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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.

6/30 - The Mets have recently been an offensive juggernaut, scoring 52 runs in their last four games, including 30 runs in the first two games of the current series in Detroit. Today, something has to give, as they face Justin Verlander, who has given up only 2 runs in his last four games. They say that good pitching stops good hitting. We’ll see if that holds shortly, as the game has a 1:05pm start time.

J.J. Henry is the holdover GuruGolf favorite for the AT&T National tournament, on just under 25% of active rosters. This tournament’s scoring already looks much different that last week’s. The cut last week was -4. Last year’s AT&T cut was at +3, and less than 25% of the scorecards in progress are under par as of 11am this morning.

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6/29 - For the month of June:
Verlander: 5-0, 42 IP, 48K, 0.86 ERA, .153 BAA, 0.69 WHIP.
Cliff Lee: 5-0, 42 IP, 29K, 0.21 ERA, .151 BAA, 0.62 WHIP.

Who’s had the better month? Who cares? Verlander gets one more June start, tomorrow vs. the Mets. I suspect he’ll fare better than last night’s Tiger pitchers did against the Mets hitters.

Don’t forget to set your GuruGolf foursomes for tomorrow’s AT&T National. As of this morning, more than half of all GuruGolf teams still have at least one inactive golfer.

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6/28 - It wasn’t that long ago that there seemed to be a couple of 1-0 MLB games every day. The tide may be shifting. While we still had two shutouts yesterday, those scores were 5-0 and 15-0. If you were playing in daily contests yesterday, you couldn’t have gone too wrong by loading up on Dodgers.

The other early trend that has shifted dramatically is rainouts. Through the end of May, there were 32 postponed games. So far in June, there have been only two. Today’s weather outlook puts a handful of games in the iffy category, although it’s certainly plausible that all games will be played today as well. If you’re playing in daily contests, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security, however. Be vigilant!

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6/27 - Tough weekend for the Tribe. They gave up only 4 earned runs in three games – and lost all three. The problem was that they only scored a total of 2 runs in three games, while also contributing to four unearned Giants runs with timely errors and balks. Tim Lincecum is probably chafing that his pitching turn didn’t come up this weekend

This is pretty cool. In yesterday’s Colorado at Yankees game, Troy Tulowitzki hit the ball twice on a single swing of the bat. You can clearly see it in slow motion (courtesy of

In GuruGolf, my Double Entendre team took the best ball honors (-55) for the Travelers Championship, while sharing the top worst ball score (+35) with Present Glory. A week ago, gutties (-45_ took the best ball honors by three strokes in the U.S. Open, and Knights (+54) took the top spot by the same margin in the worst ball competition.

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6/17 - Tonight’s freeroll contest at Daily Joust comes with a few tricky aspects. First, the weather outlook looks difficult in 5-7 cities, although no game looks like an automatic washout at this point. If you want to play it safe weatherwise, there are only about six games to pick from. Second, eight American League teams will be playing in National League parks, so eight regular DH’s will be looking for something to do. Plan accordingly. It’s the type of night that I would typically skip playing daily contests. Too much uncertainty. But with a freeroll, there’s nothing ventured but the time it takes to fill out a roster – so I’m in.

If you are into freerolls, Father’s Day bring another – this time at FanDuel. After you register and/or sign in, you’ll find the contest near the top as a “Featured Promo”. My sortable stats won’t have exactly the correct salaries for the freeroll contest, but FanDuel salaries don’t change very much from day to day, so they should be close enough. Top prize is a $150 gift card to Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and a few others), with modest cash prizes going to 2nd-9th place. More than 300 are already entered in this freeroll, so you should probably look to take the “road less traveled”.

I’ll be out-of-office next week, so I’ll probably skip the blurbs, unless I have something important to say – which seems doubtful. All stats should continue to be updated as usual, of course.

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6/16 - Roy Halladay pitched against the Marlins yesterday, and Florida was held to one run on six hits – but those were two different games. Kyle Kendrick won the opener of a twin bill, while Halladay struggled a bit in the nightcap, getting outdueled by Anibal Sanchez, although he was spared the loss when the Marlins bullpen squandered a two run lead in the 9th inning.

I’ve been promoting the Daily Joust contest site this week, and now you get a chance to try it out for free. They have announced a freeroll contest for Friday, June 17. If you haven't yet registered at this new site, use the Daily Joust link to register (the referral field should say "rotoguru" - fill that in if it doesn't). If you are already registered, then go to the "Tournaments" link on the main menu bar at the site and you'll find the MLB tournament. This is a traditional one-day tournament which includes all night games. There are only 14 night games on Friday, so the afternoon Yankees@Cubs game is excluded.

The payout pool is $500, with an unusual twist. The top team will win $200, and the second place team will win $100. After that, prizes will be paid out for places 3-20, with most getting either $10 or $5 - but with the 11th place finisher getting $50. I asked, and found out that's not a typo. Daily Joust is hoping to counter the impression that "only the pros can win the top prizes." So, if you don't expect to win one of the top two prizes, shoot for #11. Or at least root for it, once the games begin.

One final caveat on the prizes. They are all awarded as "Bonus Bucks", which means they cannot be directly cashed out, but can only be used to enter other contests at the site. Of course, any prizes won in those other contests can be cashed out at any time. If you're good enough (or lucky enough) to win a prize, you ought to be good enough to convert it to real money!

The U.S. Open is underway, and there is no clear favorite golfer in GuruGolf this week. No one appears on more than 15% of rosters, but 10 golfers show up at least 10% of the time: Anthony Kim, Sergio Garcia, Gay, Toms, Henry, Frazar, Crane, (“Frazar Crane?”), Immelman, Byrd, and Senden. Diversity reigns. Hopefully the weather doesn’t.

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6/15 - I’ve entered a couple of solo contests this week at Daily Joust, and so far so good. In the solo format, you are not matched up against any other roster(s). You simply need your team to produce 50 fantasy points. I thought I might be in trouble yesterday, because I had Paul Konerko as my first baseman, and the White Sox got rained out. A first base slot is a terrible thing to waste. But Yovani Gallardo got me 24 points (pretty good, considering he failed to get the win when the bullpen blew it.) I also had Curtis Granderson, whose 17 points turned out to be the best from an outfielder for the night. So with 41 points between those two players, the rest of my roster scraped together enough points to get me over the 50 point hurdle.

Justin Verlander would almost have gotten me over the top by himself, with 42 DJP. But his price of $493 would have consumed so much cap space ($1000 max) that I couldn’t bring myself to take him – in spite of the fact that Cleveland has been the worst hitting team in the majors lately.

The U.S. Open golf championship tees off early tomorrow morning. Make sure you get your GuruGolf foursome setup. There are no mulligans for the four majors.

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6/14 - Today I want to showcase another daily contest site with which I have a new affiliate relationship.

Probably the newest daily contest site on the web, Daily Joust was created and developed by a team of dedicated and passionate fantasy sports professionals. Free and real money contests are offered daily. Their scoring formula is quite similar to FanDuel’s formula, although the Joust formula does include a few extra statistical factors. The site layout is intuitive, and includes some useful statistical data right on the contest entry screen, including fantasy point averages (full year and recent). Rosters are similar to FanDuel's as well, although outfielders are not differentiated by left, center, and right.

Perhaps the most unique feature of Daily Joust is the Solo Contest, where you are not competing against another roster, but only against a preset target score, which is currently set at 50 points. This takes some of the randomness out of the contest by eliminating a variable competitor. Of course, that can cut both ways.

DailyBaseballData and RotoGuru have also expanded their tools to incorporate Daily Joust salary, position, and statistical data. Daily Joust positions can now be highlighted in the Batter vs Pitcher report, and the sortable stats and daily point recaps now include Daily Joust as a game option.

To register at Daily Joust, please click on the banner above or on one of the Daily Joust links in this discussion. (The referrer field should have “rotoguru” already filled in.) Currently, Daily Joust is offering a 25% bonus on initial deposits, plus a free Solo contest. Note that there are some participation requirements to fully collect on this offer, which are clearly spelled out on the deposit page.

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6/13 - Well, well. The pundits seemed mostly convinced that Miami would best Dallas in the NBA Finals. But Dallas seemed to know how to win the 4th quarter, and in a closely contested series, that’s the ticket.

Will Miami’s Big-3 figure it out next year? Will some other contender rise up – like Oklahoma City, or Memphis, or Chicago? Will there even be an NBA season next year? And what about Naomi?

In GuruGolf, St. Jude Classic honors were won by West Texas Worm Burners (-44 best ball) and Pedro Putts in LA (+49 worst ball). The best ball winner in the Spring to the Open Contest was Fever Pitch, with a 19 stroke margin! The corresponding worst ball contest winner was Donkey Hunter with a much narrower two stroke advantage. Curiously, my own Double Entendre team finished second in both contest formats, and now ranks #1 overall in the year-to-date standings for both best ball and worst ball. How’d that happen!?

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6/10 - The RotoGuru/DBD Draft$treet weekly freeroll is over. Congrats to Vegasreno49, whose score of 421.2 was almost 10% better than the second place team. This roster showed good balance, producing about 3.8 points/$k on pitching and 4.4 pts/$k on hitting. The winning score of 421.2 was the only score over 400 pts.

I think this may have been the best possible roster:
PosPlayerSalaryPoints% rosters
C Miguel Olivo$5,31132.8na
1B Prince Fielder$8,27057.32%
2B Ben Zobrist$5,51125.15%
3B Mark Reynolds$4,05130.73%
SS J.J. Hardy$4,95029.12%
OF Matt Kemp$8,71660.020%
OF Brennan Boesch$6,70146.7na
OF Jacoby Ellsbury$7,55543.9na
UT Albert Pujols$6,23956.525%
UT Carlos Quentin$8,31443.46%
SP Matt Cain$6,33653.06%
SP Justin Verlander$8,96245.525%
SP Alexi Ogando$7,69441.510%
RP Kyle Farnsworth$1,95125.014%
P Derek Holland$5,37941.0na
P Jason Vargas$4,05233.5na

Curiously, the winning team had only one player on this list – Justin Verlander. Note that players listed as being on “na” rosters doesn’t mean that they weren’t on any rosters – but they weren’t on any of the top 20 rosters, and I couldn’t look beyond that.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and congrats to the prize winners. I hope some of you continue to play in other contests. Maybe I’ll try setting up a private rotoguru contest at some point.

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6/9 - As we pass the 60-game mark in the MLB season, the Red Sox are in first place. So much for the damage done by starting the season at 0-6, and also 2-10. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s lead in the A.L. Central is down to 1.5 over Detroit, down from 6.5 games just 10 games ago. They’re now a half-game behind the Red Sox in the race for the best record in the A.L. And those two teams are definitely trending in different directions.

The RotoGuru/DBD Draft$treet weekly freeroll wraps up tonight. The top spot is still up for grabs, and there are a lot of teams still in contention to cash. Curiously, the team that currently ranks first has one hitter - Allen Craig - who has amassed a total score of -0.5 points, so it’s obviously not necessary to fire on all cylinders. Looking back to last Friday, Craig was coming off of four straight games of 6, 6, 8.5, & 9.1. Since then, almost nothing.

Rod Pampling is the popular favorite in GuruGolf this week. Why? I suppose it’s a combination of a modest price ($930) and three straight weeks making the cut, two of which were top 10 finishes. I’ll have to confess, he never really popped up on my radar, as he just doesn’t get enough birdies (only averaging 3 per round in 2010-2011), but there certainly is value in playing all four rounds, and he has averaged 3.5 “birdie or betters” over the last three events, so it’s hard to argue against the value for the price.

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6/8 - David Stern should be happy. The NBA Finals will last at least 6 games, including one more Sunday night. And Mark Cuban has been behaving.

There are just two days left in the RotoGuru/DBD Draft$treet weekly freeroll, and nothing is yet settled. Today brings the return of some of the two-start pitchers, including Cole Hamels, who appears to be the most widely owned pitcher. He’ll need to bring his “A” game against the Dodgers tonight to provide a good return on his lofty salary.

The FedEx St. Jude Classic tees off tomorrow morning. Fourteen golfers have already withdrawn since the initial field was announced, so if you made your GuruGolf roster changes on Monday morning, you’d better recheck. As of this morning, about 75% of all active teams still had at least one inactive golfer. This is the final tournament in the “Spring to the Open” contest in GuruGolf, and the current leaders in both the best ball and worst ball competitions have only a one stroke lead.

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6/7 - After being one of the surprise stories for the first two months of the season, the Cleveland Indians are suddenly only 1-5 in June, and in danger of dropping out of the top spot in the A.L. Central. Detroit is now just 1˝ games back and surging. The Tigers scored 13 runs yesterday. The Tribe hasn’t amassed 13 runs combined over the past five days. And they’ve been shut out for times in the past two weeks. Yikes!

After four days, the Draft$treet freeroll contest is still up for grabs, with the standings changing quite a bit each day. I think this contest standings link will work whether you are entered in the contest or not. Even with an off-day yesterday, Albert Pujols is the top point-getter for the contest period, with 41.2 DWP. Close behind are Brennan Boesch (35.6), Matt Kemp (34), Nelson Cruz (31), and Carl Crawford (29.1). Cliff Lee (25.5) is now the top pitcher, and with a contest price of only $4,300, will probably be one of the top pitching bargains.

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6/6 - You had to figure that Albert Pujols would regain form at some point. How’s this for the past week: 5 HRs, 10 RBI, 11 R, .545 OBA, 1.074 SLG, and 2 steals for good measure. Yeah, that’s form. After completely destroying the Cubs over the weekend, they’ve got to be more interested than ever in taking a run at signing him in the offseason.

Seventy-eight teams entered last Friday’s freeroll contest at Draft$street, and after the first three days, it’s not surprising to see Pujols appearing on four of the current top five teams. Still four days of games remaining, of course.

Five GuruGolf teams tied for the top best ball score (-51) for the weekend’s Memorial Tournament, and another four teams were just one stroke back. The competition wasn’t so tight on the worst ball side, where Knights (+60) romped to a three stroke advantage.

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6/3 - Registrations are coming in for today’s exclusive RotoGuru Freeroll Contest at Draft$, and you can still enter until the first games start tonight. At that point, all entries and rosters are locked, and the contest results will unfold over the next week until the $250 prize pool results are determined. For more details and my thoughts on strategy, see the rest of this week’s blurbs below.

One consideration in a contest with a large field of entrants is to try to differentiate from the pack. Find a few hitters who are unlikely to be heavily owned – perhaps younger, unproven players, or perhaps some more established studs who just haven’t been producing of late. Maybe that’s less necessary in a weekly format where you need sustained performance over the course of a week. Still, a single day’s hitting outburst or pitching shutdown can make a big difference. You can studiously pore over all of the player options and look at schedules, matchups, and trends, or you can essentially throw some darts. Over time, dart throwers probably can’t expect to excel. But in a single contest, it only takes one dart. Close your eyes and fling away, if that’s your approach!

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6/2 - OK - time to roll free!

The Draft$treet freeroll contest exclusively for users of RotoGuru and has been launched! Click here to enter this free contest. The contest uses the standard Draft$treet weekly format, including games from Friday, June 3 through Thursday, June 9. Entries are open until 7:05pm ET Friday. One entry per person. The prize pool is $250, with the top 6 winning a prize ranging from $90 (1st) through $15 (6th). The full payout schedule appears on the contest entry page.

When you click on the contest link in the paragraph above, you'll first have to either register (if you are not yet registered at Draft$treet) or login (if you are). You'll then be forwarded to the private contest page. You can make revisions to your entry at any time up until the first games on Friday evening, at which time all rosters will be locked for the duration of the contest.

To assist you in your player analysis, the sortable stats are now loaded with the contest player salaries and position. These are the same salaries that are used for all of Draft$treet’s weekly contests starting on Friday.

Come on down! The more, the merrier!

Meanwhile, J.J. Henry is again the popular favorite in GuruGolf, almost all holdovers from last week. Thirteen teams got blindsided by the late withdrawal of Brian Gay. Four of those teams had specified a provisional golfer, so they will get that replacement later this afternoon when that processing is done. The other nine are stuck with a DNP. I never understand why so many teams don’t bother setting a provisional golfer.

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6/1 - The Draft$treet weekly contest freeroll will be available to enter by early Thursday afternoon, and the sortable stats will have the corresponding player salaries loaded by then as well. Entries won’t close until games start on Friday evening, so you’ll have plenty of time to think through your picks.

So what level of score should you target? Over the past few weeks, a score of 300-350 is typically enough to win a head-to-head weekly contest, although in a contest with lots of entrants, you’ll probably need to aim higher. But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume a target score of 350. Since you have $100,000 to spend on player salaries, that means you’ll want get at least 3.5 points for each $1,000 spent. For a $4,000 player, you’ll want at least 14 points (3˝x4). If you spend $10,000 the target would be at least 35 points. That type of comparison should help you rationalize whether to get top pitchers with two starts (who often command prices of $8,000-$10,000) or whether to take pitchers with just one start at half the price and spend more on top quality hitting.

Assuming that the weather holds and rotations don’t change, some of the top pitchera with two projected starts from Friday-Thursday include Jered Weaver, Clay Buchholz, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Yovani Gallardo, Cole Hamels, and Matt Cain. Those pitchers will all likely command hefty salaries. Maybe you’d rather have a single start from a stud like Halladay, Lincecum, or David Price - at roughly half the price. Going the latter approach will probably allow you to target top hitters like Jose Bautista or Ryan Braun. But maybe you’d rather take a chance on cheaper hitters, particularly those whose salaries may be low because they’ve been slumping of late.

Those are the types of thought processes I use when assembling my rosters. Beyond the raw numbers, it’s important to look at pitching matchups for starters, including ballpark differences and opposing starters. For hitters, you might want to review lefty-righty outlooks, particularly if you are considering hitters with significant matchup preferences. Weather is not so much a factor, unless you are planning on a two-start pitcher whose second outing will be on the final day, and could get wiped out if any game is canceled during the week.

If you are looking at player prices today, remember that some pitcher prices will be dramatically different. For example, you could get Jered Weaver today for $4,639, since he’ll only start once in the next 7 days. But for the freeroll, he’ll probably cost more like $9,300, with two starts. Conversely, Lincecum costs $10,217 today, but will be closer to $5k for the contest.

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2011: 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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