MLB

3 MLB FanDuel Value Plays for Thursday 5/16/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD

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. Betting odds as well as our projections -- which are powered by numberFire -- may change after this article is published.

MLB DFS Value Plays

Justin Steele, P, Cubs ($8,200)

With a lighter five-game slate tonight, there are really only two value arms who I'm considering for DFS -- Justin Steele against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cristian Javier ($7,800) against the Houston Astros.

Early roster rate projections around the DFS industry suggest Javier will be more popular, but I can't get myself to play someone with a 5.85 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and 8.8% swinging-strike rate (SwStr%) against a frisky A's side.

Granted, the Pirates did just see Steele and the Chicago Cubs last weekend. Pittsburgh came out ahead in that one -- no question. Steel City roughed up Steele (the pitcher) for six earned runs on the back of six hits and two walks. He lasted just four innings, striking out three.

That was only Steele's third start of the season, and he has failed to finish the fifth inning or exceed 75 pitches in all three.

But there's not really a great reason for that. The lefty had given up just one run prior to last week's start. He left his Opening Day start early back in March with a hamstring injury, and the team was then cautious with him in his first two outings since then.

So, while we haven't really seen it yet from Steele this season, I think we're getting a nice salary discount on premier arm tonight. The southpaw pitched to a 3.06 ERA in 2023, generating a 24.6% K rate and delivering 20 quality starts over 173 1/3 innings. This is someone who finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting and had a sub-3.00 ERA at home.

I'll gladly roster him in a bounce-back spot today.

The Pirates are no slouches against lefties, ranking 12th in wOBA and wRC+. But they also strike out at the eighth-highest clip (24.3%) and put the ball on the ground at the ninth-highest rate (45.4%) in that split.

That bodes well for Steele, especially considering the Cubs are -138 moneyline favorites. Steele's K prop is set at 5.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Pitching at Wrigley Field -- the ninth-worst venue for right-handed hitters, per Statcast Park Factors -- should help Steele manage a Buccos lineup that featured six righties when they squared off last weekend.

Our model projects Steele to rack up 28.5 FanDuel points across 5.25 innings. That makes him the third-best point-per-dollar value among pitchers (3.47 FanDuel points per $1,000).

Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros ($2,800)

It took a while, but Alex Bregman is finally heating up.

The nine-year vet is still hitting only .221 this season, but he has hit in six of his last seven games and has homered three times this week.

Bregman posted a .370 wOBA and .850 OPS against right-handed pitchers in 2023, so I'm happy to deploy him at a low salary against Oakland righty Joey Estes.

Estes made his 2024 debut last week, and he looked sharp against the Seattle Mariners. He gave up just one run on two hits, striking out five over five innings.

But he permitted a 58.3% fly-ball rate in that start and wasn't a highly touted prospect coming in. Over six Triple-A starts this season, Estes pitched to a 6.04 ERA and posted a meh 20.8% K rate.

It doesn't hurt that the Houston Astros have the slate's second-highest implied total (4.91) nor that they're playing at Minute Maid Park -- an above-average venue for right-handed power.

Bregman has +470 odds to hit a home run and +110 odds to record 2+ total bases on FanDuel Sportsbook.

With Bregman's long track record of success, I'm buying into his recent surge. In an advantageous matchup, he's a low-salary way to get a piece of this Astros lineup.

Tyler Soderstrom, C, Athletics ($2,300)

Remember at the top when I said Cristian Javier has a 5.85 SIERA? I'd rather stay away from that mark from his perspective, but we can take advantage of it within Oakland's lineup.

Javier's been especially putrid against lefties -- an ongoing trend for the five-year vet. He surrendered a .350 wOBA and pitched to a 5.58 xFIP against lefties last season, and that's ballooned to a .414 wOBA and 7.30 xFIP in 2024.

Enter, Tyler Soderstrom.

Oakland's former top prospect had an abysmal rookie campaign in 2023, but he's looked the part of a major league hitter since making his '24 debut last week. The left-handed swinger has gone 6-for-21 over six games, roping three extra-base hits and driving in three. He already has seven hard hits (63.6% rate) and two barrels (18.2%) -- unsustainable numbers but encouraging, nonetheless.

Soderstrom's already played his way up to fifth in the order, and that could present RBI chances for a better-than-expected A's lineup. Oakland is averaging only 3.78 runs per game (24th), but they're 10th in wRC+ against righties.

That should benefit Soderstrom, and he projects well in our model. We project Soderstrom for 9.3 FanDuel points, making him the top point-per-dollar value at catcher and sixth-best overall (4.09 FanDuel points per $1,000).

I don't envision anyone stacking Oakland tonight, but Soderstrom is an low-salary, one-off value piece to consider.


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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.