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Fantasy Baseball Batter Stock Watch

Fantasy Baseball Batter Stock Watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies: Here's how it works with Fowler this year - he's Mickey Mantle at home (.337.433.723) and Mickey Rooney on the road (.178.260.311). Now is a perfect time to buy in, with Colorado playing 10 of its next 13 games at home. Fowler is healthy again and batting lead-off again, and maybe he'll do something on the road in June, too, when the Rockies visit Arizona and Texas.

Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres: In a lot of ways he's the opposite of Fowler; this is a hitter who should mash on the road but struggle at home. Quentin's first week back has been a smash (7-for-12, three homers), but the Padres return to Petco Park on Friday, where fly balls go to die. Can you sell Quentin off his fast start? I'd certainly try.
Tony Gwynn Jr., OF, Dodgers: He's never going to be a special player and you get absolutely no pop here, but Gwynn does have a .291 average this month with four steals and the Dodgers will use him near the top of the lineup more often than not. Gwynn is needed for the here and now with Matt Kemp hurt again, and a tasty weekend in Colorado is on the way.
Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox: He'll swing at anything and he's constantly swinging for the downs, let's establish that up front. Viciedo has just two doubles and three walks this month. But with a .351 average and eighth homers in May - and a hot summer of Chicago fun just around the corner - why worry? The average will come crashing down, but this should be a 30-homer source, and he's tied to a sneaky-good offense (fourth in the AL in runs).

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Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox:  He's going to try to play through his thumb problem, but how productive will he be? Pedroia's slash line is down in all three columns, and he's only stolen three bases this year (the bags might completely dry up if the thumb isn't right). You'll still get a solid player here and the ultimate gamer, but if someone is willing to pay for 90 percent of Pedroia's name value, make that deal.
Bryan LaHair, 1B, Cubs: He's hitting just .136 against lefties and obviously that .398 BABIP isn't going to stick around very long (it's been in free-fall all month). And LaHair's contact rate is an issue as well, as he strikes out 29 percent of the time. He's still a reasonable player even in mixed leagues, but don't start assuming this late bloomer is the new Nelson Cruz.

Holding Steady
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves: A week of eye problems had roto owners panicking, but Freeman emerged with new goggles Wednesday and produced a get-well line: single, double, homer. Back to work for one of the NL's most underrated hitters: we expect 25 homers and 100 RBIs when the year is complete, along with an average somewhere in the .270-.280 range.
Gregor Blanco, OF, Giants: His 13-steal display in spring training got the attention of some, and Blanco hasn't looked out of place as San Francisco's lead-off man (.398 OPB, six steals, 22 runs in 27 games). You'll have to supply your power elsewhere - that's common with this sort of player - but it seems like the Giants are giving Blanco free reign to do his own thing, taking pitches and running liberally.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

Is there any better way to break in your new Black Friday television than Bulls-Warriors tonight? We think not. Coverage starts at 9 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, and the game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports app

Here are three things to keep your eye on: 

1. Not the score. Let's be honest: the Bulls probably won't sneak out a win at the Oracle. In fact, ESPN's matchup predictor only gives Fred Hoiberg's young squad a 2.9 percent chance to come up victorious. UIC has three times better odds against juggernaut Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday, in case you needed some context.  

With the talent gap in mind, though, it will be important for the Bulls to come out with high energy. The Warriors will likely take the contest lightly in the first half, so starting off strong reflects well on the coaching staff and starters. Stay within 10 points by the half, and that's considered a massive triumph. 

2. Lauri Markkanen vs. Draymond Green? Assuming the Dubs start out with Green on Markkanen, this will be rookie's biggest test of the season. Green is an elite defender, capable of wrecking gameplans from the tip. He's physical, quick and athletic. 

Markkanen is coming off two duds on the West Coast trip, but his aggressiveness hasn't wavered. It'll be important for him to continue to attack even with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hounding him. 

3. Steph, KD and Klay doin' work. The Bulls offense hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty through the first 16 games. Their offensive rating is a brutal 94.4, ranked last in the NBA. Golden State, on the other hand, sits at the top with a rating of 113.1. 

Take some time to admire the skills of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson because when it comes to working cohesively on offense, they've set the gold standard. 

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.