4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Thursday 6/17/21

Rich Hill has showcased fantastic upside this season and has a date with the Seattle Mariners tonight. Which other low-salaried plays should we target on Thursday?

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 eight-game main slate.

Rich Hill, SP, Tampa Bay Rays ($8,300)

Tonight's main slate doesn't have any sure things at pitcher -- Shohei Ohtani ($11,000) has an excellent matchup but has topped 36 FanDuel points in only two of his nine starts this season. And Brandon Woodruff ($10,800) is pitching at Coors Field. The remainder of the pitchers all have four-figured salaries, and each come with question marks of their own. In other words, finding a solid value play could go a long way toward bringing him some cash.

Enter Rich Hill.

The veteran is the ultimate tournament play -- in his last six starts, he's had two outputs of 57-plus and another two with 27 or fewer. However, his overall numbers this season are solid. The 41-year-old sports a 3.38 ERA, 25.9% strikeout rate, and respectable 3.96 SIERA, according to FanGraphs. That should play well in a juicy matchup like the one he has today against the Seattle Mariners.

On the season, Seattle ranks fifth-worst with an 85 wRC+ versus southpaws, and their 27.7% strikeout rate in the split is also fifth-worst. The M's have also struggled mightily at the plate in their home ballpark, with their 86 wRC+ and 28.1% punchout rate coming fifth- and second-worst, respectively.

While Joe Musgrove ($8,500) would cost us just an additional $200, he's likely to be chalky, and his matchup with the Cincinnati Reds is nothing to scoff at. I'd rather try to gain some leverage by rostering Hill.

Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, Chicago White Sox ($2,100)

The Chicago White Sox will be taking on the Houston Astros and right-hander Jose Urquidy, who has had his struggles keeping the ball in the park in his young career.

Through 132.2 career innings, Urquidy has surrendered 1.42 homers per nine frames, though that number balloons to 1.98 against righties. The 26-year-old has managed just an 18.8% strikeout rate to go with a 1.33 WHIP and 4.89 xFIP versus same-sided hitters.

That brings us to Andrew Vaughn. After going homer-less for the first 83 plate appearances of his career, the rookie has hit five dingers over the last month. Vaughn's overall numbers aren't all that impressive, especially against righties, but he does give us a lot of upside at a salary that's just $100 more than the minimum.

Abraham Almonte, OF, Atlanta Braves ($2,600)

Abraham Almonte was featured in this column yesterday, and he rewarded our efforts by totaling 21.7 FanDuel points. So, why not go back there again today?

The Atlanta Braves will be taking on the St. Louis Cardinals and overachieving right-hander John Gant. While Gant is showing a 3.36 ERA on the season, his peripherals paint an entirely different picture. Through 56.1 innings, the 28-year-old has a 6.15 xERA and 6.08 SIERA to go with a strikeout rate (16.3%) that's equal to his walk rate (16.3%). According to StatCast, Gant is in the seventh percentile or worse in xERA, xBA, strikeout rate, walk rate, and chase rate. Yikes.

Gant's underlying metrics certainly could have forecasted what's occurred in his past two starts -- 5.2 innings, 8 hits, 8 walks, 12 earned runs, 3 dongs, and just 3 strikeouts. Let's just say that an Atlanta stack is more than appealing tonight.

Almonte is still an economical way to get exposure to the Braves. Over his last 13 games, the 31-year-old has garnered a .344 average, 1.101 OPS, and more free passes (9) than punchouts (7). As an added bonus, Almonte is batting cleanup for the Braves in this one.

Taylor Ward, 3B, Los Angeles Angels ($2,800)

Out of necessity, the Detroit Tigers have called up Matt Manning to make his major league debut, and that's fantastic news for anyone in the Los Angeles Angels lineup.

Through 32.1 innings in Triple-A this year, Manning was pelted for 40 hits, 10 walks, 29 earned runs, and 11 home runs. While Manning's track record suggests that he's not the batting practice pitcher he has been in the minors this season, asking him to find his way in the Majors seems like a tall task.

There are a number of bats on the Angels worth targeting, but Taylor Ward stands out as a potential value play. In 90 plate appearances versus right-handed pitching this season, Ward has accrued 10 extra-base hits, 15 runs scored, 15 RBI, and a .264 ISO. That'll play.