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?
Corey Seager, SS, Texas Rangers ($2,800)
It's kind of absurd to find the former Dodger at this salary.
Sure, Corey Seager has stumbled out of the gate in his new home. His on-base plus slugging (OPS) is just .622 to begin the new year. However, we know Seager is going to be an All-Star-caliber player in the long run.
In his career, he's posted an absurd 139 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and .212 isolated power (ISO) against right-handed pitching. Mediocre righty Jake Odorizzi will be on the other side today for the Astros.
Odorizzi's campaign is off to a predictably dismal start. The declining hurler has a 6.29 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), and he leaves plenty to chance with just a 10.2% strikeout rate.
On an evening filled with low totals, the Rangers and 'Stros could find themselves in a bit of a shootout. The Texas side has plenty of value to pair with Seager; Brad Miller, Kole Calhoun, and Mitch Garver are also below $3,000 on FanDuel.
Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, Chicago White Sox ($2,800)
Most of my stacks will come from two contests -- the 9.5-run total in Texas and the 8.5-run total in Chicago.
The Southsiders will draw Kansas City left-hander Daniel Lynch. Lynch has good stuff (12.3% strikeout rate), but he often makes mistakes. He's been clobbered for 2.70 home runs per nine innings (HR/9) already this season.
As we know, the White Sox have plenty of powerful right-handed bats who can exploit that. Luis Robert, Jose Abreu, and Tim Anderson all come with lofty salaries, but Andrew Vaughn won't. Vaughn torched left-handed pitching last season for 155 wRC+ and .286 ISO.
Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, Kansas City Royals ($2,500)
Don't ignore the visiting Royals on the other side, though.
After all, Dallas Keuchel was blitzed for 10 runs in the first inning last week against Cleveland. Now, as evidenced by Keuchel's still-respectable 3.08 SIERA, he got a little unlucky with seeing-eye singles, but this is still a pitcher to stack against more often than not.
Keuchel had a 5.01 SIERA a year ago, and his 13.2% strikeout rate this year is identical to the mark we saw in 2021. Leaving that many balls in play will allow for blowup outings.
K.C. doesn't have a ton of success to show against lefties this year (63 wRC+ as a team). A lot of that could be predicated on Whit Merrifield's struggles at the top of the lineup. He doesn't yet have a hit versus a southpaw.
However, Merrifield has tagged lefties for a .346 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .170 ISO in his career. Adalberto Mondesi, Hunter Dozier, and Carlos Santana also mashed lefties in previous seasons.
If any combination of those bats can join the red-hot Salvador Perez in the production column against the low-whiff Kid Keuchy, this value stack could be extra sneaky in Chi-Town.