FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Monday 7/29/19
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?
Cody Bellinger - Even at $4, Cody Bellinger will almost always be in play against right-handed pitching. He ranks third among qualifying hitters in both wOBA (.443) and ISO (.357) in that split, and overall he ranks second in both expected wOBA and expected slugging percentage, per Baseball Savant. And then there's the small matter of where he's hitting tonight. The Los Angeles Dodgers are traveling to Coors Field, where they boast a slate-high 6.51-run implied total -- over half a run higher than any other team on the 3-Man slate.
Trevor Story - We often see Story's price-tag get up to $4 at Coors Field, but tonight against righty Kenta Maeda he's priced more modestly. Maeda is certainly not an ideal matchup, but his 4.25 SIERA isn't as worrying as we've seen in the past, and the Rockies' 5.99-run implied total is still second-best on the slate. We'd rather see Story against a southpaw, but he's still a terror at home against righties. He's made 143 plate appearances in that split this season, exploding for a .433 wOBA and .354 ISO.
Joc Pederson - Joc has turned in a 46.0% hard-hit rate and 42.9% fly-ball rate against righties this season, which is right in line with the 43.8% hard-hits and 43.2% fly-balls he notched last year. Over those two seasons (701 plate appearances) he has converted that contact into a .372 wOBA and .298 ISO. Adding in the Coors Field effect, Pederson gives us $4-type upside at a discount from Bellinger.
Jorge Soler - A darkhorse, since he's not in the Coors Field game, our models give Soler the second-highest home run projection on this slate. He's crushing baseballs in 2019, ranking in the 88th percentile in average exit velocity, 87th percentile in expected wOBA and 92nd percentile in expected slugging percentage, which comes thanks in part to a 43.2% hard-hit and 39.2% fly-ball rate.
Will Smith - Our models project Smith for the highest fantasy score of anyone priced below $3 tonight, as well as for the fourth-highest fantasy score among anyone. A righty-versus-righty matchup isn't ideal for him, but he's been an absolute monster from the dish in 2019. The .472 wOBA and .469 ISO he's opened his major league career with aren't sustainable marks, but considering he notched a .399 wOBA and .336 ISO across 268 Triple-A plate appearances, there's plenty of room for optimism that he continues to produce at a high level. Adding Coors Field to the equation, don't expect him to cool down too much tonight.
Alex Verdugo - Jon Gray's numbers against left-handed bats this season aren't terrible, but they're certainly exploitable. He's giving up a .340 wOBA with a 4.29 xFIP on 43.8% hard-hits in the split, and that should mean trouble for him at home. Verdugo's numbers might not be quite what we usually target at $2, but Coors Field more than makes up the difference. That's not to say his numbers aren't appealing, either. He's tagged right-handed pitchers for a 43.9% hard-hit rate in 2019, with a .333 wOBA and .196 ISO in the split.
Jesse Winker - The highest implied total for a non-Coors Field team on this slate is 5.41 runs for the Cincinnati Reds, who draw a plus matchup against Pittsburgh Pirates righty Jordan Lyles (4.43 SIERA, 37.6% hard-hit rate, 37.8% fly-ball rate). Jesse Winker owns some extreme platoon splits, so there's always a bit of risk that comes with the potential of a lefty relieving Lyles, but his numbers against righties are more than enough to make him a terrific play anyway. Over his young major league career, Winker has converted a 43.7% hard-hit and 11.2% soft-hit rate to a .380 wOBA and .204 ISO over 661 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.
Freddy Galvis - Our models love Galvis tonight, projecting him for the top fantasy scorer among $1 bats and having him tied with Winker for the highest home run projection at $1. The switch-hitter has only managed a .308 wOBA and .170 ISO in 2019, but those numbers come with encouraging 36.1% hard-hit, 13.1% soft-hit and 38.1% fly-ball rates. His power output has been highest against right-handed pitching over his career, positioning him well to take advantage of Brad Keller's weak 5.22 SIERA and the 5.10 xFIP he has against left-handed bats.
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.