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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Cardinals vs. Cubs Showdown on June 13

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

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The National League’s oldest rivalry will take center stage on Sunday night. The spotlight will shine on the bats in this one. The career of Carlos Martinez ($14,700 CP; $9,800) is in free fall and Zach Davies ($12,600 CP; $8,400) is nearly walking more batters than he strikes out. These offenses have been middle of the road in wRC+, but the spotlight cannot shine on an empty stage. Look for the rising stars to steal the show in this one.

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St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs

Captain’s Picks

Patrick Wisdom ($13,200 CP) - The Cardinals traded Patrick Wisdom, the Rangers let him go and the Mariners dropped him. The Cubs saw something, but what was it? From 2012 to 2021, he hit 134 minor league home runs (.196 ISO). He has crushed at every level, and he even hit during his cup of coffee with the Cardinals in 2018. It’s not that the Cubs saw something, but how did these other teams miss it? This fairy tale could come to an end at any moment, or Wisdom keeps crushing because that’s what he has always done. The Cubs seem fine with his strikeouts (36% K rate) as long as Wisdom continues to produce in the advanced stats categories (.525 wOBA, .531 ISO, 238 wRC+ in 53 plate appearances). The average exit velocity on his batted ball events is 94.9 mph with a launch angle of 25-degrees. He’s a wise pick for a home run this evening.

Kris Bryant ($16,500 CP) - Carlos Martinez ($14,700 CP; $9,800) has never been a strikeout artist, but he’s not even a strikeout finger painter this season (15% K rate). As a ground ball pitcher, he’s always pitched to contact, but never this much (over an 82% contact rate from 2020-2021). Bryant is not a hitter that should be allowed to make contact (.399 wOBA, .261 ISO, 156 wRC+). After Martinez exits, he’s replaced by a bullpen full of Carlos Martinezes. The Cardinals have the worst xFIP in baseball (5.01) with the highest walk rate and one of the worse K rates. Bullpens are supposed to step into tight spots and wiggle out of jams. The Cardinals step into tight spots and make them tighter.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $60K Sunday Night Showdown [$20K to 1st] (STL vs CHC)

Value Plays

Ian Happ ($8,400) - It is really amazing that Martinez’s stats are not worse. His strand rate last season was 48% and this season it’s 54%. If a batter reaches base against Martinez, they score almost half of the time. That also means a 50% RBI opportunity for batters, but it’s even better for left-handed batters this season. His strand rate versus left-handed batters is 37%. Like BABIP, strand rate (LOB%) can be a function of luck, but pitchers that tend to miss bats tend to avoid bad luck and maintain lower strand rates. Martinez does not miss bats, so his bad luck is of his own doing. Happ is not having a great season, so he will not be atop anyone’s list tonight. However, he is affordable and as a lefty, he matches up well against Martinez. Over the last week, Happ has a .529 wOBA, .531 ISO and a 241 wRC+.

Tyler O’Neill ($7,600) - The household names might not be the stars tonight. Tyler O’Neill is the best hitter on the Cardinals, not Nolan Arenado ($15,600 CP; $10,400) or Paul Goldschmidt ($11,100 CP; $7,400). Despite two stints on the IL (groin strain and finger sprain), O’Neill has a .398 wOBA, .342 ISO and 157 wRC+. He returned from his second injury on May 27 and in those 15 games, he has a .488 wOBA and a .448 ISO. Davies has a 5.40 xFIP and 2.2% K-BB (worst in MLB). He allows a lot of contact (80%) and a fair amount of it is hard contact (30%). Similar to Martinez, so goes BABIP, so goes Davies. In his last start, he allowed one hit across six innings because his BABIP was .071. A sub .100 BABIP is very lucky, but a sub .100 BABIP while allowing 43% hard contact is like hitting the lotto.


Carlos Martinez ($14,700 CP; $9,800) - His only good games are gifts from the BABIP gods. Martinez does his part and keeps the ball down, then the BABIP gods take over and either direct the ground balls toward infielders or through the holes. In his last two starts, the gods have been angry (.667 BABIP), but the more rational explanation is that Martinez is not doing his part. If a pitcher is going to pitch to contact, then they must keep batters off-balance and keep the ball down. Martinez is allowing over 50% hard contact and 5% soft contact in his last two starts. Since 2014, the vertical break and velocity on his fastball have declined every season. This seems to be the leading indicator for the collapse of his career. The speed and movement aren’t coming back. There will be games where the BABIP gods smile down upon Martinez, but there will be more times when professional hitters smash batting practice fastballs.

The Outcome

Who will put the fire out first? Both of these starters are ticking time bombs, and their bullpens are going to play a crucial role in this game. The Cubs have the fourth-best bullpen (3.77 xFIP), and the Cardinals have the worst bullpen (5.01 xFIP). Simple math says that Cubs will score more runs than the Cardinals when they face a bad starter and a bad bullpen.

Final Score: Cubs 6, Cardinals 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $60K Sunday Night Showdown [$20K to 1st] (STL 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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