3 Under-the-Radar MLB FanDuel Plays for Friday 5/14/21
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.
Joe Musgrove, P, San Diego Padres ($8,000)
With three very clear aces on tonight's slate, most of the other pitchers could be going overlooked.
There's no doubt that paying up for one of Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, or Tyler Glasnow is a fantastic idea, but it can leave the rest of your lineup at a loss because they are all so expensive. Considering we also have Coors Field on this slate, spending up for some hitters is something you should strongly consider doing tonight. This is where we can turn to Joe Musgrove, who has shown a nice ceiling this season despite a lack of consistency recently.
On the year, Musgrove has a 34.8% strikeout rate, 3.18 xFIP, super-low 4.5% walk rate, 48.3% ground-ball rate, and 48.9% medium-contact rate. Those are some seriously strong numbers and can compete with some of the top stars on the slate from a point-per-dollar perspective. Musgrove isn't going to go out there and dominate like Scherzer every game, but with Musgrove's cheaper salary, he is a worthy option tonight.
He will be taking on the St. Louis Cardinals, who carry an 86 wRC+ (25th in the league), .159 ISO (12th), 37.4% fly-ball rate (9th), and 29.4% hard-contact rate (27th) versus right-handed pitchers. While the Cardinals have some power, their overall consistency isn't there, and since Musgrove can prevent fly balls, he can limit the damage tonight.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Milwaukee Brewers ($2,900)
There are 26 teams on tonight's slate, making the Brewers a legitimately middle-of-the-road option. It shouldn't be a surprise if they go overlooked, and that makes them an interesting option for tournaments -- namely, Avisail Garcia.
This season, Garcia is absolutely crushing the ball, and no one is talking about it. Garcia has an average exit velocity in the 90th percentile, a hard-hit rate in the 93rd percentile, an xwOBA in the 83rd percentile, and an xSLG in the 84th percentile, according to BaseballSavant.
Those are truly some serious power numbers, and he is a home run threat given the right matchup. Oh, speaking of his matchup, Garcia will be taking on Drew Smyly, who has allowed a 45.0% fly-ball rate to right-handed hitters throughout his career. That has led to Smyly giving up 1.51 HR/9 and a 4.39 xFIP.
Yeah, this is a prime spot for Garcia, and he's a tournament option with clear upside.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Philadelphia Phillies ($3,300)
I like home runs, and I like rostering players who hit home runs, so that's why I'm turning to Andrew McCutchen tonight.
McCutchen is officially on home run watch tonight and is a player I'm running to get into my lineups. Well, not actually running since I'm sitting down right now, but you get the idea.
This season is nothing new for McCutchen, as he is hammering left-handed pitchers to the tune of a .302 ISO, 176 wRC+, and 32.4% fly-ball rate. He continues to be one of the more consistent options in MLB DFS and is a player you want some exposure to tonight because his matchup against Steven Matz is so juicy.
To say Matz struggles with right-handed hitters would be an understatement. His numbers this year are nearly identical to his career numbers, so let's take a look. In 2021, he has a 4.63 xFIP, 1.69 HR/9, 34.1% fly-ball rate, and 17.9% strikeout rate. For his career, he has a 4.05 xFIP, 1.69 HR/9, 36.5% fly-ball rate, and 22.8% strikeout rate.
It's very clear that Matz struggles with keeping righty hitters in the park, and since that is the case, McCutchen is one of the top tournament options tonight.