3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Wednesday 6/23/21
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.
James Kaprielian, P, Oakland Athletics ($9,000)
There are two very clear aces on tonight's slate and then there's everyone else.
Without a doubt, Trevor Bauer and Robbie Ray are the two best pitchers on tonight's seven-game slate, with Ray being the top option. He has a soft matchup versus the Miami Marlins compared to Bauer versus the always dangerous San Diego Padres.
We move a bit further down the list to find James Kaprielian, who is on the road to take on the Texas Rangers. Kaprielian is an inexperienced pitcher with a total of 41.2 innings pitched in the MLB. It's a tough ask to spend $9,000 of your salary when Ray and Bauer are just a few thousand more and have more innings pitched this season than Kaprielian has in his entire career. This is what should cause him to go overlooked, as many DFS players will simply side with the "safer" options.
That's fine because Kaprielian has good stuff and a soft matchup versus the Rangers. This season, Kaprielian has a 26.8% strikeout rate, 4.26 SIERA, and 49.0% medium-contact rate. Those numbers certainly don't blow you away, but they'll work against the Rangers, who come in with an 89 wRC+ (22nd in the league), .150 ISO (15th), 25.5% strikeout rate (8th), 34.6% fly-ball rate (20th), and 32.6% hard-contact rate (12th) versus right-handed pitchers.
Billy McKinney, OF, New York Mets ($2,200)
Billy McKinney is in a slump right now but still has good underlying numbers versus righties.
McKinney is 1 for his last 18 at the plate. It's baseball, players go through slumps, but I'm still liking what I see from some of his other metrics. He is still holding a .231 ISO, 21.6% strikeout rate, 37.6% hard-contact rate, and 41.6% fly-ball rate versus right-handed pitchers. We not looking to buy into McKinney long-term -- we just need him to produce tonight, which his matchup should certainly allow.
He will be up against Kyle Wright, who doesn't have a ton of time at the MLB level this year, so let's look at his career numbers. Wright has a 5.66 xFIP, 14.7% walk rate, and 17.3% strikeout rate while allowing 1.99 HR/9 and a 39.2% hard-contact rate versus left-handed hitters in his career. Those are some truly rough numbers to see, but they present the perfect opportunity for McKinney to get things right tonight.
Cedric Mullins, OF, Baltimore Orioles ($3,200)
The Baltimore Orioles are the largest (+168) underdogs tonight and should be going overlooked in tournaments. Listen, we all know the Orioles aren't a great team, and when we see the Houston Astros as -200 road favorites, we can immediately tell who is going to be popular and who isn't.
Jose Urquidy is on the mound tonight for the Astros, and he's a solid pitcher but not really an overpowering and dominant one. He has a modest 22.0% strikeout rate, 4.4% walk rate, 44.4% fly-ball rate, and 4.10 SIERA on the year. He's certainly not terrible but also not an elite pitcher.
This will have me looking towards Cedric Mullins tonight, who shouldn't be too popular considering the Orioles have a middle-of-the-road (4.28) implied team total. Mullins is crushing right-handed pitchers this season, there's no other way to put it. He comes in with a 153 wRC+, .239 ISO, 43.4% fly-ball rate, and 38.1% hard-contact rate. That power will play in any park, especially one such as Camden Yards, which is one of the best hitter's parks in the league.