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Fantasy Fix: The White Sox Factor

To trade, or not to trade.

A few weeks ago, when the White Sox looked like they were about to back up the truck and trade half the team, I took a long hard look at some of the Sox players on my fantasy rosters. Would Paul Konerko's fantasy numbers, which have been great this year, benefit from a move to a better team, or would being in a stronger lineup just mean more walks and fewer home runs and RBIs? Would Alex Rios see his RBI opportunities dwindle if the Sox start pushing minor leaguers into the lineup? Would Jake Peavy's numbers regain their Peavy-ness if he was sent back to the National League, or is he destined for an uneven year?

I didn't trade any of these players, and as long as the Sox keep winning, neither will General Manager Kenny Williams.

Sometimes, fantasy managers should act on assumptions about who is rumored to be trade bait, but you have to be careful, too, as both real and fantasy baseball leagues inch closer to their trading deadlines. We learned that last year, when Roy Halladay seemed all but dealt by Toronto, and then ended up not being dealt at all. Fantasy managers who acquired Halladay based on abundant rumors in the days before the trade deadline had to be disappointed that he didn't get shipped to a winning team.

This year, the rumors have so far focused not only on Konerko and Peavy, but also Seattle SP Cliff Lee, Oakland SP Ben Sheets, Houston 1B/OF Lance Berkman and teammate OF Carlos Lee, among others. A change of scenery definitely can change a player's fantasy numbers, but until he's in his new uniform, trading or acquiring him in the fantasy world remains a gamble.

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It's Week 12 in the fantasy baseball world, and Kosuke Fukudome is on the block if you have the money.

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Fantasy Find of the Week: Freddy Garcia, SP, White Sox.

He's only 7% owned in Yahoo! leagues, and the shortage of strikeouts - only 46 in 78 innings - is the main reason why. But he won twice last week, and has been surprisingly consistent on a team that is just now starting to win. If he keeps it up, a 16-win season isn't out of the question.

Fantasy Stud of the Week: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston.

We haven't called his name much this year, but the Red Sox have been on a roll of late, and The Destroya has been a big reason why: He hit .522 last week with 1 HR, 5 RBIs, and 4 SBs.

Fantasy Dud of the Week: Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa.

The Rays have not been on a roll, and Longoria has been going through a rare dry streak. Only 3-for-22 last week, though one of those hits was a home run.

Fantasy Match-up of the Week: Albert Pujols.

He had a 3-HR game against the Cubs last month, but has been sub-par since. I like his chance in friendly American League parks in Toronto and Kansas City this week.

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Expert Wire
* MLB Skinny wants us to believe in Howie Kendrick again. Okay, but only until his next injury.

* The Faster Times says it's time to stop watching Justin Smoak, and actually pick up Justin Smoak.

* SI.com talks rebuilding strategies for keeper leagues, and why Brian Matusz of the lackluster Orioles may be worth keeping.

* Bleacher Report reports on Justin Upton's 2-HR game this week, and wonders if he's finally coming around.

* SI.com has a pinch-hitter from RotoExperts talking about great middle relievers like Luke Gregerson. Particularly if you have pitching problems, middlemen can bring you innings, strikeouts, holds and the occasional save.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like it's about.

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