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    Hot Hand (08/10/16)

    By Mark Dankenbring
    Hot Hands

    As we approach the dog days of August and the season begins to wear on several players and teams, it's more important than ever to identify players who continue to have success. Baseball is often considered a game of streaks where hitters find their stroke and have extended periods of success. Players can also find their groove base-running, as illustrated by Billy Hamilton's nine stolen bases in his last three games. These streaks of success translate nicely to fantasy output, so let's take a look at who has found recent success and who is most likely to continue their hot streak.

    In order to determine who's been streaking lately, I'll look at the players who have averaged the most fantasy points over the last week (8/3 - 8/9).

    Catcher

    Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers



    Grandal has really found his form at the plate in the last few weeks. He comes into Wednesday with a nine game hitting streak where he has four home runs. With most of these games being played at home, he's bumped his home average up to .302 overall and .421 against left handers. He sits atop the fantasy leaderboard averaging 18.7 FanDuel points per game over the last week. Grandal's next four games come at home, so look for him to continue his hot hitting through the weekend.

    First Base

    Mike Napoli – Cleveland Indians



    Napoli enters Wednesday on a nine game hitting streak as well, but has clubbed six home runs in that span. After the series finale in Washington, Napoli and the Indians will head back home where Napoli is hitting .301 on the year compared to .213 on the road. Through seven games in August, Napoli has hit .333 and drawn four walks, and is slugging .778. Look for Napoli to remain hot through the weekend.

    Second Base

    Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds



    Phillips leads all second basemen in scoring over the past week as he's averaged nearly 20 points a game on FanDuel. In his last seven games, Phillips has hit .520 with an .880 slugging percentage. All of this success has come against division rivals in the Cardinals and Pirates, and Phillips leaves St. Louis to take on another Central Division foe in the Brewers this weekend. Phillips is hitting .289 against right handers on the road, and with a pitching staff in Milwaukee of only right handers, look for Phillips to continue his hot start to August at the plate.

    Logan Forsythe – Tampa Bay Rays



    Forsythe has nearly equaled Phillips production over the last week, trailing Brandon by only .6 points per game in FanDuel scoring over that time. In Forsythe's last seven games, he's hit .387 including three hits and a home run in his last two games. Over this stretch, Forsythe has boasted a .457 on base percentage which has translated to him scoring 11 runs. The Rays finish there series in Toronto on Wednesday, will have an off-day on Thursday, and travel to New York on Friday for a series with the Yankees. Forsythe is currently hitting .299 on the road, almost .030 points higher than at home, so look for Forsythe to continue his recent tear through the weekend.

    Third Base

    Jonathan Villar – Milwaukee Brewers



    In the last week, Villar has hit .429 and stolen six bases, good enough for him to average 21.5 FanDuel points per game over that stretch. Villar's next five games come at home against the Braves and the Reds who have two of the worst pitching staffs in baseball, so Villar is set up nicely to continue to produce. Villar will face mostly right handed starters on this current homestand, which is good news since Villar is hitting .292 at home against righties on the year. Villar's ultimate threat is on the basepaths, as he trails only Billy Hamilton in the NL for stolen bases, so look for him to continue hitting well and stealing bags in Milwaukee.

    Shortstop

    Brad Miller – Tampa Bay Rays



    Miller has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises this year as he's hit 20 home runs already after never hitting more than 11 in his career. He's gotten off to a scorching start in August, and in his last seven games has hit .414 with three home runs and nine RBIs. This jump in numbers coincides with Miller's move to the 4-spot in Tampa Bay's lineup. Miller will spend the next few games on the road where he's hitting .282 on the year compared to his .245 average at home. Miller has been far and away the best fantasy shortstop over the past week, averaging 22.3 points per game. The next closest to him is Corey Seager at 12.0 points per game, so trust in Miller's value in the upcoming games.

    Outfield

    Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers



    Braun leads all outfielders in FanDuel points per game over the last week. Even though Braun had a two homer, seven RBI performance in Arizona last Saturday to bolster these numbers, he's also been hitting well since the beginning of August. In Braun's last seven games he's hit .346 with five homers and 11 RBIs. As I mentioned in Villar's section, the Brewers will spend the extended weekend at home, where Braun is hitting .313 and has an OPS of .907 on the year. Braun will square off against Homer Bailey on Friday, who he's 12-34 (.353 avg.) against in his career with two home runs and seven RBIs. Look for Braun to continue to excel his next five games.

    Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds



    Hamilton has put on an absolute clinic on the basepaths the past week, which has catapulted him up to third on the FanDuel points per game list for outfielders. Over the past week, Hamilton has a .500 on base percentage and has stolen 12 bases in 13 attempts, including nine in his last three games. Hamilton seems to have found himself at the plate, with his average at .333 so far through August. Word on the street is he has daily trips to the batting cage with Joey Votto, so look for Hamilton to continue his success in the box as he follows the advice of the NL's leader in OBP.

    Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins



    Our last featured player is the third place hitter in the Marlins' order. Yelich comes in hitting .438 over his last seven games, including two homers, four doubles, and 10 RBIs. So far in August, Yelich's OPS is a staggering 1.116, over .200 points higher than he finished with in July. Yelich is hitting .326 at home, so look for his success to continue this weekend against the White Sox.
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