Fantasy baseball batter stock watch - 914

Fantasy baseball batter stock watch - 914

David Ferris
Contributor to CSNChicago.com
Buy
Marco Scutaro, Utility, Giants: His fantasy value was expected to vanish the moment he left the thin air of Coors Field, but Scutaro has been a find for the Giants, hitting .341 over 44 games with strong run-production stats (30 RBIs, 25 runs). Bruce Bochy loves Scutaro's contact and experience near the top of the order, and we love Scutaro's position flexibility (he qualifies at second, short and third base in standard leagues).
Josh Donaldson, 3BC, Athletics: He's settled into the corner slot for the A's - taking over for the injured Brandon Inge - and the second-half numbers have been tasty (.324 average, six homers). Donaldson carries catcher eligibility in many leagues despite the fact that he's not playing there; take full advantage of that where you can.
Everth Cabrera, 2BSS, Padres: He's just about unstoppable on the bases (30-for-32), and no one in the majors has swiped more bags over the past month. Cabrera also covers two infield spots in standard leagues, and he's been an average-neutral player over that span. You'll have to fill your power categories elsewhere, but if you're in the market for a speed speciality play, Cabrera comes strongly recommended.

Hold
Jed Lowrie, SS3B, Astros: He's finally back from the ankle and leg problems that wrecked his season, but the Astros have no reason to push Lowrie over the final three weeks. If you can grab him in a daily-transaction league, we'll sign off on it - so long as you have the maintenance time - but Lowrie is too risky to trust in pools that require weekly activations.
Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres: If you have the flexibility to use Denorfia against left-handed pitching, you're getting an absolute monster: the Wheaton College product slashes .346.402.512 against southpaws. The Padres face three lefties in their next eight games (beginning Saturday); in some pools, that might be enough of a needle-mover to consider Denorfia. Don't be thrown by Petco Park, either; his batting average is only eight points higher on the road. Line drives play in any environment.
Brandon Belt, 1BOF, Giants: He's finally settled into a full-time job and the bat has responded - Belt has a strong .294-8-2-15 line over the past 30 days, with a couple of stolen bases thrown in. You might want to sit him against a left-handed starter now and again - there's a platoon split at play here - but otherwise Belt has enough juice to justify a roster spot in mixed leagues.

Sell
Todd Frazier, Utility, Reds: With Joey Votto back in the swing of things, Frazier is a Red without a position. Scott Rolen's injury issues at third base help the cause somewhat, but Dusty Baker has made it clear that Rolen is a starter whenever he's hale enough to play. Frazier would be a super-utility hero in some other cities, but Baker doesn't enjoy being creative with his defensive planning and lineup card. As much as we've enjoyed Frazier's sneaky production this year, he's a tricky play for the stretch.
Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees: You can't stand by the wishing well when you see a 10-14 day injury at this time of year; it's imperative that you react quickly and find healthy reinforcements. Teixeira's calf injury makes him droppable in any format; even if he returns quickly, there's no guarantee he gives the Yankees quality at-bats. It's not about the names (especially at this time of year), it's all about the numbers. See if you can land a Brandon Moss, Brandon Belt or John Mayberry to take over for Teixeira.

Reports: Dolphins assistant Jeremiah Washburn to be Bears' new O-line coach

Reports: Dolphins assistant Jeremiah Washburn to be Bears' new O-line coach

The Bears have reportedly found a new offensive line coach.

According to multiple reports Monday, Jeremiah Washburn will become the team's new offensive line coach, replacing Dave Magazu.

Washburn worked as an assistant offensive line coach this past season with the Miami Dolphins under Adam Gase, the Bears' former offensive coordinator.

Prior to his season in South Florida, he spent seven seasons with the Detroit Lions, working three of them as the team's offensive line coach after three as an assistant offensive line coach.

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This past season, the Bears ranked 17th in the NFL in rushing with 1,735 yards as a team. Only eight teams allowed fewer sacks than the Bears, who saw quarterbacks dropped by opposing defenses just 28 times. Bears quarterbacks were hit 73 teams, also a top-10 mark in the league.

The Bears also committed a good number of holding penalties, 1.68 per game, which was only bested by seven teams.

Magazu was a longtime member of John Fox's staffs in Chicago, Denver and Carolina.

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Patrick Kane was summing up the Blackhawks' weekend, one that didn't go well in terms of points.

"Good way to kind of judge ourselves, where we're at," he said Sunday night. "Might be a little bit of a wake-up call to see how good we really are."

Well, in a way, it is. You can't really compare Friday's loss to Washington and Sunday's loss to Minnesota on performance; the Blackhawks didn't show up for the first game and were much better in the second. Nevertheless, it was the same result in each. The Blackhawks' lengthy hold on first place in the Western Conference ended, with the Wild taking over following Sunday's 3-2 victory.

It's not a sound-the-alarm situation, but the Blackhawks are certainly cognizant of the missed opportunity last weekend and that they came up short against the league's best.

Artem Anisimov agreed with Kane's assessment.

"We just need to play better. All four lines need to play better in all areas of the ice. Just be better in the little things," Anisimov said. "Back check, put stick in the right position, box the guy out, short shifts. All little things need to be better."

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Many of the little things that were absent against the Capitals were back against the Wild. But coach Joel Quenneville wasn't happy with mistakes made on goals allowed, especially the first two. And while Kane and the second line were a consistent scoring threat against the Wild, the other three lines weren't. It's a problem that's plagued the Blackhawks a good deal this season, even when they were stringing together victories.

There is no reason to think that, because of this weekend's results, the Blackhawks are going to falter against strong teams. They've done well against others already this season. They beat Montreal earlier this season, when the Canadiens were healthy and steamrolling everyone. They beat the New York Rangers when the Rangers and former Blackhawks backup goaltender Antti Raanta were on their respective hot streaks.

Still, Kane's analysis is correct: This should get the Blackhawks' attention. The Wild have beaten the Blackhawks in eight consecutive regular-season games now and will face them three more times this season. They have two more meetings with the Edmonton Oilers, who beat them soundly in November.

The Blackhawks' long reign atop the Western Conference standings is over. They’re currently second in the Central Division, with an eight-point cushion over the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks have done fairly well this season. But this weekend was a reminder that they can be better.

"The game (on Friday) was kind of like a shock to the system thinking maybe you're one of the top teams in the league, or being able to compete with one of the top teams, and we obviously got thoroughly outplayed. We came back (Sunday night). It was pretty even in chances. We might've even had more so, just kind of didn't pull it out," Kane said. "But (when) you've played two of the better teams in the league and lose, there's got to be room for improvement, right?"