Kyle Hendricks (vs. ATL)
Hendricks has posted gaudy numbers on the season going 4-4 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP, but he has really started to blossom of late. The 27-year-old has not allowed an earned run in any of his last three starts, earning the win in two of them while posting at least 11 fantasy points in FanDuel leagues. He won’t be a candidate for high strikeout games but he has struck out 16 batters over his last three outings, while throwing at least six innings in each of those games dating back to June 30th. Hendricks will be facing a sputtering Braves lineup that has lost five straight games, including a four-game sweep by the Colorado Rockies, in which they failed to score more than three runs at Coors Field, of all places.
Jose Fernandez (vs. PHI)
The Marlins’ ace has been strong in his return from Tommy John surgery on July 2nd, posting two wins while throwing at least six innings in both victories. In Fernandez’s last start against the Reds on July 9th, he threw seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and no walks, while striking out nine batters for an impressive 20 fantasy points. His tremendous command has been on display as he has not allowed a walk in his 13.0 innings pitched since being activated from the disabled list. The 22-year-old faces a Phillies team that has lost 12 of their last 14 games, having been held to two runs or fewer in four of their last five games and have a league-worst run differential of minus-160.
Other good values: Anibal Sanchez (vs. BAL) for $8,800, Robbie Ray (vs. SFG) for $7,000
James Shields (vs. COL)
Shields has not been his dominant self over the last two months. He is coming off a start against the Texas Rangers in which he posted just 6.33 fantasy points in FanDuel leagues, as he allowed four runs on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work. The walks have been a problem of late as he has walked four batters in three of his last five starts. Wins have been hard to come by for Shields, as he hasn’t won a game in seven starts, with his last victory coming on June 3rd. Since that win, Shields hasn’t posted a start worth more than 12 fantasy points. It doesn’t help that he faces a Rockies team that enters the game having won four straight and boast a roster that is batting .331/.362/.656, with 12 home runs and 27 RBIs in 154 career at-bats against him. There are better options for the money than Shields on Friday night.
Other bad values: Noah Syndergaard (vs. STL) for $8,400, Collin McHugh (vs. TEX) for $8,400, Julio Teheran (vs. CHC) for $8,200
Kyle Schwarber (vs. ATL)
The newly recalled Schwarber is set to fill in as the Cubs catcher for the next few weeks as Miguel Montero heads to the disabled list with a thumb injury. One of the best hitting prospects in the minors, Schwarber made a statement during his call up in June, batting .364 (8-for-22) with a home run, six RBIs and six runs scored. He posted 4.75 or more points in three of his six games and, at $2,600 in FanDuel leagues, his potential with the bat makes him one of the biggest steals at any position.
Other good values: Victor Martinez (vs. BAL) for $3,600, Brian McCann (vs. SEA) for $3,500
Buster Posey (vs. ARI)
Posey is arguably the game’s best catcher and is coming off a decent series last weekend, but he hasn’t posted more than 3.75 fantasy points in any of his last six games. Three of his best games recently came against the lowly Phillies, who boast the highest ERA among starting pitchers in all of baseball. In addition, he has been nursing a hamstring injury, which makes his $4,400 price tag in FanDuel leagues not worth the risk he brings.
Other bad values: Evan Gattis (vs. TEX) for $3,300, Jonathan Lucroy (vs. PIT) for $3,200
C.J. Cron (vs. BOS)
Cron has been white hot since being recalled from Triple-A and has posted positive fantasy games in every game since July 4th. Cron has posted two games with 12.5 points or more dating back to Independence Day, with 15 hits in the six games over that span. Cron is facing a Red Sox pitching staff that has struggled mightily with Friday night’s starter Wade Miley entering the game with a bloated 4.80 ERA. Miley has allowed nine home runs on the year, which bodes well for the Angels’ slugger. With a spot at first base or at designated hitter, Cron figures to be in the Angels lineup and you’ll struggle to find this kind of production for a price as good as $2,600 in FanDuel leagues.
Other good values: Justin Bour (vs. PHI) for $2,900, Eric Hosmer (vs. CHW) for $2,600
Adam Lind (vs. PIT)
Lind has played his best baseball in years over the last month, but began to cool off just before the All-Star break. The Brewers’ first baseman managed just two total hits over his last four games before the break, with just one game scoring more than 2.5 points. Lind has just three extra base hits since July 4th, so the big-time power numbers haven’t been there as of late. It doesn’t help matters that Lind is facing a strong pitching staff in Pittsburgh on Friday, with starter Charlie Morton posting a 6-2 record through the first half of the season. Lind’s $4,300 price tag in FanDuel leagues makes him the fourth-most expensive first baseman behind the likes of Paul Goldschmidt and Edwin Encarnacion.
Other bad values: Adrian Gonzalez (vs. WAS) for $3,500, Chris Davis (vs. DET) for $3,500
Devon Travis (vs. TAM)
Travis has been a pleasant surprise for the Blue Jays this season, as the rookie is batting .304/.353/.492 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. After a recent stint on the disabled list, Travis found his swing heading into the All-Star Break as he posted positive fantasy points in five straight games with two games of at least 5.25 fantasy points or more. In a lineup featuring sluggers Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, Travis figures to see pitches to hit and score some runs.
Other good values: Ian Kinsler (vs. BAL) for $3,300, Neil Walker (vs. MIL) for $3,200
Jace Peterson (vs. CHC)
Peterson has struggled heading into the All-Star Break, with just one multi-hit game in the month of July and just two RBIs, coming in the multi-hit game. He posted negative fantasy points in each of the last two games heading into the break and put up less than one fantasy point in six of his last 10 games. His $3,600 price tag makes him the fourth-highest priced second baseman, and his performance has not justified the price.
Other bad values: Jose Altuve (vs. TEX) for $4,300, Jason Kipnis (vs. CIN)
SS – Alcides Escobar (vs. CWS)
Escobar battled a finger injury at the end of June but that hasn’t slowed down the Royals’ All-Star shortstop. The 28-year-old is batting .290/.327/.372 on the year, with two home runs, 33 RBIs and 47 runs scored. He has hit safely in 10 consecutive games with 10 runs scored. Esocbar has posted positive fantasy points in every contest over the last 10 games, making his $2,500 price tag well worth it.
Other good values: Xander Boegarts (vs. LAA) for $3,000, Erick Aybar (vs. BOS) for $2,800
Carlos Correa (vs. TEX)
Correa began his Major League career with a bang, but has returned to Earth a bit heading into the All-Star Break. The 20-year-old has not posted more than 2.5 fantasy points in a game since July 5th against Boston and has put up negative points in three of his last six games. Correa has just three hits over his last seven games, making him a risk for the third-highest price among shortstops at $3,600.
Other bad values: Nick Ahmed (vs. SFG) for $3,100, Deven Marrero (vs. LAA) for $3,000
Miguel Sano (vs. OAK)
Sano has been as good as advertised since being called up to the majors, batting .378/.489/.649 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 37 at bats. He has recorded 13 hits over his last 10 games, recording at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games. In those nine games, he has posted positive fantasy points, with 4.5 fantasy points in five of his last 10 games. He faces an AL Cy Young candidate in Athletics’ starter Sonny Gray on Friday night but his $2,500 price point makes his value too good to pass up.
Other good values: Trevor Plouffe (vs. OAK) for $2,900, Nick Castellanos (vs. BAL) for $2,600
Juan Uribe (vs. CHC)
Uribe has played much better in Atlanta than he did in Los Angeles earlier this season, as he is batting .290 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 41 games for the Braves after hitting .247 with just one home run and six RBIs in 29 games for the Dodgers. But the 36-year-old has only one game with more than 2.5 fantasy points over his last nine games and has negative points in three of his last four games heading into the All-Star Break. With the Braves lineup lacking any sort of real offensive punch, Uribe should be avoided until Atlanta can snap out of their offensive slump.
Other bad values: Aramis Ramirez (vs. PIT) for $3,100, Justin Turner (vs. WAS) for $3,100
Michael Brantley (vs. CIN)
Brantley broke out last year, finishing third in the AL MVP race. While his power numbers are down and his batting average is below his .327 he hit last year, Brantley is still putting up solid numbers with nearly perfect splits against righties and lefties. He has posted positive fantasy points in seven of his last eight games, with four of the games checking in at 3.5 points or higher.
Gerardo Parra (vs. PIT)
Parra has been a pleasant surprise for the struggling Brewers as he has taken over as the team’s starting left fielder. Over his last 10 games, Parra has posted six games of 5.25 fantasy points or more with four of the six games checking in at 7.25 points or more. Ryan Braun has heated up for the Brewers as well, meaning Parra is likely to see better pitches which could do wonders for his fantasy value, especially at $3,400.
Christian Yelich (vs. PHI)
The Marlins’ Gold Glove winning outfielder has been heating up at the plate of late. Despite only batting .264 with five home runs and 20 RBIs on the season, Yelich has 12 hits in his last 10 games, putting up positive fantasy points in every contest and 5.25 or more points in the last five games. Yelich gets the weekend after the All-Star Break to feast on the Phillies pitching staff which has been a total mess this season.
Other good values: Adam Jones (vs. DET) for $3,200, Matt Kemp (vs. COL) for $3,200, Jason Heyward (vs. NYM) for $3,400, Mookie Betts (vs. LAA) for $3,800
Expensive but worth it: Mike Trout (vs. BOS) for $5,400, Bryce Harperls (vs. LAD) for $5,000, Andrew McCutchen (vs. MIL) for $4,900, Charlie Blackmon (vs. SD) for $4,500
Cameron Maybin (vs. CHC)
Maybin has been one of the more consistent Braves over the last month, which isn’t saying much as the whole Braves lineup has struggled lately including Maybin. The centerfielder has not posted more than 1.5 fantasy points in any of his last four games and he has put up only four hits (two for extra bases) in his last six games. Right now no one in the Braves lineup is worth $4,100, especially not Maybin. Like Uribe, it would be best to avoid Maybin until Atlanta can turn it around.
Other bad values: Carlos Gomez (vs. PIT) for $4,600, Jose Bautista (vs. TAM) for $4,800, Kole Calhoun (vs. BOS) for $3,800, Starling Marte (vs. MIL) for $3,700
SP: Jose Fernandez (MIA)
C: Victor Martinez (DET)
1B: C.J. Cron (LAA)
2B: Devon Travis (TOR)
SS: Alcides Escobar (KC)
3B: Miguel Sano (MIN)
OF: Michael Brantley (CLE)
OF: Adam Jones (BAL)
OF: Christian Yelich (MIA)
I love Fernandez on Friday night against the Phillies lineup. Philadelphia’s inability to make consistent contact combined with Fernandez’s ability to generate whiffs and his command makes for a perfect storm for Fernandez fantasy owners. Cron against the Red Sox, Yelich taking on the Phillies and Brantley facing off against the Reds look like favorable match-ups for the batters as well. Martinez against Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles could be a toss-up depending on which Jimenez shows up to play. If he isn’t getting the downward action on his fastball, it could be batting practice for Martinez and the Tigers. Sano, Jones, Travis and Escobar are going up against formidable starting pitchers but their value and their play before the break make them good candidates to overcome solid opposing starters.
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.