This article is part of our The Daily Duel series.
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.
Ryan Kalish, OF, BOS, $2600 – The Boston outfield has been decimated by injuries this season, losing Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Cody Ross for extended periods. Kalish is finally back from a shoulder injury and looks ready to contribute. It's a good sign he was hitting in two hole for Wednesday's game against a right-handed pitcher and that's where he could find himself most nights if he produces. He has the speed/power combo that fantasy owners look for and it's not going to hurt to hit in front of Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz.
Austin Kearns, OF, MIA, $2700 – Kearns was putting together a nice season with over a .930 OPS for the Marlins until a hamstring injury landed him on the 15-day DL. Now back, Kearns could be a useful option with the right matchup given his price. Look to see where he's hitting in the lineup as well; the number five spot behind Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison is looking like a good spot right now.
Martin Maldonado, C, MIL, $2800 – Maldonado is an interesting pick since as he just recently become more of a regular in the Brewers' lineup. After Wednesday's matinee he now has five home runs and 15 RBI in only 61 at-bats. He's a little old to be a big prospect (25), but with Jonathan Lucroy still three to four weeks away from returning, Maldonado should be in line for a lot of playing time.
Carlos Lee, 1B, HOU, $3100 – The big slugger turned 36 Wednesday and to celebrate his teammates put a sign on his locker that said "Happy 56th Birthday," which is more humorous given the youth in the Astros lineup. Lee wasn't hitting all that well before his hamstring injury, but he's an intriguing player to keep tabs on since he could be dealt before the trade deadline. A move to the American League and potentially a better hitter's park could help boost his fantasy value.
Tip Of The Week
Riding The Hot Hand
It should be of notice that the tip of the week isn't one of the last sections of this week's column. That's because I'm going to give some examples of this week's tip in the next section. The tip is pretty simple: don't be afraid to ride the hot hand or to anticipate a hot streak coming. A player's recent production should be taken into account when setting your lineup. Players go through slumps but also go through hot streaks when they have their timing down and are seeing the ball really well. If you grab one of these guys (especially the established players) when they start making good contact with the ball, it could pay huge dividends. Check out the players below to show why this strategy should be utilized.
Here are some players who have been extremely hot over the last week and have rewarded owners who have been along for the ride. Since players like Brandon Moss and Ike Davis were discussed last week, I'll leave them out. In this section, I'll list the player's salary, which should be taken into account. As long as the price tag's not extremely high it shouldn't weigh as much into your lineup. It's easy to point out players like Joey Votto, Ryan Braun and Jose Bautista, so I'll look at some players that are not as obvious.
Aaron Hill, 2B, ARI, $3600 – You'd be hard pressed to find any hitter that's hotter than Hill right now. Over his last three games he has gone 8-for-12 with three home runs, three doubles, a triple, six runs, two walks and four RBI. That's an average of 10.7 fantasy points in the FanDuel scoring system over his last three games. While the last three games have certainly boosted his numbers, he's been hot for the whole month of June with a 1.124 OPS. Remember, this is a guy who hit 62 home runs for the Blue Jays between 2009-2010.
Colby Rasmus, OF, TOR, $3500; Brett Lawrie, 3B, TOR, $3400 – I grouped these two together since their recent hot streaks seem to be correlated to their moves into the leadoff (Lawrie) and two spot (Rasmus) in the lineup. They have been on fire recently with Rasmus displaying an increase in power and Lawrie showcasing his power/speed combo skills. Rasmus has .989 OPS for the month of June which includes five homers over his last 10 games. While he's playing more against left-handed pitching, it's probably wise to ignore Rasmus against southpaws, against whom he only has an .585 OPS this season (.888 vs. right-handed pitching). Lawrie has shown signs of being the player we were in awe of last season, posting a .310 batting average during the month of June. He has two home runs in his last three games and with seven homers and nine RBI on the season, a 20/20-plus campaign could still be in order.
Brandon Belt, 1B, SF, $3100 – Isn't it amazing what a player can do with consistent playing time, likely relaxing them at the plate instead of worrying about making every out? Belt has adjusted nicely to becoming a regular in the Giants' lineup and has repaid skipper Bruce Bochy for his keen managerial skills. Belt is hitting .331 with a .1.061 OPS during the month of June, which includs hitting a home run in three straight games last week at home. Belt is currently in the middle of an eight-game hit streak and figures to be a regular in the San Francisco lineup for the rest of the season.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, MIL, $3700– Should it be really a surprise that Ramirez is in the middle of a hot streak after getting off to a terrible start this season? Ramirez always tends to warms up with the weather and he's doing it a again this year. He has an 1.032 OPS in June and nine RBI in his last five games while hitting safely in eight of his last nine. Try and forget the slow start and focus on what he's done recently when considering him for your lineup.
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