Here are some good values to consider from guys who are back from the DL or just called up from the minors. Most of these players should be regulars in the lineup but as always, check each lineup daily to make sure they are playing.
Chase Utley, $2700, 2B, PHI - Remember this guy? Utley was finally activated off the DL Wednesday after missing almost the whole first half of the season. At 33 with a history of knee problems, it's unlikely that he returns to the form that saw him be a yearly 30/15 threat. That being said, he still has some pop in his bat that is better than most second basemen. It'll be interesting to see where he hits in the order but he should be towards the top of the lineup immediately.
Stephen Drew, $2500, SS, ARI - Drew made his season debut Wednesday night, hitting in the two spot for the Diamondbacks. He'll have every motivation to produce for Arizona considering he's likely playing for his last big contract. Drew has good power for a shortstop and can occasionally steal a base, which makes him attractive to fantasy owners. His ability to hit triples (which count for three points) shouldn't be ignored, either. Between 2008-2010 he recorded 35 triples and 48 home runs, showing his ability to hit for extra bases.
Brooks Conrad, $2600, 3B, TB - Conrad is considered a "newbie" in the sense that he was just picked up by the Rays and appears headed to significantly more playing time with Evan Longoria on the DL. Conrad found himself the center of attention in one of Joe Maddon's "creative" lineups Wednesday, hitting cleanup for Tampa Bay. If he's in that spot, he could have nice value with guys like B.J. Upton and Desmond Jennings setting the table in front of him.
Jon Jay, $2700, OF, STL - Jay returned from the DL last Friday after missing time due to a shoulder injury. Jay doesn't have a ton of pop but has some speed and an excellent OBP (.383). Hitting in the St. Louis lineup is a good thing considering some of their run totals this season, and he makes for a nice addition to your team if you're in need of a cheap outfielder.
Adam Lind, $2400, 1B, TOR - I've got to think it's make or break time for Lind, who is getting another shot in the Blue Jay lineup. Not surprisingly he raked at hitter-friendly, Triple-A Las Vegas, posting a 1.112 OPS over 125 at-bats. Only 28, the time in the minors may have given him the confidence at the plate to be productive for Toronto. Just keep in mind his leash may not be that long if he doesn't start hitting.
Here are some players who have seen their value drop significantly due to poor production recently. You might be surprised at some of the names and how much their stock has fallen. This section will also include players who seem to be turning things around as we speak but come at a discounted price due to their recent slump.
Ryan Zimmerman, $2900, 3B, WAS - A cortisone shot to the shoulder and a trip to Coors is just what Zimmerman needed to snap out of his season-long slump. Over the last three games Zimmerman has raised his batting average 14 points while collecting three extra base hits. Considered one of the elite fantasy third baseman, Zimmerman is a threat for 30 home runs and with a .300 average. Watch the reports to make sure his shoulder holds up but run him out there while he's cheap and heating up at the plate.
Chris Young, $2900, OF, ARI - It seems that Young came back too early from his DL stint as he hasn't looked close to the player who was raking before his shoulder injury. This is something of a two-sided coin here: it's possible that the shoulder will continue to be an issue and isn't completely healed; or he'll eventually get his timing back and look like the player who was headed for a career year before his injury. His home run Wednesday night could indicate the latter is on the horizon.
John Buck, $2900, C, MIA - Buck has been mired in a slump the whole season but has shown signs of life as of late. He has three home runs over his last six games and there are many positive stats after taking a closer look at his numbers. His .200 BABIP would be a career-low and is 81 points lower than his average, showing that luck hasn't been on his side. Buck has shown surprising plate discipline as his 15.9 percent walk rate indicates (higher than 5 percent of his career-high). With his power coming back over the last week, grab him if he's got a good matchup before his price tag goes up.
Tip Of The Week
Curious as to whom you should look for as an opposing team when selecting which pitcher to use? First, I'm partial to taking NL pitchers in general. The fact is there are fewer runs, home runs, etc. scored each year in the NL, which is likely due in part to the pitcher hitting instead of the DH. As a result, it should be no surprise that the bottom five teams for runs scored are in the NL. Here they are:
26. Miami (278)
27. Washington (277)
28. Chicago (275)
29. Pittsburgh (256)
30. San Diego (254)
I wouldn't advocate running a lineup out against Miami considering some of their superstars - Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison - have started to heat up. San Diego and Chicago are the two teams I'd look hard at when deciding on a pitcher. Pittsburgh ran into a bunch of tough matchups early in the season and Washington has their best lineup going these days with Mike Morse and Bryce Harper in the lineup.
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