3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Wednesday 4/21/21
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 is the name of the game if you plan on taking down one of those highly lucrative DFS tournaments. Whether it's because of Vegas totals, other options at a given position, or some gem you've found that 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.
Michael Wacha, P, Tampa Bay Rays ($7,000)
Are we seeing a resurgence for Michael Wacha this season?
I know it's a super small sample size, but Wacha is off to a strong start this year with a 32.8% strikeout rate, while only allowing 0.60 HR/9. Obviously, we have to wait and see if he can maintain that throughout the season, but it's encouraging since he had a strikeout rate of 23.5% or lower in the past two seasons while allowing 1.85 HR/9 or higher in both years. We're at this weird spot where he looks great, but how much longer will it actually last? The matchup tonight versus the Kansas City Royals could help it go at least one more game.
The Royals made some nice moves in the offseason, but that hasn't translated to production on the field yet. To start the year, the Royals have a 26.2% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitchers (11th), a .140 ISO (22nd), a 92 wRC+ (16th), and a 27.0% hard-contact rate (30th). They are an average offense at best with it leaning towards being bad. Wacha may not be able to keep those numbers for the entire season, but it can certainly go one more game.
Pablo Sandoval, 1B, Atlanta Braves ($2,000)
The Atlanta Braves are gaining the DH being at Yankee Stadium and that opens up another potential hitter.
It's the year 2021 and I'm voluntarily writing about Pablo Sandoval, who is in the starting lineup for the Braves. The Braves have a 4.03 implied run total, and while we should see some of the hitters at the top of their lineup very popular, we could see the bottom half go overlooked. Part of the reason Sandoval could get overlooked is the fact we don't know what we can actually get from him. Looking at his stats from this year versus right-handed pitchers brings a super small sample size since he isn't an everyday player. Seeing a .818 ISO is super high, but that also won't be sustainable. If we look back to last season, we see a .054 ISO, which is also clearly an outlier.
His matchup versus Corey Kluber is also largely unknown since he has only pitched 11.1 innings over the last two seasons. This is legitimately a giant question mark on both sides. A few things are clear, this is a great hitter's park, the bottom half of the Braves' lineup shouldn't be popular, and he is also very affordable at the minimum salary.
Brandon Lowe, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays ($2,800)
The Tampa Bay Rays carry a 4.00 implied run total tonight and that could cause them to go overlooked.
There are six teams on this slate with higher implied run totals than the Rays, and if that is going to make them an under-the-radar option, they present plenty of value in tournaments. When searching for a player that isn't heavily rostered in MLB DFS, I'm always going to be looking for some power upside. We don't want a player that can simply get on base and maybe score a run, we want a player in a spot to hit a home run and really bring tournament upside.
That is what we have with Brandon Lowe tonight, who carries a career .239 ISO, 42.8% fly-ball rate, and a 41.6% hard-contact rate versus right-handed pitchers. This makes him a member of what I call the "40/40 club", which is a totally original name and not taken from anywhere else. A hitter with a fly-ball rate at 40% or higher AND a hard-contact rate at 40% or higher -- that gives him home run upside in most matchups.
Those power numbers are a great starting point and they line up nicely against Jake Junis, who will be on the mound tonight for the Kansas City Royals. Over the course of his career, Junis has allowed 1.39 HR/9 to lefty hitters, a 41.2% hard-contact rate, a 31.8% fly-ball rate, and a non-threatening 19.5% strikeout rate.