FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Tuesday 7/23/19
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?
Ronald Acuna - There are 15 games going on tonight, but we get a tricky four-game set for tonight's 3-Man slate. The first thing that stands out is how much more appealing the Atlanta Braves are than any other offense. Their 5.58-run implied total is 1.13 higher than anyone else's. That's bigger than the gap between the second-highest and the absolute lowest on the slate. We'll get more into why Danny Duffy makes for such a great matchup, but one of the most important factors for Acuna is that Duffy is a southpaw. Acuna is flexing a .414 wOBA and .272 ISO against left-handed pitchers this season, bringing him to a .415 wOBA and .284 ISO in the split over his young major league career.
Josh Donaldson - The 30-year-old Danny Duffy had what was probably his worst ever major league season in 2018, only managing a 4.75 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). He's come out far worse in 2019 so far, with a 5.06 SIERA over 15 games. Donaldson has bounced back from a down year in 2018, turning in a .375 wOBA and .265 ISO on a huge 47.1% hard-hit rate across 406 plate appearances in 2019.
Freddie Freeman - Freeman may not get the platoon advantage here, but he's still proven himself capable in same-sided matchups over his career. Since 2016, he has made 710 plate appearances in the split, turning in a 38.2% hard-hit rate into a .377 wOBA and .225 ISO. Duffy's 5.61 xFIP against left-handed bats doesn't exactly make this a scary lefty-versus-lefty matchup, either.
Hunter Renfroe - Ranking in the 84th percentile in expected slugging percentage this season, Renfroe often makes for a particularly strong play in this format, which emphasizes power even more than typical DFS contests do. He has an absolutely absurd .464 ISO on a 55.2% hard-hit and 50.0% fly-ball rate against southpaws this season, making him especially easy to like tonight against New York Mets left-hander Jason Vargas, who is giving up a 41.4% fly-ball rate on the year.
Xander Bogaerts - Our models have Bogaerts second among $2 hitters (and third on the slate overall) in home run projection tonight. Bogaerts' 10.0% barrel rate is the highest of his career, and that's coming with a career-best 90.8 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, a 38.5% hard-hit rate, and a 39.9% fly-ball rate. That contact has translated to big production, and he's put up career-best marks in both wOBA (.401) and ISO (.255).
Whit Merrifield - Tied with Bogaerts as our fifth-highest projected player on the slate, Merrifield has a less exciting but still solid .359 wOBA and .193 ISO in 2019. He's also making some of the best contact of his career, with 41.7% hard hits, 12.8% soft hits and 33.0% fly balls. His ISO jumps to .270 and his fly-ball rate jumps to 44.8% against southpaws, so while Dallas Keuchel isn't exactly a soft matchup, this is still a nice spot to find some low-owned upside.
Franmil Reyes - The appeal in attack Jason Vargas doesn't just come from allowing plenty of fly balls. He's posted a 5.10 SIERA across 17 games, and his xFIP climbs to 5.27 against right-handed bats. Reyes has made 163 plate appearances against southpaws in his young career, and his 43.4% hard-hit rate, .386 wOBA and .231 ISO in that split are tough to ignore at $1.
Brian McCann - If you're looking for cheap exposure to Atlanta, you don't have a ton of options. McCann is our top-projected $1 bat tonight, though, and his .336 wOBA and .187 ISO are both fine marks at $1. His 42.3% hard-hit rate is a career-high, and pairing it with a 37.4% fly-ball rate gives him plenty of home run upside in this prime spot against Danny Duffy.
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.