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Roto Roundup: Matt Kemp, Matt Duffy, Jaime Garcia and others

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Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Friday's roto action, including Matt Kemp, Matt Duffy, Corey Kluber 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, sleeper and busts for PPR Leagues

Matt Kemp hits for the cycle

It is no secret that I ranked Padres outfielder Matt Kemp too high in the offseason, as I ranked him based on his strong second half of the 2014 season. He hasn't been a bust like former teammate Yasiel Puig has been, but let's just say he has disappointed many a fantasy owner. But last night, he gave us a glimpse of his offensive potential, hitting for the cycle in Coors Field. Kemp went 4-5 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Padres 9-5 win.

On the season, Kemp is hitting a lower than expected .262-.309-.415 with 13 home runs, 56 runs scored, 67 RBI and 9 stolen bases, and is on pace for 18 home runs, 78 runs scored, 94 RBI and 13 stolen bases.  We expected more from him in the slash line and power department, but he has more RBI than Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols, and Kris Bryant among others, and is tied for 22nd in baseball in the RBI category.

How do we explain the drop in power? Well, he is still hitting the same amount of fly balls he did last season when he hit 25 home runs, and he is among the league leaders in hard hit balls (around 40%), so I think it is just a matter of Kemp's average distance on fly balls dropping this season. Could that change next season? Sure.

I ranked Kemp in my top 20 hitters coming into the season, but he won't make the top 50 in 2016. That said, he could represent a bargain on draft day as well.

Roto Roundup

Another hitter who changed teams in the offseason and disappointed fantasy owners this season has been Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval has struggled in his first full season in Boston and the last time I saw him, he looked like he gained weight. He didn't look like a baseball player to tell you the truth. That said, he has dealt with some injuries so that could explain his disappointing season. Last night he went 3-5 with 2 doubles 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Red Sox 15-1 win over the Mariners. Sandoval is now hitting just .257-.307-.385 with 9 home runs, 34 runs scored and 38 RBI in 101 games this season. Like Kemp, he could represent solid value if he can come to spring training in shape next season.

The Nationals have not been playing well of late and manager Matt Williams might be on the hot seat if they don't make the playoffs this season. Part of the reason for the poor play of late has been the performance of ace starter Max Scherzer. Last night, he was off his game, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits, including two home runs, and 3 strikeouts in just 3 innings of work in the Nationals 8-5 loss to the Giants. The loss moved his record to 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and a 194-23 strikeout to walk rate in 165 innings. Over his last eight starts, he has given up 26 earned runs, and 11 home runs, in 46.1 innings, good for a 5.05 ERA over that time. He is quickly falling out of the National League Cy Young award race. It appears the race will come down to two Dodgers aces, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Giants third baseman Matt Duffy has been a big surprise for Giants fans and fantasy owners alike this season, and last night, he helped knock Scherzer out of the game early by going 3-3 with a home run and 3 RBI in the Giants 8-5 win. Duffy, who has been mentioned in early NL Rookie of the Year conversations, is now hitting .309-.345-.471 with 10 home runs, 50 runs scored, 55 RBI and 5 stolen bases in just under 400 plate appearances. He ranks 21st in baseball with a 3.7 fWAR, so he should see some votes for the ROY award, but I think he will have a tough time beating out Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. That said, the third base position might be one of the deeper positions in 2016 fantasy drafts with Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Todd Frazier atop the rankings, with guys like Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, and Kyle Seager dropping from their 2015 rankings.

The Cardinals have the best pitching staff in baseball, as they go five deep, and that doesn't include injured ace Adam Wainwright. Their fifth starter, Jaime Garcia, has been better than all fifth starters in the game this season, and continued to perform at a high level last night, giving up just one unearned run on 6 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 8.1 innings in the Cardinals 3-1 win over the Marlins. The win moved his record to 5-4 with a 1.57 ERA, 3.17 FIP, a 0.90 WHIP, and a 52-18 strikeout to walk rate in 74.1 innings. He doesn't strike out many hitters but induces ground balls at an elite 67% clip. He has a history of arm and shoulder issues, so he comes with risk, and is somehow still available in 23% of ESPN leagues right now.

Can Astros ace Dallas Keuchel win the American League Cy Young award. If the season ended today, I think he is the favorite to win it. White Sox ace Chris Sale has been dominant, but he pitches for a fourth place team out of the wild card hunt, and the same can be said for Indians ace Corey Kluber. Keuchel is pitching in the middle of a division and wild card race, and last night he limited the Tigers to one run on 6 hits, a walk and 8 strikeouts in 7 innings of work in the Astros 5-1 win. The win moved his record to 14-6 with a 2.36 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a 151-40 strikeout to walk rate in 171.2 innings. He has raised his strikeout rate from 18% to 22.5% this season, and has average a strikeout an inning over the last three months of the season. He currently ranks second in the AL with a 4.7 fWAR, 0.1 behind Sale.

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