5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 4/8/21
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-salaried slugger is a lot more common than a total dud from a top-salaried 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-salaried play completely is somewhat unique.
Let's get right into it and take a look at the top value options on today's slate.
Lance Lynn, SP, Chicago White Sox ($8,900)
Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,200) deserves consideration here, but he's a risk as someone coming off the injured list, and at just $700 more, it isn't all that hard to find enough room go with the much safer Lance Lynn.
Lynn was solid if unspectacular in his 2021 debut, recording 6 punchouts in 4.2 innings against the Angels, but he did so with an encouraging 15.2% swinging-strike rate. He also reached 99 pitches, something we haven't seen often out of pitchers early in the season, and both Corbin Burnes and Jose Berrios were held under 90 in their first starts.
Josh VanMeter, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks ($2,500)
I was originally writing up Josh Rojas here as a potential leadoff hitter, but instead, Tim Locastro ($3,100) is leading off. But Locastro is still low-salaried, and we also get Josh VanMeter ($2,500) as an enticing value.
Jon Gray got off on the right foot in his first start, allowing just one earned run to the mighty Dodgers over five innings with seven strikeouts. That's pretty impressive, and maybe it shows that he deserves a mulligan for last year's lost season (5.58 SIERA and 12.6% strikeout rate), which could partially be blamed on a shoulder issue.
Still, while Gray has been a solid arm over his career, he owns a career 4.61 ERA at home, so he's as susceptible to Coors Field as anyone. VanMeter doesn't have a long track record, but he'll have the platoon advantage, and it's hard to pass up a $2,500 salary for a number two hitter at Coors.
Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox ($2,900)
Harvey held his own against the Sox in his Baltimore debut, but he didn't show much swing-and-miss stuff with a 5.8% swinging-strike rate. We didn't see much of him in 2020, so if we step back to 2019, we get a paltry 5.81 SIERA, 14.7% strikeout rate, and 10.9% walk rate over 59.2 innings.
Harvey's struggles often come against lefty bats, which is why we can really like Rafael Devers at this salary. Devers hasn't done much thus far, but I wouldn't be surprised if his salary is much higher later in the season. Let's not forget that he posted a 12.1% barrel rate in 2020, and he had excellent numbers across the board in 2019, finishing with a 133 wRC+.
Kyle Garlick, OF, Minnesota Twins ($2,100)
Gonzales has typically been a league-average fly-ball pitcher, and he didn't get off to the best start to 2021 by allowing three dingers to the Giants.
If San Francisco can do that, Minnesota certainly can, particularly with a lineup filled with seven right-handed bats to counter the southpaw. Gonzales actually showed some success against righties in 2020, but the year before that, he was clocked for a 5.08 xFIP.
Garlick has limited time in the big leagues, but most projection systems peg him for a .170-.180 ISO, which is more than enough to be of interest at this salary.
Sam Hilliard, OF, Colorado Rockies ($3,000)
Sam Hilliard could be in the lineup against the righty, and he'll definitely do the trick if that's the case. We only have 214 plate appearances to go off of, but Hilliard has produced a .316 ISO off a 12.2% barrel rate since debuting in 2019, and he showed excellent power numbers in Triple-A. Obviously, we shouldn't expect him to keep up that power pace, and he also strikes out a lot, but there's clear upside in his bat for our Colorado stacks.