarner after Zac Gallen was scratched due to injury. Bumgarner pitched just three innings on Opening Day, but his problem remained the same. Last season, he scuffled to just a 9.6% swinging-strike rate, and that was only 5.9% in his debut against San Diego.
Houston's lineup has shuffled quite a bit to open the season, but there's good reason to expect Jeremy Pena in a top-tier spot in the order. The rookie has hit second in three of four contests to open the year, and he's paid it off with a .478 wOBA and .313 ISO. It's like Carlos Correa never left.
Bumgarner's inability to throw past people -- and obvious low pitch count leading to a lot of a pedestrian 'pen -- should put the Astros in a spot to rake. Yulieski Gurriel, Jose Siri, and Aledmys Diaz could be three other value spots that are present when Houston's lineup is revealed on Tuesday.