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 can be the secret sauce to taking down a tournament. That could be a low-salaried pitcher piling up strikeouts or a low-salaried hitter swatting a long ball.
Which budget options stand out today on FanDuel?
Garrett Cooper, 1B, Marlins ($2,900)
Thursday's early slate starts in the Fish Tank, and the Marlins might continue to light up the scoreboard.
They've lit up the Rockies pitching staff for 16 runs in two games, and Kyle Freeland hasn't been a great stopper for Colorado. Freeland has never been a huge swing-and-miss guy, but a 15.0% strikeout rate for him in 2022 would be a new career low. He's also got a concerning 42.4% hard-hit rate allowed.
There is some risk to Miami since they've been so bad against lefties, posting just a 73 wRC+ overall since May 15th against them. However, Freeland isn't the guy to exacerbate their league-worst 28.8% strikeout rate in that time frame.
As a result, we can turn to their best bats in this split, and Garrett Cooper is absolutely the headliner. He's posted 200 wRC+ and a 1.026 OPS in this same sample since the middle of May.
Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Cubs ($2,600)
I mentioned the Cubs potentially exacting revenge in yesterday's column. They did precisely that with 14 runs on Wednesday.
Thursday's game should be more normal with a pair of sinkerballer lefties. Still, Chicago will draw Jose Quintana, who hasn't been bulletproof despite the solid 3.66 ERA. His 4.22 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) tells a better tale, and his 38.5% hard-hit rate allowed is concerning should his command ever falter.
They'll also draw a Pirates' bullpen with the eighth-worst xFIP since May 15th (4.25) when he departs.
As a result, I think we can turn right back to Patrick Wisdom. He -- like several Cubbies -- homered yesterday, but he's been marvelous against southpaws this year. Wisdom has tattooed them for a .873 OPS and 140 wRC+.
Rafael Ortega likely shifts out of the lineup for Christopher Morel, but the rest of last night's key contributors -- Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, and Yan Gomes -- should return. Oh, that Willson Contreras guy might also be looking to better his 0-for-5 effort from Wednesday.
Max Kepler, OF, Twins ($2,500)
Buxton sat last night, and they tallied 10 runs in a losing effort. Overall, they have a league-best 128 wRC+ against right-handed pitching since May 15th, and Zach Plesac will be far from their toughest test.
Plesac's minuscule 15.6% strikeout rate is a giant problem when parlayed with a 43.2% hard-hit rate allowed. Honestly, a 4.59 SIERA is incredibly generous leaving so many balls in play, and many of those are scorched. He's a blowup start waiting to happen.
The entire Twins' lineup is viable with a 5.31 implied team total, but outside of Buxton and Carlos Correa, you can get the best parts of it for a fairly low salary. That includes Gio Urshela, batting-title contender Luis Arraez, and Alex Kirilloff, but my favorite of their projected order today is Max Kepler.
Kepler took a righty deep last night, and that's been par for the course for him in 2022. He's smashed them for a .179 isolated power (ISO) and a .421 slugging percentage.
This vaunted lineup could hang another crooked number on Thursday.