In The Field
OF A.J. Pollock was activated from the DL last week after missing almost two months with a strained groin. Pollock should be starting in all leagues this week. OF Yasmany Tomas is likely out until August after straining his already injured groin during rehab last week. Keep Tomas stashed away as he'll still be a valuable fantasy piece once he returns. 1B/3B Freddie Freeman returned to the Braves' lineup last week in his first action since breaking his wrist. Freeman is a strong fantasy option in most leagues and should gain 3B eligibility soon in your league if he hasn't already which will only increase his appeal. After an 11-game stint in Triple-A, the Cubs have called back C/OF Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber struggled mightily during the first half of the season but should still be rostered in all formats with a lack of quality options at the catcher position. For now it'd probably be best to wait and see how he answers the call before plugging him into lineups outside of deep leagues. OF Jason Heyward returned to the Cubs' lineup on Tuesday after a DL sting caused by a hand contusion. Heyward is worth starting consideration in most leagues this week. Oft-injured C Devin Mesoraco was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained shoulder last week. Mesoraco is only worth stashing in NL-only leagues. Tucker Barnhart will see most of the action behind the plate but has minimal offensive appeal. OF Gerardo Parra has been activated from the disabled list but despite Ian Desmond's drip to the DL Parra is still looking at a bench role as the Rockies plan to keep playing Raimel Tapia in left field. Desmond owners should keep him stashed away as it's unlikely he'll be back in the short slate this week. Parra has minimal fantasy value right now. 2B D.J. LeMahieu returned to the Rockies' lineup on Thursday after missing two games with groin injury. LeMahieu is a viable 2B option in most leagues again this week. OF Carlos Gonzalez was activated from the DL on Monday after recovering from his shoulder injury. Gonzalez had a terrible June and he's not an advisable start right now though keeping him stashed on your fantasy roster is certainly defensible. C Yasmani Grandal is day-to-day after leaving Saturday's game with a hand contusion. Keep an eye on Grandal's status before plugging him in this week. OF Ryan Braun is day-to-day after leaving Saturday's game with calf tightness but the Brewers don't seem concerned about the injury. If Braun doesn't return today it sounds like it would be a big surprise if he's not available to fantasy owners as soon as the All-Star Break wraps up. OF Michael Conforto has recovered from a bruised hand and returned to the Mets' lineup on Saturday. Conforto will remains a solid outfield option this week as we head into the second half. OF Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets' lineup on Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday's game with a minor calf injury. Cespedes should remain in fantasy lineups for this week's slate. Suspended OF Starling Marte has begun a minor-league rehab assignment with his activation date just over two weeks away. Marte is eligible to return on July 18th and as a player who could be a top-20 option the rest of the way, he's definitely worth snagging at this point if he's available on the wire in your leagues. Austin Hedges was back in the Padres' lineup on Friday after missing two games with a stiff neck. Hedges is a viable catching option in deeper leagues this week for teams looking for pop. OF Dexter Fowler was activated from the DL on Friday after recovering from his heel injury. Fowler is a viable option in most leagues now that he's healthy. 2B/3B/SS Jedd Gyorko was back in action on Thursday after missing two games with a minor groin injury. Gyorko remains a viable infield option in most leagues despite his bat starting to slow from an outstanding start to the season. 2B Kolten Wong is expected to return after the All-Star Break as he began a rehab assignment last week. Wong is worth a look in some deeper leagues next week. OF Austin Slater was placed on the 10-day DL on Saturday with a hip flexor injury and will likely need more than the minimum ten days before he returns. Slater isn't worth stashing away outside of deep NL-only leagues. Mac Williamson will see time with the Giants' with Slater out but isn't a recommended fantasy play. OF Michael Taylor, who was beginning to turn heads with his bat over the last two weeks was placed on the 10-day DL with an oblique strain. Oblique injuries tend to linger and it'd be a surprise to see Taylor back when first eligible next weekend. He's worth stashing in some deep leagues. Chris Heisey will see a boost in playing time but isn't a recommended add.
On The Mound
John Lackey was placed on the 10-day DL with a foot injury last week but should be back soon after the All-Star Break. Lackey will be worth a look in deep leagues when he returns but that might not be until next week. The Cubs are hoping for a quick return for Kyle Hendricks who is expected to make a rehab start on Monday. Hendricks could be back as soon as next weekend if all goes well in his rehab start and he'll be worth plugging into lineups if he does get the call. Brandon Finnegan's return to the Reds' rotation didn't last long after his trapezius strain and a trip to the 60-day DL. It's probably safe to write off Finnegan in fantasy circles this season. Brandon McCarthy returned to the mound for the Dodgers on Saturday after recovering from a bout of knee tendinitis. McCarthy is a viable starting option in most leagues this week. McCarthy will take over the rotation spot of Hyun-Jin Ryu who landed on the DL last week with a foot injury. Ryu could return this week and is worth a look in deeper leagues after he's started to turn around his season after a rough start. Edinson Volquez was placed on the 10-day DL on Friday with knee tendinitis. Volquez should be able to return soon after the All-Star Break but it remains to be seen if that will be during this week's short slate. Junior Guerra left Friday's game with a bruised shin after taking a comebacker off the leg but figures to be fine for his first start after the All-Star game. Guerra is worth a look in deep leagues this week. Vincent Velasquez is nearing a return from his elbow injury but the Phillies are considering shifting the young right hander to the bullpen rather than the rotation. If you're stashing the Phillies' hurler, keep an eye on this situation as a move to the pen would obviously tank his fantasy value. Jerad Eickhoff is expected to return to the mound for the Phillies today after missing the last few weeks with a back injury. Eickhoff hasn't pitched well this season and will need to string a few solid starts together before he'll be trusted in fantasy circles again. Trevor Cahill returned for a start last week after missing over three weeks with a shoulder strain. Cahill was in the midst of a very strong season prior to the injury and is a solid option in most formats going forward. Johnny Cueto was scratched from Thursday's start with an ear infection but all signs to him being ready to return to the mound today. Cueto remains a solid fantasy starting option this week. Madison Bumgarner was lit up in his last rehab start but he's still expected to return on Saturday in his first big league action since landing on the DL with a shoulder injury following a dirt bike accident. Bumgarner will be a risky start in his first game back as there will probably be some rust to knock off, but he has a good chance of being a top-10 fantasy SP the rest of the way. Stephen Strasburg left Saturday's game after taking a comebacker off the hip. Strasburg will likely be good to go when the second half opens up but owners should confirm his status just to be safe.
In The Bullpen
Jim Johnson continues to struggle after blowing his seventh save of the season on Friday. Surely the Braves will have to make a move soon, but Arodys Vizcaino landing on the DL last week complicated things. Johnson remains a volatile source of saves for now. Jeurys Familia hopes to resume throwing over the All-Star Break, a big first step in his return from shoulder surgery. Familia is doubtful to return for another month or more but will be worth snagging if he can come back this season. Addison Reed remains a solid relief option as he'll continue to serve as the Mets closer. Mark Melancon remains on the DL with an elbow injury and his return is still up in the air. Sam Dyson has pitched well since getting the nod in save opportunities and is a viable option in most leagues until Melancon returns. Matt Albers blew his third save of the season last Monday leaving the Nationals bullpen situation as one fantasy owners can't rely on. The Nationals have made it no secret that they're shopping for a closer but for now Albers appears to be the reliever they're looking to.
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