3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for 7/29/19
When being contrarian in daily fantasy sports, there's a fine line between taking a calculated risk and being reckless. But differentiating your lineups from everyone else is the name of the game if you plan on taking down one of those highly lucrative DFS tournaments. Whether it's because of Vegas totals, other options at a given position, or some gem you've found that everyone is overlooking, we can always find potential under-owned plays if we look hard enough.
Here are three such players to consider branching out for on FanDuel's main slate.
Merrill Kelly, P, Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Price: $7,800
We have Coors Field on the main slate for the first time in almost two weeks, which means we need some salary relief if we want to jam those Coors hitters in our lineups.
There is one real "ace" on the mound tonight, a handful of "good" pitchers, and some viable cheaper options tonight, but who will go under-owned on the mound? Brad Keller, Dallas Keuchel, and Merrill Kelly all fall into this mid-tier. Those are all viable pitchers in their own right, but let's look to Merrill Kelly, who is under $8,000 and in what could be the best spot of the bunch.
Kelly is facing off against the Miami Marlins, who have a 25.4% strikeout rate this season versus right-handed pitchers, the fifth-worst in the league. Kelly isn't a big strikeout pitcher by any means -- only a 19.1% strikeout rate this season -- but he has shown he can limit the damage with his 41.5% ground-ball rate and 6.2% walk rate. If you want to pay down at pitcher and load up on bats, Kelly isn't a bad option.
Kole Calhoun, OF, Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Price: $3,400
How much ownership will teams outside of Coors Field see on a smaller slate?
That is one of the most important questions about tonight's slate, and having the right answer could help push you toward the top of the leaderboards. The Los Angeles Angels are at home with an implied team total set at 6.27 and going up against Jordan Zimmermann, who is without a doubt one of the worst pitchers in the league. He comes in with a 5.26 xFIP, allowing 1.24 homers per nine innings and a 41.2% hard-hit rate to left-handed hitters this season. This isn't anything new for Zimmerman -- he has carried an xFIP of 4.84 or higher in three of the past four seasons.
Kole Calhoun, despite getting dropped in the lineup, is hitting the ball well right now, especially off of righty pitchers. He is holding a .228 ISO, 43.9% hard-hit rate and 36.9% fly-ball rate, though he does have a 24.7% strikeout rate. You are certainly getting a bit of power with Calhoun, but you're also a player who can swing a miss a lot. That's perfect for GPPs, and if the masses flock to Coors, an Angels stack could be the perfect contrarian play.
Justin Smoak, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
FanDuel Price: $3,200
Where there's Smoak, there's fire -- right?
Well, that's one way to look at Justin Smoak right now. He has three home runs in his last six games and will look to continue that hot streak tonight. The Toronto Blue Jays have been making the headlines in recent days -- comeback wins, blowing big leads, trades, you name it -- and we want to look toward them in DFS tonight. Toronto has an implied team total set at 4.84, just the seventh-highest on the slate, a spot which will likely have them going overlooked.
Smoak is facing off against Brad Keller, who has put together a few strong starts in a row but still isn't all that good. Keller comes in with a 5.10 xFIP, 12.5% walk rate and 17.9% strikeout rate this season versus left-handed pitchers. Those are numbers we want to attack, especially with Smoak when he is crushing the ball against righty pitchers this season with a .281 ISO, 49.6% hard-contact rate and 46.0% fly-ball rate.