3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Thursday 7/1/21

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.

Luis Castillo, P, Cincinnati Reds ($8,000)

Can you trust Luis Castillo in tournaments tonight?

Jacob deGrom and Corbin Burnes are the top pitchers on tonight's slate. I'm not here to argue against that. We want to find a pitcher who will fly under the radar, and that should be Castillo against the San Diego Padres. Naturally, any pitcher against the Padres is a potentially dangerous option due to San Diego's power upside. Of course, this is true for Castillo tonight, but it doesn't mean he can't be useful in DFS.

Castillo is only carrying a 21.4% strikeout rate this season, which is significantly lower than his 30.5% and 28.9% strikeout rates from the past two seasons. However, Castillo has managed to maintain a strong 52.2% ground-ball rate this season, along with a 60.4% medium contact rate and a low 22.7% hard-contact rate. He has allowed three earned runs for fewer in six straight starts, along with six strikeouts or more in four straight.

Castillo is controlling things nicely this season and is a viable tournament option tonight.

Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros ($3,900)

It sounds crazy to say, but the Houston Astros could be going overlooked tonight.

The Astros are carrying a 4.80 implied run total tonight, which is the fifth-highest on the slate, putting them in a spot to potentially fly under the radar. There is a game at Coors Field tonight, and we should expect both of those teams to be very popular, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers against a home run prone Patrick Corbin. This leaves the Astros a step behind those teams, which is great for tournaments and something we want to capitalize on.

We turn to Kyle Tucker, who comes in with a 145 wRC+, .239 ISO, 42.7% fly-ball rate, and 36.4% hard-contact rate this season versus right-handed pitchers. Tucker is a solid power hitter in this split, and given the power he has, you could look to him as a one-off in tournaments.

He will be up against Jean Carlos Mejia, who is a rookie who only has 23.2 innings pitched this season. He has struggled versus left-handed thus far to the tune of 1.54 HR/9, a .374 wOBA, and a non-threatening 19.6% strikeout rate. Mejia hasn't shown anything that would have you staying away, so load up on Tucker tonight.

Josh Bell, 1B, Washington Nationals ($2,700)

The Washington Nationals are an interesting team to potentially target tonight.

With a 4.47 implied run total, the Nationals are just a middle-of-the-road team we see on every slate. They aren't jumping off the page, not to mention that they are home underdogs, which should also help keep their rostership low.

They will be going up against Tony Gonsolin, who only has 13 innings pitched this season. So, we'll look at his career numbers, where he has allowed a 4.85 xFIP, 45.7% fly-ball rate, and curiously low 4.7% HR/FB rate versus left-handed hitters.

That fly-ball rate is bad, but a 4.7% HR/FB ratio is crazy low. And by low, I mean in the sense it's due for some serious regression because the league-average HR/FB rate this season is 13.7%, and it was at or above 12.7% in each of the last five seasons.

To sum things up, Gonsolin is running hot right now and getting lucky with nearly all of his fly balls not going for home runs. Regression is going to hit him and that is what you should be looking to capitalize on.

This means looking to a hitter such as Josh Bell, who has a .221 ISO, a 40.5% hard-contact rate, and a 27.3% HR/FB rate versus right-handed pitchers this season. Bell has always been a home run hitter, and in this matchup, he brings the potential to get it done.