3 MLB FanDuel Value Plays to Target on Tuesday 5/17/22
With production being highly variable on a night-to-night basis, daily fantasy baseball plays a bit differently than other sports.
As a result of this, the primary method of selecting hitters is to "stack" certain teams in good spots to produce. Most of the top stacks on a given day come with hefty salaries. In addition to that, a vast majority of pitchers with the upside to win tournaments are high-salaried hurlers.
Therefore, crushing your value plays -- whether it be a pitcher unexpectedly piling up strikeouts or a low-salaried batter racking up points -- can be the secret sauce to taking down a tournament.
Which budget options stand out today on FanDuel?
JT Brubaker, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates ($6,900)
There's an argument to be made that JT Brubaker is a top-three pitching option on a slate that is devoid of top-notch arms.
Brubaker and the Pirates will continue their series at Wrigley Field, and the wind is expected to blow in from right field tonight -- making all the difference. Brubaker's ERA (5.34) isn't impressive, but a 4.15 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and 24.3% strikeout rate are both great signs that he's a hurler who can catch lightning in a bottle in the right matchup.
The Cubs have been that matchup recently. They tagged Dillon Peters for five runs last night, but Peters is a lefty. Overall, Chicago has posted a below-average 94 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against right-handers, and they've struck out against them at the fifth-highest rate in baseball (25.0%).
That combination of upside present from both parties is arguably the best you'll find on Tuesday's slate. The Blue Jays could strike out a bunch against Logan Gilbert, but they're certainly dangerous. The Orioles aren't very potent, but they don't strike out a lot against right-handers, lessening the glow on Jameson Taillon.
Brubaker is a meeting in the middle, and his salary opens up any stack of your choice.
Alex Verdugo, OF, Boston Red Sox ($2,800)
With two solid pitchers -- at least the season -- at Coors Field, I'm looking elsewhere. The second-best hitter's park in the league is in Boston, so why not take a look?
The Red Sox draw a nice matchup today with Jose Urquidy. Urquidy's low 15.8% strikeout rate and insanely-high 48.5% hard-hit rate allowed feels like a recipe for disaster in Fenway Park -- especially against a Red Sox offense finding its stride.
Despite a pretty sour .595 on-base plus slugging (OPS) against righties, Alex Verdugo inspires some reasons for hope in the heart of that Red Sox order. First, Verdugo's .141 isolated power (ISO) isn't bad considering his overall struggles. Second, he's got a career .821 OPS against right-handed hurlers. In the long run, he should hit righties.
Verdugo is the only Boston bat below $3,000 outside of the very bottom of their order, so he's a crucial piece to making the other salivating components -- like Rafael Devers or J.D. Martinez -- work inside a build.
Joey Gallo, OF, New York Yankees ($2,600)
The Yankees are another top stack of the day, but they have just one solid bat under $3,000.
They're in Baltimore to battle Spenser Watkins and the Orioles. Watkins was a familiar target in 2021 with a 5.59 xFIP, and it really hasn't improved in 2022 (5.28). In Watkins' career, the right-hander has struggled more against same-sided bats. They've blistered him for a 6.26 xFIP and a 39.1% hard-hit rate.
Given he's still ceded 1.17 home runs per nine innings (HR/9) to lefties, we can still turn to Joey Gallo to pair with the stud right-handers in the Yanks' order.
Gallo has been pretty dialed in to start this season. Against righties, he's posted a 134 wRC+, .197 ISO, and 35.0% hard-hit rate. He's struggled mightily against lefties (25 wRC+), but Watkins should be a great matchup for Gallo.
In my eyes, the Yankees are the top stack of the day. Their 5.16 implied team total is the highest of the day outside of Coors Field, which may be getting a bump on reputation alone. Gallo's salary goes a long way toward making a Yankees stack work alongside a high-salary arm.