3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Friday 5/7/21
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 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.
Sean Manaea, P, Oakland Athletics ($8,000)
With so many high-strikeout pitchers on the slate, Sean Manaea could go a bit overlooked.
Manaea clocks in at 15th in strikeout rate among pitchers on tonight's slate -- aka a middle-of-the-road option. However, he has a fantastic matchup and plenty of point-per-dollar upside.
Manaea will be taking on the Tampa Bay Rays, who are seriously struggling versus left-handed pitchers this season. The Rays comes in with a 32.0% strikeout rate (2nd worst in the league), a 98 wRC+ (19th), and a 30.8% hard-contact rate (14th). They are legitimately an average to below-average offense versus left-handed pitchers.
Manaea has looked good to start this season with a 3.71 xFIP, 23.7% strikeout rate, super-low 5.0% walk rate, and 28.3% hard-contact rate. He's always been known for his ability to generate ground balls, and that should help him limit the damage against an offense that is clearly struggling versus lefty pitchers.
Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle Mariners ($2,900)
The last three times I've written this article I've correctly picked a player to hit a home run. Tonight, it's Kyle Seager's turn.
It's time to end the week with another correct home run pick, so we turn to the Seattle Mariners, who are taking on Mike Foltynewicz. Since the start of 2019, things have not gone well for Foltynewicz when he faces left-handed hitters. Since that season, he has allowed 2.2 HR/9, a 5.60 xFIP, a 38.8% hard-contact rate, and a staggering 48.6% fly-ball rate. He's a home run waiting to happen for opposing lefty hitters.
This is where we look to Kyle Seager, who is scorching hot this season versus right-handed pitchers. He comes in with a .279 ISO, a 138 wRC+, a 42.9% hard-contact rate, and a massive 51.4% fly-ball rate. Funny how Seager's fly-ball rate seemingly lines up with Foltynewicz's fly-ball rate. This game is in Texas, which is a positive park shift for Seager, so I'm calling another home run shot tonight.
Niko Goodrum, 2B/SS, Detroit Tigers ($2,800)
The Tigers have a modest 4.18 implied run total tonight, which is the 12th highest on the slate. This puts them firmly in the mid-tier and makes them ultimately a team that goes largely overlooked. This will put their players in a good spot for tournaments because they have a soft matchup against Matt Shoemaker, who gives up too many home runs.
Throughout his career, Shoemaker has allowed 1.27 HR/9, a 20.1% strikeout rate, a 39.9% fly-ball rate, and a 33.0% hard-contact rate to left-handed hitters. All of those numbers are even worse this season, but it's a small sample size.
We flip to Goodrum, who has solid power numbers versus right-handed pitchers over the course of his career. Goodrum holds a career .179 ISO, 38.4% fly-ball rate, and 39.3% hard-contact rate. He does carry a 33% strikeout rate in his career, so we're looking at a boom or bust type situation but a player that clearly has power upside.