After flashing intriguing upside during an inconsistent 2015 season, Nelson has been one of this year's top breakout stories. The right-hander heads into Week 8 boasting a 3.07 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, having allowed a combined two runs over his past two starts (15 1/3 innings). Expect the strong pitching to continue, as the Braves rank last in the Majors in runs and OPS while the Reds rank 19th in runs and 24th in OPS.
Following a mediocre outing against the Phillies on May 6, Chen has now registered back-to-back quality starts -- lowering his season ERA from 4.66 to 4.22 in the process. While Chen's ERA is still unremarkable, most of his other numbers are in line with his career averages and his 3.52 FIP suggests that better times are ahead. The Marlins lefty should benefit from a pair of favorable matchups next week. In addition to the aforementioned Braves, he will be facing a Rays club that ranks in the bottom third of the AL in both runs and batting average. Chen is a must-start, regardless of league format.
With one of the highest fastball velocity averages in baseball, Eovaldi has undeniable ability. But consistency has eluded the 26-year-old throughout his Major League career. However, the Yankees righty seems to be making progress in that area this season, especially of late. Following Wednesday night's dominant performance against the D-backs at hitter-friendly Chase Field -- in which he allowed one hit and posted a 5-to-0 K/BB ratio over six scoreless innings -- Eovaldi now sports a 2.84 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP over his past three starts. The Blue Jays' offense is still dangerous after leading the Majors in runs scored a year ago, but Toronto ranks in the bottom half of the league in both runs and OPS so far in 2016. As for the Rays, they rank 22nd in the Majors in runs.
Colon struggled in his past two starts, which came against the same two teams he will be facing next week. But he still carries a 3.75 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP for the season thanks largely to his trademark control (1.7 BB/9). Count on the soon-to-be 43-year-old to make the necessary adjustments and post better results this time around.
Finnegan has failed to make it through the sixth inning in each of his past three starts, but he pitched to a decent 3.97 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over his first six turns this season. And while the 23-year-old southpaw has had issues with walks (4.3 BB/9 rate) and homers (1.7 HR/9 rate), he should be expected to make steady improvements in his first full season as a starter. Finnegan is not an automatic start for the time being, but he is certainly worth considering in deeper formats during Week 8 given the Dodgers and Brewers rank 11th and 9th, respectively, in OPS among NL teams.
Though his season-to-date numbers through eight starts (4.71 ERA, 1.67 WHIP) indicate that he is a risky fantasy investment, Koehler has quietly recorded a 1.83 ERA to go along with 16 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings over his past three outings. He will have the same favorable matchups as his teammate, Chen, in Week 8 and makes for an intriguing starting option in very deep mixed leagues and NL-only formats as a result.
Zach Steinhorn is fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.