4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 4/19/21

Brandon Belt is one of several Giants with a low salary on Monday. Which other players stand out?

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.

Kevin Gausman, SP, San Francisco ($8,500)

I'm most interested in Joe Musgrove ($10,500), Dustin May ($9,300), and Dylan Bundy ($9,000) tonight, but if you're looking for a sub-$9,000 option, Kevin Gausman is worth a look.

While Gausman hasn't matched his 32.2% strikeout rate from 2020, his 24.3% strikeout rate and 12.7% swinging-strike rate are still encouraging through three starts. Maybe he won't get back to last year's level, but we can still hope for more upside out of his arm.

His matchup against Philadelphia isn't as good as the previously mentioned trio, but the Phillies still have a middling 4.17 implied total. Gausman should also have a reasonable pitch count, hitting at least 90 in all three starts.

Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,900)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the night's better stacks -- nothing new there -- but they also have plenty of value in the lineup.

Will Smith is one such player, and he ought to be batting cleanup against left-hander Justus Sheffield. While Sheffield possesses a high ground-ball rate, Smith rarely hits grounders (career 27.3% ground-ball rate), making him the perfect type of hitter we want to roster in this matchup.

The young catcher is also showing his usual power early on with a 17.9% barrel rate.

Justin Upton, OF, Los Angeles Angels ($3,000)

The Los Angeles Angels have seen their implied total rise to 5.03 over the course of the day, as they face Kohei Arihara, who has a mere 12.3% strikeout rate across his first three MLB starts.

We have quite a few Angels bats who come in at $3,000 and below, but it's not exactly the most potent group. We can still consider Justin Upton, though, who projects to bat fifth and has a pair of dingers on the young season. Upton is still hitting the ball in the air at a high clip (53.6% fly-ball rate), and he posted a respectable .218 ISO in 2020.

Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco ($2,300)

Honestly, we could practically list most of the San Francisco Giants here, including the entire top half of the order. In fact, every single batter has a salary of $3,100 and below.

Brandon Belt is one of the top choices, though, as he's just $300 above the minimum and is showing some of the same power he demonstrated in 2020. Belt is exhibiting a 17.4% barrel rate this season and produced a 16.8% mark last year. The result has been a .273 ISO over that span, and while his strikeouts are up this year, we have to like that upside.

San Francisco's matchup against Chase Anderson is one of the slate's best. Anderson has a 5.57 SIERA, 15.8% strikeout rate, and 13.2% walk rate over two starts and has been a league-average pitcher at best in recent seasons.