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?
Austin Meadows, OF, Detroit Tigers ($2,800)
Filling in on The Solo Shotthis morning, I made one of my "dinger calls" the first of the year for Austin Meadows.
Meadows has a .387 weighted on-base average (wOBA) for the Tigers this season, so it's not like he's one of several baseball sluggers in a total slump at the plate. With just a 6.9% barrel rate and .087 isolated power (ISO), he just hasn't hit for the power that we're accustomed to from him.
That could change on Tuesday. Detroit has a date with Bryse Wilson, and the career 5.30 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) of the Pirates right-hander hasn't improved dramatically (5.08) in 2022. Further, Wilson has a frighteningly-low 6.5% swinging-strike rate and is getting his pitches hit hard 41.7% of the time.
Given that Meadows is seeing the ball well and winds are blowing out to his pull side, maybe he'll start May with his first round-tripper. Even better, this is an easy stack to make work, as well, if you're projecting Wilson to struggle. Every Tigers hitter not named Javier Baez is under $3,000 on FanDuel.
Sam Hilliard, OF, Colorado Rockies ($2,500)
If you're going to take on Coors Field on this slate, Sam Hilliard is an essential piece.
Especially in terms of the heart of the Rockies and Nationals lineups, the acquisition cost of either stack is going to be enormous. At $2,500 and projected to bat sixth, Hilliard is a dream one-off and a crucial part of making a stack of the "Blake Street Bombers" work with one of Tuesday's aces.
Hilliard's slow start to 2022 is notable, but last season, he posted a whopping .266 ISO against right-handed pitching. With a .333 wOBA, he was also getting on base and swiped 10 bags.
Though Erick Fedde has a respectable SIERA (3.80) and strikeout rate (23.5%), he's still allowing an above-average 38.9% hard-hit rate. He's also never posted a SIERA below 4.00 in his career, inviting skepticism about whether his decent start sticks.
Colorado isn't my favorite stack on Tuesday's slate, but given the hitting environment we know is present, Hilliard is one of the few Coors bats that seems to provide legitimate bang for your buck.
Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers ($2,400)
The Cincinnati Reds aren't great at baseball.
Cincy is 3-19, and this trip to face a red-hot Brewers squad may not help. The Brew Crew's 127 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) were fifth-best in all of baseball last week.
The Reds' ace will toe the slab on Tuesday, but it might not matter. Tyler Mahle has waffled to a 6.45 ERA in 2022, and while his ERA predictors do indicate that's a bit unlucky, he's also posted an absurd 10.8% walk rate. Once Mahle's time has come and gone, the Cincinnati bullpen has the second-worst expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP) in MLB (4.64).
Even entering this known positive matchup, only Hunter Renfroe and Christian Yelich sit above $3,000 on FanDuel. Rowdy Tellez feels like a bargain at $2,400 given that he's mashed right-handed pitching for an .830 on-base plus slugging (OPS) to begin this season.
If first base is occupied, though, Milwaukee has plenty of other quality options to save salary, including Willy Adames, Andrew McCutchen, and Kolten Wong.