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2014 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Shrewd Plays For Aug. 20

2014 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Shrewd Plays For Aug. 20

Pablo Sandoval Giants
Cary Edmondson-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 Aug. 20 and deserve your utmost consideration.

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

5. SS - J.J. Hardy: Baltimore Orioles

J.J. Hardy Orioles
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

5. SS - J.J. Hardy: Baltimore Orioles

J.J. Hardy Orioles
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Hardy has been quite the disappointment this season, but boy has he been dialed in as of late. The shortstop is batting a ridiculous .436 over his last 10 contests, plus has chipped in three HRs and 10 RBIs over that span. He's scheduled to face Chicago White Sox starter Hector Noesi on Wednesday, and not only does the right-hander sport an ugly 4.84 ERA on the season, but is allowing a .309 average to right-handed bats.

4. 1B - Adam LaRoche: Washington Nationals

Adam LaRoche Nationals
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

4. 1B - Adam LaRoche: Washington Nationals

Adam LaRoche Nationals
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

This slugger is feeling the power surge through his veins right now, as he's popped six HRs over his last 12 games. Adam LaRoche has also contributed 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored over that span, and he'll look to improve upon those numbers Wednesday vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. Trevor Cahill will toe the rubber for the D-backs, and while he's pitched okay as of late, he's still allowing a .336 average to lefties this year.

3. 3B - Pablo Sandoval: San Francisco Giants

Pablo Sandoval Giants
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

3. 3B - Pablo Sandoval: San Francisco Giants

Pablo Sandoval Giants
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

With a .302 average thus far in August, the Kung Fu Panda is on pace to post a .300 average or better for the fourth consecutive month. He's been obliterating right-handed pitching this year, and will face one of the league's worst righties on Wednesday. Edwin Jackson will oppose the Giants, and to go along with an atrocious 5.74 ERA this season, left-handed bats have pounded him to the tune of a .332 average.

2. OF - Michael Brantley: Cleveland Indians

Michael Brantley Indians
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

2. OF - Michael Brantley: Cleveland Indians

Michael Brantley Indians
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Brantley's career best numbers have continued to improve in August as the lefty has posted an excellent .339 average to go along with 14 RBIs in 15 games. He's tormented right-handed pitching all year with a .351 average and 41 extra-base hits in 319 at bats, and may improve upon those stats on Wednesday. Ricky Nolasco will face the Indians, and along with his horrid 5.99 ERA, lefties are batting .348 against him in 2014.

1. P - Garrett Richards: Los Angeles Angels

Garrett Richards Angels
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

1. P - Garrett Richards: Los Angeles Angels

Garrett Richards Angels
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Richards has taken the league by storm by posting an outstanding 13-4 record to go along with a sparkling 2.53 ERA. He's been especially lights-out on the road this year with a 1.96 ERA and .169 batting average against, and he'll take those stats with him to Fenway Park to face the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. The Sox rank 25th in the league in runs per game this season, and have posted just 3.32 runs per contest over their last 25 played.

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.