5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 5/6/19
With production being highly variable on a night-to-night basis, daily fantasy baseball plays a bit differently than other sports.
An 0-for-4 dud from a chalky high-priced slugger is a lot more common than a total dud from a top-priced NBA player or even than a stinker from a top quarterback or running back.
That means that it's not uncommon for value plays to end up doing the heavy lifting in carrying your lineup. The fact that they can be the difference between a good and a great lineup isn't much different than other sports, but value plays being able to make up for a whiff on a high-priced play completely is somewhat unique.
Let's get right into it and take a look at the top value options on today's slate.
Steve Pearce, 1B, Boston Red Sox ($2,200)
Means certainly doesn't own the most egregious 2019 numbers in the Baltimore rotation, but a 4.04 SIERA over eight starts also isn't anything special, especially against the high-powered Red Sox offense. The O's relievers are also tied for the worst group xFIP in the majors, at 5.00.
Pearce has an egregious .162 wOBA on the year, but that's over only 57 plate appearances. He posted a .382 wOBA last year (his second time above .370 in the last three seasons), and considering his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is sitting at an unsustainably low .207 in 2019, we don't need to be concerned about these early-season struggles.
He also gets a big boost from having the platoon advantage against Means, as he's turned a 37.6% hard-hit rate and 38.5% fly-ball rate into a .370 wOBA and .244 ISO in 337 plate appearances against southpaws since the start of the 2016 season.
Eduardo Nunez, 2B, Boston Red Sox ($2,200)
With a slate-high implied total, it's worth getting right back to the Red Sox offense. Their usual core of stud hitters at the top are, of course, in play, but it's also worth trying to find cheap exposure to an offense that's so well-positioned. If you're not doing that with Pearce (and really, even if you are), then it's worth looking at Eduardo Nunez.
Nunez also draws the platoon advantage against the left-handed Means tonight, and while he's struggling from the dish to open 2019, he's at least shown himself to be competent in that split, with his last three seasons including wOBAs of .317 and .321 against lefties.
That production isn't especially exciting even at only $2,200, but he more than makes up for it with upside on the basepaths. He only stole seven bases last year, but he had 24 and 40 in the two seasons before that, and he's already got three through 19 games this year.
Boston is likely to do plenty of scoring here, so the potential upside from scoring runs and stealing bases makes Nunez a high-ceiling (though low-floor) value.
Tyler White, 1B, Houston Astros ($2,300)
Despite showing some promise last year, Junis has taken a step back early in 2019, with a 4.36 SIERA, a 20.1% strikeout rate, a career-high 7.1% walk rate and a 38.8% hard-hit rate. He now owns a career-average 4.19 SIERA while allowing a 39.4% hard-hit rate.
Consistently one of the cheap ways to get exposure to the Astros' potent offense, White has a serviceable .336 wOBA on the season, but his power output has been lacking, with only a .075 ISO. His last two major league seasons saw him post marks of .246 and .257, though, and considering he's sporting a 39.4% hard-hit rate with only a 6.1% soft-hit rate in 2019, we can expect his power to come back. He hasn't hit a single home run in 2019, but over his career, 13.1% of his fly balls have translated to homers. So again, this lack of power output isn't something that should have you concerned moving forward.
Our models are also keen on White today, projecting him as a top-eight point-per-dollar value on the slate.
Marwin Gonzalez, 3B, Minnesota Twins ($2,300)
Marwin Gonzalez' production has followed a hugely up-and-down path over his major league career. This season has been thoroughly "down," but his .265 BABIP is well below his career average of .308, and the way he's hitting the ball has been pretty impressive.
His 41.4% hard-hit rate is on pace to be a career high, while his 17.1% soft-hit rate sits below his career average. This is building on a 2018 season that saw him post a similar 17.3% soft-hit rate and what was then a career-high 38.4% hard-hit rate.
Contact like this makes regression on that BABIP especially likely, so his production (and price tag) should be on the climb soon.
For now, though, we can take advantage of getting him priced only $300 above the minimum, and our models have only two players projected to return better value than Gonzalez tonight.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays ($2,700)
After being priced up above $3,000 to start his major league career, a quiet first few games have pulled Guerrero's salary down to a more modest level.
With the debut excitement dying down and Guerrero only managing a .221 wOBA and .033 ISO over his first 34 plate appearances in the bigs, now's the time to buy.
Those low marks are no concern for a guy who mashed an almost comically high .481 wOBA with a .269 ISO at the Double-A level and a .428 wOBA and .227 ISO at the Triple-A level in 2018. Yes, we can definitely expect his production to fall as he gets a step up in competition, but there's a lot of room between those massive marks and his awful numbers so far.
Perez has finished each of his last three seasons with a SIERA worse than 5.00, and his 4.68 mark in 2019 may be a slight improvement, but it's still ugly. He had an especially egregious 5.64 xFIP against right-handed bats last season, and Vlad Jr. couldn't ask for a much better matchup.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.