3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for 4/9/21
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.
Tyler Mahle, P, Cincinnati Reds ($8,400)
The pitching landscape on tonight's slate is very interesting, and there are several options at the high end.
With a smaller six-game slate, the options are limited across the board, and the means we could see some of the pitching options be very popular in tournaments. Since the salaries on most of the pitchers aren't overly expensive, spending up for Zack Wheeler ($10,500), Joe Musgrove ($9,700), or Lance McCullers ($9,000) isn't that big of an ask. This could leave a pitcher like Tyler Mahle just a step behind the others in overall rostership, making him a great option for tournaments.
Mahle will be on the road to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hold a 4.43 implied run total, which is the seventh-highest on the slate. More importantly, the Diamondbacks aren't too much of a threat offensively versus right-handed pitchers, putting Mahle in a spot to rack up the FanDuel points. The Diamondbacks' current roster struggled against right-handed pitchers last season, posting a 92 wRC+ (22nd in the league), a .165 ISO (21st), and a 35.0% fly-ball rate (15th). Even though they struck out at the fifth-lowest rate (20.6%), they didn't bring any notable power.
Over the last two seasons combined, Mahle carried a solid 25.0% strikeout rate, a 35.7% fly-ball rate, and a 34.6% hard-contact rate. Mahle has been known to give up a home run or two, but the lack of consistent power in the Diamondbacks' lineup should allow him to have a safe outing tonight.
Didi Gregorius, SS, Philadelphia Phillies ($2,700)
The Philadelphia Phillies' 3.83 implied run total is too low tonight.
That 3.83 implied run total is the second-lowest on the slate, and it should make the Phillies a great option for tournaments tonight. They will be taking on the Atlanta Braves, who will have Charlie Morton on the mound, and it's a matchup worth attacking.
Morton only pitched 38 innings in 2020 due to it being a shorter season and some injuries. So we have a 37-year-old pitcher coming off a season he was dealing with injuries, is pitching in a great hitter's park, and is a -130 road favorite? Something doesn't add up here. I'm not saying Morton is washed up, but I'm saying the 3.83 implied run total is too low, and the Phillies' players make good tournament options tonight.
One player to target would be Didi Gregorius for the lefty power he brings. Over the past two seasons, Gregorius has a .183 ISO, a 44.7% fly-ball rate, and a 102 wRC+ versus right-handed pitchers. Morton allowed 1.1 HR/9 to lefty hitters over the past two seasons, so he's certainly worth attacking via an under-radar-option tonight.
Josh Naylor, OF/1B, Cleveland Indians ($2,500)
Josh Naylor is very affordable tonight and going up against a home run prone pitcher.
Naylor absolutely mashes the baseball and has home run upside going up against Julio Teheran tonight. Naylor made his MLB debut in 2019 where he carried a 115.1 max exit velocity, which was in the top 3% of the league, and this season he is up at 114.7, which is also in the top 3% of the league.
Anytime you can get power such as that into your lineups, you are looking at plenty of upside, and when you can match that up against a pitcher who gives up too many home runs, well, it's a match made in heaven.
Over the past two seasons, Teheran has struggled versus left-handed hitters, allowing 1.80 HR/9, a 6.29 xFIP, a 39.5% hard-contact rate, and a 45.7% fly-ball rate. Yikes. Those are some seriously awful splits versus lefty hitters, and if that kind of home run potential is there, you have to stack against it.