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Roto Roundup: Michael Conforto, Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Wednesday's roto action, including Clayton Kershaw, the fantasy impact of the Scott Kazmir trade, David Wright's possible return 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

Scott Kazmir traded to the Astros

Well, the Astros are going for it this year. After several years of rebuilding, the Astros find themselves 1.5 games behind the AL West leading Angels with about 65 games left in the season, and yesterday, they went out and traded for Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir. The Astros gave up two prospects, right handed pitcher Daniel Megnden and catcher Jacob Nottingham.

The fantasy impact of the move from Oakland to Houston is minimal in my opinion, as he leaves an Oakland team that couldn't field to the Astros who are better in the field. The ESPN ball park factors indicate that Minute Maid Park has been a tougher park to score runs than o.Co Stadium in Oakland, but not by much.

Kazmir is 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 3.51 xFIP, a 1.09 WHIP and a 23% strikeout rate in his 18 starts this season. Against AL West opponents this season, Kazmir is 4-0 in six starts, having given up just 4 earned runs in 36.1 innings. If you include his start vs Houston, he is 5-0 in 7 starts, giving up just 5 earned runs in 49.1 innings. The Astros will play 35 of their last 65 games vs AL West teams, so they will need him to continue his domination to help them win the division or make the wild card.

The addition of Kazmir to a rotation with ace Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Colin McHugh, the Astros have a very solid 1-4 in their rotation and should make the playoffs.

For more on the Kazmir trade and the Astros fans reaction to the deal, make sure you check out The Crawfish Boxes,SB Nation's Astros fan site.

Roto Roundup

For a team that many felt would finish in last place in the American League East, the Yankees have quietly taken a 5.5 game lead, and are threatening to run away with the division. And recently centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned from the disabled list, so their lineup just got that much better. Yesterday, Ellsbury went 3-4 with a double, home run, 2 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Yankees 9-3 win over the Orioles. Despite missing half the season, Ellsbury has been productive for his owners when healthy, hitting .308-.382-.390 with 3 home runs, 36 runs scored, 14 RBI and 14 stolen bases in just 48 games. He is a welcome addition to the Yankees lineup after missing so much time.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was nine outs from a perfect game last night, but settled for his third consecutive shutout, in blanking the Mets on 3 hits, no walks and 11 strikeouts in the complete game shutout. He is now 8-6 with a 2.51 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and a 185-27 strikeout to walk rate in just 140 innings of work. Over his last 10 starts, he has struck out 9 or more batters in 8 of those starts, 10 or more in 6 of those starts, and has given up just 11 runs in 74.2 innings, lowering his ERA from 3.86 to 2.51.

I wouldn't bet against Kershaw winning the National League Cy Young award again this season. After putting up ERAs of 3.73 and 3.97 in April and May, he has put up a 2.16 ERA in June and a 0.38 ERA in July.

Here's more on Kershaw from ESPN:

If you get a chance to watch him pitch, do so. I think he can be a future Hall of Famer. Optimistic? Maybe, but he is on his way.

The Mets have the worst offense in baseball, average just under 3.50 runs per game, and Mets fans and media are clamoring for the team to call up top hitting prospect Michael Conforto. Well, he could be on his way to Citi Field tomorrow as it appears that Michael Cuddyer could be placed on the disabled list due to his knee injury. Conforto is performing well in AA, hitting .321-.406-.518 with 5 home runs, 21 runs scored and 26 RBI in just 44 games after hitting .283-.350-.462 with 7 home runs, 25 runs scored, and 28 RBI in 46 games in High A. He is deserving of a promotion and the Mets are starving for a hitter to ignite their lineup.

The Mets did get some good news yesterday, as they announced that third baseman David Wright could begin baseball activities next week. He has missed all eight games this season, and his return should certainly provide a boost to their inept lineup. When he returns is the real question. I think the best case scenario would be early September, maybe after Labor Day. He hasn't played since early April, so he would need a few weeks of baseball activities and a few weeks of rehab games. That puts us into late August, but you have to think the Mets will take it real slow with the face of their franchise.

White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija has certainly improved his trade value over the last month after a disappointing first few months of the season. Last night, he dominated the Indians, giving up just one run on four hits, no walks and 3 strikeouts in the White Sox 8-1 win. The win moved his record to 7-5 with a 3.91 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 108-26 strikeout to walk rate in 140.1 innings. He has given up 1 run or less in 3 of his last 4 starts, and could be pitching for another team before he makes his next start. He's not the strikeout pitcher he was in prior seasons, but he's a workhorse on the mound and can eat up innings, which is important to save your relievers who are pretty gassed at this point of the season.

Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for more fantasy baseball or football coverage, look no further than Fantasy Rundown, which provides links to all of the best fantasy content on the internet.