3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Thursday 6/17/21
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's is the name of the game if you plan on taking down one of those highly lucrative DFS tournaments. Whether it's because of bookmaker totals, other options at a given position, or some gem you've found who everyone is overlooking, we can always find potential under-rostered plays if we look hard enough.
Here are three such players to consider branching out for on FanDuel's main slate.
Charlie Morton, P, Atlanta Braves ($8,200)
There are a few pitchers on the slate with more upside than Charlie Morton, and that should cause him to go overlooked tonight.
Morton comes in with a 26.2% strikeout rate this season, which is good but not great. There are four pitchers on the slate who have a higher strikeout rate, and since upside in DFS comes from strikeouts, we will likely see him less popular than those other pitchers. Even though he doesn't carry as high of a ceiling, Morton is still very much worth a roster spot as his matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals is one you should be targeting.
The Cardinals come in with an 86 wRC+ (24th in the league) versus right-handed pitchers, along with a .149 ISO (17th), 23.2% strikeout rate (19th), and 28.9% hard-contact rate (28th). When you see numbers such as these, you should be immediately looking at the pitcher going against them. Morton's numbers line up well against this team, with his 49.4% ground-ball rate and 59.0% medium-contact rate.
Morton likely won't go out there and post 10 strikeouts, but cruising through six innings, picking up the quality start points, and limiting the damage is on the table tonight.
Danny Mendick, 2B, Chicago White Sox ($2,100)
If the Chicago White Sox aren't going to be a popular team tonight, you should consider them for tournaments.
The White Sox carry a 4.31 implied run total, which is ninth-highest on the slate, and with their offensive power, they are always an option for tournaments. They are going up against Jose Urquidy, who comes in with a 22.3% strikeout rate, 4.5% walk rate, and 4.08 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) -- but is allowing 1.60 homers per nine this season.
Despite being a right-handed pitcher, Urquidy's numbers actually get worse when he faces right-handed hitters. Urquidy has a 4.89 xFIP, 19.6% strikeout rate, and 51.7% fly-ball rate versus righties this season, which has led to him allowing 2.23 dingers per nine in the split. That isn't good news versus a Chicago lineup that is usually righty heavy.
The top options in the White Sox lineup are always interesting, but in an effort to find someone who is under the radar, we'll turn to Danny Mendick. He is a reverse splits hitter, meaning he is better against right-handed pitchers, which lines up nicely against Urquidy. Mendick comes in with a 137 wRC+, .154 ISO, 18.0% walk rate, and 37.0% fly-ball rate versus righties this season. That's some decent power for a player who is only $2,100 and will likely come at a low draft percentage.
Francisco Lindor, SS, New York Mets ($3,100)
With a low 3.87 implied run total, the New York Mets won't be popular.
There are a few factors to consider about the Mets tonight -- they are at home, which is a pitchers' park. They aren't viewed as an elite offense, scoring the second-fewest runs this season. And they are facing a "good" pitcher in Kyle Hendricks. I put good in quotes because Hendricks is a solid real-life pitcher and is generally known for his ability to limit damage. His career 20.6% strikeout rate isn't jumping off the page, but his 47.0% ground-ball rate and 50.1% medium-contact rate mean he usually doesn't get hit too hard.
However, Hendricks is giving up way too many home runs this season, and you should be looking to attack that. Now, I'm not saying to fully stack the Mets, but searching for a one-off in this lineup for tournaments could be the right call. For his career, Hendricks allows 1.07 homers per nine to lefties; this season it's 2.93 jacks per nine. He has a 4.6% barrel rate for his career, but it's up to 10.9% this season.
That means we can look to Francisco Lindor. The star shortstop started the season super slowly but is looking good as of late. Since the start of June, he has a .243 ISO versus right-handed pitchers, compared to his .118 ISO for the season. He's also got a 154 wRC+ in June, compared to an 86 wRC+ for the season, and he owns a 48.1% fly-ball rate in June, compared to a 37.8% fly-ball rate on the season.
Lindor is turning the corner, and he's got a juicy matchup tonight against a home-run prone pitcher.