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2014 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Shrewd Plays For July 25

5 Shrewd Plays for July 25

Jose Altuve Astros
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

For any fantasy baseball team, starting the right players is unsurprisingly the key to success. This is especially true in the immensely popular daily leagues, where a single player can mean the difference between a big payday and crushing disappointment. Based on matchups and talent, the following five players could all be in for an outstanding day on July 25 and deserve your utmost consideration.

5. C - Miguel Montero: Arizona Diamondbacks

Miguel Montero Diamondbacks
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

5. C - Miguel Montero: Arizona Diamondbacks

Miguel Montero Diamondbacks
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This backstop has flourished vs. right-handers this season as he's batting a solid .280 against them, and 22 of his 26 extra-base hits have come via that route. He'll face a struggling one today by the name of Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick sports a horrific 7.04 ERA over his last six outings and is allowing left-handers to bat a lofty .318 on the season.

4. 1B - Lucas Duda: New York Mets

Lucas Duda Mets
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

4. 1B - Lucas Duda: New York Mets

Lucas Duda Mets
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

This powerful lefty is going through his most productive stretch of the season as he's batting .315 over his past 17 games with four HRs and 10 RBIs. He'll face one of his favorite pitchers this evening, so expect more success. Yovani Gallardo will take the mound against the Mets today, and on top of sporting an ugly 6.23 ERA over his last four games, Duda has torched him to the tune of a .500 average in 10 at-bats, including two HRs.

3. SS - Jose Reyes: Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Reyes Blue Jays
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

3. SS - Jose Reyes: Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Reyes Blue Jays
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

There's no slowing down this speedy shortstop right now as Reyes is batting an impressive .396 over his past 12 games with two HRs and nine RBIs. A date at Yankee Stadium typically makes hitters salivate, and the thought of facing Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda may find this switch-hitter searching for a drool rag. In 23 at-bats vs. the right-hander, Reyes is batting a cool .478 including a HR, two triples and three doubles.

2. P - Jon Lester: Boston Red Sox

Jon Lester Red Sox
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

2. P - Jon Lester: Boston Red Sox

Jon Lester Red Sox
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of Clayton Kershaw, you won't find a southpaw pitching better right now. Lester sports a ridiculous 0.86 ERA over his last seven outings and ranks 11th among all starters in baseball with an outstanding 9.33 Ks per nine innings. He'll take on a Tampa Bay Rays team today that sits 19th in the league in runs per game, and in his first start against those guys, Lester shut them out over seven innings while striking out 12.

1. 2B - Jose Altuve: Houston Astros

Jose Altuve Astros
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. 2B - Jose Altuve: Houston Astros

Jose Altuve Astros
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Incredibly, this undersized second baseman ranks No. 1 overall on ESPN's player rater, even ahead of Mike Trout. Altuve is dialed in right now with seven multi-hit performances over his last 12 games and is likely to continue that onslaught tonight. Lefty Brad Hand will take on Houston today, and not only does he own an awful 4.86 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 2014, but Altuve is batting a preposterous .423 vs. southpaws on the season.

Brian Davis is a fantasy writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SportsGuyBrian, ”Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.