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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.
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Move over Chris Davis, you have company ... Krush Davis hits two home runs, drives in six
Chris Davis of Baltimore might be one of the hottest hitters going, but Khris Davis of Milwaukee stole the show on Thursday, blasting a pair of three-run home runs in the Brewers' 10-1
victory blowout of San Diego. Davis returned from a five-week stint on the disabled list in early July, and since returning his RBI total has climbed steadily, making him an interesting waiver wire consideration in the second half.
With the departures of Carlos Gomez to Houston and Gerardo Parra to Baltimore, Davis has found a home in the middle of Milwaukee's lineup with everyday at-bats in a hitter-friendly ballpark. On Thursday, he hit fifth in the order after first baseman Adam Lind (and Ryan Braun) and before shortstop Jean Segura. Davis, 27, finished 3 for 5 with two home runs, six RBI and a pair of runs in the victory, raising his slash line to .244/.326/.446 to go along with nine home runs, 22 runs and 31 RBI.
While Davis' batting average hasn't been a strong point this season, he's driven in nine runs since the start of August. Yes, it's only been six games, and six of the runs have come in one game Thursday, but Davis has shown, as recently as 2014 (22 HR, 70 R, 69 RBI) that he can be a major offensive contributor for the Brewers. Now that he has his health and is seeing regular playing time in the outfield, it might be time to jump on the Davis bandwagon in case he catches fire in the final two months of the season. Thursday could just be the start.
We've seen Davis' walk rate increase from 5.8 percent to 11 percent, but his strikeout rate has taken a steep hit (22.2 percent in 2014, 27 percent in 2015). ZiPS projects Davis to hit a modest .248 with six home runs the rest of the way with 17 runs and 19 RBI, while Steamer sees a .242 batting average, along with seven home runs, 20 runs and 23 RBI. For his career, Davis owns a .247 BA and .313 OBP. For what it's worth, he slowed down in the second half last year; however, he's still capable of hitting 10-plus home runs the rest of August and September for the cost of nothing. He's owned in just six percent of ESPN leagues. If you play in five outfielder leagues, he should be added.
Another outfielder that has shown flashes of
brilliance offensive major league competence is Philadelphia's Domonic Brown. Brown and the Phillies jumped on Zack Greinke and the Dodgers Thursday, although Los Angeles came back and won the high-scoring affair, 10-8. Brown went 2 for 5 and smacked a three-run home run off Greinke in the first inning, before adding an RBI single in third. Brown has raised his slash line to .252/.296/.364 in 152 plate appearances with three home runs - all coming within the last seven games, 15 runs, 21 RBI and three steals. Brown broke out in 2013, hitting 27 home runs and driving in 83, but struggled in 2014 with just 10 home runs and a .235 batting average. I'd be willing to take a risk on Davis before Brown.
In a surprising move (at least in terms of big names), Matt Williams removed Doug Fister from the starting rotation Thursday with Stephen Strasburg is set to return. Joe Ross is being kept in the rotation over Fister. Ross has had much better numbers than Fister, who is 4-7 with a 4.60 ERA (4.59 FIP), 1.42 WHIP and a 48/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings. The 31-year-old had a sub-3 ERA in 2014, but his FIP and xFIP were closer to 4. Fister, whose strikeout rate has dipped all the way to 12.7 percent, is safe to drop in all formats.
The Tigers might be out of it, waving the white flag with the trade of David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, but that doesn't mean Detroit won't continue to have valuable fantasy pieces, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Ian Kinsler hit a walk-off, two-run home run off Royals reliever Ryan Madson, finishing the game with three runs and three RBI. Kinsler is now slashing .296/.353/.422 with six home runs, 67 runs and 50 RBI. He's even been a plus in the stolen base department with eight swipes, after stealing 15 in the previous two years. Victor Martinez also had a huge day for the Tigers, hitting two home runs and driving in five in the victory. Martinez has been a disappointment after last year's huge line (32 HR, 103 RBI, .335 BA), hitting .243/.309/.354 in 315 plate appearances with eight home runs, 29 runs and 43 RBI.
Chase Utley, who has been out since June 22 with an ankle injury, is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Friday after completing a brief minor league rehab assignment. The longtime Phillies second baseman is a long way from his prime, hitting .179/.257/.275 with four home runs and three stolen bases in 65 games. Utley, 36, has been mentioned as a possible waiver trade candidate, with suitors including the Cubs and Yankees. Utley will have to show he's healthy before any team would feel comfortable adding him for a playoff push, but the chances of Utley playing for another team by Aug. 31 are good. I'm not sure, however, that he'll provide an impact for fantasy owners.
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