FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Thursday 7/25/19

Hitting the ball harder than anyone in the majors, Aaron Judge continues to offer huge upside tonight. Who else should you target on Thursday's 3-Man Challenge slate?

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?

$3 Tier

Aaron Judge - With only three games on tonight's 3-Man slate, it's tough to ignore the New York Yankees' slate-high 5.69-run implied total. It's not just the implied total that should catch your eye either -- the matchup with Boston Red Sox righty Rick Porcello is a favorable one, as Porcello owns a career-worst 5.02 SIERA on the year. Aaron Judge is up to his usual tricks, and he's on pace for the highest average exit velocity in a season for any player with at least 100 batted-ball events in a year since 2016. That has translated to a .411 wOBA and .238 ISO so far, and he should have no trouble beating up on Porcello.

Francisco Lindor - The second-highest implied total on the slate (5.34 runs) belongs to the Cleveland Indians, who match up with southpaw Mike Montgomery and the Kansas City Royals. Montgomery is also struggling with a career-worst SIERA in 2019, with an ugly 5.23 mark. The switch-hitting Francisco Lindor has done solid work against southpaws over his career, turning in a .366 wOBA, and he's got his hard-hit rate up to 40.0% in the split in 2019.

Nelson Cruz - Cruz draws a tough matchup tonight, but he has some serious home run upside and will likely see low ownership thanks to the tough matchup against Lucas Giolito. For as good a season as he's having, one thing Giolito has done is allow opposing hitters to get the ball into the air with a career-high 40.1% fly-ball rate. Cruz can oblige him there, with a 38.5% fly-ball rate on the season (40.7%), and he's also sporting a massive 55.2% hard-hit rate. Per Baseball Savant, Cruz ranks 98th percentile or better in all of average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, expected wOBA and expected slugging percentage.

$2 Tier

Whit Merrifield - Our top-projected $2 bat tonight, Merrifield has notched a .355 wOBA and .190 ISO on a career-best 41.2% hard-hit rate this year. He brings that into a great matchup tonight against Cleveland's Adam Plutko, whose 5.15 SIERA in 2019 is right in line with his major league career average of 5.05. He's also getting tagged for a 34.8% hard-hit and 49.4% fly-ball rate on the year.

Miguel Sano - Like Cruz, Sano should carry low ownership in tonight's matchup with Giolito. Our models are still high on him, though, and we project him for the most home runs of any hitter on the slate. His 97th-percentile average exit velocity and 100th-percentile hard-hit rate leave him offering some serious power upside in even the toughest matchups. If you've gone chalky in your other two roster spots, Sano can help you differentiate tonight.

Xander Bogaerts - Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka is having his worst major league season, with a 4.36 SIERA and 40.2% hard-hit rate. On the other side, Bogaerts is having the most productive season of his career, with career-highs in both wOBA (.396) and ISO (.249). He's been a-okay in same-sided matchups as well, with his wOBA climbing to .400 and his ISO sitting at .237 in the split this season, putting him in a great spot to beat up on the struggling Tanaka.

$1 Tier

Jordan Luplow and Roberto Perez - Mike Montgomery has been especially bad against right-handed hitters this season, with a 4.90 xFIP and 12.2% walk rate, while giving up a 40.6% hard-hit rate with only a 9.4% soft-hit rate in the split. Both Perez and Luplow have absolutely mashed southpaws this year, with Perez flexing a .372 wOBA and .272 ISO on a 55.6% hard-hit rate, and Luplow turning a 41.8% hard-hit rate into a .445 wOBA and .372 ISO. Perez has a longer track record of power in the split, with a career 40.1% hard-hit rate in 362 plate appearances against lefties compared to a career 32.8% rate for Luplow, but both offer some huge upside here. They also stand out so far ahead of the rest of the $1 crowd that if you need a $1 hitter to fill out your lineup, you're going to want them to be from Cleveland.

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.