3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for 7/18/19
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.
Wade Miley, P, Houston Astros
FanDuel Price: $7,700
There are only seven games on the slate tonight, but we have five potential aces on the mound, leaving plenty of opportunities in the mid-tier.
One of those pitchers in the mid-tier is Wade Miley, who doesn't jump off the page on most nights, but tonight he has a chance to go vastly under-owned. One thing is clear with Miley -- he isn't a big strikeout pitcher by any means, holding only a 20.5% strikeout rate, which is the sixth-lowest on the slate. What he lacks in strikeout potential, he makes up for in the ability to limit damage, and he has done just that by allowing three or fewer earned runs in 12 of his last 14 starts. That has allowed him to pick up a quality start in eight of those 14 starts.
It's not just luck as Miley has an elite 52.2% ground-ball rate this season, and he's holding hitters to a 37.3% hard-contact rate, which are the driving reasons behind his low earned runs. The matchup versus the Los Angeles Angels tonight is nothing to worrying, as they have just a 101 wRC+ versus left-handed pitchers and a .176 team ISO in the split.
Eric Thames, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
FanDuel Price: $2,700
Eric Thames and the Brewers are on the road to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks, who will have Merrill Kelly on the hill tonight. Kelly has some bad numbers versus lefty hitters, putting Thames and crew in a great spot. Kelly comes in with a 5.00 xFIP, super-low 15.7% strikeout rate, and a 44.6% hard-hit rate versus left-handed bats this season. He is getting hit hard, can't get them out when needed, and has yet to prove in any capacity he is a pitcher to avoid.
Thames lines up nicely against Kelly, and with the Brewers being so far down the implied run list, we could see them get lower ownership in tournaments tonight. Thames comes in with a .257 ISO, 47.9% hard-hit rate, 43.8% fly-ball rate, and a 22.6% home-run-to-fly-ball ratio versus right-handed pitchers this season. Thames brings all the power you could want against a righty pitcher, and he's priced modestly.
Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Price: $2,200
The St. Louis Cardinals' offense is struggling this season, but they have a positive park shift in their favor tonight.
There is no doubt the Cardinals' offense is at the lower end of the league, but a great park for hitters and some cheaper options like Harrison Bader make them an interesting tournament stack tonight. Bader is just above the minimum salary and comes in with a 42.3% hard-hit rate and 42.7% fly-ball rate this season versus right-handed pitchers. The Redbirds are on the road in the Great American Ball Park -- aka the Great American Small Park, since it can be a home run haven for hitters. With the first pitch temperature set to be up at 92 degrees, we are working with an ideal mix for the Cardinals' bats.
He is up against Tanner Roark, who is having a solid year, for the most part, but is still allowing a 39.9% hard-hit rate while at home this season, along with a suspect 4.29 xFIP. The mix is right for the Cardinals' bats to post a bit of power, something they've been lacking recently.