3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for 8/26/19
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.
Joe Musgrove, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Price: $7,000
There is a clear top pitching matchup on this slate, which is where most of the ownership should go, but that just means plenty of lower-owned tournament options.
The top pitcher on this slate is Sonny Gray against the Miami Marlins, but he is also the most expensive by a good margin and can leave the rest of your lineup a bit lacking. If you are willing to move off of him, take a look at Joe Musgrove, who is having a rollercoaster of a season.
Musgrove is carrying a 4.51 xFIP, 20.7% strikeout rate, and 43.3% ground-ball rate this season, making him the near definition of average. There is nothing that jumps off the page at you about Musgrove, but the matchup he has tonight is worth attacking.
While Musgrove won't be torching hitters at the plate with an average fastball velocity at 92 mph, he can limit hard contact (37.8%) and fly balls (35.9%). Those are decent numbers and should play well against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight, who come in with 36.5% fly-ball rate (11th in the league), 37.3% hard-hit rate (21st), and 89 wRC+ versus right-handed pitchers this season. For all the power and big-names the Phillies have in their lineup, they are very average in this split.
Musgrove offers a ton of savings on a smaller seven-game slate.
Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Price: $2,400
Harrison Bader isn't the most prolific hitter by any means, but he is cheap and has the platoon advantage tonight.
Bader is hitting under .200 this season but comes in with a surprisingly strong 44.7% fly-ball rate against lefty pitchers, along with a .221 ISO. For only $2.4K, that is some legit power and will have the benefit of a positive park shift tonight, as the St. Louis Cardinals are on the road to take on the Milwaukee Brewers.
A 4.48 implied team total has the Cardinals coming in as the fifth-highest team tonight, so they should see some ownership, but it might not be on Bader. He normally hits in the seventh or eighth hole in the lineup, which generally has lower fantasy equity on average.
The lower potential for fantasy production isn't great for cash games, but with his power, Bader has the ability to exceed value, something you shoot for in tournaments. That power could shine through tonight versus Gio Gonzalez, who is allowing 1.24 home runs per nine innings versus righty hitters this season, along with a 10.2% walk rate. Gonzalez has never been a pitcher to avoid and with the power Bader has, he could jump on the home-run-prone splits for Gonzalez.
Jake Lamb, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Price: $2,900
Will being at a pitcher's park keep DFS players off of the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight?
They are up against Tyler Beede, who comes in with a 5.81 xFIP, super low 16.7% strikeout rate, 48.5% hard-hit rate, and 18.2% home-run-to-fly-ball ratio versus lefty hitters this season. Beede isn't a good pitcher, which has Arizona coming with a 4.53 implied run total, even with this being a solid pitcher's park and some cooler weather.
Situations like this always present interesting decisions in DFS -- do you side with the average hitting team or the average pitcher with the park factor?
On a smaller slate like this, getting off of the chalk can bring massive upside, which can be a key in tournaments. For that reason, I'm looking towards a hitter like Jake Lamb, who is having another season filled with injuries but is in a good spot tonight.
Lamb comes in with a very low .119 ISO this season versus righty pitchers, but if we look at his peripheral numbers, we can see he might be in for some positive regression. Since the start of August -- yes, a small sample size -- Lamb has a 45.9% hard-hit rate and a 46.9% fly-ball rate versus right-handed pitchers. The box-score stats aren't there, but the underlying numbers are there for Lamb.