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2014 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Shrewd Plays For Aug. 21

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5 Shrewd Plays for Aug. 21

Justin Upton Braves
Dale Zanine-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. 21 and deserve your utmost consideration.

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

5. C - Evan Gattis: Atlanta Braves

Evan Gattis Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

5. C - Evan Gattis: Atlanta Braves

Evan Gattis Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves' top catcher has struggled at the dish since the All-Star break, but with five hits, including two HRs, over his past four games, he looks to be pulling through. Gattis will take his .414 average vs. southpaws to the ballpark with him when the Braves take on the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. David Holmberg will get the starting nod for Cincy, and he has posted an ugly 4.64 ERA this season at the Triple-A level.

4. 1B - Mark Trumbo: Arizona Diamondbacks

Mark Trumbo Diamondbacks
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

4. 1B - Mark Trumbo: Arizona Diamondbacks

Mark Trumbo Diamondbacks
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This slugger has struggled to a lowly .235 average thus far in 2014, but he's found his groove in August and is batting a far more respectable .328 in 17 games. Trumbo will look to keep the train on the tracks against Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon. Gonzalez has posted a surprisingly high 5.24 ERA over his past seven outings, and Trumbo is batting 60 points higher vs. southpaws this year.

3. SS - Ian Desmond: Washington Nationals

Ian Desmond Nationals
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

3. SS - Ian Desmond: Washington Nationals

Ian Desmond Nationals
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Desmond has really been dialed in over his past nine games as he's batting .375 with two bombs and eight RBIs. The talented shortstop has found better success vs. left-handers all season, and will get a shot at another one on Thursday. Wade Miley will oppose the Nats, and despite mixing in some solid performances of late, he still boasts an elevated 4.46 ERA on the season.

2. P - Madison Bumgarner: San Francisco Giants

Madison Bumgarner Giants
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

2. P - Madison Bumgarner: San Francisco Giants

Madison Bumgarner Giants
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' ace has been lights out on the road this season as he's posted a spectacular 1.72 ERA over 14 starts. With a great matchup to take advantage of on Thursday, he may be able to lower that number even further. Bumgarner will take on the Chicago Cubs, and on top of ranking 27th in the league in runs per game, the Cubbies have scored four runs or fewer in 12 straight contests.

1. OF - Justin Upton: Atlanta Braves

Justin Upton Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

1. OF - Justin Upton: Atlanta Braves

Justin Upton Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves have certainly been getting their money's worth from Upton of late as he's batting an impressive .350 over his past 12 games while clobbering five HRs and knocking in 16. Upton will face the aforementioned David Holmberg on Thursday, and if that 4.64 ERA he's posted in the minors this year doesn't get you on board, Upton is batting .326 vs. southpaws with a whopping nine HRs in just 89 at bats 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.