5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 4/16/21
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.
Frankie Montas, SP, Oakland Athletics ($7,500)
That first part should lead to Max Scherzer being the most popular high-salaried play, but with a top ace removed from the equation, it does mean there's less risk in rostering a low-salaried hurler.
Although Detroit has performed better on offense than many expected, they're still a plus matchup for strikeouts. In fact, dating back to 2020, no other active roster has a higher strikeout rate versus righties than the Tigers (26.5%).
Montas has produced modest numbers over his two 2021 outings, but it really boils down to one bad start versus the Los Angeles Dodgers and then a bounce-back performance against the Houston Astros -- neither of which were easy matchups to begin with. He's still showing an 11.6% swinging-strike rate, which matches last season's output when he put up a 25.3% strikeout rate.
If we assume Montas can get back to that range, he should get his share of punchouts in a great spot on Friday night.
Kyle Schwarber, OF, Washington Nationals ($3,000)
Schwarber struggled in 2020, but we shouldn't let 224 plate appearances deter us from a guy who's shown big-time power throughout his career, including a career .248 ISO and 13.0% barrel rate.
Strikeouts are an issue for him, but that might not be the case against Widener, who has a 17.0% strikeout rate in his two starts and has performed poorly versus lefty sticks dating back to his time as a reliever in 2020. Schwarber is an easy add to your Nats stacks.
Sean Murphy, C, Oakland Athletics ($2,200)
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Sean Murphy cracks the list yet again. He's still looking for that first dinger, but he slugged two doubles a couple of games ago and is making hard contact (46.7%), so he may come around soon.
Jose Urena is generally a guy we attack with left-handed batters, but he just can't find the plate right now, issuing 9 free passes in 7.2 innings for a 24.3% walk rate, and it's not like he's coming off a strong stat line in 2020.
The Oakland Athletics have a 4.89 implied total and could be poised for a big night if Urena continues to dole out free baserunners. Murphy is one of the few A's to see his salary stay the same from yesterday, so don't be afraid to take advantage.
Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres ($3,000)
Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to come off the injured list today, so we should see him in the San Diego Padres' lineup. Unfortunately, the Padres have a tough matchup against Walker Buehler, so it's not like we're running to stack them up, and there's obvious risk in rostering Tatis after his shoulder scare.
But just look at that salary. $3,000? Assuming he's healthy, are we ever going to see Tatis at this salary the rest of the year?
Considering the matchup, you don't have to get crazy with your exposure here. But if you need a one-off, wouldn't you would rather have Tatis against a good pitcher compared to just about anyone else you could afford at this salary? And on a night with only one team getting an implied total of more than five runs, there isn't much risk in taking one-off shots across your lineups.
Aaron Hicks, OF, New York Yankees ($2,800)
And speaking of a five-run implied total, the New York Yankees are the proud owners of that high-water mark. They actually have quite a few low salaries, too, so you shouldn't have much trouble stacking them against Michael Wacha.
Wacha has struggled with walks so far this season (12.2%), and the long ball has plagued him over the last two campaigns. He's been beaten up against both sides of the plate dating back to 2019, as well, so it all boils down to an appealing stack at home for the Yankees.
Aaron Hicks continues to bat high in the order and has consistently shown solid pop over the last several campaigns, including a .189 ISO in 2020. Batting between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton as he has done in most games this year isn't a bad place to be, too.