3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Thursday 8/5/21
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.
Touki Toussaint, P, Atlanta Braves ($8,500)
If a few pitching options are going to be chalky tonight, it should be easy to be different in tournaments.
Sonny Gray, Framber Valdez, and Nestor Cortes are shaping up to be the chalkiest pitchers tonight, leaving an opening for most other pitchers. Touki Toussaint could fly under the radar and is worth considering for tournaments. He comes in with a 28.2% strikeout rate this season, as well as a 5.6% walk rate, a 3.25 SIERA, a 52.4% ground-ball rate, and a 60.0% medium-contact rate. Toussaint has a small 17.0 inning sample size, so expect some of those numbers to regress.
He is up against the St. Louis Cardinals, who come in with a .151 ISO (23rd in the league), an 87 wRC+ (22nd), a 31.3% hard-contact rate (24th), and a 22.1% strikeout rate (25th) versus right-handed pitchers. The Cards really don't present too much of a threat to Toussaint, who shouldn't be a popular option tonight.
Franmil Reyes, OF, Cleveland Indians ($3,600)
If the Cleveland Indians are going to be overlooked tonight, it's a mistake.
It would be a mistake since they are facing off against Ross Stripling, who is a home run waiting to happen for opposing hitters. Stripling is allowing a staggering 2.26 HR/9 to righties this season, along with a 45.2% fly-ball rate and an 18.3% HR/FB ratio. Despite being a right-handed pitcher, Stripling has allowed 13 of his 19 home runs to right-handed hitters, showing he has reverse splits.
When it comes to the Indians' power hitters, Franmil Reyes should be front and center. Reyes has an insane .348 ISO, a 37.1% fly-ball rate, a 51.5% hard-contact rate, and a 41.7% HR/FB against same-side pitching -- which is absurdly high. I cannot stress enough how much interest I have in the right-handed hitters from the Indians tonight versus Stripling.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves ($3,200)
It feels like we're living in the movie 'Groundhog Day' because the Atlanta Braves are in a good spot and shouldn't be too popular.
For the third day in a row, we can turn to the Braves' hitters for some power upside when they will be a bit under the radar. They will be going up against Wade LeBlanc, who comes in with a very low 15.2% strikeout rate and is allowing 1.73 HR/9 and a 35.9% fly-ball rate to right-handed hitters. This is what he has shown throughout his entire career and we know LeBlanc can be a source of home runs for the opposing team.
This is why we can look to Dansby Swanson, who isn't related to Ron Swanson but can still swing the lumber at the plate. Swanson comes in with a .237 ISO, a 40.0% fly-ball rate, and a 39.4% hard-contact rate versus left-handed pitchers this season. That is exactly the type of hitting profile we like to target when looking for home run upside.