Fantasy baseball pitcher stock watch - 66

Fantasy baseball pitcher stock watch - 66

Andy Pettitte, SP, Yankees: He must have kept himself in pretty fine shape during his brief retirement because the five starts back in New York have been terrific (three wins, 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP). Plus control is no surprise (just seven walks), but Pettitte is also putting people away (32 strikeouts). The pickoff move remains lethal as ever. His next two turns are against the Mets and Nationals - good teams, but not offenses to fear.

Ryan Dempster, SP, Cubs: The 1-3 record is a joke given how well Dempster has pitched (2.59 ERA, 1.08 WHIP); obviously the Cubs have hung him out to dry on several occasions. But Dempster's luck has turned somewhat in his last two turns - Chicago has scored 18 runs for him - and there's a strong chance he'll be moved to a contending club at some point in July. No one can be this unlucky for six months, right? Dempster could easily win 10-12 games the rest of the way, even if he pitches a little worse than his current level.

Brandon Beachy, SP, Braves: The glittering ERA and WHIP jump off the page (1.87 and 0.95, respectively), and he's also spiked the strikeouts of late. But what type of season-long workload will the Braves expose Beachy to? It's not that we're expecting a shutdown at some absurdly-early point, but just keep in mind this young arm has never been exposed to 150 innings in a season (Beachy was a reliever when he entered pro ball). Even if he's not sent to the showers prematurely, a stat give-back in August and September is highly likely. Quietly see if anyone in your league needs a pitcher and is willing to overzealously chase what Beachy has already posted; he's good, but he's not this good.
Derek Lowe, SP, Indians: While some unlucky chaps like Cliff Lee can't buy a win, there's Lowe with his fortunate seven victories and 3.06 ERA. The ERA is as much a fluke as the wins are; Lowe averages only 2.7 strikeouts per nine innings, his strikeout and walk rates are almost even, and his WHIP is a toxic 1.46. His extreme ground-ball profile helps to some extent, but a 78.3 strand rate is mostly just good fortune. If you mash the peripherals and try to estimate Lowe's ERA, you get something in the high 3s or low 4s. A major correction is coming, it's just a matter of when.


Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners: The general blueprint looks stacked against Wilhelmsen, at least as far as a closing gig goes. The Mariners would like Brandon League back in the big chair at some point (so they can try to trade him), and fresh-recall Stephen Pryor arrived with the "stopper of the future" tag attached. That established, Wilhelmsen has a win and a save over the last two Seattle wins, and he's looked the part in the late innings, striking out 36 men (against a reasonable nine walks) over 30 innings. Sometimes the smartest way to handle jumbled bullpens from a fantasy standpoint is simply to follow the momentum and the recent assignments; most modern managers are reluctant to change anything that's been working.

Felix Doubront, SP, Red Sox: Pitchers are basically guilty-until-proven-innocent in the jagged AL East, where four of the five parks are dangerous to work in and every team has a capable offense. But Boston's surprising lefty has acquitted himself nicely through the opening third of the year, posting a 3.75 ERA and 1.35 WHIP along with six wins and a zesty strikeout rate (66 punchouts in 62.1 innings). Doubront has been one of the surprise stars for AL-only players this year, and his profile is also relevant for medium and deep mixed leagues.

Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins: He's given us two terrific turns since rejoining the rotation (12 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 17 K) and a reasonable matchup is on the way (at home against Philadelphia). Just make sure you don't get tied to any long-term commitment with Liriano - the messy mechanics (and crooked numbers) can return at any time, without warning. It seems like a folly to put him in the sell list - if you're in a smart league, no one is likely to trade for him - so all you can really do is give him a shot to pitch for you, but on the shortest leash possible.

IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show Saturday on CSN

IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show Saturday on CSN

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show returns to CSN for the sixth-straight year on Saturday night at 8 p.m.

The Playoff Pairing Show, also streaming live on and, will reveal the brackets and first round matchups for all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes.

"The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show' continues to be one of the most highly-anticipated events in the state of Illinois and we couldn't be prouder to once again showcase two-straight hours of live, interactive coverage to our on-air and online viewers on Saturday night," CSN Chicago VP/GM Phil Bedella said. "This show is the perfect precursor to kick off our IHSA Football season, which includes four live playoff battles, along with live coverage of all eight championship match-ups."

CSN's Leila Rahimi will host Saturday's show and be joined alongside IHSA TV announcer Dave Bernhard, Kankakee Daily Journal writer and bracketologist Steve Soucie. Preps contributor Edgy Tim and IHSA TV veteran Matt Rodewald will analyze each class with media members from around the state. 

[MORE: Complete Preps coverage

In addition, the Playoff Pairing Show will feature highlights, interviews, and team and fan reaction moments throughout the "Land of Lincoln" from numerous playoff pairing parties.

The IHSA Playoff Pairing Show is a precursor to CSN's live coverage of the 2016 IHSA football postseason. CSN will air one live playoff game during each of the first four rounds and carry all eight state championship games on Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26.

Viewers are urged to visit's channel finder to find the exact channel locations in their area.

Bears Grades: Defense wears down under assault from Aaron Rodgers and Packers

Bears Grades: Defense wears down under assault from Aaron Rodgers and Packers

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — It was a bright spot, a small one on an otherwise dismal night of losing to the Green Bay Packers. But it was at least something.

After struggling for months to stay healthy and gain NFL weight, Leonard Floyd finally played like the ninth-overall pick of an NFL draft.

The rookie outside linebacker collected a sack in the first half, then exploded past Green Bay right tackle Brian Bulaga as part of stunt with fellow linebacker Willie Young on the third play of the second quarter for a second sack of Aaron Rodgers, one that came with a strip of the football and recovery in the end zone.

"We had a great play called,” Floyd said. “Willie came down and picked the guard for me and I looped around and the play was done and I made it. It felt great [to get a touchdown], but at the end of the day I wanted a win."

That was one of the very few bright spots as the Packers piled up 311 yards through three quarters, at times using wide receivers Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery as running backs because of injuries. The drumbeat continued with touchdowns on three straight Green Bay possessions in the late third and early fourth quarters.

The defense has allowed 23 or more points in five of seven games this season, with the Packers rolling off consecutive touchdown drives of 85, 84 and 57 in the second half as the Bears were limited to 2:49 time of possession in the fourth quarter.

“It helps when you’re playing [defense], to actually have a little bit of a break,” head coach John Fox said. “Unfortunately in the second half, I think that probably caught up with us a little bit.”

The defense had its fullest complement of personnel yet this season, with outside linebackers Floyd and Pernell McPhee both active (McPhee for the first time this year following offseason knee surgery), in addition to starting cornerbacks Bryce Callahan and Tracy Porter, both of whom were injured during the Jacksonville game. It was not enough.

[BEARS GRADES: Quarterback woes take offense to new low in loss to Packers]

Defensive line: F

The interior of the line was quiet for most of the game, with wide receivers lining up as running backs averaged more than five yards per carry. Cornelius Washington had the only hit by a defensive lineman on Rodgers as the line rarely collapsed the pocket with center-push or even kept him in the pocket.

Linebacker: B-

Floyd started after two games inactive and a zero stat sheet vs. Detroit. He struggled too often getting disengaged from Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari at the outset before breaking through with second effort for his first career solo sack. That was topped by the strip-sack and recovery for a touchdown in the third quarter. Floyd had a third hit on Rodgers and a tackle for loss.

"It is very tough,” Floyd said. “He gets the ball out pretty quickly. You just have to keep rushing every snap. He is at his best when he is scrambling around playing backyard football."

McPhee was a welcome addition to a slumping defense, even in his limited capacity (19 snaps). McPhee was not credited with any tackles but was surprisingly fast off the ball initially, and got penetration to alter running lanes and some pressure on Rodgers, although he appeared to slow somewhat, not unexpected considering how limited he has been throughout the year because of the surgery.

Sam Acho provided some edge pressure with two hits on Rodgers and a pass deflected. Jerrell Freeman had a quarterback hit and delivered a game-high 13 tackles.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Secondary: D

The secondary was forced to cover long into plays because of absent pressure on Rodgers but the coverage had its own problems with an offense that threw 56 times but was never intercepted. Three Green Bay receivers totaled double-digit receptions: Davante Adams (13), Cobb (11) and Montgomery (10).

Cre’Von LeBlanc started at corner as the Bears opened with six defensive backs, and delivered a goal-line stop in the first quarter, stuffing Montgomery, who was used as a running back because of injuries to the Green Bay backfield. LeBlanc finished with seven tackles and a hit blitzing Rodgers.

Porter matched up with Jordy Nelson and allowed the Green Bay wideout just one catch on four targets through three quarters. But breakdowns were deadly, allowing the Packers to stage their two longest scoring drives of the season in the second half. The second came when Porter and safety Harold Jones-Quartey both covered the same man in the end zone early in the fourth quarter, leaving Adams alone for his second TD catch of the game.

Adrian Amos interfered with Nelson to give the Packers a 44-yard penalty pickup in the first quarter. De’Vante Bausby had a number of solid plays despite a lack of meaningful pressure from the front. But Bausby had two holding penalties on the Packers’ second fourth-quarter scoring drive.

"There were a lot of penalties out there.,” Bausby said. “We had a good scheme and plan, but we just didn't finish in the second half as a group. Facing Rodgers is a challenge, but I felt like our play calling was excellent. We just didn't finish."

Special teams: B

Connor Barth converted from 39 yards to tie the game in the second quarter. It was Barth’s seventh in his last eight attempts. Pat O’Donnell turned in another strong night punting, averaging 43.8 net on five punts. Coverage helped keep three of those inside the 20.