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Roto Roundup: Kyle Schwarber, Rougned Odor, Michael Brantley and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Wednesday's roto action, including Kyle Schwarber, Rougned Odor, Michael Brantley and others.

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Fantasy Football Rankings and more

The 2015 fantasy football season is only a few weeks away and we will once again provide you with offseason position rankings, sleepers, draft strategies and much more. We hope our fantasy football writing team was able to help you win your leagues in 2014, and we will be back at it for the upcoming season as well.

With that said, here is a link to all of our early position rankings, sleepers, value picks, top rookies and more:

Fantasy Football 2015: Early Position Rankings for PPR and Standard Leagues

Kyle Schwarber: Top 3 catcher the rest of the season?

Somehow I missed Kyle Schwarber's two home run performance on Tuesday night. I knew he hit one home run, but didn't realize he hit the game winner until I got to work and the Roundup was already published by that time. My bad.

It is no secret that Schwarber has done nothing but impress at the plate in both of his call ups, and he will see plenty of time behind the plate for the Cubs with catcher Miguel Montero out for the next 6-7 weeks. He sat out in game two of the Cubs double header vs the Reds yesterday, but did play in game one, going 2-3 with a walk and and RBI in the Cubs 9-1 loss. Schwarber is now hitting .419-.457-.721 with 3 home runs, 10 runs scored and 11 RBI in 45 plate appearances. His triple slash line is buoyed by an unsustainable .542 batting average of balls in play and a 44.4% hard hit percentage. He is also striking out at a near 30% rate. Small sample sizes aside, Schwarber has been very impressive in his two stints in the big leagues, but he will regress from here. I am not telling you something you didn't already know….I know.

Yesterday, I received this tweet from a Twitter follower, and felt it was worth writing about.

The top fantasy catchers right now are:

Buster Posey, Giants

Stephen Vogt, Athletics

Brian McCann, Yankees

Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers

Salvador Perez, Royals

Russell Martin, Blue Jays

Derek Norris, Padres

To answer the followers' question, I think there is a case to be made that Schwarber could be a top 3 fantasy catcher going forward. He has shown he can handle himself at the plate, but one would like to see his strikeout rate drop and his walk rate rise going forward. He hits for power and for average, and has excelled at every minor league level. That said, I might prefer Posey, Vogt and Grandal ahead of Schwarber. I might even want Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy before Schwarber, but he is struggling since returning from injury.

Schwarber is definitely in the conversation for being a top 3 catcher going forward, but I would lean toward one of the three catchers mentioned above if hard-pressed.

For more on Schwarber, make sure you check out Bleed Cubbie Blue, SB Nation's Cubs fan site.

Roto Roundup

I recently joined an Ottoneu league with some other fantasy baseball "experts" including Eno Sarris, Chad Young, Andy Behrens and others you have probably read on other internet pages like this. I took over a team for Mike Newman formerly of FanGraphs and Scouting the Sally. This is a 12 team mixed 5 x 5 league with 40 man rosters and you bid on every one, including minor leaguers. One of the players on the team that I took over was Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor. As soon as I took over the team, I received several trade offers, and I ended up trading Odor in a 6 player deal. That is looking like a mistake.

Yesterday, Odor had a big day at the plate…..or, I should say, another big day at the plate….going 3-4 with a home run, double, 4 runs scored and 2 RBI in the Rangers 10-8 win over the Rockies. The big day at the plate raised his slash line to .268-.336-.460 with 6 home runs, 23 runs scored, 30 RBI and 5 stolen bases in 8 attempts in just over 200 plate appearances. He's been on fire since his return to the Rangers starting lineup, hitting .391 in 14 June games and .328 in 1 July games (not including Wednesday's performance). Yeah, he's on fire, and he is owned in just 43% of ESPN leagues right now. That's crazy. Grab him now.

Indians outfielder Michael Brantley had a career year in 2014, putting up a 20 home run, 23 stolen base season, and was the recipient of plenty of love in the offseason. I was down on him in my preseason rankings as I didn't think he could repeat his 20 home run performance, and so far that is looking like a good call. On Wednesday, Brantley went 4-5 with a home run, double, 2 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Indians 7-5 win over the Brewers, and is now hitting .302-.378-.451 with 7 home runs, 38 runs scored, 55 RBI, 9 stolen bases and a very impressive 26-42 strikeout to walk rate in 366 plate appearances. He is on pace for 12 home runs, 16 stolen bases and 96 RBI, so all that and a .300+ batting average is pretty valuable on draft day 2016.

One of the more undervalued fantasy first baseman this season has been Brewers first baseman Adam Lind. Yesterday, Lind went 4-5 with a home run, double and 4 RBI in the Brewers loss to the Indians. Lind doesn't hit well vs lefties, but he is a all star vs right handed pitchers, hitting .297-.384-.537 vs righties. On the season, Lind is now hitting .293-.374-.515 with 16 home runs, 41 run scored, 58 RBI and a solid 60-40 strikeout to walk rate. He would be a solid trade candidate for the Pirates, who are looking for alternatives to replace Pedro Alvarez, who is proving he is nothing more than a designate hitter this season, as he has shown he can't play first base after losing the third base job last year.

Remember when some were saying that Mariners DH Nelson Cruz would see a drop in power after hitting 40 bombs last season? Yeah? Me too. Yesterday, Cruz went 3-5 with 2 home runs, a double, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Mariners 9-4 loss to the Tigers. Cruz is now hitting .304-.372-.554 with 24 home runs, 48 runs scored and 57 RBI, and is on pace for 41 home runs and just about 100 RBI. Does he hit 40 home runs this season? I think he very well could. Should be interesting to watch in the next two plus months.

Prior to Jose Fernandez coming off the disabled list, I had opined that he would perform like Matt Harvey performed earlier this season coming back from Tommy John surgery. Well, he is actually pitching better than Harvey is….right now. Last night Fernandez dominated the Diamondbacks giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks and striking out 11 over 7 innings of work in the Marlins 5-3 win. The win moved his record to 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and an amazing 32-3 strikeout to walk rate over 26 innings. He has given up three runs or less in each of his four starts, and has pitched at least six innings in each of those starts as well. He is available in about 6% of leagues right now, and I am not sure why that is the case. He is a top 12 starter the rest of the season, and could be higher going into 2016.

Fantasy Rundown

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