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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

5/31 - The RotoGuru site was founded on analysis of full-season, salary cap fantasy sports games. Over the years, that format has attracted fewer and fewer participants, and most of the game producers are either out of business, or offering games greatly reduced in scope (and prizes).

The salary cap game du jour is now the daily contest. That has been a difficult conversion for many RotoGuru users, who preferred the “marathon” of the full season games, and who find the daily format to be a bit too “random.” The RotoGuru affiliate site has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past two years, now getting more than triple the traffic volume that attracts.

Weekly contests might be a viable format to bridge the gap between the full-season games and daily contests. And Draft$treet offers weekly contests starting every day, with varying numbers of entrants, entry fees (including free), and prize payouts. The skills that were developed and honed in full-season games with weekly trades are very similar to the skills needed to compete effectively in weekly contests.

Setting a weekly roster is not just a matter of finding pitchers with two starts, or hitters with seven games. Draft$treet’s player pricing fully reflects projected starts and team schedules, so that a pitcher with two starts will cost twice as much as a comparable pitcher with one start. A hitter with just five games scheduled will be priced proportionately cheaper than a hitter with seven games. So you really have to evaluate your roster choices primarily in terms of baseball analysis, and not schedule analysis. And that should be where RotoGurupies excel. Of course, you also have the familiar RotoGuru sortable stats to help you sniff out emerging trends and bargains.

As I announced yesterday, Draft$treet will sponsor a freeroll for DBD and RotoGuru on Friday (June 3) using the weekly contest format. If you haven’t tried it yet, I suggest you register today and try a few free weekly contests over the next few days just to get familiarity with the format. I’ve been entering a $5 weekly contest every day for the past two weeks (so I always have 7 contests underway at any point in time), and my understanding of the optimal strategies has definitely evolved with experience. I’ll post some of my insights over the next few days, but there is no substitute for your own personal experience.

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5/30 - A national holiday and all 30 MLB teams are in action. That may seem like a natural combination, but it’s actually been pretty rare over the past decade or so.

Draft$treet is planning to sponsor a special freeroll contest (free to enter, prize pool of $250) exclusively for users of and RotoGuru. This will be a weekly contest format, starting with games on Friday, June 3rd, and continuing through the following Thursday. You won’t be able to enter until Thursday, when players and prices are available. But in the meantime, you might want to try a few weekly contests at Draft$treet if you haven’t done so before. Register at Draft$treet using this link, and enter a free contest or two just to get the feel fo the site, and the relative pricing of the players. Player data for weekly contests is already loaded in the sortable stats. I’ll have more details on the upcoming freeroll contest as the week progresses.

Congrats to TD5, who carded the top GuruGolf best ball score (-44) over the weekend. Worst ball honors go to Long Island Divots (+63), who finished really strong on the weekend with final two rounds of +18 and +21. Impressive!

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5/27 - The most favorable team for starting pitchers to face over the past week has been San Diego. No major shock there. FanDuel starters have averaged 19 pts against San Diego over the past week. Draft$treet starters have been similarly dominant. But do you know which team has been the second easiest opponent?

You can find out by using the sortable stats. As of today, that team is Colorado, giving up an average of 14.6 to FanDuel starters over the past week. Four of these games were in Coors Field, too.

Does that make Jake Westbrook - who faces the Rockies in Denver tonight - a good option in today's daily contests? Not necessarily - but it's the type of information you probably want to consider when making out your lineups. And the sortable stats can provide these types of insights, using data for the past 7 days, 15 days, 30 days, and YTD. You can also now hover over each linked team in the "Name" column to see what starter is facing that team today, and when and where the game is being played.

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5/26 - The sortable stats reports haven't gotten a lot of use for daily contest analysis yet - but I'll bet that's about to change!

The fantasy sortable stats framework was developed for more than ten years ago, when the focus was on full season salary cap baseball games. There was no particular reason to include data on scheduled starting pitchers, or scheduled teams, or left/right matchups, since the focus was to look at performance over the longer term.

I had already included Fanduel and Draft$treet player, salary, and position data in the sortable stats, but the format still seemed limited for daily contest analysis, since there was no way to screen out unscheduled teams, or non-starting pitchers. But as of today, that's no longer a limitation. You can now base your report on any daily schedule up to a week in advance. You can choose to review only the starting pitchers for a specific day, or look only at opposite handed hitters vs. those starting pitchers. You can still view fantasy points and averages over the past 7, 15, 30, and YTD. You can still filter by price. For example, if you want to find a Fanduel second baseman costing $3000 or less, facing an opposite handed pitcher today, sorting by total points over the past week, here's the list. And if you want the details of any matchup, hover your cursor over the player's name, and you should see the game details. Starting pitchers are based on those listed at ESPN.

I can't imagine setting a daily contest lineup without this reporting tool. Can you?

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5/25 - The fat lady hasn’t sung, but it’s looking like the NBA finals will be a Dallas-Miami rematch. Those two teams met in 2006, and although Wade and Nowitzki are still on their respective teams, most of the other key players have changed. I think the only other current players who played in that series were Jason Terry and Udonis Haslem.

I had Hines Ward on my RIFC (football) team last season, and he generally disappointed. I guess I should have found a way to include some fantasy points for ballroom dancing moves.

The HP Byron Nelson Championship tees off tomorrow morning in Texas. A lot of GuruGolf foursomes still need some attention. Don’t forget!

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5/24 - Just as the Dallas Mavs seemed to return from the dead last night, it looked like “return from the DL” night in MLB. Chase Utley returned to action last night, but went 0-5. Josh Hamilton homered and doubled in his first appearance since April 12. Jim Thome went deep twice after sitting for a month. Nelson Cruz, who was only out for about 3 weeks, also went deep. If you are playing in daily contests, they may or may not have yet returned to eligibility there, as many contests have a lag of a day or two before adding “new” players. But they are worthy of keeping in mind – even though they aren’t likely to appear on any statistical leaderboards for awhile.

There is a doubleheader today, in Colorado. Based on the weather outlook, we could have 0, 1, or 2 games actually played.

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5/23 - There more shutouts on Sunday bring the season total to 101. To put this into perspective, that pace projects to 353 shutouts over a full season. From 2001-2009, the average season had about 100 fewer shutouts. In 1968, the year often mentioned as the pinnacle of pitching prowess, there were 339 shutouts. There were also only 24 teams in 1968, so arguably, a 30-team proportionate equivalent would be 423. The MLB average ERA in 1968 was 2.98, while this year’s average is 3.81, so we are really nowhere close to the pitching dominance exhibited in that year. But if the 3.81 ERA persists for the entire season, it will be the lowest MLB ERA since 1992.

My Double Entendre GuruGolf team carded the top best ball score (-45) for the weekend, and curiously, is now ranked #2 in both the best ball and worst ball standings for the full season. Go figure! The top worst ball result for the weekend was a +48 by full season worst ball leader JeffG.

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5/20 - I didn’t even realize Jason Giambi was still active.

A couple of MLB teams scored in double digits yesterday, but pitchers still generally dominated, with two 1-0 games and three 2-1 games. With all 30 teams in action, 18 of them scored two runs or less. And five of those teams won.

Interleague play starts today. AL teams in NL cities have an extra lineup challenge. Beware of starting guys who usually DH for Detroit, Minnesota, Oakland, Seattle, Tampa, and Texas.

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5/19 - Much has been written about the lack of offensive punch in baseball this season. Last night’s results should be Exhibit A in that discussion. Five teams were shut out, and another five teams scored only one run. Two of those one-run teams were even winners!

J.J. Henry is the most widely owned GuruGolfer this week, but it’s not at all a dominant position, on less than 20% of all active foursomes.

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5/18 - Today, I’m expanding the universe of covered games, adding Draft$treet. Founded in the summer of 2010, Draft$treet has quickly become a major player in the daily contest arena, with a excellent reputation in innovation, integrity, and customer service.

How does Draft$treet (DS) compare with FanDuel? Here are a few distinctions:

  • DS contest rosters are expanded, with multiple pitchers and 2 utility hitters.
  • DS scoring formulas encompass more statistical factors.
  • DS offers a wider variety of multi-player formats, including regular contests for 2, 3, 6, 10, and 20 entrants.
  • DS offers weekly contests starting every day. So, for example, you can enter a weekly contest that runs from Wednesday through Tuesday. Or Thursday through Wednesday.
This is not to say that Draft$treet is better or worse than FanDuel. Just different. Many players are active at both sites.

As an incentive try out Draft$treet, register by clicking on the banner above (or any Draft$treet link on this site) and you will receive a 40% bonus on your initial deposit up to $100 (i.e., $40 bonus for a $100 deposit). That bonus will then be “earned” as you enter contests at a rate of 20%. So, for example, if you enter a $5 contest, $4 of your fee will come from your deposit, and $1 (20% of the $5 entry fee) will come from your bonus. That means that the first $200 of contest fees will cost you only $160. You could win slightly less than half the time (~45%) and still earn a profit on those contests! What better way to give it a try? And, like FanDuel, you also have the ability to enter free contests, so you can test drive the format for free before deciding whether to deposit money and enter pay contests.

You’ll also notice that RotoGuru and now offer statistical tools designed to support Draft$treet’s salary, position, and point formulas. The Pitcher vs Batter report now allows you to highlight players based on either FanDuel or Draft$treet positions. There are also new sortable stats and daily point reports customized to the Draft$treet format. I’ll comment more on these features in the coming days.

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5/17 - Some people still don’t believe the Indians are “for real” this year, but Vin Mazzaro is now a believer. While facing 21 batters, he gave up 11 hits and 3 walks, and all of them scored – after he left the game with the bases loaded and the next pitcher let them all reach home plate. After a 19-1 win, watch the Tribe now lose a one-run game today.

Nasty weather in the northeast today. Games in Boston, New York, and Washington all look very iffy. The wet weather is expected to hang around for several days as well, so the high rate of rainouts looks like a good bet to keep rolling along.

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5/16 - Although Jose Bautista led the majors with 54 home runs last year, almost none of the “experts” expected him to repeat this year. But so far, he’s two weeks ahead of last year’s pace, when he hit his 16th HR in his 52nd game on May 30. Yesterday’s 3-HR outburst gave him #16 in just his 32nd game of 2011. On average, he was a late 2nd round pick in the RIBC leagues this year, as the 6th 3B-eligible player drafted. That’s looking like pretty good value so far.

Four more baseball games were washed out this weekend, bringing the season total to 26. Last year, only 20 games were washed out all year. In 2005, only 25 games “bit the mud.” For the 2006-2009 seasons, total postponements ranged from 33-38 games. We might still end up in that mid-30s range, but at the current pace, we’ll have about a 100 games rained out!

A pair of teams tied for the top best ball score (-51) in GuruGolf this weekend, and another pair tied for the top worst ball score (+55). But there are no playoffs to settle a GuruGolf tie.

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5/13 - Friday the 13th. Be careful!

Baseball weather forecasts have me a bit spooked today, with 3-4 games currently showing 40%-50% rain probabilities. It’s quite possible that all games will get played. It’s also possible that several could be victimized. If you’re playing daily contests, you might be best served to enter those without the afternoon game (SF@Cubs) included so you can wait an extra five hours before committing to a lineup.

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5/12 - If Rajon Rondo had been healthy, could the Celtics have beaten Miami? How about if Kendrick Perkins was still there? It’s all academic now.

Gio Gonzalez owners got a nice break yesterday. He gave up 7 earned runs in 2-2/3 innings (6 H, 5 BB), and then the game got washed out in the 4th inning. Mitch Moreland owners – not so much. Moreland lost a grand slam.

Charles Howell III is the carryover favorite in GuruGolf this week, on about 25% of active rosters. J.J. Henry is a distant second, on 17%. Interestingly enough, no one took Tiger Woods this week. That was a good call, as Tiger scored +6 on the front nine and then withdrew.

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5/11 - Four of last night’s top starting pitchers had the misfortune to run into each other. Here are their combined stats for the night:
31 IP, 33 Ks, 2 ER, 0.58 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, zero wins, one loss

Tim Lincecum and Ian Kennedy each threw 8 shutout innings – against each other, while Josh Johnson and Roy Halladay each allowed one earned run to cross the plate. Halladay was the hard luck loser of the foursome, as he also surrendered an unearned run. If you had any of the four pitching on your roster yesterday, you can’t be too disappointed – but a win would have been nice.

Golf’s unofficial “fifth major,” the PLAYERS Championship, tees off tomorrow morning in Florida. The strength of the field makes this a week when having some extra GuruGolf $value can be very useful. And for those looking ahead to next week’s tentative field, here is the list of advance commitments.

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5/10 - Two NBA playoff games, four overtimes between them. Unfortunately, three of those OTs were well after I went to bed.

After a rocky opening outing, Zack Greinke pitched well in his second National League start (6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 9 Ks, no walks). Of course, he was facing one the league’s weakest hitting teams (the Padres).

Trevor Cahill arguably had the best outing of the night, allowing only one run in 7 IP, fanning 7 while walking just one. His record now stands at 6-0, with a 1.72 ERA, a WHIP of 1.09, and opposing hitters are batting only .209 against him.

Contrast his numbers to the only other 6-0 pitcher in the majors, Matt Scherzer, who also won last night. The Tigers are only 18-18 this season, and even Justin Verlander is only 3-3, so Scherzer’s record of 6-0 is rather remarkable, especially given his 3.20 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and .250 BAA.

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5/9 - David Stern’s head must be exploding today. The Lakers are already out of the playoffs, leaving Dallas and Oklohoma City as the two westernmost cities still alive. And Mark Cuban is the one who took out the NBA’s best west coast ratings draw. I wonder if Stern can fine him for that?

Justin Verlander notched the season’s second no-hitter on Saturday, and there was nothing cheap about this one, walking only one batter, and needing only 108 pitches (74 strikes, 4 strikeouts). Interestingly enough, in terms of FanDuel points, two other pitchers did better that day - Gavin Floyd, who pitched 8 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits with 2 walks and 6 Ks, and Yovani Gallardo, with 8 one-hit shutout innings (4 BB, 6 K). The primary reason is that FanDuel does not factor in hits allowed – just IP, ER, SO, and wins.

There was no question about which team had the best weekend in GuruGolf, as Team ? (-54) was 5 strokes better than the second best team. Cyberwahoo5 (+49) eked out the worst ball honors by a single stroke, in spite of having only one golfer alive for the final round (who shot a -1).

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5/6 - I keep waiting for the Indians’ bubble to show signs of bursting. But after an extra inning win in Oakland yesterday, they are now one game over .500 (8-7) on the road, to go with 13-2 at home (with the two home losses at the start of the season). They rank 4th in the majors in runs scored, and 5th in OPS. Their team pitching ranks 6th in the majors in ERA, and 5th in BAA. Their starting pitchers have an aggregate ERA of 3.44 and a WHIP of 1.21, averaging 6-1/3 innings per start. So it’s not as though there is one element of overachieving that’s carried them. And it’s not that they have faced cupcakes. If you strip out their head-to-head results, only two of the nine teams they have faced have losing records. And oddly enough, the Tribe is only 1-4 against those two teams – the Twins and White Sox.

Can they keep it up? It’s only May 6, and the season has not even reached the 20% mark. They are only one 10-game swoon away from mediocrity – but so far, they’ve been the positive story of the American League.

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5/5 - If you are wondering why the NBA playoffs take so long to be completed, look no further than tonight’s schedule. No games at all. Zip. Nada. The Heat-Celtics series has three straight off-days. What’s up with that?

When starting pitchers go from the American League to the National League, they have often improved their numbers. But don’t tell Zack Greinke, who lasted only 4 innings (86 pitches) in his N.L. debut. Milwaukee had a tough day all around, dropping both ends of a double-header in Atlanta by a combined score of 16-3.

Charles Howell III is the holdover favorite in GuruGolf this week, appearing on almost 30% of active rosters. No other golfer appears on 20%, and 124 different golfers are represented on at least one GuruGolf foursome.

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5/4 - It wasn’t a vintage no-hitter. Francisco Liriano needed 123 pitches (only 66 of which were strikes), walking six batters while fanning only two. He ranked only #4 among starting pitchers for the day in FanDuel fantasy points. But it was a shutout, a complete game, and a 1-0 win. It also lowered his ERA to 6.61, and his WHIP to 1.56. If you had him on your team, hopefully you didn’t bench him (or drop him).

Jon Lester arguably had the best pitching night, holding the Angels to one run over 7 innings, fanning 11. He also threw 66 strikes – but needed only 93 pitches to amass them.

The Wells Fargo Championship tees off early tomorrow morning. Get your GuruGolf foursomes set. If you are trade-constrained and need to find players who are also likely to play in next week’s Players Championship, this list may help you identify those golfers.

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5/3 - When I first saw that the Red Sox beat Jered Weaver 9-5, it sounded like the wheels might have come off the Weaver train. But the box score shows that only three runs were scored off of Weaver, who left after only six innings, down 3-2. Somehow, he managed to throw 118 pitches by that point. The Angel bullpen then came in to start the 7th inning and promptly imploded.

Tough loss last night for Madison Bumgarner, who gave up no earned runs in 7 IP, but surrendered a pair of unearned runs in what should have been a 1-2-3 seventh. He was outdueled by Tom Gorzelanny, who worked 8 scoreless innings. The final score was 2-0, both teams combined for only 7 hits and 2 walks, and the game was over in 2 hours and 2 minutes. Bumgarner was of those trendy sleeper picks in fantasy drafts this year, but is now 0-5, although he’s only given up one earned run in his last 13 IP. Maybe this is the time to buy low?

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5/2 - The top record in all of major league baseball on May 1st belongs to the Cleveland Indians. The first leg of a magical season, or the storm before the calm? Time will tell. But Cleveland fans don’t seem to be biting yet, as only 14,164 showed up for Sunday’s game.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson went to a playoff in this weekend’s PGA event. In GuruGolf, Cyberwahoo2 didn’t care which one won, as he had them both, cruising to the top best ball score of the weekend (-51). On the worst ball side, Dusty rode a final round +18 to take the honors by six strokes (+49).

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2011: 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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