FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Wednesday 7/31/19

Austin Meadows hits right-handed pitching well, and Rick Porcello has struggled mightily with left-handed bats in 2019. Who else should you target on tonight'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?

$4 Tier

George Springer - Maybe the most appealing fantasy bat in action tonight (even if we include the entire main slate of games), Springer is in a great spot tonight against Cleveland Indians righty Zach Plesac. Springer ranks eighth among qualifying hitters in both wOBA (.397) and ISO (.302) this season, and against right-handed pitching his wOBA stays consistent while his ISO climbs to .315. Plesac, for as much promise as he showed in the minors, has only managed a 5.21 SIERA across 61 innings at the major league level.

$3 Tier

J.D. Martinez - His production may be down this year, but contact-wise this has still been a typical J.D. Martinez season. Per Baseball Savant, he ranks in the 93rd percentile in average exit velocity, the 97th in expected wOBA and 98th in expected slugging percentage. The Tampa Bay Rays will reportedly open with Andrew Kittredge before moving to Ryan Yarbrough tonight, and neither should be much trouble for Martinez. He's raked in same-sided matchups as a member of the Boston Red Sox (.390 wOBA and .254 ISO), and that production jumps to an absurd .452 wOBA and .339 ISO against southpaws like Yarbrough.

Max Kepler - Kepler's .359 wOBA isn't the kind of mark we're usually paying $3 for, but he does pair it with a terrific .275 ISO, showing the kind of power that we absolutely want to target. His numbers also balloon to a .378 wOBA and .322 ISO on 45.4% hard-hits and 44.1% fly-balls against right-handed pitching. That makes him very easy to like in a matchup with Miami Marlins righty Sandy Alcantara, whose awful 5.60 SIERA in 2019 brings his major league average to 5.50 across 160 2/3 innings.

$2 Tier

Austin Meadows - Rick Porcello has been all kinds of bad for Boston this year, posting a career-worst 5.02 SIERA across 21 games. if that's not bad enough, he's sporting an unbelievably bad 6.21 xFIP against left-handed bats. It should go almost without saying that those numbers should have Tampa's lefties on your radar. Meadows has really come into his own with a .368 wOBA and .230 ISO in his first full major league season, and against right-handed pitching, he's converted a 45.9% hard-hit rate and 42.4% fly-ball rate to a terrific .391 wOBA and .247 ISO. That's $3-type production, and in this matchup it's no surprise our models love Meadows, projecting him for the fourth-highest fantasy score on the slate.

Travis d'Arnaud - Our highest home run projection at $2 (and fifth-highest overall) belongs to one of Meadows' teammates. d'Arnaud may not get the platoon advantage tonight, but Porcello is still no nightmare matchup for righty sticks, with a middling 4.55 xFIP. d'Arnaud is sporting a .244 ISO on 38.0% hard-hits and 39.3% fly-balls in 2019.

Alex Bregman - Bregman may not fare as well as Springer in righty-versus-righty matchups, but the $2 difference in salary goes a long way to making up for that, and Bregman is still an outstanding play in this spot. Dating back to the start of his breakout 2018 season, Bregman has collected 38.3% hard-hits and 43.2% fly-balls against right-handed pitching, turning that contact into a $3-esque .384 wOBA and .238 ISO.

$1 Tier

Nate Lowe and Ji-Man Choi - Going right back to taking advantage of Porcello's awful numbers against left-handed bats, Lowe and Choi are our two top-projected $1 bats on this slate. Lowe only has 110 major league plate appearances to his name, but he's opened his career with a .378 wOBA and .224 ISO after notching a .405 wOBA and .228 ISO across 296 Triple-A plate appearances this year. Choi's numbers aren't as strong, but he's done it over a bigger sample in the majors. We get 597 plate appearances even if we just look at his splits against right-handed pitching, and in that sample. he's turned in a 39.3% hard-hit rate, .347 wOBA, and .209 ISO.

Jonathan Schoop - We give Schoop the highest home run projection among tonight's $1 bats. Like Kepler, he gets a dreamy matchup against Sandy Alcantara, who really doesn't look like a major league level pitcher at this point. Schoop doesn't have the platoon advantage as Kepler does, but even in righty-versus-righty matchups, he hasn't posted an ISO worse than .184 since 2014. Dating back to the start of last season he's turned in a .205 ISO against righties.

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.