5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 5/20/19

Willie Calhoun has been outstanding to open his young 2019 season. Can we expect him to keep it up against Mike Leake and the Mariners?

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.

Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers ($3,000)

Calhoun's salary is up $900 from where it debuted last week, and for good reason -- he's amassed 9.5 FanDuel points across only five games of action, going yard twice and tallying five runs and seven RBI.

Monstrous performances like this probably aren't sustainable, but Calhoun has also gone off for a .413 wOBA and .252 ISO over 138 Triple-A plate appearances this year, so we know he's got the potential to continue producing well from the dish.

Texas Rangers hitters also don't need to be studs to be able to thrive tonight as they take on Seattle Mariners righty Mike Leake, who is on pace for his third straight season with a skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) of 4.15 or worse, opening 2019 with a 4.43 mark while he's giving up career-worst marks in all of hard-hit rate (40.6%), soft-hit rate (14.4%) and fly-ball rate (36.9%).

Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers ($2,900)

The Rangers have a massive 5.94-run implied total tonight, so it's a real treat to be able to get multiple cheap bats in the lineup, meaning they can serve as an under-priced stacking option or just offer value in a variety of positions depending on what you need to fill out your lineup.

Second base isn't exactly loaded on tonight's slate, so Odor's upside is easy to like. he's been awful from the dish this year, with a .254 wOBA and 34.1% strikeout rate, though he is still showing plenty of power with a .183 ISO, 35.5% hard-hit rate, 13.2% soft-hit rate and 48.6% fly-ball rate.

The contact Leake is giving up this year makes this an exploitable spot for Odor, who has turned a 35.1% hard-hit rate and 41.4% fly-ball rate into a .319 wOBA and .213 ISO against righties over his career.

Kendrys Morales, 1B, New York Yankees ($2,200)

There's a reason Morales is already on his second team this season -- he has opened 2019 with a .281 wOBA over 139 plate appearances, and that doesn't cut it from a 35-year-old who offers no value on the basepaths or in the field.

He's had something of a resurgence in his three games since joining the New York Yankees though, notching three hits (including one home run), scoring twice and driving in three runs. We're obviously dealing with a small sample size there, but considering his 42.3% hard-hit rate and 10.3% soft-hit rate in 2019, that bounce-back shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

He's still priced like his recent success, rather than his early-season struggles, are the anomaly, leaving him offering plenty of value. His hard-hit rate has sat above 40% in two of the last three seasons so we can count on him to keep making strong contact. His .242 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is well below his .292 career-average, so we can also expect his production to continue to climb.

He's especially easy to like tonight against Baltimore Orioles righty Andrew Cashner, whose 4.62 SIERA might be his best since 2015 but is still an ugly mark.

Ryon Healy, 1B, Seattle Mariners ($2,900)

On the other side of the enticing Rangers offense, tonight are the Mariners, whose 4.83-run implied total is also a strong one as they take on Texas southpaw Mike Minor.

Despite what his 2.61 ERA may have you believe, Minor hasn't been pitching especially well this year, sporting a 4.16 SIERA while getting tagged for a 36.9% hard-hit rate.

Ryon Healy isn't overly dangerous from the dish, but his career .323 wOBA and .182 ISO against left-handed hurlers is more than enough to leave him offering some big upside in a spot as favorable as this one.

Kyle Schwarber, OF, Chicago Cubs ($2,700)

Schwarber has managed some middling production so far in 2019 (.315 wOBA, .171 ISO), but he's continued to hit the ball well. His 38.5% hard-hit rate is right in line with his 38.8% career-average, and his 12.1% soft-hit rate is on pace to be a career-low.

He also gets a nice boost with the platoon advantage tonight, owning a career .352 wOBA and .258 ISO on a 39.6% hard-hit rate against right-handed pitching.

Philadelphia Phillies righty Jake Arrieta is no pushover, but the 33-year-old hasn't posted a SIERA better than 4.15 since 2016, and he's opened 2019 with a shaky 4.62. Left-handed bats have tagged him for a .351 wOBA and 4.62 xFIP since 2017, and Schwarber should get plenty of chances to take advantage as the Chicago Cubs' projected leadoff hitter tonight.

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.