4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Wednesday 4/21/21
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.
Michael Wacha, SP, Tampa Bay Rays ($7,000)
Wacha has surprised with a 32.8% strikeout rate and 15.9% swinging-strike rate through his first 15 innings, which is way above anything we've seen from him over the years. Surely it can't last, but maybe there's some merit to these early results due to some changes he's exhibited thus far, and he also has a weaker opponent in the Kansas City Royals. The Royals' active roster has an 88 wRC+ versus right-handers going back to last season, and their implied total sits at 4.00 in the early afternoon.
Honestly, this is the type of slate where we might not get a massive fantasy score out of any pitcher, so there's less risk to going off the board and/or devoting more salary to hitters. Wacha's at least shown some upside early on, which is all we can ask for tonight.
Ehire Adrianza, SS/2B, Atlanta Braves ($2,400)
The Braves have one of the better matchups against Corey Kluber, who has struggled in three starts and is showing a mediocre 22.6% strikeout rate and 13.2% walk rate. Injuries have limited Kluber to just 11 starts dating back to 2019, so it's entirely possible he simply won't be an effective pitcher in 2021.
Adrianza isn't all that exciting on his own, but batting ahead of Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna isn't a bad place to be. Ozzie Albies ($3,000) is also a steal at his salary, and Pablo Sandoval ($2,000) is at the minimum if he plays.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds ($2,800)
Don't count out Joey Votto just yet. The 37-year-old has become more of an afterthought as he gets older, but he's off to a solid start to 2021, and his early Statcast metrics back it up. That includes a barrel rate above 13%, which has helped him to three dingers so far.
And speaking of dingers, the Cincinnati Reds have a plus matchup for home runs against Merrill Kelly, who's allowed a 43.2% hard-hit rate and 42.0% ground-ball rate since he debuted in 2019, and the result has been 1.48 home runs per 9 innings. Stack up the Reds, and Votto gives you a low-salary option in the heart of the order.
Gleyber Torres, SS/2B, New York Yankees ($2,500)
The New York Yankees aren't where they want to be in the standings, but their bats should wake up eventually. Even with their early issues at the plate, they're a top offense -- at least on paper -- on a short slate, so we have to consider them for our stacks.
Ian Anderson doesn't make for an easy matchup, but he does have a 10.2% career walk rate, and the Yankees have the bats to punish you for issuing free baserunners. It also doesn't hurt that we're seeing high winds blowing out to right-center, listed at 17 mph as of this writing.
Anderson's tougher on left-handed batters, so the righty sticks should be our priority, and that leads us to Gleyber Torres. Admittedly, Torres is one of reasons for the Yankee's slow start, as he's slashing an abysmal .182/.297/.218, but as long as he doesn't get dropped in the order, we should have faith that he turns it around. Torres owns a career 118 wRC+, and he slugged 38 home runs just a couple of years ago.