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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Cubs vs. Braves Showdown on April 18

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Sunday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Cubs and Braves which starts at 7:08 p.m. ET.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs offense used up their allotment of runs for the week on Saturday (13 runs and five home runs). They had a league-worst 64 wRC+ heading into yesterday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, but now they’re the second-worst (78 wRC+). This miserable offense has a chance to repeat the flood of runs against an emergency call-up pitcher. Unfortunately, the situation looks worse than it is. Bryse Wilson ($13,500 CP; $9,000) was solid in spring training and last season, but there just wasn’t a spot for him in the rotation until now.

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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

Captain’s Picks

Ronald Acuna Jr ($16,200 CP) - Kyle Hendricks ($16,500 CP; $11,000) is a good pitcher, but he’s not a shutdown pitcher. Most DFS players would not shy away from targeting him on a full slate, let alone a showdown slate. Hendricks is solid, but he’s always had a low strikeout rate vs. right-handed batters. Acuna is in a great spot to make contact, and when he makes contact good things happen for the Braves. Against right-handed pitching this season, Acuna has a .552 wOBA, .442 ISO and a 243 wRC+.

Freddie Freeman ($15,300 CP) - His 2021 stats are good (.340 wOBA, .260 ISO) despite struggling against fastballs (.185 SLG%). Imagine what kind of numbers Freeman will produce when he generates the average amount runs off of fastballs, and then what happens when he hits like the normal Freddie Freeman. His xwOBA is .486, which is 140 points higher than his wOBA. Big things are coming, and it could be tonight. Hendricks’ fastball is above average, but nothing special. His strengths are his offspeed and breaking pitches, but that is where Freeman has excelled this season. Freeman has a .523 wOBA against breaking pitches and a .427 wOBA against offspeed pitches.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $75K Sunday Night Showdown [$20K to 1st] (ATL vs CHC)

Value Plays

Ehire Adrianza ($4,400) - The Braves have been rotating players at second and third base of late. If Adrianza does not start, then Austin Riley ($6,200) should be available as a cheap option. Adrianza had been relegated to pinch-hitting duties but was given a shot in the starting lineup on Friday night. He responded by going 0 for 5. In his second chance on Saturday, he went 2 for 4 with a triple batting in the No. 6 slot. It’s an ugly play, but it allows DFS players to squeeze in studs.

Guillermo Heredia ($4,200) - When Cristian Pache went on the IL earlier this week, the journeyman outfielder got called up. When Ender Inciarte went on the IL on Saturday, Heredia became a starter. He has not looked good at the plate so far, and by so far, I mean his three games this season and his entire five-year career. Plain and simple, he’s a cheap option and if he reaches base, the lineup wraps around to the decent hitters that can bring him home.


Joc Pederson ($10,500 CP; $7,000) - He’s done. Pederson hit 36 home runs in 2019 and seven last year, but he’s made a turn for the worse, and it’s all his doing. Pederson made swing changes over the offseason and it’s not working. His K rate is through the roof, his swinging strike rate is at a career-high and so is his outside of the zone swing percentage. It should be no surprise, then, that his walk rate is near his career-low. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Pederson joined a new team and wanted to prove something. Well, he’s proving something alright. The Cubs scored 13 runs yesterday, but Pederson did not manage one measly hit. He walked twice, so that’s a good thing, but he also struck out.

The Outcome

One game doesn’t mean that the Cubs are back. DraftKings Sportsbook lists the Cubs as a slight favorite and that’s with their rested ace facing a rookie call-up. Neither team is particularly rocking and rolling right now; the Cubs can’t hit and the Braves are plagued with a litany of injuries. At the end of the night, the Braves’ stars carry the team across the finish line.

Final Score: Braves 5, Cubs 4

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $75K Sunday Night Showdown [$20K to 1st] (ATL vs CHC)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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