5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 7/16/19
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.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B, San Francisco Giants ($2,900)
Pablo Sandoval has no business being this cheap tonight. The San Francisco Giants may be underdogs at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies, but thanks to this game's massive 14-run over/under, their 6.60-run implied total is still the second-highest on the slate.
The Rockies will start right-hander Peter Lambert, whose 42.3% hard-hit rate is a real concern at Coors, even when paired with a fairly low 30.4% fly-ball rate. His six career major league starts have only seen him manage a 4.99 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), which is about what we would expect from a guy who only posted a 4.71 xFIP in 11 Triple-A starts in 2018 and a 4.99 across 11 in 2019.
The switch-hitting Sandoval has a solid .341 wOBA and .259 ISO across 211 plate appearances this year -- which is enough to offer solid value in this matchup even before we factor in Coors Field. His 34.7% fly-ball rate in 2019 isn't far from his 36.0% career-average, and he pairs that with a career-best 43.2% hard-hit rate. He's always made better contact against right-handed pitching as well, with a career 33.9% hard-hit and 36.3% fly-ball rate, compared to 24.6% hard-hits and 35.4% fly-balls against southpaws.
Joe Panik, 2B, San Francisco Giants ($3,000)
This spot against Lambert is juicy enough that we don't need out Giants bats to be as dangerous as Sandoval, either.
Joe Panik has been pretty bad from the dish in 2019, with a .274 wOBA and .086 ISO, but he's also sporting a Coors-friendly 37.4% hard-hit and 35.1% fly-ball rate. Only 3.2% of his fly-balls have turned into home runs (compared to a 5.3% career-average), so with this career-high in hard-contact we can expect regression to push his production up as we move forward.
In the thin Coors Field air, we can also expect a much higher HR/FB rate. Panik has made 141 plate appearances at Coors over his career, so we can't read too far into the small sample, but he's turned in a terrific .434 wOBA in that time, despite having only a 27.8% hard-hit rate. With the improved contact he's made lately and the platoon advantage against Lambert, he should have little trouble taking advantage of these hitter-friendly digs.
Garrett Hampson, SS, Colorado Rockies ($2,600)
On the other side of that game, the Rockies' 7.40-run implied total is the slate's highest by a big margin. Part of that comes from the fact that the Giants are starting southpaw Drew Pomeranz, who has an underwhelming 4.60 SIERA on the year after posting a 5.10 in 2018.
Like Panik, Garrett Hampson wouldn't offer a ton of appeal outside of Coors Field, with a lowly .266 wOBA over his first 197 major league plate appearances.
He's not terrible at getting the ball into the air though, with a 31.9% fly-ball rate in the majors. We only have 67 plate appearances against lefties to look at for him, but his fly-ball rate jumps to an especially intriguing 41.5% in that sample so far.
Pomeranz is especially egregious against right-handed hitters, getting absolutely thrashed for a .406 wOBA and 5.02 xFIP in the split since 2018 (508 batters faced), meaning simply being a righty against him at Coors Field is more than enough to put just about anybody in play at this price point. Hampson is one of the only ways to get cheap exposure to the Rockies' massive implied total, making him worth a long look here.
Eric Thames, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers ($2,800)
Eric Thames with the platoon advantage is a spot that comes up often in this article, and for good reason.
Since returning stateside in 2017, Thames has made 910 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. In that sample, he's blasted 45.5% hard-hits and 43.8% fly-balls with only 12.8% soft-hits, and that contact has translated to a .371 wOBA and .275 ISO.
That's not a level of production you expect to see for anywhere near $3,000, let alone below that price point. The reduced salary comes because he does carry some risk -- with a very low floor against southpaws, only managing a .301 wOBA (though still a .201 ISO) in the split since 2017.
Tonight he gets a crack at Atlanta Braves righty Bryse Wilson, who only managed a 4.39 xFIP across 15 Triple-A starts before coming to the major league level and posting a 4.75 xFIP in 14 2/3 innings so far in 2019.
Joc Pederson, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,700)
He saw a sudden drop in price over the All-Star break, having been priced in the mid-$3,000's before the break but below $3,000 in every game since. and that creates some serious opportunity. It's no surprise considering his appearance in the home run derby, but Pederson has shown a ton of power this season, swatting a .277 ISO that lines up nicely with 2018's .273. He's also on pace for a .354 wOBA that matches last year's exactly.
If we narrow our view to his work against righties since 2018 (663 plate appearances), we see an especially appealing .374 wOBA and a stellar .300 ISO.
Vincent Velasquez is no pushover, but the righty has a middling 4.57 xFIP against left-handed hitters since 2018, and that certainly doesn't warrant a price-tag this low for Pederson.
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.