5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Tuesday 5/18/21
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.
Jameson Taillon, SP, New York Yankees ($7,100)
The real-life results haven't been there, but it's hard to pass up a 3.13 SIERA, 30.7% strikeout rate, and 5.7% walk rate at this salary.
Jameson Taillon has been burned by the long ball all season, allowing 2.16 per nine innings, but that's more than double his career average (1.01), and an 18.6% homer-to-fly-ball rate points to some poor luck. His ground-ball rate has dropped to 37.5%, so the results probably aren't entirely a fluke, but his encouraging peripheral numbers should lead to better overall results.
The matchup is right for Taillon to turn things around, too. The Texas Rangers' active roster has the third-worst strikeout rate versus righties this season (27.3%).
Joey Wendle, 2B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays ($3,000)
This is a pretty wide-open slate in terms of hitting, because there arguably aren't any must-roster spots. As of this writing, not a single team has an implied total of more than five runs.
The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the better matchups on the board, though, and their left-handed batters are primarily who get the advantage. Matt Harvey has a lackluster track record versus lefties, and that's playing out in 2021, as well, with a 5.37 xFIP and 12.9% strikeout rate in the split. He's also showing a low ground-ball rate against them (35.1%), giving the potential for home runs.
Lefty hitter Joey Wendle isn't the most exciting bat to roster in DFS due to his modest power, but he's 69th percentile in strikeout rate and 73rd percentile in sprint speed, which bumps up an otherwise uninspiring profile. He ought to bat sixth or higher tonight, making him a solid addition to Tampa stacks.
Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Toronto Blue Jays ($3,100)
Don't get me wrong, between the park factor boost at TD Ballpark and a strong righty-heavy Blue Jays lineup, this could easily work out well for Toronto. But Rodriguez has a 3.38 xFIP and 25.8% strikeout rate against righties this season, which are hardly marks we typically attack.
Still, the southpaw isn't getting grounders and has allowed five dingers to right-handed bats, so at the very least, there's some potential for one-offs. Teoscar Hernandez is the right man for the job, as his Statcast metrics are starting to look a lot like last season, including an encouraging 13.6% barrel rate.
Kyle Schwarber, OF, Washington Nationals ($3,100)
Despite some better results lately, Zach Davies' numbers leave a lot to be desired this season, including a 6.05 xFIP, 13.6% strikeout rate, and 14.8% walk rate versus left-handed hitters.
While that obviously bodes well for the great Juan Soto, Kyle Schwarber will also benefit from this spot. The balls are starting to fly out of the park for Schwarber, and he's now up to a solid .209 ISO for the season. His 11.5% barrel rate is creeping closer to his career average (13.0%), and it doesn't hurt to see he has a 99th percentile maximum exit velocity, too.
Luke Voit, 1B, New York Yankees ($2,800)
Mike Foltynewicz is a much better pitcher against righty sticks, so this isn't a perfect spot for the predominantly right-handed New York Yankees, but Foltynewicz is still giving up his fair share of home runs in righty-righty matchups off a 39.5% hard-hit rate and 37.3% fly-ball rate.
Injuries to others have helped Luke Voit move up to second in the order, and considering his career .251 ISO, he's a good bet to capitalize on Foltynewicz's home run issues. Voit's coming off a stellar 2020 campaign and already has a home run on the ledger in just six games since returning from injury.