FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Thursday 6/20/19
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?
Max Kepler - The Minnesota Twins' 5.74-run implied total is the highest on tonight's slate, and our models project Kepler for 1.5 fantasy points more than any other hitter. Kepler's making the best contact of his career, turning a 44.1% hard-hit and 45.2% fly-ball rate into a .383 wOBA and .293 ISO over 295 plate appearances. He brings that into a great matchup, too, as righty Glenn Sparkman has pitched 42 2/3 innings for the Kansas City Royals this season, turning in an awful 5.23 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA).
Christian Yelich - Cincinnati Reds righty Tanner Roark takes the mound tonight, and his 4.49 SIERA doesn't inspire much confidence. Even in his betters seasons, he's always struggled with left-handed bats, posting an xFIP worse than 4.50 against them in each of the last five years, and that's not going to serve him well tonight. Yelich's monstrous production is nothing new at this point, and his .468 wOBA and .398 ISO are both good for tops among qualifying hitters in 2019 after finishing fourth in wOBA (.422) and eighth in ISO (.272) last year.
Anthony Rizzo - Kepler and Yelich should carry some serious ownership tonight, so Rizzo makes for an interesting way to differentiate your lineup. Last season was not a good campaign for him, but he's fully bounced back in 2019, turning in a .391 wOBA and .272 ISO over 305 plate appearances. Even in 2018, he fared well against right-handed pitching (.378 wOBA and .211 ISO), and over the last four years, he's flexing a .391 wOBA and .245 ISO in the split. New York Mets righty Walker Lockett is set to make his first major league start of 2019, and considering he only managed a 5.10 xFIP in 15 major league innings last year, along with a 4.98 xFIP in 24 2/3 Triple-A innings in 2019, there's plenty of reason to be excited about this spot for Rizzo.
Kyle Schwarber - Right back to Chicago Cubs with the platoon advantage against Lockett, Schwarber is producing in much the same way we've become accustomed to over his career. His .335 wOBA is nothing to write home about, but it comes with a powerful .249 ISO -- marks that are both in line with his career averages of a .341 wOBA and .243 ISO. He's making more than 40% hard contact for his second straight season, and his ISO jumps to .251 against right-handed pitching, giving him a .266 ISO to go with his .354 wOBA in the split over his career.
C.J. Cron - Back to the Twins, same-sided matchups don't do much to slow Cron down, so he's another guy that can take full advantage of this matchup with Sparkman. Per Baseball Savant, Cron's 90.7 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, 15.2% barrel rate and .542 expected slugging percentage are all career-highs, and both that barrel rate and expected slugging mark rank in the top 7% of all hitters in 2019. He only sees a slight dip in both wOBA (.340 to .331) and ISO (.212 to .205) when comparing his same-sided numbers to his work against left-handed pitching, so his overall success sets him up nicely tonight.
Michael Conforto - Even without a great matchup, it's hard not to at least consider Conforto when he's priced down at $2. His .381 expected wOBA is in the 89th percentile this year, and his .498 expected slugging percentage is in the 77th percentile. He's always done his best work against right-handed pitching, and this season that includes a .400 wOBA and .274 ISO over 201 plate appearances in the split. The New York Mets have the second-lowest implied total on the slate, but the Cubs are starting a righty in Tyler Chatwood tonight, positioning Conforto well.
Eric Thames - Another way to take advantage of Tanner Roark's struggles against lefties, Thames is the kind of low-floor, high-upside bat that's great in a format that emphasizes power like this one. You're always taking a risk that he's pulled from a game early if a left-handed reliever comes in, but he should get at least a couple of cracks at Roark, and with a .370 wOBA and .274 ISO against righties since returning to the majors in 2017, you can happily take that risk-reward proposition at $1.
Joey Votto - On the other side of that game, the Milwaukee Brewers will be starting Jimmy Nelson, who has very much struggled to find his groove after missing the entire 2018 season. He has given up at least four earned runs in each of his first two starts while walking 16.2% of the batters he has faced. His average fastball velocity is down from 93.9 miles per hour in 2017 to 92.1 this year. Nelson may find his groove as the season goes on, but he still doesn't look right, and we should take advantage of that. Joey Votto has disappointed this year, but he's still got a terrific batted-ball profile against righty pitching (40.5% hard-hits, 11.5% soft-hits, 42.7% fly-balls), and a .340 wOBA and .185 ISO is fine for $1 in this matchup.
Jesse Winker - Even better against righties has been Jesse Winker, turning in a 42.5% hard-hit rate in 2019. Winker has made 576 plate appearances in the split over his young major league career, turning a 43.5% hard-hit and 10.3% soft-hit rate into a .383 wOBA and .204 ISO. Our models project him for the most fantasy points and second-highest home run total of any of the night's $1 hitters.
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.