5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 5/22/19
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.
Kendrys Morales, 1B, New York Yankees ($2,500)
Feel familiar? The New York Yankees continue to draw outstanding matchups, and Kendrys Morales remains cheap despite his terrific contact numbers and his increased production since moving to New York.
Morales only has a .271 wOBA on the year, but he also owns a career-high 42.2% hard-hit rate with only a 9.8% soft-hit rate. Despite the elite contact, his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is at only .230, compared to a career-average .292, so we know variance has played a big role in his 2019 struggles.
Baltimore Orioles right-hander Dan Straily isn't a threat to slow down Morales' solid start with the Yanks either, as Straily has an absolutely terrible 6.41 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) in 2019, and hasn't posted a mark better than 4.25 in any of his eight major league seasons.
Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees ($3,000)
It's not just Straily that sucks -- the Orioles' relievers continue to rank among the league's worst, sitting bottom-five with a 4.79 xFIP on the year. The Yanks have lit Baltimore up for double-digit runs in each of the first two games of this series, and their 6.19-run implied total tonight is the slate's highest.
This means there's plenty of value in doubling down on them again, and Brett Gardner once again offers plenty of appeal with the platoon advantage in such a favorable spot.
Gardner is making some decent contact this year, with a 31.8% hard-hit rate and 42.2% fly-ball rate against right-handed pitching, and that has converted to a .339 wOBA and .240 ISO in the split. This makes three times in the last four seasons he's had a wOBA of at least .330 against righties, and that's plenty high to take advantage of this matchup.
Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox ($2,400)
Jackie Bradley isn't a stranger to this column, either. He remains priced down near the minimum, and he remains a boom-or-bust player that relies on the platoon advantage to bring any value.
That "boom" potential is very real when he's up against a right-handed pitcher, though, as from 2015 to 2018 he turned in a .339 wOBA and .213 ISO on a 38.1% hard-hit rate in the split.
His production is way down this year, but with a .222 BABIP and 9.1% home run-to-fly-ball rate (compared to .285 and 13.8% career averages), he's another guy who we can expect to bounce back moving forward.
He gets a good matchup for a bounce-back tonight as the Boston Red Sox show a 5.16-run implied total against the Toronto Blue Jays and right-hander Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez has a 4.87 SIERA over 10 starts this season, not improving much on his 5.10 from 2018 or 5.62 in 2017.
Daniel Murphy, 1B, Colorado Rockies ($2,600)
They may not be at Coors Field, but the Colorado Rockies offense still brings some fantasy appeal tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who will be going with a bullpen approach to tonight's game, opening with right-handed reliever Montana DuRapau.
As a team, the Pirates have allowed the MLB's 10th-highest wOBA (.335) to left-handed bats this season, and the Rockies' 4.34 implied total is middling, but not low enough that it should scare you away.
Daniel Murphy has a terrible .251 wOBA on the year, but that comes with a .183 BABIP over only 82 plate appearances. Last year, he posted a .308 BABIP and his career average sits at .318, so we can expect some serious regression, even with his ugly batted-ball profile. Last year, he was making similar contact and managed a .338 wOBA, and the Pirates' struggles with lefty hitters position him well to start to turn things around tonight.
Neil Walker, 1B, Miami Marlins ($2,400)
Norris owns a career-average 4.50 SIERA at the major league level, and over nine starts in 2019, he's only managed a 4.84 mark. He's getting cracked for a 37.4% hard-hit rate and 40.8% fly-ball rate (consistent with last year's 40.6% and 41.3% rates), and he's given up a .338 wOBA and 4.67 xFIP to right-handed bats in that time.
Neil Walker has been one of the less terrible Marlins bats this year, with a .338 wOBA over 136 plate appearances. The switch-hitter has only posted a wOBA below .325 once in the last seven seasons, and he's on pace for his second straight season with a hard-hit rate north of 37%. Getting this production for only $400 above the minimum in a plus matchup is easy to like, even if he's surrounded by one of the league's worst offenses.
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.