Blackhawks

Fantasy baseball category killers: saves

Fantasy baseball category killers: saves

By Rob Steingall
CSNChicago.com

Grant Balfour, Athletics: The wheels look to be nearly falling off the Ryan Cook wagon, and it's beginning to look like Balfour could be fantasy relevant again. He hasn't given up a run since June 29th and could soon find himself back in the circle of trust if Cook has a complete implosion.

Jared Burton, Twins: To those who invested in Burton recently, well done. He picked up two saves at the end of last week, and has positioned himself to earn continued opportunities moving forward. Glen Perkins is still in the picture and not going anywhere, meaning a timeshare situation should continue. Still, some saves are better than no saves.

Steve Cishek, Marlins: Cishek has done a nice job in the ninth inning since former closer Heath Bell was sent to Ozzie Guillen's doghouse, picking up five saves since the middle of July. With Cishek pitching well, he could hold the job down for the remainder of the season. Bell could get another crack at the job --  but that may not come until next year.

Jeremy Affeldt, Giants: The Giants bullpen is in a state of flux and is looking like more of a committee approach at this point in time. Enter Affeldt, the late-inning lefty. He picked up a save on July 31st, and could be in line for a handful more before the end of the year. If you're scraping the bottom of the barrel for saves, here's your man.

Alexi Ogando, Rangers: Joe Nathan is getting some extra time off due to a dead arm, allowing Ogando to collect two saves while filling in. There could be a few more chances for him to vulture handshakes between now and the time Nathan is back up to full speed, making him worth a speculative short-term add.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Corey Crawford vs. ... Oscar Dansk? 

The Golden Knights have seen both Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban go down with injuries, so they're scraping for goaltenders at this point.

On one end of the ice, you have one of the best netminders in the league and a two-time Stanley Cup champion in Crawford. On the other, you have a 23-year-old rookie in Dansk making his first official NHL start who will be backed up by a 24-year-old rookie in Maxime Lagace, who has never appeared in an NHL game.

In his first game action, Dansk stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief during Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over St. Louis.

2. Fast start.

The Blackhawks are tied for second in both goals scored (13) and fewest goals allowed (four) in the first period, which has a large reason for their early season success.

The Golden Knights aren't the kind of team that gets out to a blazing start. They've allowed only five goals in the opening frame, but they've scored only five as well, which ranks among the bottom 10 teams in the league. 

3. Beware of James Neal.

The Golden Knights became the first team in NHL history to win six of their first seven games of their inaugural season. And they probably don't have half of those wins if it weren't for Neal, who scored the game-winning goal in each of their first three games.

He leads the club with six goals and eight points, and serves as the motor for a team that doesn't have much offensive talent. He's the go-to guy, and somebody you have to keep an eye on when he's on the ice.

 

Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

Here are Three Things to Watch in the Bulls' Tuesday night tilt against the Cavaliers on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. LeBron James will be on your television

Love him or hate him, LeBron James is must-see TV. Now in his 15th NBA season, James has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite playing just one preseason game (against the Bulls), James has shown anything but rust in three games, averaging 25.0 points on 60 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in nearly 37 minutes. He's a threat every night to do something you've never seen on a basketball court, His Airness included. Justin Holiday and Paul Zipser will have their hands full against the game's best player.

2. Lauri Markkanen, Week 2

Small sample size alert! But through the season's first week Markkanen and Ben Simmons are the only rookies averaging a double-double (Dallas' Dennis Smith has played just one game, averaging 16 points and 10 assists). While the Bulls have struggled through two games, Markkanen's net rating is third best on the team and he leads the Bulls bigs in rebounds per game and rebound percentage. Markkanen has shown some versatility offensively, and his 7 free-throw attempts have been a nice surprise as well.

3. Don't forget: The Bulls swept the Cavaliers last year

OK, so expecting a victory Tuesday night in Cleveland isn't smart. The Bulls will be underdogs just like they were in each of the four games last season, all of which were Bulls winners. It was the first time in 52 division series that LeBron James had been swept, which is pretty remarkable considering the Bulls were the No. 8 seed and the Cavs coasted to a third straight NBA Finals. We're not over here predicting a win. But just remember: the Bulls have fared well against James in the regular season.