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2014 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Shrewd Plays For July 31

5 Shrewd Plays for July 31

Clayton Kershaw Dodgers
Chris Humphreys-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 players could all be in for an outstanding day on July 31 and deserve your utmost consideration.

(All stats current through 7:00 p.m. Wednesday)

5. C - Dioner Navarro: Toronto Blue Jays

Dioner Navarro Blue Jays
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

5. C - Dioner Navarro: Toronto Blue Jays

Dioner Navarro Blue Jays
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The switch-hitting Navarro has really upped his game of late as he's batting a cool .324 over his past eight games with four multi-hit efforts. Look for him to stay hot on Thursday when the Jays kick off a series with the Houston Astros. Jarred Cosart will get the nod for Houston, and if his elevated 4.41 ERA on the season isn't enough to intrigue you, that number sits at a horrific 8.10 over his last four outings.

4. 3B - Kyle Seager: Seattle Mariners

Kyle Seager Mariners
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

4. 3B - Kyle Seager: Seattle Mariners

Kyle Seager Mariners
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Seager has been rolling over his past 16 games with eight-multi hit efforts and is batting a solid .328 over that span. He's bashed 15 of his 16 HRs this season against right-handers and will face a struggling one on Thursday. The Indians will square off with starter Zack McAllister, and he's posted a dreadful 7.65 ERA over his last nine outings. Seager has faced McAllister 14 times in his career and sports a nifty .429 average against him.

3. OF - Austin Jackson: Detroit Tigers

Austin Jackson Tigers
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

3. OF - Austin Jackson: Detroit Tigers

Austin Jackson Tigers
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Few hitters in baseball have been as hot as Jackson of late. The Tigers' center fielder has posted an incredible 14 mulit-hit performances over his past 23 games and is batting an impressive .365 over that span. He'll face lefty John Danks on Thursday, and that should be good news for Jackson. Danks has struggled with a 5.33 ERA over his past seven starts, and Jackson owns a lofty .381 average against him in 42 career at-bats.

2. 2B - Jose Altuve: Houston Astros

Jose Altuve Astros
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

2. 2B - Jose Altuve: Houston Astros

Jose Altuve Astros
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Altuve has cranked his game up a few notches since the All-Star break as he's batting a ridiculous .408 over his last 11 games. He continues to lead all of baseball with an outstanding .342 average on the season, and that number could go up even further on Thursday. Houston will face Toronto Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchinson, and he's been knocked around to the tune of an ugly 5.91 ERA over his last nine starts.

1. P - Clayton Kershaw: Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Dodgers
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

1. P - Clayton Kershaw: Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Dodgers
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The best pitcher in baseball is extremely expensive in daily leagues, but he's generally worth the exuberant price. Kershaw has posted a mind-blowing 1.10 ERA over his past 12 outings and has struck out a staggering 113 batters over his last 90 innings of work. He'll face an Atlanta Braves club on Thursday that ranks 22nd in the league in runs per game and are striking out at a lofty 23.5 percent clip vs. left-handed pitching.

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.