'Brett Gardner' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I seem to be writing more and more about depth options in the fantasy baseball game of late. Everyone knows how good Stephen Strasburg or Chris Davis is. Why not spend some more time talking about those depth guys that you have to have to win a championship, right?

Wei-Yin Chen has been back at it for the Orioles for three starts. He's allowed five runs on his way to three quality starts. On the season he's the proud owner of a 2.78 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 68 innings. He seems primed to be a solid weapon down the stretch out of the rotation.

Alejandro De Aza has been trying to prove his worth to the White Sox hoping to turn them off to the idea of dealing him. The last two weeks he's been killing it hitting .450 with eight runs scored in 10 games.

Mark Ellis has racked up 11 RBIs in his last nine games. He's also batting 412. He's not really someone you want to add in mixed leagues though, you've already missed his “run,” but those of you starting him in NL-only leagues certainly have to be pleased with what you've seen (no one has overreacted to his hot run over at Fleaflicker where his own percentage is in the single digits).

Brett Gardner finally remembered who he was. Over his last five games he's rapped out nine hits, and over his last 10 games he's swiped six bags. The hits have pushed his average up to .280 and his OBP to .349 (career marks of .269 and .353). The six thefts give him 17 on the year. Oddly, Gardner has already tied his career best with seven bombs but he's been way off the SB pace he normally sets. He should continue to run and be a force in the SB column given that he stole 47 and 49 bases in his last two healthy seasons (2010-11).

Wow Kevin Gregg, implode will ya? Over his last 13 outings the Cubs' closer has allowed 10 runs as his ERA has gone up more than two full runs to 2.89. Think the Cubs rue the day they didn't just trade him instead of holding out for a bigger return? The winds seem to be suggesting that Pedro Strop could take over the closing gig if Gregg is dealt (in 8.2 innings as a Cub he has 11 Ks and has walked just two). Heck, at this point the Cubs should replace Gregg anyway even if they don't deal him.

Tim Hudson broke his ankle and he is done for the season (gotta follow the fundamentals kids and learn how to handle yourself around the first base bag if you're a pitcher). Hudson's season ends with a 3.97 ERA and 1.19, though with eight wins he will fail to reach double-digit wins for the first time in his career when he made 21 or more starts in a season (he was previously 13-for-13). The Braves also have Paul Maholm on the DL with a wrist issue, and suddenly all that SP depth they have is being tested. My guess is that the Braves' rotation will end up looking like this: Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen and... Brandon Beachy. Alex Wood is lurking though.

Chimps and Orangutans have good memories. What a shock. Sometimes we humans are so stupid. What, did we think they didn't remember things previously or something?

Brandon Morrow has an entrapped radial nerve in his forearm, and his season is likely over. The reason the injury didn't show up earlier is that it often doesn't on MRI's. With extended rest he should be fine as surgery is not indicated at present. Morrow threw only 124.2 innings last season, and this year his effort will end at 54.1 innings. Morrow will finish with a 5.63 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, not to mention less than seven strikeouts per nine innings. In 2006 the Mariners chose Morrow over local boy Tim Lincecum because they liked Morrow's 6'3”, 200 lbs frame over that of the smallish Lincecum (5'10”, 170 lbs). Seven years later that doesn't look like a very good decision does it? How good could the Mariners have been with a 1-2 punch of Felix Hernandez and Lincecum?

Hunter Pence had five hits Wednesday to push his average up to .278. He's also on pace to go past 20-80 in homers and RBIs. He's a very solid performer at the dish, and he's tossed in copious of success on the base paths this season as well (he's 14-for-14 on steal attempts).

Dayan Viciedo has gone deep twice in his last three games. He's still having a rather dreadful year though with nine homers and 31 RBIs in 270 at-bats. He's also hitting a mere .244 with a sickly .698 OPS. Take a walk Viciedo – he has 16 on the year.

By Ray Flowers

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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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Around The Horn: December 19, 2014 (VIDEO) : Ray Flowers | @FantasyAlarm http://t.co/iYxvAqed4v