FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Monday 7/15/19
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?
Cody Bellinger - The Los Angeles Dodgers rank third on tonight's 3-Man slate with a 5.28-run implied total as they take on Philadelphia Phillies righty Zach Eflin. Bellinger checks in third among qualifying hitters in both wOBA (.447) and ISO (.354) on the year, and there's only one other hitter with a wOBA of even .400 on this slate, so he should catch your eye right away. Bellinger also sits second in the majors in both expected wOBA and expected slugging percentage, per Baseball Savant, and adding in the platoon advantage against Elfin makes him the most appealing hitter on the slate before we factor in salary. With some strong $1 options available tonight, his $4 salary isn't much of a deterrent, either.
J.D. Martinez - Martinez isn't too far behind Bellinger in both expected slugging percentage (10th) or expected wOBA (8th) this season, so even though his production is down some from what he posted in the last two years, there's no real need for concern. Since joining the Boston Red Sox, he's dominated to the tune of a .407 wOBA and .276 ISO, which includes a .399 wOBA and .268 ISO in same-sided matchups. The ability to hit pitchers of either handedness is a big one, and it means his upside doesn't get dragged down at all in tonight's prime spot against Toronto Blue Jays righty Trent Thornton, who has managed a 4.75 SIERA while allowing a 36.2% hard-hit rate and 39.0% fly-ball rate in his young MLB career.
Carlos Santana - I mentioned for Bellinger that there's only one other hitter on the slate with a wOBA of at least .400, and that hitter is Carlos Santana. The switch-hitter has paired a .400 wOBA with a .254 ISO on the season, making good on a career-high 46.0% hard-hit rate. The Cleveland Indians have a slate-high 6.05-run implied total and a great matchup against Detroit Tigers southpaw Daniel Norris, making it especially easy to like getting one of the slate's most productive hitters for $3.
Corey Seager and Justin Turner - Seager and Turner may not be crushing baseballs the way Cody Bellinger is, but they're both more than capable of taking advantage of this matchup with Eflin. Today's $2 group is fairly thin, as well, making it easier for them to stand out. Eflin hasn't been anywhere near as good in 2019 as his 3.78 ERA may indicate, backing that up with a 4.70 SIERA that sits right around his 4.63 career average. Turner doesn't get the platoon advantage, but he hasn't posted a wOBA worse than .360 against righties since the 2013 season, topping .380 three times in that stretch. Seager does have the platoon advantage, and he's tagged righties for a .378 wOBA and .205 ISO over 1,215 career plate appearances.
Edwin Encarnacion - Encarnacion should see fairly low ownership tonight thanks to a rough matchup against Blake Snell. Snell is one of the more dangerous pitchers in the majors, with a 3.47 SIERA and 32.8% strikeout rate in 2019, but he does let right-handed hitters get the ball into the air with a 36.7% fly-ball rate. Even at 36 years old, Encarnacion has the power to make Snell pay for that, sporting a 37.4% hard-hit rate and 50.0% fly-ball rate. Going back to 2018, he's turned in 39.6% hard-hits and 51.9% fly-balls against southpaws, and our models give him the highest home run projection of any $2 bat on the slate. His floor is low, but he gives you strong home run upside while also likely coming in as a contrarian play.
Joc Pederson - Dollar-for-dollar, Pederson is probably the best play on this entire slate, and his presence makes all the $3 and $4 hitters available tonight especially easy to play. He's another guy who gets the platoon advantage against Eflin, who has an ugly career 5.13 xFIP against left-handed bats. Pederson has a .355 wOBA and .280 ISO on the season, building on a .354 wOBA and .273 ISO from 2018. Over the last two years, he's been especially strong against righties, turning in a .374 wOBA and .301 ISO on 44.4% hard-hits and 43.2% fly-balls. Those numbers are something you expect to see in the $2 or $3 range, making him an absolute steal at this cost. Our models project him for the second-highest fantasy score on the entire slate, behind only the $4 Bellinger.
Jordan Luplow and Oscar Mercado - Back to Cleveland, Luplow and Mercado get the platoon advantage in that great spot against Daniel Norris, who is on his third straight season allowing a hard-hit rate north of 40% to right-handed hitters. Mercado doesn't give us a big sample to draw from, but he turned in a .387 wOBA and .202 ISO in Triple-A this season, and so far he's got a massive 50.9% hard-hit rate in 73 major league plate appearances against southpaws. Luplow also flashes some nice power, turning in a .236 ISO with a .342 wOBA on the season. Neither are nearly as appealing as Pederson is, but both are worth consideration if you're fading Joc tonight.
Christin Stewart - Another option who should carry far lower ownership than Pederson, Stewart is on the other side of that Detroit-Cleveland matchup, taking on righty Adam Plutko. Stewart's high strikeout rate doesn't matter as much in this format, and while his .311 wOBA and .176 ISO over his MLB career aren't anything special, his 44.6% fly-ball rate and 35.8% hard-hit rate show some promise. Plutko has also been terrible against left-handed bats, getting clobbered for a .389 wOBA and 6.09 xFIP, putting Stewart in a great spot to show off his power.
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.