5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 5/16/19
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.
Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins ($2,500)
Sano has finally been activated from the injured list, so double-check the Minnesota Twins' lineup once it becomes official to make sure he's starting tonight. If he does start, this is a fun spot to play him.
It doesn't seem like he's dealing with any ill-effects of his injury, having gone yard twice while adding four doubles and racking up 9 RBI over 10 minor league rehab games.
Last season was a down year for Sano, struggling to the tune of a .295 wOBA (though still notching a solid .199 ISO). That came with only a .286 BABIP, though, while his previous career-worstBABIP was .329 and his career average sits at .348 (even after the down year). He was still hitting the ball incredibly well, with a 42.5% hard-hit rate, 15.0% soft-hit rate and 41.2% fly-ball rate, so that dip in production is another thing we probably don't need to worry too much about.
That leaves us with a guy boasting a career .347 wOBA and .233 ISO for $2,500, which is pretty easy to like. And that's before we sweeten the deal with the Twins' 4.83 implied total and matchup with Erik Swanson, who has an uninspiring 4.67 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) over his first six major league games.
Kyle Farmer, C, Cincinnati Reds ($2,100)
Farmer is flexing some serious power this year, with five home runs and 13 RBI through only 52 plate appearances. That comes on the back of a 40.0% hard-hit rate (in line with last year's 38.9%) and a 40.0% fly-ball rate (not far off his 45.4% from 288 Triple-A plate appearances last year).
That power should immediately turn some heads when it's priced only $100 above the minimum salary, and even though Chicago's Jose Quintana brings a 3.78 SIERA to the table, Farmer's cheap enough to be worth an upside play anyway. That becomes especially true since he's got the platoon advantage, as Quintana struggled to the tune of a 4.42 xFIP against right-handed hitters last year and is giving them a 36.8% hard-hit rate so far in 2019.
Our models are high on Farmer tonight, projecting him as the second-best point-per-dollar value on the slate.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Seattle Mariners ($2,300)
Pineda missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and the results have been concerning. He's pitched eight games since returning, managing a 4.39 SIERA -- way up from his 3.77 clip from 2017 (then a career-worst mark). His average fastball velocity is down nearly 2 miles per hour from where it sat in 2017, and his 45.0% hard-hit rate is over 12 percentage points higher than his previous career high.
Crawford has made only 20 plate appearances this year since being called up, and while he's struggled in that tiny sample, he did notch a terrific .386 wOBA in his 138 Triple-A plate appearances.
While he's been terrible against southpaws in the majors, his career numbers with the platoon advantage include a viable .323 wOBA and .160 ISO, and he's a cheap way to get exposure to this matchup.
Dee Gordon, 2B, Seattle Mariners ($2,800)
You have to pay up a bit from Crawford to get Gordon in your lineup, but Dee is an even higher-upside member of the Mariners' lineup.
We're never counting on him to do serious damage with his bat, but he's sporting a reasonable .336 on-base percentage in 2019, which is his second time hitting that mark in the last three seasons. And getting on base is key to his fantasy upside.
Gordon hasn't stolen fewer than 30 bases in any of the six seasons that have seen him play at least 60 games. He's already got 11 swipes over 40 games this year, putting him on pace for 38.5 if he plays 140 games (something he has failed to do just once in the last five years).
Relying on steals (and runs scored) to bolster his fantasy value, Gordon is a boom-or-bust play. On a short five-game slate, that "boom" potential is enticing in a soft matchup.
Dexter Fowler, OF, St. Louis Cardinals ($2,900)
The 33-year-old Fowler looked washed in 2018, finishing with a .260 wOBA on a 33.9% hard-hit rate, but he's really turned things around this year.
His hard-hit rate is up to 40.0% and his soft-hit rate is down to 12.5% -- which is a lot like his batted-ball profile from 2017 (38.1% hard-hit rate and 12.7% soft-hit rate). His production has mirrored that, back up to a .369 wOBA, which lines up nicely with his .367 wOBA from 2016 and .358 mark from 2017.
The switch-hitter has had no issues with right-handed pitching, either, posting a .363 wOBA in the split in 2016, .368 wOBA in 2017 and a .383 wOBA so far this year.
That positions him very well tonight against Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves. Teheran is sporting a 4.39 SIERA through nine games this year, and he hasn't posted a mark better than that since 2016. He's been rocked for a 42.8% hard-hit rate and 15.2% soft-hit rate (both career-worst clips), and he shouldn't do much to slow down Fowler.
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.