FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Friday 7/19/19
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?
George Springer - On the surface, you're generally not going to want to pay for a $4 hitter in a game that only has an 8-run over/under when both other games on the slate have double-digit totals on FanDuel Sportsbook. This situation isn't so cut-and-dry though. The Houston Astros are the biggest favorites on the slate, so they still have a respectable 4.70-run implied total in a great matchup against Texas Rangers southpaw Mike Minor, who has only managed a 4.43 SIERA in 2019. Springer's .408 wOBA is good for sixth among hitters with at least 200 plate appearances this season, and he pairs that with an elite .304 ISO, making him well worth the top salary on a slate that's missing most of the MLB's most productive bats.
Juan Soto - Julio Teheran is set to take the mound for the Atlanta Braves tonight, making this another day to load up on the Washington Nationals' offense. Teheran is not pitching nearly as well as a 3.71 ERA pretends he has, and he has gone from already-shaky marks of a 4.89 SIERA in 2017 and 4.67 in 2018 to an ugly 5.15 across 20 games in 2019. The 20-year-old Soto has already turned a career 38.2% hard-hit rate into a .399 wOBA and .230 ISO against righties, and he's set to give Teheran fits tonight.
Nelson Cruz - The Minnesota Twins have an especially strong 5.52-run implied total tonight as they take on righty Chris Bassitt and the Oakland Athletics. Bassitt's 4.71 SIERA is no surprise considering his 4.59 career-average, and he's giving up a career-high 38.2% fly-ball rate on the year. No stranger to mashing in same-sided matchups, Nelson Cruz is on pace for his seventh consecutive season with a wOBA of at least .350 and ISO of at least .225 in the split, turning in a .368 wOBA and .249 ISO on a massive 53.0% hard-hit rate across 222 plate appearances this year.
Trea Turner - Turner loses some serious fantasy value in 3-Man contests because we don't get that stolen base upside, but that's not to say he's not capable from the dish. He's sporting a .341 wOBA and .193 ISO on the season, and his 33.1% hard-hit rate is on pace to be the second-highest of his career. Those marks climb to a .346 wOBA and .215 ISO on a 36.2% hard-hit rate if we just look at his work against right-handed pitching, which is more than enough to put him in a terrific spot in this primo matchup against Teheran.
Yulieski Gurriel - Mike Minor is especially shaky against right-handed hitters, giving up 36.9% hard-hits and 37.5% fly-balls with a 4.43 xFIP on the year. Gurriel has some serious upside against southpaws as well, and across 274 plate appearances in the sample since 2018 he has turned in a .364 wOBA and .194 ISO on 40.5% fly-balls.
Miguel Sano - Another great righty-versus-righty opportunity in the Twins' lineup, Sano's massive strikeout rate in same-sided matchups is less of a concern in this format than it can usually be. He's whiffing 38.0% of the time in that split this season (over 129 plate appearances), but he's also flexing a .350 wOBA and career-best .297 ISO on a huge 57.4% hard-hit rate -- building on last year's then-best 47.8% mark.
Adam Eaton and Brian Dozier - Our models have Eaton and Dozier projected for the two highest fantasy totals of any of Friday's $1 hitters. Eaton probably has the higher floor, hitting high in the order and getting the platoon advantage against Teheran (5.54 xFIP against left-handed bats). He doesn't offer much power, but even just his .333 wOBA against right-handed pitching is enough to take advantage of this matchup. Dozier is more of a boom-or-bust play. He bats lower in the order and doesn't get the platoon advantage, but dating back to 2017 he's turned in a .320 wOBA and .197 ISO on 36.6% hard-hits and 45.5% fly-balls in the split.
Robinson Chirinos - Our models have Chirinos tied for the 3rd-highest home run projection of any $1 hitter on the slate, and only the Texas Rangers lineup (tough to play with a minute 3.30-run implied total against Justin Verlander) has any $1 hitters projected for more long-balls. Once again getting exposure to hitters with the platoon advantage against Mike Minor, Chirinos has a huge .382 wOBA and a .231 ISO on a 41.8% hard-hit rate and 47.1% fly-ball rate in 275 plate appearances against southpaws since 2017.
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.