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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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Go forward to more recent blurbs.

4/30 - Two ACL tears in the opening NBA Playoff games on Saturday afternoon. The Knicks weren’t likely to challenge the Heat anyway, so Shumpert’s injury isn’t so impactful (other than to Shumpert himself!) But Derrick Rose going down certainly changes the outlook for the NBA East. Chicago could certainly still prevail in their first two rounds. But if it comes down to a Chicago-Miami matchup in the Eastern finals, advantage Miami. It also puts even more “heat” on the Heat to advance to the NBA finals – if that’s possible.

Calvin Johnson will be on the cover of the Madden ’13 video game, edging out Cam Newton for the “honor.” If you are Detroit fan, be afraid – be very afraid.

Three teams tied for the top best ball score (-51) in GuruGolf this weekend. Waddups took the worst ball honors alone with a +39.

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4/27 - The NBA regular season is on the books. It’ll likely be remembered as the strike-shortened season with the compact schedule, and with more than its share of injuries. And it will also be remembered as the season of futility for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Michael Jordan will always be remember as #23. But the number now takes on another, more sinister meaning, as Jordan’s Bobcats closed out the season with 23 consecutive losses, securing the all-time NBA record for the worst winning percentage of .106 (7-59), eclipsing the prior mark of .110 (76ers, 1972-73, 9-73). Given the way they were trending, it’s probably just as well that the season was shortened. They would have needed two more wins to avoid finishing below .100!

Congrats to the Luebeck Eagles, who repeated as champions of the 2011-12 RIHC with a dominating margin of victory. It’s instructive to note that he did it while punting the blocks category – and had enough of a margin that he could have punted a second category!

Although I’ve now shuffled the left menu panel to put baseball on top, I’m going to try to continue to produce hoops stats as long as the three affiliated daily contest sites continue to offer NBA contests.

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4/26 - Vaughn Taylor is this week’s popular favorite in GuruGolf, appearing on just over 25% of all active foursomes. This week’s GuruGolf field is more diverse than usual, with 112 different golfers represented on at least one foursome. A good week to pick up some differentiation gains if you have the right golfer.

Friday is setting up to be FreeRoll Friday. FanDuel is offering its typical Friday FreeRoll. As an aside, last week’s FanDuel Freeroll was set up as an “expert” level contest, which meant that the salary cap was only $32k, rather than $35k. If you had difficulty affording a lineup last week, that’s why. This week’s freeroll is back to the standard $35k cap.

Daily Joust is also offering a special Freeroll for “newbies”, defined as anyone who has not yet won a MLB contest at Daily Joust this season. To enter, click on this Daily Joust link and register. Once logged in, you should be directed to the special contest. (If you’re not, then click on the link again after you’re logged in.)

Daily Joust has also been offering a daily freeroll for all users with a high cap, which –quite frankly – doesn’t limit roster selection very much. If you’re looking for a way to get familiar with daily contests, these daily freerolls (titled “King Arthur’s $50BB Hi Cap Daily Free For all”) might be just the ticket.

Sortable stats for both FanDuel and Daily Joust have already been loaded with salaries for Friday, so if you want to get an analytical jump on Friday’s Freerolls, have at it!

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4/25 - Just two more days to go for the NBA regular season. Every team plays at least once. Ten teams play both today and tomorrow. The sixteen playoff teams are now settled, and the top seeds in each conference are nailed down, but a few first round matchups are still unsettled. And of course, Charlotte’s 21-game losing streak is still intact, with two more shots to get it to 23.

As is typical of Wednesdays, there are six baseball day games scheduled, including a daytime doubleheader in Pittsburgh.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans tees off tomorrow morning. Don’t forget to set your GuruGolf foursomes.

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4/24 - The Phillies have had trouble scoring runs this season. In fact, only one team in the majors has scored fewer runs - Pittsburgh (I’m sensing a state theme.) But at least, whenever the Phils scored 5 or more, they won... until last night, when they were beaten 9-5.

A closer look at the boxscore reveals that this one wasn’t as close as the score suggests. The Arizona lead was 9-0 heading into the 9th inning, and aside from the Red Sox, 9-0 leads are pretty secure. Averaging less than 3 runs per game this year, the Phillies can ill afford the have Cliff Lee on the disabled list. But that’s where he is. He was actually supposed to be last night’s starter.

It could be worse, though. Ask Kansas City. They’ve scored 9 more runs than the Phillies (in one less game), but are 3-13 this year, including 0-10 at home. The last team to lose 10 straight home games? The Cubs (12 consecutive) in 1994.

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4/23 - Saturday afternoon had some interesting baseball action. First, Philip Humber threw a perfect game in Seattle. I was watching the final inning live, and at the time I thought that the final called third strike was bogus, that Brendan Ryan had successfully checked his swing. It was particularly curious that none of the announcers seemed interested in questioning that call – preferring instead to get caught up in the euphoria of the moment. Later that evening, I did see some slow motion replays of the swing that made me less certain as to whether it was or wasn’t a complete swing. Apparently, there was no camera positioned to get a good look from the side (which is surprising). Whatever.

Then, on the other coast, the Yankees began a Fenway-esque comeback, turning a 9-0 deficit into a 15-9 rout. Great entertainment for anyone who’s not a Red Sox fan. For Bobby Valentine… not so much.

In GuruGolf, congrats to louky4 (-44) who posted the top best ball score. Bulls1 took the worst ball honors with a +57.

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4/20 - The Astros started yesterday’s game in Washington with three triples in the first inning. There’s something very numerically appealing when triples comes in threes.

Just like when homers come in fours. And Curtis Granderson almost did that himself, getting three in the first four innings of last night’s game in Yankee Stadium. He couldn’t get the 4th round tripper, although he did get two singles to complete a 5-5 night. He also got picked off 1st base later in the game, so it wasn’t all gravy. There’s something to be said for getting to trot around the bases.

Don’t forget today’s FanDuel freeroll. The two afternoon games aren’t included, so the contest freezes at 7pm ET.

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4/19 - The first AL team to reach 10 wins: Texas. No big surprise there. The first NL team? Washington! OK, I didn’t see that one coming, although they currently lead the league in team pitching with a 1.92 team ERA and a .191 BAA, striking out 121 batters in 122 innings. That’s impressive.

If you like offense, the Phillies/Giants game in San Francisco was not the game to watch last night. The two starting pitchers combined for no runs allowed over 19 innings. Cliff Lee worked ten of those innings (throwing only 102 pitches) for a no-decision, while Matt Cain needed only 91 pitches to complete his 9 shutout innings. Once Lee turned the ball over to reliever Antonio Bastardo, it took only four batters to plate the game’s only run.

In GuruGolf, Matt Kuchar is this week’s popular favorite, on roughly one-third of active foursomes. So far, so good, as Kuchar is the early leader at -3 after just 5 holes.

FanDuel is offering a $500 (total pool) baseball freeroll contest on Friday, with a first prize of $125.. For details on how to register, see this thread.

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4/18 - If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time for your end-game planning for roto-hoops. The NBA season ends a week from tomorrow, and if you’re in a league with game limits, you’ll want to consider micro-managing your starts down the stretch. If you are going to exceed the game limits, then bench your weaker players. If you are coming up short, then get your bench players active – assuming they won’t torch your ratio categories. Or find some free agents who can help fill in some statistical shortages.

GuruGolf tees off in Texas tomorrow. More than half of all foursomes still have inactive golfers, so don’t forget to recheck your team(s).

A couple of MLB games are at weather risk today, although my guess is that all will get in. So far this season, there’s been only one postponement. Compare that to last year’s early season train wreck, when there were 12 rainouts through April 19, and 17 by the end of April.

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4/17 - Three of the top 6-8 hitters last night (depending on scoring system) were catchers. Matt Wieters went deep twice, while Joe Mauer had 2 doubes and a steal , and A.J. Pierzynski was 3/3 with a HR. I loaded up on Mauer and Pierzynski in my StarStreet Fantasy Baseball entries last night, so that worked out pretty well! I actually had second thoughts about loading up on two catchers, but I liked the pitching matchups, weather conditions, recent hitting, and relative prices of those two guys. My hunches paid off this time.

For more background on the StartStreet game, see this thread.

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4/16 - If you’re in a fantasy baseball league that freezes rosters at the first game of the day, you might already be frozen. Today is the one day of the season with a morning start, as Boston’s first pitch is at 11:05am on Patriots Day. Some team managers on the west coast won’t even be out of bed yet.

In GuruGolf, Tinker toys took the best ball honors this weekend with a -39. Waterboy topped the worst ball standings with a +55. Meanwhile, I had one team post a tournament score of exactly zero (best ball), which is difficult to do when you start the tournament with four active golfers. One golfer withdrew after the first round, and two others failed to make the cut. I was at -14 heading into the weekend with just one golfer still alive. That golfer (Brian Harman) then proceeded to shoot +3 & +11 in the final two rounds.

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4/13 - Weather conditions could be problematic for several baseball locales today. While no game is a clear washout, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, & Los Angeles all show better than 50% chances of rain. If potential rainouts matter to you, remember to check the weather dashboard each day at

I forgot to mention yesterday that Henrik Stenson was the carryover favorite in GuruGolf, although he’s only on about 25% of active foursomes. Yesterday’s opening round scores were surprisingly high, with the presumptive cut line at +2. Last year, the cut was at -1, and two years ago it was even par. Apparently, blustery winds and cold temperatures were the primary culprits, although extremely fast greens were also cited by some golfers. Only 23 players broke par.

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4/12 - Today, I’m introducing a new affiliated contest site: StarStreet.

StarStreet offers a unique twist on daily fantasy contests, based on a stock market concept. Instead of assembling a traditional baseball lineup, you build a portfolio of player shares. You don't need a full and complete lineup. A minimum of 3 different players is sufficient, as long as they are from two different games. And you can own up to 10 shares of each player selected, subject to affordability. So, for example, you might enter a contest with 10 shares of Miguel Cabrera, 3 shares of Alex Avila, and one each of Roy Halladay and Zack Cozart. This allows you to leverage up on your best idea(s) of the day, without the need to diffuse the impact. Don't like any shortstops today? Don't need one. Really like a certain starting pitcher? Get him multiple times.

The scoring formula is very traditional. Obviously, if you own 10 shares of a player, you get 10 times his points for the day. Daily contests are head-to-head. A range of entry fees and payouts are offered.

To further assist your analysis, I’ve included this game in the sortable stats, enabling you to evaluate ratios over different lookback periods, or select only hitters with opposite-handed pitching matchups.

In addition to the daily fantasy baseball contest format, StarStreet offers an innovative stock market simulation, where you can buy and sell shares of player stocks using real cash. I'm very intrigued by this opportunity, although I have yet to figure out the best way to analyze the market, so I'll leave that to your own initiative at this point. Hopefully, I can provide more insights as I gain greater experience and familiarity with the market. Conceptually, it seems to be well thought out.

If you do decide to sign up at StarStreet, please click on the banner or Starstreet link above which will automatically register you under the affiliate code "rotoguru". StarStreet is currently offering a 20% bonus on the first $100 deposited. But you can also play for free, if you want to test it out first.

Most of the daily contest sites have great similarity. StarStreet is decidedly unique. If you enjoy playing at other daily contest sites, you're likely to find that StarStreet offers you even more opportunities to exploit your analytical insights.

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4/11 - Two former relievers made their first big league starts last night. Neftali Feliz threw seven innings of shutout ball, and ended up winning a 1-0 game vs Seattle. On the flip side of the success scale, Daniel Bard got touched for 5 runs in 5+ IP in Toronto, taking the loss. It’s not wise to read too much into a single outing, but with Boston’s potential shortage of relievers, one has to wonder if Bard won’t return to the bullpen sooner than later.

In GuruGolf, the RBC Heritage tournament tees off early tomorrow morning, the first event in the “Spring to the Open” contest, spanning the 9 tournaments between the Masters and the U.S. Open. If you didn’t get started at the beginning of the season, or you need a fresh start, here’s a chance to track your results without any prior baggage to overcome. But you’ve got to get your foursome set up before tomorrow morning’s 7:20am ET tee time.

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4/10 - Argh! I’m simply not staffed to pay attention to two sports that have significant daily activity. But the NBA still has a little more than two weeks to go in the regular season, so there’s no imminent relief to look forward to. I apologize for not getting some of the stats updating done until mid-morning, and to that end I’ve been working on further automating the various statistical updating processes; expect more progress over the course of the next week. And it’s a struggle to do the programming and still pay some semblance of attention to player performance. I haven’t even started playing daily baseball contests yet. Probably not until May.

I finally sent out the prize notifications for Market Madness this morning. If you think you are in line for a prize and didn’t get an email, let me know.

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4/9 - GuruGolf results for the Masters:
Best ball: Lefty Rules (-48)
Worst ball: Drive for Show (+61)
Both teams were managed by the same person. When I saw the team name “Lefty Rules,” I figured I’d find either Mickelson or Bubba, but it appears that “Lefty Rules” was stocked with righties this week.

I have now adjusted the GuruGolf standings program to reflect the "mulligan rule". For the full season competition, each team gets to throw out its worst weekly result - except that major tournament scores cannot be excluded. A few explanatory notes:

  • Mulligan scoring will only be applied for scoring over the entire season, with all weeks included for both best ball and worst ball scoring. If you select any other weekly option, mulligans will be ignored in the standings report.
  • This means that if you want to see full season standings without the mulligan adjustment, you can simply run the standings with the Mayakoba Golf Classic selected as the start week. While that is technically the same as "entire season", the program will not apply mulligans in this instance.
  • To see the mulligan details for any team, position the cursor over that team's season total score. The details will appear in a title bar, just like the foursomes appear when you hover over any team name. If there is a tie for the mulligan week, the most recent week will be cited.
For baseball, I now have daily scores tallied for each day for each covered format. Links appear in the left menu. For example, to see the FanDuel scores for the most recent day, here’s the link: Daily FDP. Note that the format now shows the stat line for each player, and indicates whether the player started or not.

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4/6 - Tiger Woods spoke of “grinding” through his opening round at the Masters. I feel the same way about my opening day of baseball season. I’ve been grinding to get all of the various statistical tools updated and running, now that we have live stats to assemble. I’m getting there. And I’v ebeen through this routine for each of the last 15 years, so I know how to “play this course” too.

I think the sortable stats are updated correctly for all covered games. Individual player pages are also updated through last night’s games and today’s prices. The Assimilator seems to be working OK. The various tools at seem to be behaving. There are still a few items that I need to work out (including the listings of daily points for each of the covered games), and some of the updating still need to be shifted from manually-assisted processing to automated. I’ll get there. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn’t look like it’s the headlight of an oncoming train.

If you do notice anything that looks like a malfunction, please feel free to let me know ( Don’t assume that I’m aware of every current glitch.

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4/5 - Today, the baseball season begins in earnest. By the end of tomorrow, I should have most ongoing baseball reporting updated and up to snuff. Please be patient.

By the way, although weather can be a problem for baseball in April, today’s weather outlook looks favorable across the board.

The Masters may have more weather difficulties – but so far, 42 players are on the course, and the course is holding its own, as only three of those players are under par – all at -1. In GuruGolf, Angel Cabrera is the popular favorite, but only on 30% of active foursomes. Fred Couples is second, on roughly 25%. Tiger Woods found his way onto 8% of all teams.

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4/4 - There are times when I wish I had a staff at RotoGuru World headquarters. The start of any sports season is always one of those times. It takes a lot of effort and attention to make sure all systems are working properly, that all changes in dates, teams, ballparks, and rosters are properly coded, and all routines are locked and loaded. Believe it or not, this is the 15th season of baseball coverage for You’d think I’d have it all down by now. But there are always new developments, and new opportunities, and old anomalies that I’d just plain forgotten. So please give me a few days to shake down all of the systems.

In addition to RotoGuru, I need to make sure is up to snuff. Don’t forget about this useful resource, especially if you are looking for data to support your entries in daily contests.

Speaking of which, FanDuel will open the season tomorrow with a $1000 Baseball Freeroll. For details, including links to a properly configured sortable stats, please visit this thread.

While attending to your baseball needs, don’t forget to set your GuruGolf foursome(s) for The Masters. Remember that there are separate prizes for each Major tournament, so even if your season is off to a slow start – or a non-start – you can always shoot for a one-week bonanza. If you think your roster value isn’t high enough to compete for the best ball title, then go for the worst ball contest. Just remember that, even with worst ball scoring, it helps to have at least a couple of players survive the cut.

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4/3 - Congrats to dgreds, who won the RotoGuru Market Madness Contest with a score of 621, more than 100 ahead of his nearest rival. The winner of the Basket-Free Contest is SMITH32, with a score of 335. Both entries were long all four of the Final Four teams. Dgreds was also long the #2 seeds, the $4 seeds, and the SEC. He had only one negative score on his short side – the Big 12 basket – and one negative score on his long side – Memphis.

The best possible score this year was 804, and in addition to the for Final Four teams, would have included Florida and Ohio on the long side, plus the #2 & #4 baskets, plus the SEC and Big 12 baskets. The best short this year was the ACC basket, while the top scoring long was Louisville. Here is the complete list of units, sorted by net return.

Prize winners will be notified later this week - or maybe next week. Baseball preparations trump contest notifications!

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4/2 - Today starts “toon-a-ment” week, with the NCAA basketball championship game tonight, and The Masters starting on Thursday. Meanwhile, somewhere along the way, MLB will start the domestic portion of their 2012 schedule.

In GuruGolf, Bulls2 posted the top best ball score of the weekend (-52), while longshot posted a complementary +52 to take the worst ball honors. For the opening “March to the Masters” contest, the winners were
Bestball: Utah golf rocks (by a single stroke)
Worstball: Liters3 (by 5 strokes)

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2012: March . . . February . . . January

2011: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2010: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2009: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2008: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2007: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2006: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2005: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2004: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2003: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2002: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2001: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2000: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1999: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1998: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March

RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

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