4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 4/20/21
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.
Taijuan Walker, SP, New York Mets ($7,700)
I made a pitch for Chris Paddack ($6,900) in today's helper -- albeit reluctantly -- but he's the top pitching value on the board if you think he can get on track versus Milwaukee. That said, if you don't want to go there, Taijuan Walker is another low-salaried choice.
Walker benefits from some frigid temperatures at Wrigley Field, and that's helped push down run expectations in this game, with the opposing Chicago Cubs looking at a 3.83 implied total. Walker found success over 11 starts in 2020, but his peripheral numbers were pretty pedestrian, putting forth a 4.60 SIERA, 22.2% strikeout rate, and 8.4% walk rate.
Given his past injuries, that's about all we can really go off of prior to this season, but his early 2021 results have shown promise. His fastball velocity is up a bit, and his strikeout rate has jumped up with it, as he's produced a 29.3% strikeout rate and 12.0% swinging-strike rate through two starts. Some extra free passes have come with these gains, but at least this gives us some hope for an increased ceiling.
In addition to the weather, the Chicago Cubs' active roster has a 26.0% strikeout rate and 91 wRC+ versus righties going back to last season. On a limited pitching slate, Walker may have enough going to take the leap of faith tonight.
Paul DeJong, SS, St. Louis Cardinals ($2,800)
It might be only two starts, but sound the alarms for the 2021 version of Corbin. He's been wrecked for 15 earned runs over 6.1 innings, and his other numbers don't give much hope in a 6.62 SIERA, 15.0% strikeout rate, and 17.5% walk rate. His velocity is about where it was in 2020, too, which resulted in a substantial drop in strikeout rate (20.3%).
DeJong has one of the lower salaries in the lineup, and his barrel rate is cooking in the early going. He owns a .207 ISO over his career and is a reasonable bet to go deep again versus a struggling lefty.
Sam Hilliard, OF, Colorado Rockies ($3,000)
The Colorado Rockies have one of the highest implied totals on board because, you know, Coors Field.
But their matchup checks out against Luis Garcia, who's quite short on experience at just 20 career Major League innings. Although that also makes him a wild card of sorts, he's produced an 11.0% walk rate and 30.9% ground-ball rate dating back to 2020, and a combination of free passes and fly balls could lead to some big innings for Colorado.
Hopefully, we get Sam Hilliard in this lineup with a righty on the hill, as he'll be one of the better value options. Hilliard struggles with strikeouts, but he possesses both power and speed upside, giving him more potential for fantasy points than we might normally get from a Coors player at this salary.
Jose Rojas, 2B, Los Angeles Angels ($2,000)
With Shohei Ohtani pitching tonight, that means that Jared Walsh will be one of the only lefties in the Los Angeles Angels' lineup, so we'll have fewer batters with the platoon advantage against Jordan Lyles. Dating back to 2019, Lyles owns a 5.72 xFIP, 19.3% strikeout rate, and 11.4% walk rate versus left-handed batters.
Let's hope that means Jose Rojas gets the nod then, as he's at minimum salary and is a lefty who can take advantage of this spot. Expectations shouldn't be super high for a 28-year-old who didn't make his debut until this season, but he put up a .283 ISO in Triple-A back in 2019, and public projections on FanGraphs peg him for a respectable ISO above .150. He could bat in the top two-thirds of the order, too.