FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Friday 7/26/19
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?
Aaron Judge - With three games on this slate, there's a clear top contest to attack. The matchup between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox has an over/under of 11.0 runs -- a full 2 runs higher than the next-best (the New York Mets versus Pittsburgh Pirates matchup). That leaves the Yankees (5.72) and Red Sox (5.28) with the two highest implied totals on the slate. With an implied total almost half a run higher than anyone else's, it's no surprise that Aaron Judge and his MLB-leading average exit velocity, .403 wOBA, and .232 ISO is the top play on the slate. It certainly doesn't hurt that he's up against Andrew Cashner either, with Cashner failing to keep his skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) below 5.00 for the third consecutive season.
J.D. Martinez - The pitching isn't nearly as bad on the other side of this matchup, but southpaw James Paxton shouldn't scare you away from Boston's bats. Paxton's been a solid fantasy producer this year, but he's still giving up a 37.1% hard-hit rate and a 38.2% fly-ball rate. He's also giving up a 4.41 xFIP and .342 wOBA with his fly-ball rate climbing to 43.5% against right-handed hitters. J.D. Martinez is having a down year, but the way he produces is just the kind of boom-or-bust upside we like to target in 3-Man contests. A .367 wOBA and .225 ISO are both low by Martinez's usual standards (wOBAs above .425 and ISOs of at least .299 in each of the last two seasons), yet his batted-ball profile still includes a 45.6% hard-hit rate, 10.1% soft-hit rate, and 37.5% fly-ball rate. He is in a great spot to show off his power with the platoon advantage against Paxton.
Edwin Encarnacion - Andrew Cashner does fantasy players (and Yankees hitters) a big favor by being terrible in same-sided matchups. He's sporting a 5.16 xFIP against right-handed bats in 2019, which follows up a 5.38 from 2018. Even though Encarnacion loses some consistency against righties, with a .341 wOBA in the split this year, he still offers plenty of power. He hasn't posted an ISO below .245 against righties since 2011, and in 2019, he's flexing a .265 ISO on 39.2% hard-hits and 49.2% fly-balls in the split.
Mookie Betts - Not quite as exciting as Martinez in this format -- especially because you don't get any benefit from his base-stealing ability -- Betts is still in a great spot against Paxton. Betts' production is way down from his outstanding .449 wOBA and .294 ISO from last season, sure, but he's still producing well, and there's room to expect his output to increase. He's got a 37.8% hard-hit and 50.0% fly-ball rate against southpaws. Unfortunately, only 2.2% of those fly-balls have turned into home runs. His previous career-low in that split was 7.1%, and from 2016 to 2018, he had a 16.1% home run-to-fly-ball rate against southpaws. That lets us get him for nice and cheap tonight while he still offers big upside.
Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres - Picking on Cashner again, the switch-hitting Hicks is in a great spot here. Despite his best work coming against southpaws, Hicks has still been great against righties through 158 plate appearances in 2019. In that sample he's rocking a 34.1% hard-hit and 42.9% fly-ball rate, and that has translated to a strong .363 wOBA and .282 ISO, which is in line with his .367 wOBA and .205 ISO in the split from 2018. Torres has shown plenty of power in same-sided matchups, with a .357 wOBA and .199 ISO over 651 career plate appearances in the split.
Dominic Smith - Finally getting to another matchup, the Mets join the Yankees and Red Sox as the only other team with an implied total above 5 runs on the slate. Pirates righty Dario Agrazal doesn't have much of a sample to draw on at the major league level, but his 2019 has included a 4.45 xFIP across 55 Triple-A innings and a 6.15 in 28 major league innings, so there's not a lot of reason to be optimistic about him. Smith is slumping in July, yet he's still flexing a .366 wOBA and .231 ISO in 193 plate appearances in 2019, leaving him way under-priced relative to his upside here.
Corey Dickerson - On the other side of that game, Mets righty Zack Wheeler can make for an intimidating matchup, but he's got a middling 4.50 xFIP against left-handed hitters while getting tagged for a 43.6% hard-hit and 44.2% fly-ball rate in that split in 2019. Dickerson is more than qualified to take advantage of this spot, owning a career .362 wOBA and .239 ISO (including a .375 wOBA and .225 ISO this season) when he has the platoon advantage.
Mike Tauchman - If you're looking to stick with the Yankees for a value play tonight, Tauchman has put up a .360 wOBA and .218 ISO across 161 plate appearances in the majors this year. He had never made more than 37 plate appearances in a big league season until 2019, but he did show off some real promise at the Triple-A level, with numbers that included a .420 wOBA and .248 ISO in 471 plate appearances in 2018. Like the rest of the Yanks' lineup, Tauchman also gets a big boost from today's matchup with Cashner.
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.