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2014 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Shrewd Plays For Aug. 1

5 Shrewd Plays for Aug. 1

Carlos Santana Indians
Ken Blaze-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 Aug. 1 and deserve your utmost consideration.

5. 3B - Chris Johnson: Atlanta Braves

Chris Johnson Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

5. 3B - Chris Johnson: Atlanta Braves

Chris Johnson Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson is in the midst of his most productive stretch of the season right now. He's batting a solid .305 over his past 15 games and has chipped in five HRs to go along with a whopping 17 RBIs over that span. He'll face unimpressive starter Eric Stults today, and that should lead to more success. Not only does Stults sport a horrible 5.22 ERA to this point, but Johnson is batting a ridiculous .433 vs. southpaws this season.

4. 2B - Daniel Murphy: New York Mets

Daniel Murphy Mets
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. 2B - Daniel Murphy: New York Mets

Daniel Murphy Mets
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets' second baseman is dialed in and absolutely crushing the ball right now. Murphy has posted a magnificent .480 average over his past six games and has a great matchup to help keep that number soaring. Ryan Vogelsong gets the start against the Mets this evening, and to go along with a terrible 5.44 ERA on the road, he's allowing left-handers to bat a tidy .299 against him on the year.

3. OF - Torii Hunter: Detroit Tigers

Torii Hunter Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

3. OF - Torii Hunter: Detroit Tigers

Torii Hunter Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This veteran has been smoking hot the past month, as he's batting an impressive .376 since July 2 and has pitched in six HRs and 23 RBI over that span. Hunter has been dominating left-handed pitching all season and will have the luxury of facing a weak lefty today. That pitcher will be Franklin Morales, and to go along with an ugly 6.20 road ERA, he's allowing right-handers to bat a lofty .315 on the season.

2. 1B - Carlos Santana: Cleveland Indians

Carlos Santana Indians
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

2. 1B - Carlos Santana: Cleveland Indians

Carlos Santana Indians
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Santana has performed poorly for a good chunk of the season, but he's making up for it in a big way right now. The switch-hitter has mashed six HRs to go along with 12 RBIs over his past nine games and is batting a gaudy .515 over that stretch. He has a fantastic matchup today vs. starter Jerome Williams and the Texas Rangers. Williams has posted an awful 5.53 ERA on the year, and opponents are batting .296 against him.

1. P - Chris Sale: Chicago White Sox

Chris Sale White Sox
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

1. P - Chris Sale: Chicago White Sox

Chris Sale White Sox
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Sale is certainly making a case for Cy Young Award consideration, as he's now 10-1 on the season with a remarkable 1.88 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. He has a great chance of padding those numbers tonight when the Sox host the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have posted a terrible 4-9 record since the All-Star break, and Sale just dominated this team in his last start, going eight shutout innings while striking out 12.

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.