5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 6/24/19
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.
Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees ($2,900)
It's hard not to like getting cheap exposure to the finally-healthy New York Yankees tonight. They get a juicy matchup against Toronto Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez, who hasn't posted a skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) better than 5.00 since 2016, and the Yanks' 6.24-run implied total is the slate's highest by a big margin.
Gregorius has made just 51 plate appearances since making his season debut earlier this month, so his struggles from the dish aren't too concerning because of the small sample. His 88.1 mile-per-hour average exit velocity is actually on pace to be a career-high clip, so it doesn't look like we need to be concerned about his health, either.
He's coming off a 2018 season that saw him rack up a .350 wOBA and .226 ISO over 569 plate appearances, and since 2017, he's put up a .353 wOBA and .235 ISO when he has the platoon advantage like he will against Sanchez.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians ($3,000)
Second only to the Yanks in implied total, the Cleveland Indians also find themselves in a great spot. The Kansas City Royals will be starting right-hander Brad Keller, who has an awful 5.41 SIERA over 16 games this season -- the fifth-worst mark among 84 qualifying pitchers. His walk rate is also up to 11.4%, and he's one of only three qualifying hurlers whose strikeout rate doesn't exceed their walk rate by at least 5%.
The switch-hitting Kipnis is really a matchup play here. Keller has an especially egregious 5.49 xFIP against left-handed bats, meaning even just a capable hitters (which sums up Kipnis' .325 wOBA and .158 ISO in the split) can offer some real appeal in this spot.
Tyler Naquin, OF, Cleveland Indians ($2,300)
Another left-handed hitter to take advantage of this matchup versus Keller, Naquin doesn't have much of a floor while projected to hit near the bottom of the order, but he can still bring plenty of upside.
His career numbers don't show a ton -- after impressing with a .374 wOBA and .218 ISO as a rookie in 2018, he had two terrible partial seasons in the majors in 2017 and 2018. He has improved some in 2019, though (his .303 wOBA and .160 ISO still don't inspire much confidence), and his hard-hit rate is up to a career-high 41.7%.
Naquin's hard-hit rate jumps to 44.0% this year if we just at only his work against right-handed pitching, and in that split, he has a serviceable .333 wOBA and .164 ISO on 40.8% hard-hits over his career. For only $300 above the minimum, those numbers are more than enough to make him viable in such a great matchup.
Lucas Duda, 1B, Kansas City Royals ($2,100)
We go even cheaper on the other side of that game here, with Duda priced only $100 above the minimum.
The Royals don't draw nearly as good a matchup as Cleveland does, though Cleveland righty Adam Plutko isn't particularly intimidating, either. He's pitched 27 2/3 major league innings this year, managing a 5.03 xFIP. That's pretty much what you'd expect from a guy who posted a 5.46 xFIP last year and had a 4.89 mark over four Triple-A starts to open 2019.
Duda has been pretty terrible through 77 plate appearances this year, struggling to a .221 wOBA. His hilariously low .163 BABIP (compared to a .280 career average) suggests he's due for some serious positive regression, though, even with his 33.3% hard-hit rate not looking all that impressive.
Duda's never going to offer much of a floor thanks to his high strikeout rate and low batting average, but he's tagged righties for a .346 wOBA and .252 ISO over 703 plate appearances since 2017, and that power is more than enough to make up for his inconsistency.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Atlanta Braves ($3,000)
Josh Donaldson has gone yard in six of his last nine games, He's topped 20 FanDuel points in five of his last eight, with a pair of games above 34 FanDuel points in there, too. His price-tag remains unchanged, though, as $3,000 is exactly where he was priced in the first of those nine games.
A matchup with Jon Lester should not be driving his salary down. Lester's 4.16 SIERA is fine but unexciting this year, and it puts him on pace for three straight seasons with a SIERA north of 4.00. This game is also taking place at Wrigley Field, where the forecast calls for 15 mile-per-hour winds blowing out, giving this game a big 11.5-run over/under on FanDuel Sportsbook. If anything, that should inflate hitters' salaries in this spot.
Donaldson's .367 wOBA and .237 ISO on the year are well above what we're usually looking at in the value price range. Over the last two seasons, he has a .366 wOBA and .214 ISO with an 18.1% walk rate and 47.9% hard-hit rate against southpaws. There's a lot to love about him in this spot, and he should be very popular today.
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.