3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Friday 7/23/21
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.
Tyler Mahle, P, Cincinnati Reds ($7,600)
Even though Tyler Mahle has a great matchup, he shouldn't be popular tonight.
We have a loaded 14-game slate tonight, and the pitching options are led off with Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler, and Lucas Giolito, presenting a clear top-tier of options. We also don't have Coors Field on this slate, so there's no "must play" offensive stack tonight. This should funnel people to rostering some of those top pitchers and leave someone like Mahle to be overlooked.
That is a mistake because he has a very solid 29.6% strikeout rate and 3.64 SIERA. He also comes in with six strikeouts or more in nine straight starts, something none of Cole, Wheeler, and Giolito can say.
To top it all off, Mahle's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals is an easy one, as they come in with an 86 wRC+ (27th in the league), .149 ISO (25th), and 30.5% hard-contact rate (26th) versus right-handed pitchers. This is a below-average offense that Mahle should have no issues with.
Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays ($3,400)
That run total has the Rays falling in the middle of the pack tonight and should make them a team that is vastly overlooked. This is great due to the fact they are facing Zach Plesac, a pitcher worth targeting tonight. He comes in allowing 1.19 HR/9 to left-handed hitters, along with a 4.81 xFIP, low 17.2% strikeout rate, and 37.5% fly-ball rate. Giving up home runs is an issue for him, and he can't pitch his way out of trouble with his low strikeout rate, one of my favorite combos to attack.
We turn to Austin Meadows, who has plenty of power versus right-handed pitchers with his .292 ISO, 145 wRC+, 55.9% fly-ball rate, and 37.3% hard-contact rate. If the home runs get going early versus Plesac, the Rays could be an elite tournament stack tonight.
Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics ($3,900)
Yes, I have an interest in Matt Olson in a lefty versus lefty matchup. Not only do I like Olson tonight, but an entire Oakland Athletics stack is something I'm considering mixing into my allocation tonight.
Olson is having an awesome year and is putting up massive numbers versus left-handed pitchers as a lefty hitter. He comes in with a 181 wRC+, .357 ISO, 52.5% fly-ball rate, and 37.4% hard-contact rate versus lefties. All of his numbers, except for hard contact, are higher versus lefties than they are versus righties this year. So, yes, I'm rolling with Matt Olson tonight in tournaments.
He will be up against Yusei Kikuchi, who is allowing 1.13 HR/9 to lefties, along with a 20.0% HR/FB rate and 34.0% hard-contact rate. Ideally, we'd like to see the hard-contact rate a bit higher, but I'll still side with Olson in this matchup.