5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 4/13/21

Brandon Lowe has struggled early on, but that's kept his salary down, and he now draws a potential plus matchup versus Kyle Gibson. Which other players could come through at low salaries?

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.

Brandon Woodruff, SP, Milwaukee Brewers ($8,800)

This is one deep pitching slate, and once you get past the high-salaried duo of Trevor Bauer ($11,000) and Shane Bieber ($11,200), you can talk yourself into quite a few guys.

Lucas Giolito ($9,800) is one clear option, but if you're looking for someone in that sub-$9,000 range, Brandon Woodruff stands out.

Whereas other big names in this salary range like Luis Castillo ($8,400) and Jack Flaherty ($8,200) have iffy early numbers, Woodruff has submitted a 2.76 SIERA, 31.0% strikeout rate, and 4.8% walk rate over his first two starts, which falls in line with what we've seen out of him the past two seasons.

The risk we run with Woodruff is pitch count, as he's been held below 80 in both outings. Still, he reached 49 FanDuel points in his last start against the Chicago Cubs -- tonight's opponent -- so he can get there with efficiency. The Cubs' active roster owned a 25.6% strikeout rate versus righties in 2020.

A.J. Pollock, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,400)

To me, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the clear top stack on the night, but they're not the easiest team to load up on if you're rolling with Bauer or Bieber. That's where A.J. Pollock comes in, as he's the lowest-salaried bat expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Antonio Senzatela will oppose the Dodgers, and he's just not someone who gets strikeouts, tallying only 5 through 11.1 innings this season and coming off a 13.5% strikeout rate in 2020. While left-handed batters have the more advantageous matchup against Senzatela, his strikeout rate sees just a modest boost in righty-righty spots, as he posted a 16.3% mark in the split last year.

Pollock is off to a slow start, but he showed nice pop in 2020, recording a 41.8% hard-hit rate and 39.9% fly-ball rate, and he also put up a solid 10.5% barrel rate.

Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros ($3,100)

After the Dodgers, it's the Houston Astros who are my next favorite stack, and it's actually the Astros who boast the slate's highest implied total (5.11).

Left-hander Matt Boyd has enjoyed good results so far, but his 4.37 SIERA, 19.6% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate aren't far off from his career averages, and his inability to keep the ball in the park is well-documented. The early numbers don't suggest a return to the 30.2% strikeout rate edition of Boyd in 2019, in which case we can feel pretty good about attacking him with Houston's righty bats.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel ($2,900) are the low-salaried bats to target, and Correa is off to a promising start, slugging 3 home runs in his first 10 games with a 13.3% barrel rate. Correa usually puts up quality numbers as long as he's healthy, so we shouldn't hesitate to roster him while his salary is this low.

Brandon Lowe, 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays ($2,700)

It's been a tale of two starts for Kyle Gibson, who got crushed on Opening Day and then turned things around in his second turn. He's had his moments over the years, but he's pretty consistently produced mediocre-to-poor splits versus left-handed batters, including a 14.0% strikeout rate and 9.3% walk rate in 2020.

A lower strikeout rate could mean big things for Brandon Lowe in particular. With Lowe, we know an 0-for-4 day at the plate will happen more often than we would like, but the power isn't in question, as he posted a .285 ISO last year and a .243 ISO in 2019. He's still looking for that first home run, and maybe this is the matchup that finally gets him over the hump.

Justin Upton, OF, Los Angeles Angels ($2,700)

It's a shame that with Anthony Rendon out of commission, there just aren't that many desirable right-handed bats in this Los Angeles Angels lineup to roster against lefty Danny Duffy. You know, other than that Mike Trout ($4,400) fellow. He's okay, I guess.

But on a limited hitting slate, the Angels are still worth a look because Duffy has posted lackluster marks versus righties for years. His xFIP in the split over the last three years show 5.22, 5.05, and 5.23.

Justin Upton isn't the same hitter he once was, but he's exceeded a .200 ISO in each of the past three campaigns, and his early-season Statcast metrics aren't completely devoid of power.