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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Cardinals vs. Padres Showdown on May 16

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

MLB: Colorado Rockies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The DraftKings Sportsbook does not expect much offense in this game (7 O/U). The Padres are missing key bats and the Cardinals' offense has been below average this season (95 wRC+). Despite the struggling offenses, these teams have combined for 25 runs in the first two games of this series. Both bullpens have been stressed this weekend, and both of today’s starters are not inning eaters. This game could explode in the latter innings.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $100K Sunday Night Showdown [$25K to 1st] (STL vs SD)

St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres

Captain’s Picks

Nolan Arenado ($16,200 CP) - Despite a 13-3 win on Saturday, the Padres still had to use several bullpen arms. San Diego leaned on their bullpen Friday as well, and they plan to do the same today. Ryan Weathers ($14,100 CP; $9,400) and Dinelson Lamet ($15,000 CP; $10,000) do not have long leashes, so that means a lot of innings from a good (second-best xFIP in MLB - 3.46), but taxed bullpen. Arenado’s move out of Coors field has not hurt his performance at all. He has a .380 wOBA, .250 ISO, 142 wRC+ and 12 barrels this season.

Kwang Hyun Kim ($15,300 CP) - Targeting a Padres lineup that was missing three of its best hitters did not work yesterday. In fairness to Kim, Adam Wainwright was on the mound yesterday, and he allowed three home runs in four innings. Kim’s advanced metrics aren’t impressive — he is not above average when it comes to swings and misses, chases outside of the zone or getting ahead of hitters. However, he strikes out enough batter and strands enough runners, that he’s made it through five innings unscathed in three of his past four starts. San Diego’s .292 wOBA is near the bottom in baseball against left-handed pitching, and that’s with their healthy lineup.

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Value Plays

Matt Carpenter ($6,800) - One of these days, he’s going to go off or I’m going to go broke waiting on him. His xwOBA is .352, but his actual wOBA is .245. This stat may be unfamiliar to some, but xwOBA attempts to quantify the batter's skill and not their luck. Carpenter’s xwOBA tells us that he is hitting the ball hard (44% hard contact) and he’s putting it in the air (54% fly-ball rate). That’s how extra-base hits happen and that’s what DFS players want, especially if they can get it from cheap hitters.

Tommy Pham ($7,400) - This is a similar play to Carpenter. DFS players, or just me, have lost a lot of money betting on a breakout that never seems to come. His xwOBA (.358) has been higher than his wOBA (.267) all season, but today might be the day that he narrows the gap. Pham homered last night, and the Padres’ offense has been the second-most productive offense in baseball over the past week (139 wRC+), The Cardinals’ bullpen is a completely different story than the Padres’ elite crew. The Cardinals’ relievers are deployed often, just like every bullpen in modern baseball, but they’re the worst in baseball (5.07 xFIP). Kwang Hyun Kim doesn’t usually go deep, so even if Kim pitches well, Pham should get a couple hacks at a very bad bullpen.


Ryan Weathers ($14,100 CP; $9,400) - He’s cheap for a Showdown slate starter, but he’s not a starter; he’s an opener. This price tag is too high for three innings of pitching. There’s a chance that Weathers could go deeper — the Padres would like for him to be a starter — but that’s conjecture at this point. Weathers has pitched well in his role, but he’s barely a month removed from arm soreness that sidelined him. Also, Lamet is waiting in the wings to split the early inning work. Weathers is not a pitcher to target with hitters, but at this price, he just doesn’t go deep enough into games to pay off his salary.

The Outcome

It’s hard to sweep a team, and it’s even harder to sweep a first-place team. This game will start out slow. The pitching outmatches the hitting in the early innings, but as this game drags on, the bats come to life. The Cardinals aren’t consistent, but they have plenty of bats that can put the ball over the fence, and that’s what happens in the late innings of this Showdown slate.

Final Score: Cardinals 6, Padres 4

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $100K Sunday Night Showdown [$25K to 1st] (STL vs SD)

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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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