5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Wednesday 5/12/21
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.
Zac Gallen, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,200)
Although we have some really strong pitching at the top of the salary list between Gerrit Cole and Brandon Woodruff, there's value to be found in the lower ranks, too. Zac Gallen and Andrew Heaney are both intriguing as sub-$9,000 options, but when factoring in matchups, it's Gallen who arguably gets the nod.
While Gallen's stat line through five starts has some concerns -- in particular his 12.2% walk rate -- he's still demonstrating encouraging punchout upside through a 27.8% strikeout rate. Gallen is also coming off a strong 2020 campaign in which he posted a 3.88 SIERA, 28.2% strikeout rate, and 8.6% walk rate over a dozen starts.
Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,000)
Perhaps Dunn is doing something right because he's skated by on poor peripherals throughout his young career, but the combination of a low strikeout rate (19.8%) and high walk rate (15.3%) figures to come back to haunt him sooner rather than later. He struggled mightily with home runs in 2020, too, which is another positive for our Dodgers stacks.
Despite the modest salary, Will Smith is showing excellent plate skills with a 14.9% strikeout rate and 11.4% walk rate, and his 11.3% barrel rate is a good sign for his power. He's an easy add as the Dodgers' usual number four or five hitter.
Marwin Gonzalez, 1B/OF, Boston Red Sox ($2,400)
Boston is facing Oakland right-hander James Kaprielian, who will be making his first MLB start. Kaprielian is an unknown quantity at this point, but he's short on experience as someone who spent 2019 across all three minor league levels and compiled an xFIP above 4.00. He otherwise got a brief taste of the Majors in 2020 (3.2 innings) and has made one Triple-A start this season.
In short, it's difficult to know what to expect from the young righty tonight, but the Red Sox have a strong two through five in the order, which should benefit Gonzalez if he can set the table for them.
Yasmani Grandal, C, Chicago White Sox ($2,700)
In terms of surface stats, Yasmani Grandal has been underwhelming at the plate this season, but he's getting on base with a 28.4% walk rate and is showing a promising 12.8% barrel rate. In a time when the league average hard-hit rate is down to 31.2%, Grandal is top-10 among batters with at least 90 plate appearances at 44.7%, per FanGraphs.
Maybe the Chicago backstop won't hit for average, but there appears to be plenty of power left in his bat, and he slugged his third home run on Tuesday. Perhaps a matchup against a low-strikeout lefty like J.A. Happ will help him notch another one tonight.
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Kansas City Royals ($2,700)
Casey Mize has been brutal against lefties dating back to last season, allowing 2.67 home runs per nine innings with a 16.7% strikeout rate and 11.4% walk rate.
Although Kansas City doesn't have many lefties in their lineup, we can exploit this matchup with two-hole hitter Andrew Benintendi. While Benintendi isn't outstanding at any one thing, he seems to be bouncing back from a lost 2020 campaign, producing a 111 wRC+ through 133 plate appearances. The Royals have also given him the green light on the basepaths, as he's accumulated five stolen bases, although he's also been caught four times.
A struggling Detroit Tigers bullpen adds the potential for a full Kansas City stack, too.