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USATSI

Happy Fourth of July everyone! This is one of my favorite holidays of the year and I can't wait to rip the barbeque again with a strong slate of food, family, friends and drinks on tap for the day. And I know you're anxious to get to that as well so we won't keep you too long today -- but there is certainly some Fantasy action we need to get into.

We also have some baseball to enjoy with the Marlins and Nationals kicking things off at 11:05 ET followed by a three-game afternoon slate. But before we turn the page to this week in Fantasy Baseball, it's time to play catch up on the biggest moments from the weekend's action.

Robbie Ray hasn't delivered up to 2021 expectations in his new home (and a ballpark that should fit his skill set), but on Sunday he racked up a season-high 12 strikeouts and looked a lot like the pitcher we saw last season in Toronto. Ray let up just one run on 6 1/3 innings of work and he racked up an absurd 44% called swinging strike rate. Don't look now but Ray has allowed just three earned runs over his last five starts spanning nearly 34 innings.

We'll dive into all of the rest of the top action from the weekend, but first, make sure you're all caught up with everything going on from the Fantasy Baseball Today team over at CBSSports.com/Fantasy/Baseball. Scott White's sleeper hitters include Christian Walker and Michael Harris and he breaks down why here. Scott's top call for last week's sleeper hitter was Alex Kirilloff. Scott's two-start pitcher rankings feature the Tuesday return of Mets ace Max Scherzer. You can find his entire two-start pitcher rankings for this week here. You can also find Scott's sleeper pitchers here

And of course, as always, you can follow to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify

Cron gets back on track

Rockies 1B C.J. Cron was one of the best stories of the first month of the season when he was on an Aaron Judge-esque home run pace but he had slowed down as of late -- until Sunday when he doinked a double dong. Cron hit two massive home run blasts well over 400 feet each on Sunday. Since joining the Rockies last season, Cron has had 779 at bats and homered 47 times in those with a .288 batting average. He went from journeyman to sleeper late-round pick in last year's drafts to profit pocket mid-round pick in this year's drafts. But at this point he feels more like a Fantasy cornerstone than anything else. That, my friends, is the Coors Field effect. 

Strong production from returning players

  • Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two walks in his first game played in 2 1/2 weeks since he suffered a cracked rib.
  • Jarren Duran was back in the lineup for the Red Sox and hit his first homer with two hits on Friday before collecting another pair of hits on Saturday. Duran is batting .333 overall with four stolen bases. He is flashing glimpses of midseason waiver wire pickup that propels a winning roster.
  • Jacobs deGrom began his rehab assignment on Sunday and struck out six of seven batters with seven pitches (including his first three) topping 100 mph.
  • Ronald Acuna returned to action and went 2-for-3 with a double after missing time with a foot injury. But don't worry that injury won't impact him on the basepaths. Acuna stole a pair of bags on Sunday.

Weekend aces

These pitchers were dominant this weekend.

  • Christian Javier threw seven innings of one hit and one run ball with 14 strikeouts on Friday!
  • Tony Gonsolin continues to get the job done this time allowing just four hits, no walks and one run through 7 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts against the Padres.
  • Spencer Strider continues to be one of the best stories of the year. He threw six innings of one hit and one run ball with an absurd 11 strikeouts (velocity peaking at 102.4) against the Reds on Saturday.
  • Brandon Woodruff showed serious signs of promise in his last start and followed that up on Sunday against the Pirates with six shutout innings, six hits and no walks allowed, and eight strikeouts.
  • Charlie Morton continues his recent midseason turnaround. He threw seven innings of one hit shutout ball with 10 strikeouts on Sunday and didn't get the win. He now has double digit strikeouts in three of his last five outings. 

News and lineup notes

Every night the Fantasy Baseball Today team dives into all of the happenings around the MLB from top performers to injuries, trades and more. The podcast is a must listen for any diehard, if I do say so myself. Tune in to the podcast to hear the FBT crew expand on the news and notes from below plus a lot more.

  • Frankie Montas left his Sunday start with shoulder tightness.
  • Juan Soto was removed Sunday with calf tightness and will be reevaluated Monday.
  • Xander Bogaerts was spiked on a steal attempt Sunday and removed with a thigh laceration.
  • Ranger Suarez was placed on the IL with back spasms.
  • Kevin Gausman left the game when he was hit with a comebacker but X-rays came back negative.
  • Jack Flaherty won't throw for 2-3 weeks.
  • Anthony DeSclafani was sent back to the IL with ankle inflammation.
  • Tyler Stephenson (fractured thumb) will begin a rehab assignment Monday. He's been out since June 9.
  • Chris Bassitt was scratched Friday and placed on the IL with no reported injury.
  • Jorge Soler was placed on the IL with a back issue.
  • Chris Sale will start Wednesday for Triple-A in what could be his final rehab outing if he goes five.
  • Fernando Tatis could return in the outfield rather than at shortstop, but he is still a couple weeks away from swinging a bat.