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RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 13

Some 240 years ago, a group of no-nonsense, wig-headed renegades declared themselves free of tyranny and oppression from their over-bearing government mark the brith of this great nation. Many will take this long weekend to celebrate with family and friends. You'll eat BBQ, drink beer and and do like The Simpsons told us "celebrate the independence your country by blowing up a small part of it." But what summer weekend would be complete without also mixing in a little MLB action.

Friday you have yet another chance to earn yourself a spot in the 2016 Rotowire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship with your weekly chance to qualify for the Championship round to be held on July 22. A top-10 finish in the weekly contest will earn you a ticket for the big dance.

Rotowire Expert Competition

Brian Pelowski put together a 200-point effort in the week 12 competition to top the field. A 41.1-point performance from James Loney along with solid nights from Mookie Betts, Manny Machado and Nolan Arrenado helped him best the field.

With three weeks left to go in the overall competition, Josh Fathollahi has put nearly 100 points between himself and the next best performer as he looks to finish out strong and wrap up the 15-week expert competition. Derek VanRiper and Andrew Par remain within striking distance, but there is very little margin for error.

Here's how the top-11 for the year shakes out. Why top-11? Because everyone knows it just gives a much more complete picture than presenting just the top-10.

  1. Josh Fathollahi (jashfath) - 1651.8
  2. Derek VanRiper (rotowiredvr) - 1566
  3. Andrew Parr (aparr013) - 1561.1
  4. Aaron Quinn (aaronq) - 1519
  5. James Seltzer (schweppy23) - 1513.2
  6. Scott Jenstad (oaktownsj) - 1513.1
  7. Ken Crites (kencrw) - 1512.3
  8. Ronny Mor (ronnymor2) - 1507.3
  9. Jake Letarski (rotojakeski) - 1506.7
  10. AJ Scholz (bcswimmer10) -1503.7
  11. Brett Goldhammer (bretskyball) - 1480.10

Also, be sure to continue to keep tabs on the race with the full leaderboard.

Daily Strategy

Many think the DFS game takes hours and hours of prep work each and every day. And yes, having the time to thoroughly research the matchups, lineups and players can be time consuming. The great news, however, is that we've already done the work for you. My DFS routine has three simple steps. First, identify a solid slate – I don't like playing with too many staggered starts given FanDuel's lineup lock policy. Next, find your pitcher. Since you're only starting one, just pony up the cash. And finally, plug that pitcher into RotoWire's Daily MLB Lineup Oprtimizer and let the magic of the interwebs find you some value. Sure, there's always room for tweaks, but really, the heavy lifting is already done. It's as simple as that.

Value Plays

SPJason Hammel Chicago Cubs @ New York Mets

Fanduel Price: $8,800

For a few years now, Jason Hammel has remained one of the more underrated starters in the game. Since 2014, he's quietly posted a 3.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP while racking up 8.3 K/9. These are top-30 type starter numbers in the fantasy game but he's rarely recognized as having ace-type upside. Hammel is in the midst of his best season as a pro, holding a 2.58 ERA and 1.08 WHIP through his first 15 starts this season. Despite a recent dip in strikeouts, he's remained effective and  gets a solid matchup Friday against a Mets offense that ranks in the bottom third in the league against right-handed pitching. Take the plunge.

SS Jonathan Villar Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals

Fanduel Price: $3,300

He remains one of the biggest breakout bats of the 2016 season, bringing an overall .299/.380/.430 line into Friday's action. Villar has done his best work against left-handed pitching, posting a .321 average with 18 runs scored  in 81 at-bats against southpaws this season. He'll get lefty Jaime Garcia on Friday and makes a solid investment with some power/speed upside at an affordable price.

OFRyan Braun Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals

Fanduel Price: $3,800

Sticking with a little Brew-crew mini-stack, lets turn our attention Ryan Braun who enters the game riding an 11-game hitting streak over which time he's put together a .409/.458/.705 line with a couple of homers, eight runs scored, eight RBI and a steal. Braun's body has been anything but durable in the recent past, but he's clearly feeling good right now and, hey, we only care about today!

High Risk/High Reward

1B Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants

Fanduel Price: $3,900

Goldy's .350/.432/.563 performance in June made everyone forget about his sluggish start of the season. He remains one of the top true hitters in baseball and certainly warrants being one of the pricier bats in his lineup. A Friday showdown with Johnny Cueto may give some potential owners pause about inserting the big slugger into their lineup, but Goldy has done solid work when given the chance against Cueto, notching six hits in 16 at-bats with a home run. Of course, Cueto is capable of dominating just about every time he takes the bump, so risk remains.

Steer Clear

SPJohnny Cueto San Francisco Giants @ Arizona Diamondbacks

Fanduel Price: $10,700

Cueto is the unquestioned top pitcher going on Friday, but the Diamondbacks at Chase Field is a tough draw and the ace is coming off his worst start of the season. I wouldn't necessarily run from this matchup, but I would certainly be wary of making the investment.