3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for 8/19/19
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.
Brendan McKay, P, Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Price: $7,500
The Tampa Bay Rays have one of their top pitching prospects on the mound tonight, but will he be a lower-owned player?
That pitcher is Brendan McKay, who only has 33 innings pitched in this major league career -- all coming this season -- but he has shown promise thus far. A 27.4% strikeout rate and 10.69 strikeouts per nine innings while only allowing a 36.1% hard-hit rate is a solid start to his career.
Clearly, it's a small sample size, but he has a chance to continue this strong start tonight versus the Seattle Mariners, who come in with a 25.5% strikeout rate versus lefty pitchers, which is the fourth-worst in the league. The Mariners also carry a 30.5% hard-hit rate, which is dead last in the league, showing they don't pose much of a threat at the plate.
The Mariners strike out a ton, don't make any hard contact, and are now facing a pitcher who can excel in each of those areas. McKay coming in under $8K tonight offers a ton of salary relief along with strong upside given the matchup.
Cheslor Cuthbert, 1B, Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Price: $2,500
The Kansas City Royals are getting a positive park shift tonight, but will they be able to capitalize on that and post some runs?
A 4.76 implied run total has the Royals coming in as the eighth-highest team on the slate, but they're in a good spot to hit the over on that. They are facing off against John Means, who is having some ups and downs this season, and specifically struggles against righty hitters. Means is carrying a 5.85 xFIP, while allowing 1.47 home runs per nine innings and a 47.8% fly-ball rate. Baltimore is a solid hitter's park and that fly-ball rate can become an issue if the opposing hitters have some power.
Speaking of hitters, Cheslor Cuthbert has some serious power numbers this season versus left-handed pitchers, but it comes from a rather small 65-game sample size. Cuthbert is carrying a .305 ISO, a 1.025 OPS, a 40.4% hard-hit rate, and a 23.5% home-run-to-fly-ball rate versus lefty pitchers. I don't want to get ahead of things, but that power should line up perfectly against Means, who struggles in that area.
Eric Hosmer, 1B, San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $3,300
We have Trevor Bauer as the most expensive pitcher tonight, which means the hitters against him should be lower owned.
It's no secret that the most expensive pitcher on a given slate should carry high ownership, so the hitters going against him should be less popular. This always presents an opportunity to attack tournaments through lower ownership, but also comes with plenty of risk if that high-priced pitcher does what his salary indicates and shuts down the other team.
Even if Bauer does have a solid outing, there is a chance he gets hit hard one or two times, which is the opening we want to attack. This season, Bauer is allowing 1.94 home runs per nine innings to lefty hitters, which is surprisingly bad considering he is among the elite pitchers in the league.
Almost two home runs per nine innings, along with a fly-ball rate and a hard-hit rate both above 40% are a dangerous mix in a hitter's park like they have in Cincinnati. Eric Hosmer has always been good against righty pitchers throughout his career, and while he only carries a .189 ISO this season against them, his 39.4% hard-hit rate and 27.0% home-run-to-fly-ball rate indicate he still can get it done in this split.