6 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Baseball Plays for 4/11/16

Luis Valbuena's matchup fits his skill-set perfectly, and you can get him cheap and low-owned. Who else will fly under-the-radar?

If you have played daily fantasy sports for a while, you realize by now the importance of being contrarian, especially in large-field tournaments. Being able to recognize which players are going to be owned by the majority of the field and to find players who you think have a similar point projection but will come at much lower ownership can really separate yourself from your opponents.

The purpose of this article will be to bring you some high-upside players who will likely go overlooked and give you an edge.

Brandon Finnegan, SP, Cincinnati Reds

FanDuel Price: $6,300

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Brandon Finnegan is far from a safe option in today's matchup with the Cubs and will likely be lower owned than Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Sonny Gray, and Steven Matz. His opponent, the Cubs, have the highest projected team total on the slate, too. Don't expect Finnegan to be a popular option.

Why You Should Use Him:

In Finnegan's first start of the season, he demonstrated the upside that Cincinnati envisioned when they acquired him as the center-piece of the Johnny Cueto deal, striking out nine over six three-hit innings. He piled up 39 FanDuel points, even without getting the win he deserved.

He draws a much more intimidating matchup today against the Cubs. While the Cubs do have one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball, a look at the underlying stats suggests that this is a matchup that Finnegan could certainly take advantage of.

Chicago posted a 26.2 percent  strikeout rate against left-handers last season, which was easily the highest mark in the league. The next closest was the Mets at 23.6 percent. Since then, they've picked up Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, who both strike out more against lefties than righties, especially Heyward, who struck out at a 22.1 percent clip against lefties last year. Chicago will also have David Ross, Lester's personal catcher, behind the plate tomorrow. Ross hit .156 with a 30 percent strikeout rate against lefties.

Finnegan has a career 25.9 strikeout rate and should be able to take advantage of a free-swinging Cubs team tonight.

In addition to striking out often, Chicago didn't hit lefties nearly as well as righties, ranking just 21st in wOBA against lefties in 2015. Chicago is dependent on the fly ball, as evidenced by the fact that they ranked 12th in home runs and 4th in fly ball percentage last season. Finnegan is an extreme ground ball pitcher, with a career 56.4 percent ground ball percentage, so he should be able to keep Chicago from getting under the ball today by continuing to pound the ball  low in the zone.

Finnegan certainly could get lit up today and sink your lineup. He's not a cash game option by any means. His strikeout potential in this matchup makes him hard to ignore in tournaments, though, especially at this price.

Daniel Murphy, 2B, Washington Nationals

FanDuel Price: $3,300

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Daniel Murphy will likely lose ownership to Robinson Cano and Jose Altuve, who are both in terrific matchups. Murphy and the Nationals as a whole let down the daily fantasy community in a matchup with Bud Norris last week, and there may be some recency bias in effect tonight.

Why You Should Use Him:

Murphy has gotten off to a fast start for Washington, averaging 19.5 FanDuel points, with two games of at least 30 FanDuel points. His place in the middle of Washington's dangerous lineup will help him to continue to be an appealing option in daily fantasy formats, especially when he is facing right-handed pitching, as he is today.

Murphy's opponent on the mound will be Bud Norris, the owner of a 4.17 SIERA in 2015. While Norris was roughed up by most of the batters he faced last season, his struggles were especially apparent against lefties, who he allowed to post a .537 slugging percentage and .385 wOBA.

Murphy, a lefty, hit 13 of his 14 bombs against right-handed pitching last season, which was supported by his .483 slugging percentage, .193 ISO, and .342 wOBA against righties. He also elevated his hard hit rate from 27 percent to 32.4 percent against righties, while lowering his strikeout rate from 9.7 percent to 6.2 percent against righties.

The Nationals should put up a lot of runs in tonight's rematch with Norris, and Murphy should be a big part of it.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves

FanDuel Price: $3,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Freddie Freeman is part of an always deep first base position pool and draws a matchup against Max Scherzer. As a result of this matchup, the Braves have the lowest implied team total by far. He's also off to a slow start, hitting .125 through his first 16 at bats. Don't expect him to be popular tonight.

Why You Should Use Him:

While Scherzer is one of the most dominant pitchers in the Majors, he can be targeted from time to time, due to his tendency to allow the long ball. His 45.4 percent fly ball rate last year is much higher than that of other elite pitchers, and he struggles specifically against left-handed batters.

Scherzer allowed a 48.4 percent fly ball rate while pitching to lefties at home last season, along with a 29.8 percent hard hit rate, both of which are significantly higher than his marks against righties. He also gave up a .428 slugging percentage and .310 wOBA to lefties at home, numbers that in no way reflect Scherzer's usual level of dominance. His strikeout rate fell from 30.7 percent to 22.3 percent against lefties at home, while his walk rate rose from 3.8 percent to 5.8 percent.

Freeman crushed right handed pitching in 2015, launching 17 of his 18 homers against righties. He also struck out only 17.2 percent of the time against righties, as opposed to 28.3 percent against lefties. He raised his slugging percentage from .316 to .530 against righties, his ISO from .096 to .232, and his wOBA from .300 to .390. He also posted an impressive 39.9 percent hard hit rate against righties, along with a 37.9 percent fly ball rate, which displays his power potential in this matchup.

Don't go near him in cash formats, but Freeman is an intriguing contrarian option tonight in tournaments.

Preston Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

FanDuel Price: $2,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Preston Tucker is hot right now but is still hitting eighth for Houston. Expect him to go under-owned with several outfielders in appealing spots today.

Why You Should Use Him:

Tucker and the Astros draw the best matchup on the board against righty  Chris Young, whose 5.15 SIERA in 2015 is the highest among starting pitchers on today's slate. Young coupled that SIERA with a 57.9 percent fly ball rate, which makes him a very appealing target for tournaments tonight.

Young struggled specifically against lefties last year, as he allowed a higher slugging percentage, wOBA, and walk rate, while posting a lower strikeout rate. His xFIP against lefties was a putrid 5.62.

This is all good news for Tucker, who demolishes right-handers. All 14 of his career home runs have come against righties, and among all of Houston's powerful bats, none posted a higher slugging percentage against righties in 2015 than Tucker's .494 mark. Tucker has also elevated his career ISO from .031 against lefties to .254 against righties, along with his wOBA from .210 to .357. His career hard hit rate of 35.3 percent against lefties is also a significant improvement.

It's often not wise to target hitters so low in the order, but pairing Tucker with the next under-the-radar play is a nice contrarian way to get exposure to this high projected total.

Luis Valbuena, 3B, Houston Astros

FanDuel Price: $2,300

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Luis Valbuena has started slow and is hitting in the bottom half of the lineup. He isn't likely to see ownership high enough to reflect his upside in this matchup.

Why You Should Use Him:

Valbuena is always a nice cheap source of power when facing a bad right-hander, which he is tonight. As referenced with Tucker, Young struggles mightily against lefties.

Valbuena, a lefty, absolutely crushes right-handed pitching. 20 of his 25 home runs came against righties last season, and he posted a 36.2% hard-hit rate and 45.1% fly-ball rate against righties.

Valbuena also hit sliders better than any other pitch, posting a 1.95 wSL/C, which trailed only Carlos Correa among Houston position players. Young threw his slider 39.4 percent of the time last season, which was the second-most among all starting pitchers. He threw the slider on 50.5 percent of his pitches in his 2016 debut.

Young also likes to work the ball low, and over the middle and inner part of the plate against left-handers, as evidenced by this FanGraphs heatmap.

Valbuena thrived against pitches on the inside of the plate, and did better overall against low pitches than ones up in the zone, as evidenced by his FanGraphs heatmap.

He is one of the most exciting punt plays of the day, and pairing him with Tucker provides you with a contrarian lineup while still being able to target one of the chalkier stud pitchers.

Adam Lind, 1B, Seattle Mariners

FanDuel Price: $2,300

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Adam Lind is a part-time player who is hitting .067. It is very unlikely that he is a popular play today.

Why You Should Use Him:

While Lind won't play most games against lefties, he's guaranteed to be in the heart of the order for Seattle when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound. All 20 of Lind's 2015 home runs came off of right-handed pitching, so it's not surprising that Seattle chooses to platoon him.

Lind's splits against righties are very encouraging for tonight's matchup, as he lowered his strikeout rate and increased his walk rate, while also significantly improving his wOBA. Most importantly, Lind's power numbers went through the roof against righties. His slugging percentage rose from .298 to .503 against righties, while his ISO rose from 0.77 to .211. He also elevated his fly ball rate from 24.1 percent to 37.7 against righties, while raising his hard hit rate from 29.1 percent to 39.3 percent.

His opponent on the mound today is right-hander Colby Lewis, who posted a 4.43 SIERA in 2015 and struggled against lefties. Lewis allowed a higher slugging percentage and wOBA against lefties, while also posting a lower strikeout rate. Combine that with his 44.2 percent fly ball rate, and we have a recipe for success for power hitters.

Obviously, Lind isn't in cash game consideration, but he should be on your radar in tournaments as a cheap source of power potential tonight in this advantageous matchup.