3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for 5/15/19
When being contrarian in daily fantasy sports, there's a fine line between taking a calculated risk and being reckless. But differentiating your lineups from everyone else is the name of the game if you plan on taking down one of those highly lucrative DFS tournaments. Whether it's because of Vegas totals, other options at a given position, or some gem you've found that everyone is overlooking, we can always find potential under-owned plays if we look hard enough.
Here are three such players to consider branching out for on FanDuel's main slate.
Kenta Maeda, P, Los Angeles Dodgers
FanDuel Price: $8,300
Elite pitchers showed their stuff last night and with a few of them on this slate, can we pass on them for some lower owned tournament options?
Kenta Maeda is often considered right on the brink of being an elite pitcher but falls just a bit short at times, giving him the chance to go overlooked in tournaments. He is carrying a 21.5% strikeout rate this season, which is the ninth-highest on the slate tonight, putting him a step or two behind several other options. The next reason why he might not be elite is no fault of his own, but he simply doesn't pitch deep into games. For some reason, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulls pitchers early and that has shown true with Maeda, who hasn't pitched more than 6.2 innings in any of his eights starts.
Not going deep into game leaves easy points on the table, combined with an average strikeout rate adds up to him often omitted in lineup construction. But with a lack of raw upside, he brings a level of consistency which you don't want to be passing on. The matchup for him tonight sees him up against the San Diego Padres, who have an implied team total set at 3.57, one of the lower ones on the board. Despite some off-season improvements, this current Padres roster finished last season with a 103 wRC+, right at league average and nothing to be truly afraid of.
First pitch temperature is set to be around 66 degrees, a bit lower than we normally see for Los Angeles, giving a slight bump to Maeda tonight.
Ji-Man Choi, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Price: $2,800
That pitcher for the Miami Marlins tonight is Jose Urena, who got torched by left-handed hitter's last season, allowing 1.37 homers per nine innings, a 34.7% ground-ball rate, and a 41.3% hard-contact rate. His numbers while at home last season versus lefty bats are actually slightly worse, but it's from a smaller sample size. With only eight games on the slate and four of them taking place in significantly better hitter's parks, we should see ownership condensed around those teams, leaving the Rays as an under-owned option.
Ji-Man Choi comes in at a very reasonable price tag tonight and if you are looking to pay up for a very expensive Justin Verlander tonight, he might be a vital piece. Choi had very clear and drastic splits last season and is truly only in play against right-handed pitchers, a spot we find him in tonight. He posted a 146 wRC+, a .256 ISO, a 20% home-run-to-fly-ball rate, and a powerful 44.7% hard contact rate against right-handed pitchers.
It doesn't matter if Choi is home, away, good hitter's park, or bad hitter's park, those are solid numbers and a player you want in your lineup tonight.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $2,800
There are plenty of power-hitters when it comes to the Phillies and that is where we see ownership gravitate towards, but Cesar Hernandez, the switch-hitting middle infielder, won't be one of those higher owned players. Hernandez finished last season with a .320 wOBA, and an 18.2% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitchers. The potential downside comes from the fact he only had a .053 ISO versus southpaws. That, that right is the reason he will go under-owned tonight, the fact he doesn't have consistent power upside. But he comes into this game with hits in eight of his last nine outings, three of which are multi-hit games, all while still being under $3K.
He is up against Gio Gonzalez tonight, who isn't a great pitcher by any means but also isn't terrible. Gonzalez allowed a .334 wOBA, an 11.9% walk rate, but an average 31.6% hard-contact rate. He is no one to be afraid of when looking for a stack, thus the high implied team total for the Phillies.
A high implied run total for the Phillies should draw plenty of interest, but looking a bit deeper into their lineup can offer salary relief along with findings some players at significantly lower ownership.