FanDuel MLB 3-Man Challenge Helper: Friday 8/2/19

Coors Field deserves plenty of attention, but don't sleep on Nelson Cruz against Glenn Sparkman and the Royals. Who else should you target on Friday's 3-Man Challenge slate?

Sometimes, you just don't have time to track the weather, check the splits, and wait for the batting order to be posted to build a full nine-man FanDuel MLB roster. It happens. But that no longer means you can't build some lineups, thanks to FanDuel's MLB 3-Man Challenge game style.

The premise is simple: build a three-player roster for a $7 salary cap, and only hits and RBI count toward netting FanDuel points. One player is your MVP, and his points are multiplied by 1.5, and you just need to roster players from at least two different teams. That more or less covers it, but you should familiarize yourself with the basic strategy for the new game style to help you in tonight's marquee 3-Man Challenge contest.

That being said, which options stand out at each price range for today's 3-Man Challenge slate?

$4 Tier

Charlie Blackmon - Stop me if you've heard this one before: Charlie Blackmon offers absurd upside at home against right-handed pitching. Over the last three seasons (559 plate appearances) he's rocking a .471 wOBA and .353 ISO in that split, and this year those numbers jump to silly levels with a .517 wOBA and .443 ISO. Tonight's matchup gives him a nice boost as well, since the righty he's taking on is San Francisco's Shaun Anderson, who has a 5.16 SIERA across about 75 innings pitched at the major league level.

Nelson Cruz - It's not often I write up two $4 hitters, but tonight warrants it. It's not often Nelson Cruz is going to be anything close to contrarian, but with Coors Field commanding so much attention, that could be the case tonight. He's been an absolute monster this year, turning a 54.6% hard-hit rate, 10.7% soft-hit rate and 40.0% fly-ball rate into a .401 wOBA and .320 ISO. He also has the second-highest average exit velocity of anyone with at least 100 batted balls this season. Kansas City Royals righty Glenn Sparkman has been terrible in 2019, with a 5.43 SIERA and 41.2% hard-hit rate, and Cruz has some massive upside.

$3 Tier

Trevor Story - You don't have to pay up to $4 to get the huge upside available at Coors tonight, either. Sure, Story doesn't get the platoon advantage, but that really isn't a concern. He's flexing a career .379 wOBA and .291 ISO at home against righties -- and if he does happen to get a crack at a left-handed reliever, his marks jump to an absurd .455 wOBA and .418 ISO in the split. Our models project Story for the slate's second-highest fantasy score, only behind Blackmon.

$2 Tier

Pablo Sandoval - Sticking with Coors, the Colorado Rockies are starting righty Peter Lambert, so there's plenty of reason to be excited about the Giants and their 6.34-run implied total as well. Lambert had an awful 5.04 xFIP across 60 1/3 Triple-A innings this year, and he hasn't been especially impressive in the majors either, with a 4.52 SIERA. The switch-hitting Sandoval has done by far his best work against right-handed pitching over his career, with a .351 wOBA and .188 ISO. In 2019 he's shown some improved power in that split, notching a .238 ISO on 42.0% hard-hits over 226 plate appearances.

Danny Santana - With 97-degree heat at the already-hitter-friendly Globe Life Park, the Texas Rangers' matchup with Detroit Tigers lefty Tyler Alexander is tough to ignore. Alexander only has a tiny sample of major league work to draw from, but his 4.65 xFIP at the Triple-A level in 2019 (85 innings) makes it hard to get excited about him. Santana has only made 93 plate appearances against southpaws over the last two seasons, but he's dominated with a .388 wOBA and .281 ISO on 46.6% hard-hits in that sample. The switch-hitters overall numbers are easy to like in that time too, with a .376 wOBA and .252 ISO over 333 plate appearances.

$1 Tier

JaCoby Jones - Our models project Jones for the highest fantasy score among the $1 bats on this slate, and he too gets to benefit from the hitter-friendly confines of Globe Life Park. He's showing off some pop against righties this year, with a .320 wOBA and .205 ISO on 41.6% hard-hits and 36.9% fly-balls. His floor is low in a tough matchup against Lance Lynn, but you don't play $1 bats for their floor in this format. An ISO north of .200 in a hitter-friendly park gives him exactly the kind of upside we like to see.

Jason Castro - More underpriced power, Castro ranks 10th in expected slugging percentage among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances this season, per Baseball Savant. He's sporting a .343 wOBA and .232 ISO on 51.8% hard-hits and 39.8% fly-balls in 2019, and while he may not have Nelson Cruz-type upside, this matchup against Glenn Sparkman positions him incredibly well, and once we adjust for the salary he has some of the most exciting upside on the slate.

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.