FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Monday 7/22/19

CC Sabathia has struggled against right-handed hitters, putting Nelson Cruz in a good spot to go yard. Who else should you target in 3-Man Challenge contests tonight?

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?

$4 Tier

Christian Yelich - Tonight's 4.64-run implied total is a relatively low one compared to what we're used to seeing for the Milwaukee Brewers. They get a tough matchup against Cincinnati Reds righty Sonny Gray, but there's still some room for optimism. For as good as Gray has been in 2019 (3.76 SIERA), he's still getting tagged for a 40.9% hard-hit rate by left-handed bats. His .255 BABIP in the split has helped hide that contact, but you can't expect it to hold up forever. Yelich is the MLB's most productive hitter against right-handed pitching, ranking first by a big margin in both wOBA (.494) and ISO (.415). He's third in the majors overall in both expected wOBA and expected slugging percentage, per Baseball Savant, and he's not someone who Gray can afford to allow hard contact to tonight.

$3 Tier

Aaron Judge - The best argument against paying up for Yelich tonight, Judge and the New York Yankees have a slate-high 5.59-run implied total against the Minnesota Twins and southpaw Martin Perez. Perez has only managed a 4.74 SIERA on the year, and targeting him with opposing bats is nothing new, considering he has posted a SIERA worse than 5.00 in each of the last three seasons. Judge's massive upside is no secret, and he's turned in an absurd 56.3% hard-hit rate with only a 7.3% soft-hit rate on the season, lifting him to a .403 wOBA and .245 ISO.

Nelson Cruz - If you're looking for a lower-owned option at the expensive end of things, Cruz offers some serious upside on the other side of that game as well. Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia owns a career-worst 4.62 SIERA at 39 years old, and righty bats have rocked him for a .355 wOBA and 4.99 xFIP on 40.1% hard hits and 41.4% fly balls in 2019. In 308 plate appearances this year, Nelson Cruz (39 years old himself) is showing far fewer signs of decline. His hard-hit rate is up to a career-high 55.7%, which he pairs with an 11.5% soft-hit and 38.3% fly-ball rate, helping him post a .376 wOBA and .273 ISO.

$2 Tier

Yasiel Puig - Our models project Puig for more fantasy points than not only every other $2 hitter on this slate, but also for more than anyone at $3, sitting behind only two of the slate's three $4 bats. After a slow star to the season, Puig has been on an absolute tear this summer, racking up a .406 wOBA and .318 ISO on a 43.7% hard-hit rate and 48.7% fly-ball rate across 159 plate appearances since June 1. He brings those numbers into a plus matchup tonight, as Brewers righty Chase Anderson has struggled to the tune of a 4.54 SIERA, 39.0% hard-hit rate and 43.4% fly-ball rate in 2019.

Miguel Sano - Projected behind only Puig in the home run department tonight (0.29 to Puig's 0.32 -- nobody else on the slate is projected above 0.26), Sano gets that same juicy matchup that Nelson Cruz draws against Sabathia. Sano has paired a .360 wOBA with a career-best .314 ISO this season, which is coming on 49.5% hard hits, 10.9% soft hits and 45.5% fly balls. His strikeout rate is as high as ever (37.3%), but that's less of a concern in this format, where his great odds of going yard against Sabathia trump a potentially low floor.

$1 Tier

Jesse Winker - Back to the Cincinnati offense and their solid matchup against Chase Anderson, Jesse Winker gets a big boost when he has the platoon advantage like he does tonight. His .338 wOBA and .203 ISO overall are already solid marks at $1, and they jump to a .356 wOBA and .235 ISO on a 42.8% hard-hit rate against righties.

Keston Hiura - Our sample size for Hiura is still small at 155 plate appearances in the majors, but he's getting harder and harder to ignore. He absolutely dominated across 243 plate appearances in Triple-A this year (.438 wOBA and .352 ISO), and his production has held up with a huge .412 wOBA and .282 ISO in the majors. Again, the sample size isn't huge, but that production is backed by a 47.4% hard-hit rate and 38.9% fly-ball rate. A righty-versus-righty matchup against Sonny Gray is far from exciting, but with the way Hiura has hit the ball in 2019, that's a gamble you can afford to take at $1. Our models also love him tonight, projecting him for the highest fantasy score of any of the slate's $1 bats.

Jonathan Schoop - If you haven't noticed the trend yet, there's a lot to like about picking on CC Sabathia with right-handed bats tonight, and the Twins' offense provides fantasy appeal at every price point. Schoop's average exit velocity and expected slugging percentage this year are both his highest marks since 2015, and he's putting up a 40.4% hard-hit rate and 35.4% fly-ball rate. With a 24.6% strikeout rate and only a 4.0% walk rate, that contact hasn't made him the most consistent hitter in the world, but that doesn't matter much for our purposes in a format that doesn't award any fantasy points for a walk. He's sporting a. 325 wOBA and a .212 ISO (his third time with an ISO above .200 in the last five seasons), and his home run upside against Sabathia makes him a great value option.

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.