FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Friday 7/12/19

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?

$4 Tier

Charlie Blackmon - Friday night is loaded with teams boasting massive implied totals, and there are four teams on this 3-Man slate alone that have marks of at least 5.41 runs. The only team with a higher implied total than the Colorado Rockies (the New York Yankees) isn't available on the 3-Man slate, leaving the Rockies' 6.36-run implied total sitting over half a run higher than anyone else we can choose from. Cincinnati Reds righty Sonny Gray isn't a pushover, but Blackmon owns a career .486 wOBA and .369 ISO across 537 career plate appearances at home against righties, making him a tough fade even at $4.

Trevor Story - Story isn't quite as susceptible to pitcher handedness as Blackmon, making him an excellent alternative despite starting with a same-sided matchup. He has a career .385 wOBA and .293 ISO at home against righties, and if he gets to face a southpaw in relief (which would be a big hit to Blackmon's value), Story has an especially great .455 wOBA and .409 ISO at home with the platoon advantage.

$3 Tier

George Springer - If you're not looking to pay up to $4 (Christian Yelich is another great option at $4 if you're fading Coors but still want to spend big), the 91-degree heat at what is already the most hitter-friendly park outside of Coors Field on this slate is easy to like. In particular, the Houston Astros should be able to take full advantage of the favorable conditions with the Texas Rangers starting Ariel Jurado. The 23-year-old righty has struggled to the tune of a 4.73 SIERA over 19 games in 2019, bringing his major league average to a 4.98 with only a 13.3% strikeout rate and a huge 43.1% hard-hit rate. Springer has a stellar .401 wOBA and .285 ISO on the season, which includes a .398 wOBA and .282 ISO on 46.4% hard-hits against righties.

$2 Tier

Yasmani Grandal - Our models project Grandal for the second-highest fantasy score among Milwaukee Brewers bats tonight (behind only Yelich), as well as the highest fantasy score among all $2 hitters and thy fifth-highest on the slate overall. The switch-hitting Grandal has a .373 wOBA and .266 ISO on the year, building on the .352 wOBA and .225 ISO he posted last year. His hard-hit rate is up to a career-high 50.0% (his previous best was 40.8% last year), and his fly-ball rate is at a career-high 41.8%.

Eric Thames - Thames is always liable to get pinch-hit for if a left-handed reliever comes into the game, but the San Francisco Giants are starting a righty in Shaun Anderson tonight, giving Thames plenty of upside to start the game. Anderson has an ugly 5.28 SIERA through his first 10 major league games, getting cracked for a 39.8% hard-hit rate. Thames is a worrying matchup for even strong righties, having tagged them for a .366 wOBA and .265 ISO on the season. He's up to 902 plate appearances in the split since returning to the majors in 2017, and in that time he's posted a .370 wOBA and .276 ISO, giving him a lot more home run upside than we usually get at $2.

Derek Dietrich - Dietrich's production fell off a bit after a hot start, but getting a hitter of his quality at $2 at Coors Field is a tough fade. That's especially true tonight while he's got the platoon advantage against righty Jon Gray. Gray's 4.25 SIERA isn't a bad mark, but his 4.37 xFIP and 41.8% hard-hit rate against left-handed bats are exploitable marks, especially in such a hitter-friendly environment. Even after cooling off some, Dietrich is at a .369 wOBA and .323 ISO on the season. Even if we expect more regression, his career-averages of a .342 wOBA and .194 ISO on 35.0% hard-hits and 40.7% fly-balls against righties are more than enough to put him in play for $2 at Coors.

$1 Tier

Jose Martinez - Robbie Ray can be an intimidating matchup thanks to his 30.6% strikeout rate, but his 4.16 SIERA means there's still plenty of room for opposing bats to offer fantasy upside. He punches out plenty of hitters, but he's on pace to give up a hard-hit rate north of 40.0% with a fly-ball rate north of 38.0% for his third straight season. Martinez has a stellar .421 wOBA and .256 ISO on 40.8% hard-hits in 276 career plate appearances against southpaws.

Evan Longoria - On the other side of that Brewers/Giants matchup, Longoria is the only $1 hitter we project for at least 0.20 home runs on Friday -- which ties him for the 14th-highest home run projection of any hitter on the slate. Even well past his prime, Longoria has a terrific batted-ball profile that includes 44.5% hard-hits, 10.5% soft-hits, and 39.2% fly-balls in 2019. That's translated to a .201 ISO, and with Chase Anderson's 39.5% hard-hit and 39.4% fly-ball rate in 2019, Longoria's got some serious upside.

Carson Kelly - Across from Martinez and the St. Louis Cardinals, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a promising pitching matchup as well. St. Louis is starting Adam Wainwright, who carried a 4.61 SIERA into the All-Star break, which was barely an improvement from the 4.70 he posted in his last full season (2017). His 42.1% hard-hit rate is over 10 percentage points higher than he's ever allowed before, and his 13.5% soft-hit rate is also on pace to be a career-low. Kelly is in the midst of a breakout season, already making more plate appearances in 2019 (197) than he did in his first three major league seasons combined (131). He's made the most of this opportunity, turning in a .362 wOBA and .259 ISO on 46.3% hard-hits and 39.0% fly-balls. Same-sided matchups haven't slowed him down too much either, still sporting an ISO over .200 with a hard-hit rate above 40.0% in that split in 2019.

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.