Weekly Rundown: Chris Dickerson could help the Bengals' jumbled backfield

Known as the Sacagawea of fantasy primers, the Weekly Rundown guides head-to-head owners through a forest of obscure stats and exploitable matchups in an attempt to help solve lineup conundrums. While reading, keep in mind matchups are subject to change due to managerial moves, unforeseen injuries and Mother Nature's influences.

Note: With our football coverage in full swing, the Rundown will enter warp-speed mode through the rest of the baseball season.

LEADING OFF

With beast of burden Adam Dunn now roaming the desert pastures of Chase Field, 26-year-old outfielder Chris Dickerson is seizing the moment.

Recalled from Louisville after Dunn's departure, the stoutly built cousin of ex-NFL megastar Eric Dickerson has tenaciously attacked major league pitchers as though he was a running back and they were holes in defensive lines.

Batting exclusively out of the leadoff spot, the southpaw swinger has collected six hits, all for extra-bases (4 2Bs, 3B, HR), in his first 13 at-bats. He's also crossed the plate three times, driven in two runs and stolen a base.

Sure, it's an incredibly small sample, but if reformed skipper Dusty Baker, who historically hasn't been receptive to playing youngsters regularly, keeps Dickerson in the lineup daily, he could be this year's out-of-nowhere difference maker similar to Jeff Baker in '06 and Nate McLouth last year.

Scouts have always boasted about Dickerson's sensational raw talents but his questionable plate discipline has hindered his growth. Exercising more selectivity at Triple-A ('07 BB%: 12.6, '08: 15.4), the athletic centerfielder believes he's starting to shed his 'streaky' label, remarking to the Columbus Dispatch August 16:

"I know the biggest knock against me was 'just athletic ability, yet to put it into baseball prowess.' I've always known that I'm capable of it, and they've always known I'm capable of it. It was a matter of putting it together for two or three months on a consistent basis, and that's what happened. I feel like I can adjust to every pitch. I can stay back on a breaking ball, I can drop my hands on a fastball inside. That's when I know I'm in a good position."

Baker echoed Dickerson's comments:

"He really, really improved since we saw him last. He showed his speed and his arm. He has a bright future, especially if he stays on course."

Prior to his promotion he posted a .287 BA with 11 homers, 53 RBIs, 65 runs and 26 steals in 349 box steps with the Bats. Given his advanced maturity and well-rounded production, the 99 percent available outfielder is someone to gobble up in deep 12-team mixed leagues, especially if you're in the market for runs and steals.

DOUBLE DIPPERS

For stream conscious owners who want to push the innings-pitched envelope this is the list for you. Run support, ballpark factors, historical and recent trends, opposing offenses, opposing SPs, managerial tendencies and meteorological influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.


Other AL Double Dippers: Kenny Rogers, Det (at Tex, at KC), Luke Hochevar, KC (at Cle, Det), Scott Feldman, Tex (Det, Cle)


Other NL Double Dippers: Jason Bergmann, Was (at Phi, at ChC), Josh Fogg, Cin (at ChC, at Col)

TO CATCH A THIEF

Unrelated to the "Dateline NBC" predator stories, the "Rundown" investigates the best and worst base burglar matchups for the upcoming week. Stats reflect numbers through August 15:


FEAST OR FAMINE?

Torn between two stat-similar infielders this week? Use the pitching and hitting staff sorters below to help you decide whether or not Adam LaRoche or Scott Olsen is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through August 15:


Full slate (teams with seven games): LA Angels, Minnesota, Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco

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Photo courtesy of AP