Fantasy baseball pitcher stock watch - 66

Fantasy baseball pitcher stock watch - 66

Buy
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.

Sell
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.

Hold

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.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Pittsburgh RB James Conner

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Pittsburgh RB James Conner

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh

6'1" | 233 lbs.

2016 stats:

216 CAR, 1,092 YDS, 16 TD | 21 REC, 302 YDS, 4 TD

Projection:

Fourth-to-fifth round

Scouting Report:

"Physical, battering-ram style runner who makes the hitting a two-way affair. Conner's lack of speed and reactive quickness could limit his role as a pro, but his heart, work ethic and ability to keep the chains moving could make him a red-zone specialist with the ability to handle some third down duties as well." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Reports: New contract extensions for Chris Collins, Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern

Reports: New contract extensions for Chris Collins, Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern

It's not difficult to argue that Northwestern's highest-profile programs are in the best shape they've ever been in.

So it should come with little surprise that both head basketball coach Chris Collins and head football coach Pat Fitzgerald are reportedly receiving new contract extensions. Big ones.

A pair of separate ESPN reports Monday evening describe that the Cats' coaches have agreed to extensions that will keep them in Evanston for quite some time.

According to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Collins and Northwestern have agreed to what Goodman describes as a "lengthy" contract extension, one impressive enough that the reporter suggests only an "elite" head-coaching job could pry Collins away from the Wildcats.

"Northwestern's Chris Collins has agreed to a lengthy contract extension, source told ESPN," Goodman reported Monday afternoon. "Would likely take an elite college or NBA job for him to leave Evanston."

Then there's the tweet from ESPN's Brett McMurphy, reporting that Fitzgerald will be sticking with the Cats for the next decade.

In basketball, a contract bump is no shock considering Collins just accomplished what no one before him ever did in getting Northwestern to the NCAA tournament. The Cats recorded a program-record 24 wins, scored big wins at Wisconsin and at home against Michigan, reached the semifinal round of the Big Ten Tournament and defeated Vanderbilt for the school's first-ever NCAA tournament victory.

Collins' work in his four seasons has been nothing short of remarkable, taking a perennial Big Ten basement-dweller of a program, bringing in the highest-rated recruits the school has ever seen and turning the Cats into a winning program in the league.

And that ascension could very well reach more new highs next season. Four of the team's five starters from this past season are returning — senior guard Bryant McIntosh, senior guard Scottie Lindsey, junior forward Vic Law and junior center Dererk Pardon — plus the team gets back an injured starter from the 2015-16 campaign in sharpshooter Aaron Falzon, not to mention several returning reserves.

On the gridiron, Fitzgerald has enjoyed perhaps more success than any Northwestern head football coach ever has, the head man for two of the four 10-win seasons in school history. In his 11 seasons, he's won 77 games and taken the Cats to seven bowl games, winning two of the last three of those postseason appearances, two of the three bowl wins Northwestern has ever had.

And just like Collins, Fitzgerald could be on the cusp of one of his most successful seasons. Running back Justin Jackson returns for his senior season this fall after leading the Big Ten in rushing last year, and junior-to-be Clayton Thorson looked much improved in his second season. The Cats are riding high this offseason after scoring a big 31-24 win over Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl and could be one of the top teams in the Big Ten West in 2017.

Both programs are also getting brand-new facilities, with football getting a sparkling new facility on the lakefront and basketball getting a completely renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena.

These are big times for Northwestern athletics.