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?
Jarren Duran, OF, Red Sox ($2,800)
Zack Greinke is due for regression at Kauffman Stadium.
The aging hurler holds an ugly 4.77 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), has allowed plenty of hard contact (41.7% rate allowed), and doesn't generate many whiffs (7.6% swinging-strike rate), yet he's got a sparkling 1.65 ERA in Kansas City this season. Baseball!
Oddsmakers aren't exactly buying he stays lights out at home, posting the visiting Red Sox with a 4.50 implied total on Friday. Part of that could be the Royals' wretched bullpen (4.55 xFIP this season), but it's at least somewhat attributed to Grienke's potential return to Earth.
As a result, the new-look Boston lineup could have a coming-out party. They've added Tommy Pham and Eric Hosmer to their lineup, but Jarren Duran is still the key priority here against orthodox pitchers. Duran's 94 wRC+ in the split isn't special, but he's stolen 7 bags in a combined 45 times on base. That's the upside he brings.
With only Rafael Devers above a $3,200 salary inside this lineup, the slumping Red Sox could bring great value if they bust out of their funk in this matchup.
Jose Iglesias, 2B/SS, Rockies ($2,700)
On a 13-game slate, being different can be incredibly valuable. It doesn't get much more "different" than the Rockies on the road.
However, different can't be crazy. The Rox aren't tonight against Madison Bumgarner because their active roster has a modest 99 wRC+ against lefties. Against a righty, it might be a different story.
Bumgarner's 3.83 ERA this season is fortunate. He's posted a 4.76 SIERA and 43.1% hard-hit rate allowed behind it. And, per usual, Bumgarner will be followed by an Arizona bullpen with the third-worst xFIP in baseball this year (4.40).
At $2,700, Jose Iglesias is likely to hit second with a solid .766 OPS in the split, but there is no shortage of salary-cap-friendly Colorado bats to choose from in this matchup, including Randal Grichuk, Brendan Rodgers, Yonathan Daza, and Elias Diaz.
Yoan Moncada, 3B, White Sox ($2,400)
Otto's profile is that of a blowup waiting to happen. His 5.50 ERA is supported by a 5.02 SIERA, and he's got a robust 12.0% walk rate. His strikeout rate (18.0%) isn't nearly as high as opposing hurler Dylan Cease, who makes up for his double-digit rate with a punchout 33.3% of the time.
The Texas bullpen has really struggled lately, too. Their 4.52 xFIP since July 1st is the sixth-worst mark in baseball during that span.
As a result, the talented Pale Hose lineup will likely be boom or bust again, and Yoan Moncada is a perfect microcosm of the team's struggles. With just a 12.4% soft contact rate against righties, Moncada is seeing the ball well enough, but he's been hindered by a poor .265 batting average on balls in play (BABIP).
It's possible that this White Sox lineup lives up to its true potential and chase Otto early. If they can, Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Andrew Vaughn, and Gavin Sheets should all contribute at or below $3,000 on FanDuel.