4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Thursday 4/22/21
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.
Cristian Javier, SP, Houston Astros ($7,300)
There are slim pickings, and then there's what we find at pitcher on tonight's slate.
But Cristian Javier is one of the few pitching options who has demonstrated some strikeout ability in 2021, with a 31.4% strikeout rate over his first two starts. He also put up a 25.2% clip over 54.1 innings last season, so we can feel fairly confident that he's at least above average in the department.
Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Angels are a tough matchup for punchouts, owning a 21.3% strikeout rate versus righties going back to 2020. But the good news is they aren't the most potent lineup beyond Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, so if Javier can work around those two, he should find some success. The Angels have the fourth-lowest implied total on the night.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox ($3,000)
This feels like a comical salary for an established hitter like Xander Bogaerts, and it's not like he's off to a slow start given his .385/.429/.585 line so far.
But we'll gladly take it in a matchup against Justin Dunn. Dunn hasn't been, uh, getting it done over his career, recording a 6.07 SIERA last year and a 6.83 mark through two 2021 starts. Walks have been a real problem for him (18.5% career walk rate), and this season is no different, with 10 walks through 9.2 innings. Add in a modest strikeout rate (19.3% career rate) and the wind blowing out at Fenway, and we have a crystal clear path towards a Boston Red Sox offensive outburst.
As for Bogaerts, he's doing his usual thing at the plate and is coming off a solid 2020 campaign where he produced a .368 wOBA and .202 ISO.
Francisco Lindor, SS, New York Mets ($3,100)
Speaking of low salaries, we can get practically the entire New York Mets lineup at a discount tonight, as guys like Dominic Smith ($2,700), Michael Conforto ($2,700), and Brandon Nimmo ($3,000) are all at bargain bin levels.
Francisco Lindor is right there with them, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the cost for his services rise back up quickly. Lindor is off to a slow start in a Mets uniform, but he's carrying a solid .360 xwOBA and is showing fantastic plate skills as always (7.0% strikeout rate and 15.8% walk rate), so we don't have anything to worry about.
The Mets have the second-best implied total on the board in a plus matchup against low-strikeout pitcher Trevor Williams. Much like Fenway, Wrigley Field also has the wind blowing out, adding to the appeal of stacking Lindor and friends.
Wilmer Flores, 2B/1B, San Francisco Giants ($2,100)
Castano has made one start in 2021 and he registered exactly... zero strikeouts. Last season, he cobbled together just 12 strikeouts in 29.2 innings (9.5% rate). Needless to say, we should see some balls in play on Thursday night.
Wilmer Flores will likely get the nod against the left-hander, and most of Flores' success over his career has come with the platoon advantage as shown by a solid .341 wOBA and .228 ISO in the split. Flores might be a pinch-hit risk, but between Donovan Solano being out with a calf strain and Brandon Belt possibly still dealing with a quad issue, he could be in the clear tonight.