5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 7/12/19
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.
Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees ($2,800)
While Coors Field has the slate's highest over/under (12 runs), it's at Yankee Stadium that we'll find the highest implied total on the slate, with New York showing a 6.80-run mark against righty Aaron Sanchez and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Sanchez has a brutal 5.57 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) through the first half of 2019, which is tied as the worst mark among qualifying pitchers. These struggles are nothing new for him either, having posted a 5.10 SIERA last year after putting up a 5.62 mark over 8 games in an injury-plagued 2017 campaign.
Brett Gardner isn't the most exciting hitter in the Yankees' lineup, but he's one of the only cheap ways to get exposure to their massive implied total, and that's especially easy to like since he has the platoon advantage. He has a very solid .360 wOBA and .258 ISO against right-handed pitching so far this season, and if we expand our sample-size to go back to 2017 we still see a .342 wOBA and .190 ISO. Those numbers are more than strong enough to take advantage of a matchup with Sanchez, who has allowed a .356 wOBA and 5.20 xFIP to left-handed bats since 2017.
Giovanny Urshela, 3B, New York Yankees ($2,900)
Right back to that huge implied total, Giovanny Urshela will likely be the only other hitter under $3,000 in the Yankees' lineup tonight.
A righty-versus-righty spot isn't a major concern against Aaron Sanchez, who has given up a still-terrible .346 wOBA and 5.14 xFIP against same-sided bats since 2017.
Urshela has broken out with a .348 wOBA and .165 ISO over 248 plate appearances in 2019, and that career-best production is backed up by his contact numbers. His 43.3% hard-hit rate is 18.9 percentage points higher than we've ever seen before, while his 11.8% walk rate is 6 points lower than his previous career-best. His contact has actually been better against righties than southpaws this season as well, with 47.5% hard-hits, 10.2% soft-hits, and 32.8% fly-balls over 180 plate appearances in the split.
David Freese, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,600)
There are no shortage of highly-projected offenses on this slate, so while the Los Angeles Dodgers don't rank especially highly in implied total, a 5.14-run mark suggests they can still be expected to do plenty of damage against Boston Red Sox southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has a middling 4.18 SIERA across 18 starts in 2019, with his xFIP climbing to 4.23 against right-handed hitters. That's been par for the course over his career as well, never posting an xFIP better than 4.06 in the split, with an average of 4.30 across his five seasons in the majors.
David Freese has only made 84 plate appearances against southpaws so far this year, but his .374 wOBA in the split is right in line with what he's posted over the last few years -- .377 in 2018, .364 in 2017 and .407 in 2016.
Rodriguez is no pushover, but with a .379 wOBA and 41.1% hard-hit rate against lefties since 2016, Freese has no business being priced this low while he's got the platoon advantage.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays ($2,800)
Kevin Kiermaier hasn't exactly dazzled with his bat so far in 2019, taking a .306 wOBA into the All-Star break. He showed some nice pop though, with a .184 ISO (on pace to be his best since 2014), while his 34.1% hard-hit and 19.1% soft-hit rates are both on pace to be career-bests.
He's also long been a guy who needs the platoon advantage to really thrive. He's got an awful career .286 wOBA against southpaws, compared to a viable .327 wOBA and .189 ISO against right-handed pitching.
Today's right-handed opponent is an especially appealing one, as Kiermaier is up against Baltimore's Dylan Bundy. The O's pitching has been awful this season, and Bundy is no exception. His 4.38 SIERA is thoroughly unexciting, and a low .276 BABIP (compared to a .292 career-average) may be helping hide exactly how poorly he's pitching. His 4.73 xFIP is the second-worst of his career, and sits far behind his already-middling 4.59 career-average. Left-handed bats, in particular, give him fits, with a career 5.22 xFIP in the split.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres ($3,000)
Part of a cadre of San Diego Padres showing some major power before in the first half of the season, Hunter Renfroe has opened the year with a .372 wOBA and .361 ISO across 289 plate appearances. While this level of production is certainly new to him, and it would be no surprise to see him regress some in the second half, he still has career-averages of a .342 wOBA and .278 ISO. Even regression should leave him offering plenty of upside.
It's also not like the increase in production has come in a vacuum either. He's making by far the best contact of his career, with the highest hard-hit rate (52.1%), highest fly-ball rate (47.3%) and lowest soft-hit rate (14.4%) he's posted in any full major league season.
All of that excitement comes before we even factor in the platoon advantage -- which is a pretty important piece of the puzzle when you consider his career .397 wOBA and .333 ISO over 373 plate appearances in the split.
He's up against a pretty reasonable southpaw in Dallas Keuchel tonight, so the matchup itself doesn't do him any favors, but at this point, it's really only the most elite lefty arms that would be able to take Renfroe out of consideration at this price-point.
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.