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Roto Roundup: Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rendon, Aaron Nola and Others

Alex highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Sunday, including Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rendon and Aaron Nola.

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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:

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Dexter Fowler leading the Cubs Way

The surging Cubs collected their fourth four-game sweep of the season on Sunday, thumping the Braves, 8-0, to move to 71-51 and two games behind the Pirates in the hunt for the No. 1 Wild Card. The sweep of the Braves also made some history for the North Siders, who last swept four four-game sets in 1945. Jumpstarting the Cubs offense Sunday was leadoff hitter and center fielder Dexter Fowler, who hit his career-high 14th home run to lead off the game.

Fowler has been on an absolute tear for the Cubs since the All-Star break, raising his slash line to .257/.353/.428 with 14 home runs, 22 doubles, seven triples, 83 runs, 36 RBI and 17 steals. His 2.8 fWAR (prior to Sunday) is already a career high, and he is one run shy of setting a new career high (84; set in 2011 with the Rockies). Back on July 11, Fowler was hitting just .225/.303/.364. Flash forward to the second half, and the 29-year-old veteran has been the seventh most valuable player in baseball, according to FanGraphs WAR, trailing only Joey Votto, Josh Donaldson, A.J. Pollock, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis and Ian Kinsler. He's also tied with Yoenis Cespedes (before Sunday).

A good chunk of his overall value has been on the offensive side this year. In the second half, his 178 wRC+ is the 12th highest in baseball and the fourth highest in the National League. It's no wonder the Cubs are playing some of their best ball in the summer months. With Schwarber, Rizzo, Bryant and the rest of the gang firing on all cylinders, Fowler's fantasy value has risen steadily. His 83 runs rank fifth in baseball (better than some player named Mike Trout), and he has a legit shot to lead the Senior Circuit in runs scored by the end of the year; only Pollock and Harper have scored more.

Fowler's second-half resurgence is another friendly reminder to never throw in the towel on a player midseason. He's set up to finish 2015 strong, and not many players offer the 15/20 upside he provides. And, for some reason, he's still available in roughly 30 percent of ESPN leagues despite being a top-40 player over the last 30 days, and the 12th most valuable outfielder, according to the ESPN Player Rater.

Roto Roundup

C.C. Sabathia is expected to land on the disabled list after leaving Sunday's start with discomfort in his right knee. Sabathia lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the Indians, allowing two runs on four hits, including a home run, and four walks. It's been a trying season for the veteran left-hander. Prior to Sunday's start, the 35-year-old owned a 5.24 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a 112/33 K/BB ratio in 135 2/3 innings of work. Sabathia was barely usable before getting injured, and now owners in deep leagues can feel free to cut the big guy loose. Michael Pineda is set t rejoin the Yankees rotation on Wednesday.

Anthony Rendon was a top-24 pick this season before news broke of his injury, but he's starting to heat up for the Nationals. Rendon, 25, hit a three-run home run in Washington's' 9-5 win against the Brewers Sunday, giving the talented young infielder home runs in back-to-back games. In 2014, Rendon busted out in a big way, slashing .287/.351/.473 with 21 home runs, 111 runs, 83 RBI and 17 steals. He's stuck on three home runs in 42 games in 2015, but he could provide a valuable boost down the stretch as long as he stays healthy. Unfortunately, with two lengthy trips to the disabled list this year, he's already becoming a liability for fantasy owners.

Aaron Nola was impressive in his start against the Marlins, shutting out the Marlins over eight innings while striking out six, walking two and allowing just three hits. Yes, it was the Marlins, but it was also the first time Nola hasn't surrendered a run in seven big-league starts. He hasn't been getting lit up, however, and the performance Sunday brought down his ERA from 4.41 to 3.59. He owns a 4.03 FIP and 3.96 xFIP. The only real problem so far has been the home run (five in his first six starts), but he's combatted that with a 46.2 percent groundball rate. Given his track record and pedigree, Nola can jump into the conversation of the game's top pitchers in upcoming years.

Sean Doolittle returned from the disabled list and manager Bob Melvin has already indicated that he could get his closer job back sooner rather than later. Doolittle was one of the game's best relievers last season, striking out 89 batters in 62 2/3 innings of work with a 2.73 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and .167 batting average against. Doolittle's velocity was reportedly picking up during rehab, so he's worth taking a shot on if you need saves. Given the poor play of the Athletics and the uncertainty surrounding Doolittle, don't expect to receive stats or ratios anywhere close to what Doolittle was providing in 2014.

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