FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Wednesday 7/17/19
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 only $4 hitter on the slate, Bellinger is well worth paying up for if you can make salary space for him. He sits first among qualifying hitters in wOBA (.454) and second in ISO (.370) on the year, and per Baseball Savant he ranks second in both expected wOBA and expected slugging percentage. Add in the platoon advantage (.462 wOBA and .389 ISO in the split) and a great matchup (Philadelphia Phillies righty Nick Pivetta has a 4.90 SIERA in 2019), and it's tough to find any faults with this spot.
Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez - The Boston Red Sox have a slate-high 6.64-run implied total and a dreamy matchup against Toronto Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez is on pace to match his career-worst mark with a 5.62 SIERA, and 2019 is shaping up to be his third consecutive campaign with a SIERA of 5.10 or worse. Even though 2019 is a down year for J.D. Martinez, he still ranks in the 97th percentile in expected slugging and the 98th in expected wOBA, and he's sporting a 45.7% hard-hit, 37.4% fly-ball and, 9.4% soft-hit rate. His massive power almost always puts him in play in this format when he draws a plus matchup. Devers doesn't have the same track record for power, but he's sporting a career-best 36.1% hard-hit rate this year, while his .382 wOBA and .224 ISO are both career-highs. He's been especially good against righties, with a .406 wOBA and .253 ISO on a 40.4% hard-hit rate in the split. His upside isn't quite as high as Martinez', but he may offer a better floor.
Lourdes Gurriel - Our models project Gurriel for 0.33 home runs tonight, which is better than anyone else on the slate (including the $4 Bellinger, who sits second at 0.31). Gurriel has turned a 43.2% hard-hit and 42.0% fly-ball rate this season into an elite .304 ISO, with an especially absurd .455 wOBA and .408 ISO in his 80 plate appearances against southpaws. Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez has a middling 4.23 xFIP against right-handed bats this year (in line with his 4.30 career average), and he doesn't pose much of a threat to rein in Gurriel's power.
Hunter Renfroe - Renfroe is the kind of hitter that thrives in this format. His 27.0% strikeout rate is less of a concern with the boom-or-bust nature of scoring in 3-Man contests, and his .369 wOBA and .345 ISO give you a ton of boom for a $2 hitter. He's sporting a massive 51.3% hard-hit rate to go with a 47.2% fly-ball rate in 2019, and he ranks 84th percentile or better in both average exit velocity and expected slugging percentage. He brings those numbers into a plus matchup tonight against Miami Marlins righty Trevor Richards, who has an ugly 5.15 SIERA across 18 starts this year, getting tagged for 40.2% hard-hits and 43.7% fly-balls.
Edwin Encarnacion - EE doesn't get the platoon advantage tonight, but with a .352 wOBA and .285 ISO on 39.6% hard-hits and 48.6% fly-balls in same-sided matchups this season, we don't need to be too concerned about that. His matchup tonight is exploitable, as Tampa Bay Rays righty Yonny Chirinos has a middling 4.05 xFIP against right-handed bats on the year, and the New York Yankees' 5.52-run implied total reflects how favorable this matchup can be.
Joc Pederson - Once again, Joc has no business being priced at $1, and he's a terrific starting point for any lineup on this slate. Like Bellinger, he has a plus matchup against righty Nick Pivetta tonight, getting the platoon advantage in that spot. Over the last two seasons, Pederson has mashed a .375 wOBA and .304 ISO with the platoon advantage, which is the kind of production we're usually paying at least $2 (and often $3) for.
Matt Adams - If you're looking to pivot away from Joc to get lower ownership, Adams lets you do that without sacrificing too much upside. Our models have him projected for the second-most home runs among $1 bats (behind only Peterson), and he also brings plenty of power into a matchup with the platoon advantage. The Baltimore Orioles will start righty Aaron Brooks, who is allowing a big 40.7% hard-hit rate and .344 wOBA to left-handed bats on the year. Adams owns a .343 wOBA and .248 ISO against right-handed pitching since 2016, not posting an ISO below .219 in any of those seasons. He's up to 44.6% hard-hits and 48.4% fly-balls in the split in 2019, and he's always a threat to take one yard against a righty.
Jackie Bradley - JBJ is less exciting than either of Pederson or Adams, but he still brings plenty of pop for a $1 bat. Like Devers and Martinez, he gets a terrific matchup tonight against Aaron Sanchez, and having the platoon advantage is especially important for Bradley. Over the last five years, he's managed a .336 wOBA and .207 ISO with a 37.5% hard-hit and 37.4% fly-ball rate in the split, so while he doesn't have a great floor, he still does offer the kind of home run upside you like to see at $1.
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.