FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Wednesday 6/5/19
Sometimes, you just don't have time to track the weather, check the splits, and wait for the batting order to be posted to build a full nine-man FanDuel MLB roster. It happens. But that no longer means you can't build some lineups, thanks to FanDuel's MLB 3-Man Challenge game style.
The premise is simple: build a three-player roster for a $7 salary cap, and only hits and RBI count toward netting FanDuel points. One player is your MVP, and his points are multiplied by 1.5, and you just need to roster players from at least two different teams. That more or less covers it, but you should familiarize yourself with the basic strategy for the new game style to help you in tonight's marquee 3-Man Challenge contest.
That being said, which options stand out at each price range for today's 3-Man Challenge slate?
Christian Yelich - Since pricing is flatter in this format than we see in typical FanDuel contests, there's one fewer reason to potentially avoid top hitters, with high ownership being the only real concern left. Yelich is priced at $4,900 in standard contests tonight, which is the highest of any hitter on the slate. One thing that isn't different across formats is how exciting a play he is tonight. Yes, the Milwaukee Brewers were awful last night. But on Wednesday they're up against the struggling Sandy Alcantara (5.67 skill-interactive ERA). Yelich is almost unmatched in how good he is against righties (.441 wOBA and .322 ISO on a 50.4% hard-hit rate in the split since 2018), and he should be able to take full advantage of this matchup. Some Milwaukee bats carry a bit of risk tonight since a southpaw might come in once Alcantara gets the hook, but Yelich produces at a high level against lefties too, adding another layer of safety to his value.
J.D. Martinez - As in just about every format, power is really the key to finding upside in 3-Man Challenge contests, so J.D. Martinez is one of the most exciting hitters in this format too. This his fifth consecutive season sitting in the top 3% of the majors in expected slugging percentage (xSLG), and even by his standards his batted-ball profile (including a 46.5% hard-hit, 8.7% soft-hit and 40.1% fly-ball rate) is pretty stellar. He can get it done against pitchers of either handedness too, with a .274 ISO against righties and .307 against lefties since joining the Boston Red Sox. Right-hander Jake Junis shouldn't slow him down much tonight, as Junis has struggled to the tune of a 4.59 SIERA this season, getting whacked for a hard-hit rate above 40% for the second straight year. With Martinez' home run upside, he makes for an interesting pivot from Yelich in your MVP spot (getting the 1.5-times fantasy point multiplier) as a way to differentiate your lineup in tournaments.
Mookie Betts - There's a distinct drop-off in this tier after Yelich and Martinez, but if you're looking to get contrarian then Mookie Betts could be an interesting option. He doesn't have as much home run upside as we're usually going to be hunting for in the $3 tier, but extra-base hits are still plenty valuable, which is something Betts can offer in droves. Last year he finished third in the majors with 47 doubles and posted a massive .449 wOBA. He's down to a .360 this year, but he's still making terrific contact, with a 39.1% hard-hit rate, 13.0% soft-hit rate and 47.4% fly-ball rate. He's getting a bit of bad luck, with an expected wOBA of .375, and like Martinez, he gets a great matchup tonight. Despite the somewhat unexciting home run potential, our models still have Betts projected for the second-highest fantasy score on this slate.
Mike Moustakas - A cheaper way to get exposure to the Brewers, Moustakas isn't as safe as Yelich, but he's still got some huge upside, and our projections actually have him going for the slate's highest fantasy score despite being priced down in the second tier. He gets that same terrific pitching matchup that Yelich does, and he owns a .388 wOBA and a huge .333 ISO on a 49.1% hard-hit and 49.6% fly-ball rate over 164 plate appearances against right-handed pitching in 2019.
Matt Carpenter - The St. Louis Cardinals boast the second-highest implied total among the teams available on this 3-Man slate (5.09 runs) and they get a great matchup against Cincinnati Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani. DeSclafani has been tagged for a 40.6% hard-hit and 44.2% fly-ball rate this year, and this comes after giving up 41.9% hard-contact in 2018. Matt Carpenter is having a rough start to the year, but this is a guy who has notched a wOBA of at least .378 against right-handed pitching in each of his last four seasons, with a .280 ISO in 2018. He's still making great contact in the split, with a 42.1% hard-hit rate, 6.6% soft-hit rate and 48.3% fly-ball rate in 2019, and this is a great spot for him to turn that contact into production.
Hunter Pence - The Baltimore Orioles' bullpen is something of a disaster, and while southpaw John Means certainly isn't the worst arm in the group, he's still sporting a middling 4.55 SIERA on the year and has a career 5.12 xFIP against right-handed bats. Pence has been terrific in his first season with the Texas Rangers, sporting a .382 wOBA and .288 ISO on an elite 48.4% hard-hit rate, an 11.1% soft-hit rate, and a 34.1% fly-ball rate. Bringing great production into a great matchup in the hitter-friendly confines of Globe Life Park, we can expect Pence to continue building on that success.
Eric Thames - And now a third price-point with an exciting option in the Brewers lineup. Thames is the riskiest of all three, as a total non-factor and major liability to get pulled from the game if a southpaw comes in as a reliever, but his upside is so easy to like in this tier. Alcantara has an especially egregious 5.76 xFIP against left-handed bats in his young career, which is over a 264-batter sample. Thames strikes out a ton, but that doesn't matter as much in this format, where his 49.3% hard-hit rate and 41.1% fly-ball rate are really exciting. He has mashed righties for a .368 wOBA and .269 ISO since returning stateside in 2017, and frankly, that upside makes him a stronger option than a bunch of tonight's $2 hitters as well.
Curtis Granderson - Our models have Granderson as the only $1 hitter projected for at least 0.20 home runs tonight, with a projection of 0.22 that stacks up as eighth-best among everyone on the slate. There are some big question marks surrounding Jimmy Nelson for his return to action tonight (he only managed a 4.89 xFIP in his five Triple-A rehab appearances), so while the Marlins offense isn't usually one to target, there's some intrigue on Wednesday. Granderson's power is also great for this format, with a 41.0% hard-hit rate and 46.8% fly-ball rate against right-handed hurlers on the year and no worse than a .197 ISO in the split (topping .225 three times) in his last four seasons.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.