FANTASY PLAYER UPDATES & NEWS

Jamal Crawford scored 29 points and had four assists in the win over the Knicks on Friday. He also hit five three pointers on the night.

Crawford, who is known for being a hot hand off the bench, returned to a reserve role Friday and had his second-highest scoring output of the season. Despite being replaced in the starting lineup by J.J. Redick, Crawford will continue to get plenty of minutes, making him a must-start in standard league play with Chris Paul sidelined. ANALYST: Matthew Beck

Rockies designated RHP Jorge Rondon for assignment.

This shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone, as Rondon has racked up an ERA of 90.00 in his two appearances for the Rockies, including surrendering five hits, two walks, and eight runs (seven of them earned) without recording a single out in his last outing on May first. Relief pitcher Ken Roberts has been called up to take his place in the bullpen. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Rockies selected the contract of LHP Ken Roberts from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Roberts is coming off of a very solid 2014 season in double-A, in which he posted a 2.30 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings coming out of the bullpen. This year, Roberts has been decent in triple-A, posting a 3.27 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP with eight strikeouts in 11 innings pitched, prior to being called up to join the Rockies bullpen. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (knee) may have a potential bone on bone issue that may have contributed to his falling down some teams' draft boards.

Ajayi was absolutely dominant last season, putting up 2,358 yards from scrimmage (1,823 rushing and 535 receiving on 50 catches) with a total of 32... yes 32 touchdowns (28 on the ground and four through the air). Unfortunately for him, and his draft stock, there is concern about Ajayi's knee, including the belief that he has an issue with his cartilage that has left him with "bone on bone" which will likely result in his NFL career ending sooner than it normally would.  Analysis: Brad Costilo

RB Duke Johnson will be used separately from RBs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

The Browns were able to trade away the disappointing Trent Richardson last season (somehow convincing the Colts to part with a first round pick for him), and ended up cutting their "star" running back free agent acquisition Ben Tate, and spent the bulk of the season utilizing their two-headed rookie running back tandem of Crowell and West. The rookie backs combined to rush for 1280 yards and 12 touchdowns on 319 carries (which is solid production, mind you), but neither one was able to establish himself as an every down/primary back. The Browns decision to draft Miami running back Duke Johnson, who rushed for 1652 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, is another attempt to find a true primary back that will allow them to have some consistency in the backfield. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Kyle Blanks went 4-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored against the A’s on Saturday.

Blanks is making the most of his first opportunity with the Rangers (was called up when Mitch Moreland was placed on the DL three days ago), hitting .417 with two home runs and four RBIs in three games. While there's never been a questions as to whether or not Blanks has power (he does), there have been plenty of questions as to whether or not Blanks will ever be able to put it all together at the major league level (Blanks hit .304 with 102 home runs in 603 minor league games since 2005, he's hit .237 with 32 home runs in 263 major league games since 2009). All signs point to this hot start being nothing more than a fluke that will probably end very soon, so you shouldn't invest too highly in his recent production. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored during the Rangers’ 8-7 win over the A’s on Saturday.

After averaging about .285/20/20/80 over his last six seasons (factoring in full, healthy seasons) Choo was one of the most disappointing free-agent signings in all of 2014 (which is really saying something if you dig into that free agent group), hitting 43 points lower than he did the year before, with his home run production dropped by 40% and his stolen base production dropped by a staggering 85%. Even with last night's solid outing, Choo continues to be one of the most surprisingly disappointing players in all of fantasy, hitting only .131 with two home runs and no stolen bases (hasn't even attempted a steal) through 18 games this year. At this point Choo is a player who can be dropped in most formats (although his prior production seems to be making him too hard to cut loose, as he is still owned in more than 50% of fantasy leagues), unless you are in a league with an unusually deep bench, in which case you can afford to hold on to the struggling Ranger for a little while longer. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Nick Martinez allowed five runs (two earned) on seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts over six innings against the A’s on Saturday.

The only thing keeping the 24-year-old Nick Martinez from being among fantasy baseball's elite pitchers through five starts this year, is his lack of strikeouts (it's actually really bad, with only 13 in 32 innings pitched). Otherwise, Martinez has been fantastic, going 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA (up from 0.35 after allowing two earned runs last night) and a 1.13 WHIP in 32 innings pitched. While it's unlikely that Martinez is going to become a fantasy ace with solid strikeout numbers anytime soon, there is a very real chance that he begins to produce at a more "acceptable" level, as he did strikeout 302 batters in 337 minor league innings from 2011 - 2014. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Josh Reddick went 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBI and a run scored during the A’s 8-7 loss to the Rangers on Saturday.

Reddick's strugles over the last two seasons (.245 average with 24 home runs, 10 stolen bases in 223 games) have caused most fantasy owners to chalk up his 32 home run, 11 stolen base season of 2012 as a fluke, but his production through 19 games this year begs to differ. Reddick is hitting .385 with three home runs, two stolen bases (on two attempts), 18 RBIs and 10 runs scored, and has looked like an absolute draft-day steal thus far.  Analysis: Brad Costilo

Drew Pomeranz allowed three runs on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Saturday.

After a dominant first start in 2015 (allowing only two hits in seven shutout innings, striking out six), Pomeranz looked like he was going to take the next step towards becoming a top-tier fantasy pitcher, but it's gone South quickly since then. In his following four starts (including last night's) Pomeranz has allowed 14 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings, pushing his ERA up to 4.61 in the process. Additionally, Pomeranz has given up a home run in each of those four games. At this time, Pomeranz is a pitcher you'll want to avoid relying on unless he has the best of fantasy matchups. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Jon Niese was the hard-luck loser Saturday after he allowed one run on nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts over seven innings against the Nationals.

Niese pitched very well (only one run allowed on nine hits with five strikeouts in seven innings) last night, but was ultimately out-dueled by Gio Gonzalez' nine strikeout performance. Even though he got the loss, Niese brought his ERA down to a fantastic 2.40 and is looking like a solid #4/#5 fantasy Starting Pitcher option who's available in more than 80% of fantasy leagues at this time. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Drew Storen earned his sixth save of the season after pitching a perfect ninth inning to preserve the Nationals’ 1-0 win over the Mets on Saturday.

Storen has been nearly perfect this year, giving up only two runs in 10 appearances while racking up six saves and striking out 11. Despite the fact that the Nationals are sitting at 11-14 right now, Storen should find himself with plenty of save opportunities and will end up being a top fantasy closer this year (barring injury). Analysis: Brad Costilo

Gio Gonzalez tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over seven innings against the Mets on Saturday.

After getting knocked around by the Marlins for 10 hits and six runs in five innings in his last outing, Gio got himself back on track with a dominant performance against the Mets last night. In seven shutout innings, Gio allowed only 8 base-runners (six hits and two walks) while striking out nine and bringing his record up to 2-and-2. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Colby Rasmus went 3-for-5 with two doubles, one home run, one RBI and three runs scored during the Astros’ 11-4 win over the Mariners on Saturday.

Rasmus is certainly beginning to show signs of life here as he’s hit three home runs in his last six games. His .268/.333/.577 slash line is outstanding given his past numbers, but there is little belief that he can maintain rates like that while striking out 38.5-percent of the time. You can probably expect some decent power totals out of him the rest of the way, but you should also probably expect an average hovering closer to .240 than anything else. Analysis: Howard Bender

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