5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Friday 5/28/21
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.
Sean Manaea, SP, Oakland Athletics ($7,100)
Rain is likely to knock out my favorite pitching value play in Ian Anderson, leaving us with a fairly limited group. However, on a slate lacking a ton of upside beyond Gerrit Cole and Walker Buehler, we may not need a massive score at pitcher if those two fail to live up to expectations.
While Sean Manaea is never an exciting play in DFS, he's a solid real-life pitcher that we're getting at a scrub-level salary, and his peripheral numbers are only slightly behind Hyun-jin Ryu, who is way up at $9,600. The two southpaws are staring at roughly identical implied totals, too, with Manaea and the Athletics only expected to allow 3.45 runs to the Angels.
Admittedly, this isn't an amazing matchup for boosting Manaea's 23.6% strikeout rate, though, as Los Angeles is a predominantly right-handed lineup, and Manaea is much more effective in lefty-lefty spots. But he recorded 6 punchouts while allowing 1 earned run in 5.0 innings against these same Angels in his last start, so he wasn't far off from a workable FanDuel score had he made through one more inning to earn the quality start -- something he's achieved in half of his 10 outings this season.
Due to the unspectacular strikeout rate, there's a thin margin for error here, but Manaea's salary can really help you differentiate from Cole lineups and allows you to stack up the high-salaried studs teams like the Toronto Blue Jays or Chicago White Sox or have room for superstar one-offs you might not otherwise be able to fit in.
Kyle Garlick, OF, Minnesota Twins ($2,300)
Opposing pitcher Kris Bubic is going to have his work cut out for him against a sea of right-handed sticks, and his only notable skill is a high ground-ball rate despite some early-season success. Against righties, he's displaying an ugly 5.42 xFIP with identical marks of 14.1% in both strikeout rate and walk rate.
As for Garlick, he's showing a promising 14.0% barrel rate this year, which has helped him to an excellent .233 ISO thus far. He demonstrated nice power in the minors, too, and this should be a golden opportunity to mash against an overachieving southpaw.
Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, Chicago White Sox ($2,500)
Matt Harvey looks to be on his way towards another underwhelming campaign, and it's crazy to think he's now put up a 5.86 ERA since the start of 2016. While he actually has decent underlying numbers against righties this season, he's still not getting a ton of strikeouts, and if we expand the sample to include the last couple of seasons, he has a lackluster 4.55 xFIP and 17.1% strikeout rate in the split while giving up 1.8 home runs per nine innings.
It all boils down to a potentially big night at the plate for the Chicago White Sox, and Andrew Vaughn offers us some cheap pop lower in the order. The top prospect is starting to look the part in his Statcast metrics, which include a 12.2% barrel rate and above-average marks in xwOBA and xSLG.
Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays ($2,000)
If you're dead set on combining a Blue Jays stack with Gerrit Cole, the value comes lower in the order where we find Randal Grichuk, Lourdes Gurriel, and a minimum-salaried Rowdy Tellez. Toronto faces Eli Morgan in his MLB debut, and considering Morgan's light on both experience and noteworthy minor league numbers, it's easy to side with the Blue Jays here. The 25-year-old right-hander hasn't posted strong strikeout or walk rates in Triple-A this season, and public projection systems see him as a 5.00 ERA pitcher, per FanGraphs.
While Tellez's 2021 numbers surely don't leap off the page, he's making quality contact and is yet another guy showing a high barrel rate. His mark of 13.2% places him in the 80th percentile, and he rates well in average exit velocity, maximum velocity, and hard-hit percentage, too.
Eduardo Escobar, 3B/2B, Arizona Diamondbacks ($2,700)
The Arizona Diamondbacks may not be a star-studded squad, but they face one of the weakest starters on the board in Johan Oviedo, earning them a healthy 5.01 implied total. Oviedo's struggles date back to last season, and he now comes in with a 5.40 SIERA, 16.1% strikeout rate, and 10.6% walk rate over 40.1 career innings with 8 starts.
With numbers like that, a full Arizona stack is in play, and not a single batter has a salary over $3,300. But if you're going to pick just one guy, Eduardo Escobar is a great choice as one of their top power hitters. While Escobar will never be one of those guys who wow you with amazing exit velocity numbers and all that, he simply hits a boatload of balls in the air with a mere 31.1% ground-ball rate. Through sheer volume, some of those will inevitably fly out of the park, and the switch-hitter is sporting a .228 ISO with a dozen dingers this season.