3 MLB FanDuel Value Plays for 2024 Opening Day

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
3 MLB FanDuel Value Plays for 2024 Opening Day

Finding low-salary production is one way to get a leg up on the competition in MLB DFS.

Here are some value plays to target on FanDuel for today's main slate.

Advanced statistics courtesy of FanGraphs. Betting lines via the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Projections and odds may change after this article is published.

MLB DFS Value Plays

Garrett Crochet, P, White Sox ($5,500)

It's not every day we get a starting pitcher salaried under $6K.

It's also not every day a pitcher makes his first major league start on Opening Day.

Both will happen on Thursday. When Garrett Crochet throws the first pitch for the Chicago White Sox, he'll become just the ninth pitcher in MLB history to make his first career start on Opening Day -- and just the second since 1981.

That said, Crochet won't be making his MLB debut. The 11th pick in the 2020 draft has appeared in 72 games as a reliever. Across 73 innings, Crochet owns a 2.71 ERA and 26.9% strikeout rate.

While it's a bit shocking to see the White Sox anoint him as their Opening Day starter, Crochet certainly earned it in Spring Training. Over 12.2 innings, Crochet gave up 12 hits, a walk, and 3 earned runs. He struck out 14, notably forcing a 55.6% ground ball rate.

We don't want to read into Spring Training numbers too much, but Crochet's limited sample is encouraging, nonetheless.

It helps that he's facing the Detroit Tigers in a game with a 7.5-run total. Last season, Detroit ranked 22nd with a .309 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and struck out at the 16th-highest clip (22.7%) against southpaws.

They struggled mightily in the colder months, posting the second-lowest wOBA (.277) and third-highest strikeout rate (26.5%) before May 1st.

Crochet is certainly a risk in DFS given his lack of big-league experience, but the lefty opens a ton of salary for hitters thanks to his $5.5K salary. He's an intriguing value if you want to load up on high-salary hitters.

Jonathan India, 2B, Reds ($2,800)

After appearing in trade rumors for what felt like the entirety of 2023, Jonathan India finds himself as the Cincinnati Reds 2nd baseman on Opening Day.

Though the team attempted to develop him into more of a utility player in Spring Training, an injury to Matt McLain puts India right back at the position where he won Rookie of the Year just three years ago.

With McLain sidelined, India is projected to leadoff for the Reds. That's a nice spot to be when you call Great America Ballpark home -- Statcast's second-best park for right-handed hitters.

India was solid last season, averaging 11.0 FanDuel points per game (FPPG) with a .244 batting average, 17 home runs, and 61 RBI. The righty chipped in 14 stolen bases, helping him score 78 runs across 119 games.

He was significantly better against righties, posting .341 wOBA and striking out at just an 18.5% clip. Of his 17 home runs, 14 came against righties, while his OPS jumped over 100 points to .781 in that split.

That should come in handy on Opening Day when India takes on the Washington Nationals' Josiah Gray.

The righty was decent last year, finishing with a 3.91 ERA, but he got lucky with a .293 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Gray's skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) was a career-worst 5.08, and he posted only a 20.5% strikeout rate.

Gray isn't someone we should be afraid of -- not when the Reds' total runs prop is set at 4.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

A part of one of the top DFS stacks for Opening Day, Jonathan India is a strong value at $2.8K.

Jose Abreu, 1B, Astros ($2,800)

Let's target another top offense in the Houston Astros.

With Jose Abreu expected to bat fifth on Opening Day, the vet could get off to a hot start against lefty Nestor Cortes.

Abreu struggled mightily to kick off 2023, compiling a .275 wOBA and belting just 7 home runs over his first 87 games. He ended the year strong, however, upping his wOBA to .327 and cranking 11 home runs over the final 54 games.

He's carried that over into Spring Training this year, posting a .409 wOBA and racking up three extra-base hits across 10 games.

The 37-year-old was noticeably better against lefties last season. In that split, he registered a .314 wOBA, .210 ISO, and .42 walk-to-strikeout (BB/K) rate.

Compare that to his .287 wOBA, .119 ISO, and .29 BB/K against righties, and you can be sure Abreu is happy to see Nestor Cortes on the bump for the first game of 2024.

That's especially true given how Cortes pitched last season.

After a breakout 2022, the soft-throwing lefty appeared in just 12 games due to injury. He wasn't very impressive in those starts, giving up a career-worst 36.4% fly-ball rate en route to his highest ERA (4.97) since 2020.

A 41.5% hard-hit rate did nothing to help Cortes' troubles as he allowed multiple runs in 10-of-12 starts.

Though we can expect better results from a healthy Cortes in 2024, an Opening Day matchup with Houston bodes well for the Astros. With four elite hitters in front of him, Abreu has a nice opportunity to rack up the counting stats in a favorable split.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.