3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Wednesday 8/18/21

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.

Jack Flaherty, P, St. Louis Cardinals ($10,100)

It seems crazy but Jack Flaherty could be passed on tonight.

There are several strong pitching options on tonight's slate and you could make the case that some of them are better than Flaherty. I say better in terms of their matchups, their salaries, or what have you. Shohei Ohtani ($10,500) is slightly more expensive, comes in with a higher strikeout rate, and has an easier matchup. Lance Lynn ($9,500) is slightly cheaper, comes in with a higher strikeout rate, and has a slightly tougher matchup. Freddy Peralta ($9,800) is also cheaper, has a higher strikeout rate, and has an easier matchup.

You get the picture.

While all those options are "better" than Flaherty, it doesn't mean Flaherty is a "bad" option himself. He returned from his oblique injury last week to pitch 6.0 innings and 81 total pitches against the Kansas City Royals. This should point in the direction of him pushing towards or past 90 total pitches tonight, an encouraging sign for a pitcher who has a 28.8% career strikeout rate. This season he is only carrying a 26.3% strikeout rate but he can push that higher starting tonight versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

With their current roster, the Brewers have a 24.2% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitchers, which is 11th-worst in the league. Flaherty has flashed double-digit strikeout upside throughout his career and that is his potential tonight.

J.T. Realmuto, C, Philadelphia Phillies ($3,600)

Are the Philadelphia Phillies going to be popular tonight?

That's the question I keep asking today because they are in a spot to post some big numbers against the Arizona Diamondbacks' pitchers. Humberto Castellanos is set to start for Arizona tonight and while we can't take much from his 15.2 innings pitched this season or his 26.1 innings pitched in his entire MLB career, I can tell you he isn't a pitcher to fear. A 20.0% strikeout rate and a 10.0% walk rate in his career versus right-handed hitters is legitimately nothing special. Castellanos shouldn't pitch too deep into the game and that means the Diamondbacks' bullpen would take over, again, not a spot you need to worry about.

This is why I'm so interested in the Phillies and J.T. Realmuto tonight. The Diamondbackss' bullpen is allowing a .333 wOBA (4th worst in the league), a 4.57 xFIP (2nd), 1.31 HR/9 (11th), and a 38.4% fly-ball rate (2nd) versus right-handed hitters this season. Realmuto is going to be in a good spot no matter who he is facing tonight.

Adolis Garcia, OF, Texas Rangers ($3,700)

Adolis Garcia has home run upside tonight.

The Texas Rangers probably won't be a popular team in tournaments tonight and that's totally fine. Fully stacking probably isn't the call but looking to Garcia as a one-off is the route I'm looking to go. He will be up against Marco Gonzales, who was known as a ground ball pitcher but that has changed over the past few seasons. In 2019, he had a 39.6% fly-ball rate versus righties. In 2020, he had a 43.1% fly-ball rate versus righties. This season he has a 50.0% fly-ball rate versus righties. In what shouldn't come as a surprise, his HR/9 versus right-handed hitters has gone up in each of those seasons.

Hopefully, this paints the picture that Gonzales is a pitcher we can target for some home run upside. This is why Garcia and his .211 ISO, 42.1% fly-ball rate, and 43.9% hard-contact rate versus left-handed pitchers makes for a great option tonight for tournament upside.