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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Cardinals vs. Braves Showdown on June 20

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

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

This will be the Cardinals’ fourth Sunday night game in six weeks. Showdown slate regulars should be very familiar with the crew. This lineup has potential but has been a disappointment for the most part. Tonight, they should look like a legitimate playoff contender in a favorable matchup against a left-handed pitcher. The Braves are no strangers to Sunday night either and are no strangers to disappointment. They too, draw a favorable matchup against a left-handed pitcher and a bad bullpen. Buckle up, this game could be a slugfest.

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St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves

Captain’s Picks

Ronald Acuña Jr. ($16,500 CP) — He tops the charts in all of the advanced metrics — 33 barrels (second), .433 xwOBA (second), .423 wOBA (fourth), 93.9 mph EV (fifth) and a 19-degree launch angle (12th). These stats are indicative of what should happen, but DFS contests are paid by what does happen. Acuña’s counting stats are just as impressive — 18 home runs (fifth), 43 RBI (26th), 56 runs (second) and 39 BB (12th). His MVP numbers are even better when facing left-handed pitching (.451 wOBA, .306 ISO, 187 wRC+). How many stats can be shoved into a paragraph? Apparently, a lot because his home ISO is .358 and his road ISO is .239. It’s hard to fit all of his positive stats into a paragraph, but it’s even harder to fit his negative stats into a sentence.

Nolan Arenado ($14,400 CP) — Drew Smyly ($14,400 CP; $9,600) has been awful against right-handed batters in nearly every category that matters (.351 wOBA, .210 ISO, 2.0 HR/9, 17% K rate, 10% BB rate, 45% flyball rate and a 5.46 xFIP). That is a very long list of bad statistics. Arenado has a .374 wOBA, .271 ISO and a 142 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Atlanta is a park upgrade for the Cardinals. Statcast gives Busch Stadium a home run score of 83 (third-worst) and Atlanta’s Truist Park a home run score of 111 (sixth-best).

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $50K Sunday Night Showdown [$10K to 1st] (STL vs ATL)

Value Plays

Tyler O’Neill ($8,200) — He hasn’t homered since June 9 and he has a .262 wOBA and a .087 ISO over the last week. This is the time to buy low. O’Neill draws a preferable matchup (vs. LHP - .241 ISO, 47% hard contact) in a hitter-friendly park. More importantly, his advanced stats during this mini-slump look good (53% hard contact with a 46% fly-ball rate). Despite two stints on the IL and his current slide, O’Neill’s 25 barrels ranks 14th. His .406 xwOBA places him in elite company.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yadier Molina is not in the lineup for Game 2 Sunday vs. the Braves.

Yadier Molina ($7,400) — How did he reverse the aging process? He must be an avid listener of the Joe Rogan podcast. Molina isn’t dramatically better this season, but he turns 39 next month that’s 60 in catcher years. He should not be able to catch games on a regular basis or maintain his career averages. What’s even more unusual is that his performance has increased when he faces left-handed pitching. Over his career, he has a .337 wOBA, .148 ISO and a 110 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. In 30 plate appearances this season, he has .479 wOBA, .393 ISO and a 210 wRC+.


Drew Smyly ($14,400 CP; $9,600) - While the Cardinals do not have a great offense (88 wRC+), their lineup is filled with right-handed bats. In general, St. Louis has a below-average offense but ranks inside the top 10 against left-handed pitching (107 wRC+). Arenado, Molina and O’Neill are threats, and there are more land mines from one to nine. Tommy Edman ($13,500 CP; $9,000) has a .428 wOBA, .275 ISO, 177 wRC+, 37% hard contact rate and a 9% K rate against left-handed pitching. Dylan Carlson ($8,700 CP; $5,800) has a .385 wOBA and a 148 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Perhaps the easiest out is Paul Goldschmidt ($12,900; $8,600), but he’s a sleeping giant. This is a scary matchup for a good left-handed pitcher, let alone a lefty with a 5.49 xFIP against right-handed batters.

The Outcome

It’s uncertain what the lineups will look like on the tail-end of a doubleheader, but what is known is the pitching. These lefties aren’t great and the bullpens are worse. St. Louis has the worst bullpen in baseball (5.03 xFIP) and Atlanta has the eighth-worst bullpen (4.47 xFIP). The only thing that favors these pitching staffs is the shortened length of the game. If the bullpens are taxed in game one, then this could be a long night.

Final Score: Braves 6, Cardinals 5

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $50K Sunday Night Showdown [$10K to 1st] (STL vs ATL)

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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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