5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 4/9/21
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.
Tyler Mahle, SP, Cincinnati Reds ($8,400)
There's definitely an argument for considering Charlie Morton ($7,500) as a value pitcher tonight, but I might be content to stick with Tyler Mahle as the lowest-salaried guy I'll roster.
Mahle is coming off a promising 2020 line with a 4.07 SIERA and 29.9% strikeout rate, and he carried that over into his first 2021 start by tallying 9 punchouts in 5.0 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. While his 7.1% swinging-strike rate could give us some paise, he posted a 13.8% clip in 2020, giving us confidence in his strikeout abilities.
Walks may be a problem for Mahle, but the potential ceiling is worth investing in. He draws an Arizona Diamondbacks team that could have a lot of lefties in the lineup -- certainly not ideal -- but there aren't many power bats to worry about, either.
Trent Grisham, OF, San Diego Padres ($2,500)
Trent Grisham is expected to be activated off the injured list today, and there's a chance he bats leadoff for the San Diego Padres.
The Padres have one of the highest implied totals tonight (5.41), taking on Kohei Arihara in just his second Major League start. Arihara came over from Japan this offseason, so some early growing pains are to be expected, and he only managed one strikeout in his debut against the Kansas City Royals.
It's safe to say the Padres are a more potent offense than the Royals, and Grisham will be one of the top values if he's in the lineup. Grisham displayed nice power in 2020 with an 11.0% barrel rate, and he's also a threat on the basepaths.
Ben Gamel, OF, Cleveland Indians ($2,200)
Editor's Note: Ben Gamel isn't starting today, but Amed Rosario ($2,200) is batting leadoff at the same salary, offering us a viable alternative.
Ben Gamel checks a lot of boxes on Friday, as he projects to bat leadoff, has the platoon advantage in a great matchup, and is just $200 above the minimum salary.
Julio Teheran has long been a guy who struggles against left-handed hitters, though he's often found a way to outperform his peripherals as shown by his career 3.80 ERA. That definitely wasn't the case in 2020, as it all fell apart in spectacular fashion, with a 5.99 SIERA, 13.4% strikeout rate, and 10.7% walk rate resulting in a horrific 10.05 ERA.
The Cleveland Indians have a hefty 5.07 implied total on the docket, and it just so happens we should expect them to roll out quite a few lefties tonight. Gamel has one of the lowest salaries of the bunch, and his high slot in the order makes him an easy inclusion for stacks.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds ($2,700)
Long gone are the days of Joey Votto being one of the elite hitters in baseball, but he's still entrenched as the Cincinnati Reds' number three hitter, so he has value in stacks.
The Reds face Taylor Widener, who has all of 26 innings under his belt, with 20 of those coming in relief last season and 6 coming in his first MLB start last weekend. Early returns show a 4.71 SIERA and 13.4% walk rate over those innings, and while he's demonstrated some strikeout potential, it came at the expense of home runs last season.
Votto is off to a quiet start, so it's hard to know how much is left in the tank, but it's easy to forget he actually performed pretty well in 2020, producing a .220 ISO and .347 wOBA. Sandwiched between power hitters Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez, and Mike Moustakas, Votto could still put up plenty of fantasy points just by getting on base.
Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Toronto Blue Jays ($2,900)
An uneven start by the Toronto Blue Jays has left their salaries pretty low in the early going, but perhaps they get back on track against left-hander Andrew Heaney.
While Heaney is hardly a poor pitcher, the longball has been a frequent problem for him, and most of that damage has come off the bats of right-handed hitters. In fact, over his career, he's allowed 77 of 86 dingers to righties.
It won't help him that not only is Toronto a predominantly right-handed lineup, but their "home" venue in Dunedin, Florida is expected to lean towards hitters. Teoscar Hernandez hasn't done much at the plate thus far, but his power has never been in question, and he's coming off a spectacular 2020 effort that included a 48.8% hard-hit rate and 38.3% fly-ball rate.