Fantasy football stock watch

Fantasy football stock watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Danny Amendola, WR, Rams: His average route isn't much deeper than a phone booth, but there's something to be said for finding holes in zones and keeping the chains moving. And with Sam Bradford looking sharp again, the Rams passing game is no longer a toxic waste dump. We obviously can't chase Amendola's 15 receptions from last week, but he should be good for 5-7 grabs against Chicago's effective-but-predictable Cover 2.

Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions: His push off to the year has been solid if unspectacular - eight grabs, 95 yards, one touchdown, one egregious TD drop. But we mention Pettigrew here because he's taking dead aim at a Tennessee secondary that's allowed five tight end touchdowns through two weeks, including a Donte Rosario hat trick in Week 2. Go where the matchup steers you.

Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins: There's nothing special to his skill set, but Hartline runs precise routes and catches just about anything in his neighborhood. More importantly, he's been the receiver quickest to adjust to rookie quarterback Ryan Tannenhill. if anyone is going to snag 60-70 downfield passes here, it's Hartline. Consider him a deep WR3 or a shallow WR4 in standard leagues.

Martellus Bennett, TE, Giants: Big Blue has to play without Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw in Carolina this week, which clears the deck for Bennett. The jumbo-sized tight end has already surprised us with nine catches for 112 yards and two scores, and the Panthers linebackers and safeties can be leaky in coverage. Eli Manning knows a good thing when he sees it.

Donnie Avery, WR, Colts: We're already on board with Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne - the 2012 Colts remind us of the 2011 Panthers, a fantasy carnival - and Avery might be the third amigo in the group, especially if Austin Collie can't shake his concussion problem. Avery had a strong 9-111 run against the Vikings (on just 10 targets), showing the ability to find open space and cut aggressively after the catch. You'd never guess he had several knee injuries back in his St. Louis days.

Vernon Davis, TE, Niners: The Maryland product finally grasped the Jim Harbaugh offense late last year, and a ballistic run in the playoff followed (four touchdowns, 292 yards). Small-sample fluke? Not on our clipboard. Davis already has three spikes in 2012, showing he's the most dynamic receiver in the 49ers scheme. And while Alex Smith isn't an elite quarterback, he's very good with seam throws - and his pre-snap reads have improved dramatically.

Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers: Although he doesn't have sprinter speed, you love that LaFell managed 17.0 YPC last year, a combination of usage patterns and the ability to adjust to the ball in the air. The Panthers have expanded LaFell's responsibilities this year, resulting in 155 yards and a score through two weeks. From watching the film to this point, you can see how much the club likes LaFell - he was a deep specialist last year, but he's running a variety of routes this season. LaFell also appreciates the constant double coverage that opponents throw at teammate Steve Smith.

Brandon Meyers, TE, Raiders: Carson Palmer isn't a deep or sideline thrower at this stage of his career, so it makes sense that Meyers is making plenty of hay over the middle. The unheralded Iowa product has a snappy 11 grabs for 151 yards through two weeks, securing each target in his direction. That's how trust is built.

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Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: His blocking has been terrible, the play-calling is ordinary and predictable, and Tennessee's defense can't keep the games close through four periods. Other than that, everything's fine. Johnson might find some lanes in Week 3 against an overrated Lions defense, but after that the matchups tighten up (Houston, Minnesota, Pittsburgh).

David Wilson, RB, Giants: The opening-night fumble landed him in Tom Coughlin's expansive doghouse, and even the Ahmad Bradshaw injury in Week 2 didn't rescue Wilson - Andre Brown came out of obscurity and took over in the backfield. Brown was also a big part of Big Blue's comeback last week, so he'll get the rock at Carolina. Wait your turn, rookie.

James Jones, WR, Packers: While he has good size for a wideout and adequate speed, Jones has trouble separating downfield and his ball skills in the air leave a lot to be desired. Jones couldn't secure what should have been a Week 2 touchdown at Chicago, and you can't blame Aaron Rodgers for focusing on other receivers. The Packers don't want to promote Jones past the WR3 tag, and he might not even be that important by this time next year. Even in deeper pools, we'd rather spend our lottery ticket elsewhere.

Ryan Williams, RB, Cardinals: He was the snappier runner in the win at New England, but he also put the ball on the ground late - his second fumble of the year. Even if Williams fixes the ball-security problem, he's still running behind the NFC's worst run-blocking line. Let someone else chase the dream. We don't see a 1,000-yard rusher in the desert.

Jared Cook, TE, Titans: A seven-catch, 87-yard start might not seem that bad, but it's going to get worse before it gets better for Cook. More mouths are around to feed in the offense - Kendall Wright is emerging, Kenny Britt is back - and we're not going to bet our fantasy lives on scattershot second-year QB Jake Locker (who's been running for his life through two weeks).

NBA Trade Deadline: Bulls deal Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Thunder

NBA Trade Deadline: Bulls deal Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Thunder

The Bulls turned into sellers ahead of the NBA's trade deadline.

According to CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill, the Bulls have traded Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne. The Vertical first reported the trade.

Both Gibson and McDermott had been on the trading block, as Goodwill reported last week.

Payne, 22, was drafted by the Thunder in the first round (14th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 20 games this season, Payne is averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.

Lauvergne, 25, was acquired by the Thunder from the Denver Nuggets prior to the 2016-17 season. In three seasons, Lauvergne is averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

The 31-year-old Morrow is averaging 5.8 points in 40 games this season.

Bulls GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson will meet the media following today's 2 p.m. deadline.

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Arizona Coyotes was the first game the current top line of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik were thrown together.

Yeah, the combination's worked out well. So has the Blackhawks' game in general, as they've won seven of eight including that Feb. 2 game. Now the Blackhawks will try to keep the momentum rolling with their lines and their game when they host the Coyotes Thursday night at the United Center.

The Blackhawks' current run of success started in the desert and part of that has been finding more consistent lines. Everything else has gradually improved off of that, from goal scoring to puck possession.

"I think it's puck possession, puck control, pace to the game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we were very inconsistent in that early and we were defending way more than we were accustomed to. You're vulnerable for penalties, you're vulnerable for quality scoring chances against and not generating enough. I think that's the progression in our game now, it seems like all four lines are having the puck and having some zone time and having some rush chances, zone chances and it seems like every line's contributing there, and that's the big difference."

[RELATED: By the bye - Blackhawks keep rolling following break]

The Blackhawks' top line didn't have immediate chemistry but Quenneville kept them together and let them work on it. But as Toews said, it was about the group keeping the all-around game going, points or no points.

"Sometimes you just gotta work until things start clicking," Toews said. "Everyone seems to start paying attention when you start scoring goals, regardless of [the fact you're] doing things right. It's nice that we're scoring but we have to stick with what's making us a successful line at both ends of the rink right now."

Corey Crawford will start vs. the Coyotes. Niklas Hjalmarsson did not skate this morning but is expected to play. Quenneville said Michal Rozsival could draw into the lineup.

Broadcast information

Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

None

Coyotes lines (via Arizona Republic)

Tobias Rieder-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Shane Doan
Max Domi -Alex Burmistrov-Ryan White
Jamie McGinn-Jordan Martinook-Josh Jooris

Defensive pairs

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski-Anthony DeAngelo
Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy

Goaltender

Mike Smith

Injuries

Lawson Crouse (lower body), Brad Richardson (tibia)