4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Tuesday 7/6/21

Merrill Kelly is an intriguing pivot from the Jacob deGrom chalk tonight. Which other lower-salaried plays should we target?

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 loaded 14-game main slate.

Merrill Kelly, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,800)

Tonight is Jacob deGrom day, and the slate's most expensive pitcher is likely to be the slate's most-rostered player as well. However, if you want to fade the chalk, Merrill Kelly should be a hurler you give strong consideration to.

On the season, Kelly's ERA sits at 4.67, but his underlying numbers are considerably better than that. The 32-year-old currently sports a 3.85 xFIP and 4.08 SIERA, and if you exclude his first four starts, an even rosier picture emerges. In 77 1/3 innings since April 27, Kelly has a 3.84 ERA, a 3.54 xFIP, and 76 punch-outs. The right-hander has racked up a quality start bonus in 7 of his 13 outings during that stretch, and he's managed at least 40 FanDuel points five times -- that includes three consecutive efforts with exactly 43.

The Arizona Diamondbacks could not ask for a better draw for their veteran pitcher, as he'll be going up against the Colorado Rockies in Arizona. This season, Colorado's 57 wRC+ on the road is dead last in the league by a wide margin (the next closest team is Pittsburgh at 74), according to FanGraphs. The Rockies' 27.2% K rate away from Coors is tied with the Chicago Cubs for the second-worst mark in the Majors.

Sign me up.

Didi Gregorius, SS, Philadelphia Phillies ($2,500)

According to numberFire's Matchup Heat Map, the second-highest implied run total of the slate tonight belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies, who will look to be the latest team to feast on Jake Arrieta.

The 35-year-old right-hander has struggled mightily this season, amassing a 5.57 ERA, 5.86 xERA, and 5.00 SIERA. Arrieta's 18.6% strikeout rate and 1.98 HR/9 means he doesn't miss a lot of bats, and his 10.2% walk rate means that when he's not getting battered, he's missing the plate quite often.

All that said, it's Arrieta's splits versus lefties that makes Didi Gregorius such an intriguing play. Since 2019, the former Phillie has garnered a 5.78 ERA, 16.6% strikeout, 11.6% walk rate, and 6.18 FIP versus opposite-handed hitters. During that stretch, lefties have mashed him for a .303 average, .904 OPS, .380 wOBA, 2.0 homers per nine frames, and a 1.76 WHIP.

Meanwhile, Gregorius has rock-solid numbers when he's had the platoon advantage. Since 2017, the shortstop has posted a .818 OPS, .219 ISO, .342 wOBA, and 115 wRC+ against righties. With 5 homers and 10 RBI in his last 49 at-bats, Didi is certainly in a position to take advantage of this salivating matchup.

Nate Lowe, 1B, Texas Rangers ($2,600)

We don't often look at the Texas Rangers as a go-to stack, but they might be just that tonight. Toeing the rubber against Texas will be Detroit Tigers righty Jose Urena.

Among the 100 pitchers with at least 70 innings this campaign, Urena ranks fourth-worst in ERA (6.22), fifth-worst in opponent batting average (.293), fifth-worst in WHIP (1.66), second-worst in strikeout percentage (14.1%), third-worst in xFIP (5.11), and second-worst in SIERA (5.28). Yikes.

Urena's numbers are somehow significantly worse against lefties. Since 2019, the 29-year-old has pitched to the tune of a 7.19 ERA, 6.48 FIP, 10.4% strikeout rate, and 8.4% free-pass rate to hitters lined up on the left side of the plate. The 383 lefties to go up against him during that stretch have accrued a .327 average, .961 OPS, .402 wOBA, and 2.1 dongs per nine innings. Sheesh.

There are a number of lefties we can target from the Rangers lineup, but the red-hot Nate Lowe stands out as a top value play. Over his last 20 games (88 plate appearances), the 25-year-old has posted a .333 average, .948 OPS, 7 extra-base hits, 10 runs scored, and 11 RBI.

Jake Fraley, OF, Seattle Mariners ($2,700)

Over the last month or so, Seattle Mariners outfielder Jake Fraley has showcased the ability to accumulate fantasy production in a variety of ways.

In his last 26 games (94 trips to the plate), the 26-year-old has collected 7 long balls, 21 RBI, 14 runs scored, 16 walks (to 23 punch-outs), 6 steals, and a .963 OPS. Most of Fraley's production this season has come with the platoon advantage, as he's smashed righties to the tune of a 1.066 OPS, .322 ISO, .446 wOBA, and 190 wRC+ in a limited sample in 2021. That'll play.

As luck would have it, Fraley will be stepping into the batter's box against a pitcher who's been pelted by left-handed bats this season. New York Yankees starter Jameson Taillon has faced 144 lefties in 2021, and they've accrued a .878 OPS, .375 wOBA, and 2.59 HR/9. His 5.03 xFIP in that split is nearly a run higher than it is against same-sided hitters (4.07).

Target Fraley for some high-upside value tonight.