3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Friday 8/20/21

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.

Miles Mikolas, P, St. Louis Cardinals ($7,000)

How popular will Miles Mikolas be in his first start back?

Mikolas, aka the Lizard King, is set to make his first start since May due to an arm injury and that could leave plenty of DFS players with concerns. However, Mikolas threw 85 pitches in 7.0 innings of work over the weekend in his last rehab start, which should indicate he is good to go for a full set of work tonight. This couldn't be a better landing spot for MIkolas, since he is at home going up against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Currently, the Pirates are carrying an 82 wRC+ (27th versus right-handed pitchers), a 23.6% strikeout rate (14th), a .137 ISO (27th), a 34.7% fly-ball rate (22nd), and a 29.9% hard-contact rate. The Pirates are one of the worst teams in the league and this could be a great first start back for Mikolas.

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds ($4,000)

If the Cincinnati Reds aren't going to be popular tonight, they make a great tournament option.

The Reds have an insane amount of power in their lineup and bring home run upside on nearly every slate. That is all true tonight, and yet, they might not be that popular. This combination of power upside and going overlooked makes them the ideal tournament target.

They are going up against Elieser Hernandez, who has only pitched 12.2 innings this season, so we'll look to his career numbers in 186.1 innings of work. Hernandez comes in with a 1.99 HR/9, a 10.0% walk rate, a 5.49 xFIP, a 49.4% fly-ball rate, and a 39.1% hard-contact rate versus left-handed hitters. Those are some rough numbers to see for a pitcher but exactly the type of numbers we want to stack against.

Joey Votto is an ideal option tonight and comes in with a 172 wRC+, a .353 ISO, a 45.3% fly-ball rate, and a 46.5% hard-contact rate versus right-handed pitchers this season. Votto has all the power we could possibly want in this split and shouldn't be too popular.

Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox ($3,800)

Should we be considering the Chicago White Sox as an option tonight?

They have a 4.41 implied run total, which is 16th on tonight's slate, or in the middle of nowhere. This should cause them to go overlooked and that's fine since we want them to fly under the radar tonight. They are going up against Michael Wacha, who is a right-handed pitcher, yet he is allowing 2.15 HR/9 to right-handed hitters. He is showing to be a reverse splits pitcher and the 48.1% hard-contact rate he is allowing further enhances it. He is getting blasted by righties this season so we want to attack him with a righty power hitter from the White Sox.

That leads us to Jose Abreu, who has a .200 ISO, a 118 wRC+, a 39.2% hard-contact rate, and a 20.3% HR/FB ratio versus right-handed pitchers. This is a sneaky great matchup for Abreu, who has some serious power versus righties this season.