4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Thursday 6/24/21
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 eight-game main slate.
Carlos Martinez, SP, St. Louis Cardinals ($6,500)
Do you have balls made of brass? Well, that's what it might take to roster Carlos Martinez in fantasy.
Tonight's eight-game slate features all of three pitchers -- Walker Buehler ($11,000), Luis Garcia ($9,600), Jose Berrios ($9,000) -- with a salary over $7,800, and while going with one of that trio is the advisable strategy, those looking to stack their lineups in tournaments might want an extreme salary-saving option at pitcher -- and Martinez is just that (extreme, that is).
To give you an idea of just how volatile the 29-year-old is, over his last four starts, he's had outings with -25 and -6 FanDuel points (yikes) as well as one start with 43. The right-hander sports an eye-gauging 6.62 ERA this season, but his underlying numbers suggest that he hasn't been that bad. Martinez's 5.05 xFIP and 5.01 SIERA are 1.5 runs better than his actual ERA, and that's the good news...I guess.
The righty has been punching out batters at just a 15.6% rate this season, which is not very good, at all. However, Martinez has amassed 6 quality starts in his last 10 efforts, and that includes three performances with more than 40 FanDuel points.
One reason we might want to consider the St. Louis Cardinals starter tonight is the fact that they're going up against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the season, Pittsburgh's 84 wRC+ versus right-handed pitchers is the fifth-worst mark in all of baseball, per FanGraphs. Now, the Pirates' 22.6% K rate in that split is seventh-lowest in the majors, but Martinez doesn't generate many strikeouts anyway, so it's a perfect marriage. In his lone meeting with the Pirates in May, Martinez tied a season-high with 43 FanDuel points.
Cavan Biggio, 2B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays ($2,700)
The Toronto Blue Jays have an implied run total of 5.93 tonight, which is the highest on the slate, according to numberFire's Matchup Heat Map. Toronto will square off against Baltimore Orioles righty Dean Kremer, which should have their hitters salivating.
In 49.1 innings this season, Kramer sports a real-life ERA of 6.20 and an expected ERA (xERA) of 5.37. Opposing hitters have treated 25-year-old as their personal Home Run Derby pitcher, as he's been tattooed for 13 dingers already this campaign. Kramer doesn't discriminate between righties and lefties, as hitters from both sides are averaging north of 2.3 homers per nine innings against him.
The Blue Jays' lineup is stackable top to bottom, but Cavan Biggio stands out as a viable value play. The 26-year-old has struggled to get his bat going for most of the season, but he has come alive of late. Over his last 11 games (41 plate appearances), Biggio is batting .324 with an OPS of 1.115 and an impressive 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That'll play.
Tommy Edman, 2B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals ($2,900)
Amongst all pitchers with at least 30 innings under their belt this season, Chad Kuhl's 5.70 SIERA ranks second-worst and his 5.78 xFIP comes in dead last. While that doesn't bode well for Kuhl and the Pirates, it does bode well for the Cardinals, who will get to face him tonight.
Though he's been generous to just about everyone, Kuhl's numbers against opposite-handed hitters are slightly worse. Since 2018, the 28-year-old has a 5.32 ERA and 5.60 FIP versus lefties. In that split, Kuhl has ceded a WHIP of 1.45 and an enticing 1.7 dongs per nine innings.
While St. Louis does usually feature a righty-heavy lineup, they do have a couple of switch hitters worth considering, and the one we'll focus on bats in the leadoff spot -- Tommy Edman.
Edman's not having a great season statistically, but his ability to do a little of everything helps him in DFS. To date, the 26-year-old has accrued 40 runs scored, 24 extra-base hits, 19 RBI, and 13 steals. He's worth rostering at a salary under $3,000.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros ($3,000)
As is seemingly the case every day, the Houston Astros have one of the highest implied totals of the slate, currently sitting at 5.87. As usual, Houston is a top stack, and they have some options you won't have to break the bank for, namely Kyle Tucker.
Over his last 32 games (141 trips to the plate), Tucker has posted a .359 average, 1.083 OPS, 22 extra-base hits (8 homers), 28 RBI, 28 runs scored, and 3 swiped bags. Wowza. On the season, the 24-year-old slugger possesses a .956 OPS, .267 ISO, and 162 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching. Tonight, he'll have the platoon advantage against a hurler who has struggled mightily in recent seasons.
Toeing the rubber for the Detroit Tigers will be Jose Urena -- and that makes this a mouth-watering spot for Tucker and the rest of Houston's bats. In 173.1 innings since 2019, Urena's ERA sits at 5.45 and his xFIP at 4.95. He doesn't miss many bats, as evidenced by his 15.4% strikeout rate during that stretch.
We featured Tucker in this spot last night, and he rewarded our efforts by dropping 21.7 FanDuel points. He won't have a salary at $3,000 for much longer, so take advantage of it while you still can.