3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for 7/12/19
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.
Danny Duffy, P, Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Price: $7.900
Baseball is back for the second half of the season, and we have a nearly full slate of games, which is loaded with pitching options.
There are only three pitchers above $9K tonight, but Gerrit Cole and Robbie Ray clearly set themselves apart from the rest of the pack due to their strikeout rates being over 30%. This puts us in the spot to potentially fade the highest-priced pitching options, but what can we gain from that? The first part is obvious -- fading the top pitchers brings salary relief, something which shouldn't go overlooked on a slate that features Coors Field. This is where a pitcher like Danny Duffy comes into play, since he is cheaper and has his own advantages tonight.
One such advantage is that he has a better matchup in both opponent and the park factor. I'm not going to say that Duffy is better than someone like Cole, but Duffy is facing the Detroit Tigers, who have a .145 team ISO versus left-handed pitchers this season, while the Texas Rangers, who are facing Cole, have a .197 team ISO versus right-handers. Cole is also pitching at Globe Life Park, which is the second-best park factor for hitters on this slate.
Cole is factually the better pitcher compared to Duffy, but that doesn't mean Cole is without risk tonight, which should leave a nice opening for Duffy at his decreased price.
Brian McCann, C, Atlanta Braves
FanDuel Price: $2,700
The Atlanta Braves are on the road with a negative park shift against them, does that mean they will go under-owned tonight?
This is always an interesting situation when we have a strong offense, like the Braves, in a pitcher's park on a full slate of games. A normal question to ask would be, why pay over $4K for a hitter like Freddie Freeman? You could shift that salary to a hitter at Coors Field who has a higher projection. That might be true, but shooting for lower ownership means looking away from Coors, and the Braves could be that team tonight.
The Braves have a 4.28 implied run total tonight and are facing off against Dinelson Lamet. Lament only has one appearance this season and missed all of last year due to Tommy John surgery, so we have to look back to 2017 to see his numbers. That season he ended with a 5.04 xFIP, 43.5% fly-ball rate, and a 37.8% hard-hit rate versus left-handed hitters. Those are some weak numbers that led to him allowing 1.61 homers per nine innings to lefties in 2017 and got even worse while at home, jumping up to 2.25 homers per nine innings.
This is where Brian McCann comes into play, at what almost certainly should be lower ownership since he is a catcher. Yes, catchers are not required on your roster, and with their overall lack of production, we see them at lower ownership on a nightly basis. But that shouldn't scare you away from McCann since he is posting a very powerful .203 ISO, 40.7% hard-hit rate, and a 19.0% home-run-to-fly-ball ratio this season.
Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Price: $3,800
If it wasn't for Coors Field, a case could be made for the Athletics as being the top overall offense on this slate, so why not stick with it? Oakland is hosting the Chicago White Sox, who will have Ivan Nova on the mound, a pitcher you can attack any day of the week. Nova comes in with a 4.97 xFIP while allowing 1.80 homers per nine innings, and he has a super low 13.7% strikeout rate versus lefty hitters this season.
Regardless of the park factor, when you see numbers like those, you should be looking to attack them when possible. Matt Olson should fit the bill as a hitter worth looking at since he comes in with whopping .289 ISO, 52.9% hard-hit rate, and a 51.5% fly-ball rate this season versus righty pitchers. Yes, Olson has a bit of a smaller sample size this season due to missing some time with an injury, but they aren't too far off from last season when he had a 48.9% hard-hit rate and a 45.1% fly-ball rate in the same split.