FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Thursday 7/18/19
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?
Juan Soto - This is one of the weaker 3-Man Challenge slates we've seen in a while, and there's no need to spend up to $4 tonight. There is only one team with an implied total above 5 runs (the Cincinnati Reds at 5.20), and the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians both come just shy of 5 runs as the other two favorites among the six teams available. There's no confirmation yet on who will pitch for the Atlanta Braves after Kyle Wright was scratched yesterday, but whether it's Wright or Julio Teheran -- the Nats' offense is one to target. Wright and Teheran are both struggling right-handers, and that's exactly what we want in a matchup for Soto, who has a studly .400 wOBA and .232 ISO in the split in his young major league career.
Anthony Rendon - Rendon may not have the platoon advantage here, but that doesn't matter too much. Rendon has the fourth-highest expected wOBA in the majors (tops on this slate), and even in same-sided matchups he's sporting a .405 wOBA (11th among qualifying hitters against righties) and a .291 ISO (17th).
Yasiel Puig - We'd be remiss to not at least consider spending big on the most well-positioned offense on the slate, though the Reds don't have any specific hitters that jump off the page the way Soto and Rendon do. Their matchup is a prime one, taking on righty Dakota Hudson and his 4.84 SIERA, and even though Hudson has stymied same-sided bats so far, the sample is small and his extreme splits are likely to become tamer as the sample expands. Puig is no stranger to rocking righties, and his 39.3% hard-hit rate in the split is right in line with 2018's 41.8% mark, while his 45.5% fly-ball rate is almost 9% higher than he's posted before. His .329 wOBA, 24.2% strikeout rate, and 4.4% walk rate may be concerning in full-lineup formats, but his terrific contact and .243 ISO make his upside well worth targeting in this format.
Jesse Winker - The Reds become more interesting when we move down in salary. Winker gets the platoon advantage ((where Hudson is allowing a 5.16 xFIP on a 46.6% hard-hit rate), and over his first three major league seasons, he has converted 43.6% hard-hits into a .378 wOBA and .202 ISO.
Paul Goldschmidt - For being underdogs, the St. Louis Cardinals' 4.80-run implied total is a solid one -- putting them firmly ahead of the other underdogs on the slate (though still a step behind Cleveland and Washington). They get a matchup with Cincinnati Reds righty Tanner Roark, who is on pace for a career-worst 4.49 SIERA on the year, taking a step back from 2018's then-worst mark of 4.39. Goldschmidt is having an uncharacteristically unproductive season from the dish, but he's still blasting 48.2% hard-hits and 39.4% fly-balls, so we don't need to be too concerned -- especially while his BABIP sits at only .300, compared to a career-average of .350. Righty-versus-righty matchup doesn't tend to slow him down too much either, as he topped a .380 wOBA and .230 ISO in the split in both 2017 and 2018.
Victor Robles - Going back to Washington, Teheran (5.16 SIERA in 20 games this year) and Wright (6.28 SIERA in 7 career major league games, 4.29 xFIP in Triple-A this year) are bad enough that we don't need to worry much about hitters that don't have the platoon advantage. Robles is also a guy that has shown he can keep up some nice power in same-sided spots as well, owning a 42.2% fly-ball rate and .190 ISO against righties so far in his young career.
Tommy Edman - Tanner Roark is particularly bad against left-handed bats, getting dominated for a .360 wOBA and 5.04 xFIP since the start of the 2018 season. We don't have a big major league sample to draw from for Edman, though his .212 ISO over 69 plate appearances is a promising mark. He also notched a .364 wOBA and .208 ISO with a 37.0% fly-ball rate across 218 Triple-A plate appearances in 2019. As a switch-hitter he gets to take full advantage of Roark's struggles, giving him plenty of upside here.
Tyler O'Neill - O'Neil may be a right-handed hitter, but like Goldschmidt, he's powerful enough to still have plenty of upside against Roark. Across 176 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, O'Neil has turned a 46.3% hard-hit rate and 47.4% fly-ball rate into a .363 wOBA and .274 ISO. You're not usually getting those numbers in the $1 range, and it's no surprise that our models project him for the second-most home runs of any hitter (and most among $1 hitters) on the slate.
Brian Dozier - Not projected too far behind O'Neil, Dozier gives us another price-point at which we can get exposure to the Nationals' strong implied total. We have him going for 0.17 home runs in this spot (tied for 8th-most on the slate and 3rd-most at $1). He's sporting an ISO better than .200 for the fourth time in the last five seasons, and his 39.7% hard-hit rate is a career-high while his 46.6% fly-ball rate is on pace to be his second-best mark in the majors.
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.