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?
Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins ($2,800)
With just a 7.0-run total in Minnesota, the Twins may not be as popular of a stack as they should be.
They'll draw Michael Pineda at home, and the late stage of Pineda's career continues to be an unnerving trip to the mound for his teammates and supporters. Pineda's five scoreless innings in his 2022 debut against the Yankees also came with a 4.78 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) because his 5.0% swinging-strike rate is just absurdly low.
With so many balls in play, capable offenses will take advantage of him at some point. The Twins have one, headlined by Byron Buxton, but Max Kepler can also do damage from the cleanup spot here. Kepler slugged righties for a .238 isolated power (ISO) in 2021.
Trey Mancini, 1B, Baltimore Orioles ($2,600)
If you're going to roster Orioles, a lefty is absolutely preferred.
Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander, and Cedric Mullins have all posted weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against lefties of 127 or higher. While their lineup falls off dramatically after the big guns to an 87 wRC+ overall, it makes this team very easy to stack.
They've certainly had Jordan Montgomery's number historically. Montgomery has ceded a .836 on-base plus slugging (OPS) to the Orioles in their last 86 plate appearances against him.
Mancini, specifically, stands out in this spot. He has a .520 on-base percentage against Montgomery for his career, and he's mashed lefties for a .208 ISO to begin 2022.
They'll be unpopular with a 3.00 implied team total, but Baltimore can take advantage of the outward winds at Yankee Stadium, too.
Rafael Ortega, OF, Chicago Cubs ($2,200)
The warm temps and winds blowing out in Atlanta make for one of the better hitting environments of the day, and this game has an 8.5-run total as a result.
The question, though, is can we turn to Chicago against Charlie Morton? Morton's 2021 was exceptional, but he's posted a pedestrian 4.40 SIERA, 19.4% strikeout rate, and 9.0% swinging-strike rate to begin 2022. He's -- at the very least -- much more realistic to target.
The Cubbies' leadoff man, Rafael Ortega, is buried deep in the bargain bin. Despite his slow start this season, Ortega remains dangerous against right-handed pitching. He posted a .900 OPS and a .205 ISO against righties last season.
Morton and the Bravos' stellar bullpen aren't the best matchups of the evening, but the Cubs' hitting environment is pristine if they catch Atlanta's pitching staff on an off night.