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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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8/31 - The RIFC draft has ended, as have most of the qualifying leagues. Now we are in hurry-up-and-wait mode.
Today is the last day that MLB teams are restricted to 25 active players. Expect rosters to start expanding tomorrow. That will have fantasy implications, of course, so pay attention!
The outdoor temperature here is already in the 90s, and my office air conditioner crapped out this morning, so I’m getting outta here!
8/30 - The final preseason NFL game will be this Thursday for all 32 teams, and many will not be playing their first teamers at all. So there won’t be much more on-field evidence to lead you (or mislead you) in your drafting decisions.
The RotoHog Stock Exchange Football game was launched late last week, and I now have those player prices loaded in the sortable stats. I think these prices will remain locked until September 7th, when live trading begins. One significant change in the game structure is that trades will be limited – only four new trades per week. That will probably dampen the Tuesday morning trading flurry that used to dominate weekly activity.
FanDuel is offering a special baseball contest today, with the winner getting $1000. Entry cost is $10, and you can enter as many times as you wish (at $10 per). This contest covers only today’s baseball games. If you are interested and haven’t yet registered at FanDuel, please click on the linked banner in the Sponsor of the Month area just above these blurbs.
Matt Kuchar may have won The Barclays in dramatic fashion, but he wasn’t necessarily the most productive GuruGolfer. That honor arguably belonged to Kevin Streelman, who not only had the most subpar holes, but got them on relatively more difficult holes. So it not surprising that the top GuruGolf team for the weekend, moe birdies, had Streelman and not Kuchar. The other interesting GuruGolf development is that the leading team in the full season standings , moe eagles (yes, same manager – how’d you guess?), had no one making the cut, allowing the rest of the field to gain some valuable ground.
8/27 - Preseason NFL games are often deadly to watch, but the two games last night certainly provided some entertainment, with more than 70 points scored in each game. This may even turn out to be the season highlight for the Rams, who scored 36 in a one point win over the Pats in Foxborough.
On the flip side, if you already have Rams receiver Donnie Avery on your team (either as a keeper or due to an early draft), last night was not so enjoyable. Avery was carted off the field with a knee injury, and while details are still sketchy, the early word is not encouraging. Injuries are always a key part of every fantasy team’s success, but it still sucks when it hits before the season gets underway.
It looks like divorced life is agreeing with Tiger Woods, at least on the course, sharing the first round lead in The Barclays tournament. The folks at CBS Sports must be doing high-fives, as – barring a second round meltdown – this should prop up the weekend TV ratings significantly.
8/26 - Two of last night’s losing baseball teams scored double digits in runs. One blew a 9-run lead, while the other loser managed to come back from a 9-run deficit before succumbing in extra innings. All told, only five teams scored 10 or more runs last night, and four of those teams were from just those two games.
The Barclays teed off early this morning. Ryan Moore and Carl Petterson are the the holdover favorites in GuruGolf, in spite of both of them missing last week’s cut.
Meanwhile, Tiger has had an interesting week. His divorce was finalized on Monday, and his ex-wife’s interview with People Magazine was published yesterday. Then today, he was in the first group to tee off in the morning – an unusual tee-off time for Tiger. He needs to at least make the cut this week to advance, so it’s good that his alarm batteries apparently held their charge overnight. Only the top 100 in FedExCup points will advance to next week’s tournament, and Tiger currently ranks #112.
But just because Tiger is ranked near the bottom at the start of the Cup series, he’s not out of it. Last year, Heath Slocum began the Playoffs next-to-last in points, but thanks to his 2,500 points in winning The Barclays, he moved up to third in the standings and eventually finished eighth. As of this moment, Tiger is -5 through 15 holes, so he’s already in good position.
8/25 - Who needs “great?” According to today’s quote, if 7 innings of 2-hit, one-walk, shutout ball qualifies as only “good”, then I’ll settle for that any day.
Jim Furyk was disqualified from this week’s PGA tournament, “The Barclays”. He missed this morning’s 7:30am tee time in the Pro-Am, which results in disqualification from the regular tournament (unless the reason was illness, injury, or family emergency). Furyk’s reason – his cell phone battery ran out overnight, so it didn’t wake him.
He’s ranked #3 in total FedExCup regular season points, so he’ll still be eligible for next week’s tournament. But he won’t add to that total this week. The top 100 plus ties advance to next week’s event, and points for each playoff tournament are worth 5 times those for a normal tournament. If you currently have Furyk in your GuruGolf foursome, get him out. Tomorrow’s freeze is at 7:10am ET.
8/24 - Injuries always play a critical factor in a successful season for any NFL team. Ditto for any fantasy football team. And drafting a team in the middle of preseason always heightens that risk.
I took my first hit this morning, when I learned that Sidney Rice had undergone hip surgery, and would miss at least half the season. I had drafted Rice in the 3rd round of the RIFC, already wary of his hip injury, but not fully appreciating this potential. Ugh. The only good news is that I found out about it in round 9, so I’m better equipped to react than if the draft had already been completed. Still sucks, though.
I’m currently in the midst of putting together some draft queues, in anticipation of driving my daughter back to college this afternoon/evening. So I’m going to cut this blurb short today.
8/23 - The RIFC draft picked up full steam over the weekend, and is now cruising through round 6. Written rationales are now available (lagged approximately 2 rounds).
GuruGolf results were varied this week, with only two of the top 30 teams carrying four golfers who survived the cut, and more than half of the top thirty with just 1 or 2 survivors. In addition – but not surprisingly – no one had tournament winner Arjun Atwal. Three teams tied for the top best ball score of -53, while worst ball honors went to kooldad2, with a kool +30.
This also marked the end of the five-week “Dog Days” contest.
The final contest of the season will be the “FedEx Cup”, covering the last four tournaments.
8/20 - Based on today’s quote, maybe Roger Clemens can resurrect his legacy as being “the great uniter.”
Ted Lilly certainly seems to be enjoying his trade to the Dodgers. In four starts for L.A. (including last night’s complete game 2-hit shutout), he’s 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP. It’s not like he’s had cupcake matchups, either, as he’s beaten the Padres, the Braves, and the Rockies.
As a total digression, I note with amusement the various google-supplied ads that I’m currently seeing to the right of this blurb. They are supposedly chosen to be relevant to the content on this page, and thus they typically are for something sports-related, or even fantasy sports-related. But the three ads that I see at this moment (and I realize they are probably different for you) are titled “Fareguru.com”, “Become a Flash Guru”, and “Guru Jobs”. I guess they figure you are all coming here based on your interest in Gurus.
8/19 - The RIFC draft started this morning, and all of the qualifying league drafts have either just started or are about to. If you want to follow these league drafts, you can track them all with this link. Also, after we have completed the first two rounds, RIFC managers will be posting brief rationales for each pick (on a 2 round lag). I’ll post a link for that when the time comes.
I should point out that the RIFC leagues are somewhat different than traditional leagues in several respects. First, we start six IDPs (Individual Defensive Players) in addition to one team defense. We have 14 teams, and each team must start 2 running backs each week, which puts a real strain on the depth of that position. Also, punt and kick return yardage and TDs are scored for all players. So there are some significant relative value differences that may make the results of this draft inapplicable to other leagues. If you see a pick that raises your eyebrows, it may be due to one of these idiosyncrasies. Then again, it may just be a stupid pick. Time will tell.
The Wyndham Championship is off and running, and the popular favorite for GuruGolf is Ryan Moore, on roughly 35% of all foursomes. Moore won this event last year, so I guess that’s the primary attraction.
8/18 - Was Bobby Thompson’s home run the “most famous” in baseball history? It’s certainly in the conversation, and probably helped by being associated with Russ Hodges’ radio call. What other home runs would be in the running? Babe Ruth’s called shot is classic baseball lore, but didn’t really have any particular relevance in the standings. Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off HR to end the 1960 World Series? Hank Aaron’s 715th, perhaps? Kirk Gibson’s game ending HR off of Eckersley in the 1988 World Series is one that I’ll always remember, given that he could barely walk to the plate. Number 62 for Mark McGwire in 1998 was certainly memorable, although McGwire’s subsequent substance subterfuge might submerge that one from the top of the subject list. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Other memorable shots for me include Bucky F-in’ Dent in the 1978 playoff game at Fenway, Carlton Fisk’s body-English shot down the left field line in the 1975 World Series, Reggie Jackson’s mammoth blast off the light tower on the Tiger Stadium roof in the 1971 All Star Game, or perhaps his 3-HR game in the 1977 World Series. What others have I forgotten?
Sometimes, when I mention a player in a blurb, I seem to cast a hex on their next outing. Not so with Clay Buchholz, though. After noting his league-leading ERA in my blurb on August 12, he proceeded to go out and throw seven shutout innings last night against the Angels.
The Wyndham Championship tees off tomorrow morning. This is the final event in the GuruGolf “Dog Days Contest” (which started with the Canadian Open). Best ball competition is very tight, so I expect someone will be able to knock off the chump who currently stands at the top.
8/17 - Apparently, removing Jonathan Broxton from the closer role wasn’t the cure-all for the Dodgers’ late-game woes. Or, at least, inserting Hong-Chih Kuo into that role wasn’t the answer. Kuo was inserted into a 3-1 Dodger lead in the top of the 8th with plans to get a 2-inning save. He lasted only 1-1/3, taking the loss – although all three runs scored after Octavio Dotel came in with the bases loaded and waved them all home with a walk and a single, facing just two batters. Looks like the Dodger bullpen is a good place for fantasy managers to avoid for the time being. Unfortunately, Joe Torre doesn’t have that flexibility.
Based on today’s quote, sounds like Torre and Piniella have a lot in common right now.
8/16 - I guess it could have been much worse for Dustin Johnson. The rules official could have kept silent after the completion of the round, and allowed Johnson to sign an incorrect scorecard. That would have disqualified him from the tournament, and probably knocked him off the Ryder Cup team – at least as an automatic qualifier.
Two GuruGolf teams tied for the top best ball score (-44) this weekend. Since this is a Major tournament and eligible for a GuruGolf prize, the winner is Smith32, based on the tiebreaker of the best price gain for the tournament. The top worst ball team was risa23 (+48)
Albert Pujols hit his 30th home run of the season yesterday, extending his record of seasons of 30+ home runs at the beginning of his career to ten. Overall, his numbers are down a bit this season versus recent years, but he’s still got to be in the running for MVP. In terms of fantasy points, he’s the only National Leaguer among the top three (with Miguel Cabrera and Josh Hamilton). If it’s not Pujols, who is it? He’s 2nd in OPS (marginally behind Votto), and first in HR and RBI.
8/13 - Back in March, Jonathan Broxton was the first closer taken in the RIBC draft. Jon Papelbon was third (with Mariano Rivera sandwiched in between). Last night, both Jons went in the dumper, blowing 3-run leads in the 9th inning and taking losses. It was the 5th blown save of the season for Broxton, and #6 for Papelbon.
Broxton is no stranger to occasional blown saves, as he’s averaged about one per month over the last three years. But his current ERA of 3.50 and his WHIP of 1.32 are very pedestrian. Pap has blown a few more than usual this year, posting an ERA of 3.26 and a WHIP of 1.15. Neither is in the top five in saves, although Papelbon ranks 6th (Broxton 19th). I guess it just goes to show that there is no such thing as a “reliable closer”.
The top three in saves this year are Heath Bell, Brian Wilson, and Rafael Soriano. Bell was the 7th closer drafted in the RIBC. Soriano was 10th, and Wilson 11th. Beware of those three next year.
Fog has once again delayed the start of play in the PGA Championship, and there is no chance they’ll complete round two today. Hopefully, they can get back on schedule tomorrow, although the potential for severe thunderstorms may interfere on Saturday morning.
8/12 - If you’d have asked me which pitcher leads the American League in ERA, I wouldn’t have come up with Clay Buchholz – even if you gave me a hint and said the pitcher was on the Red Sox. There are currently seven AL pitchers with ERAs under 3.0, and Buchholz leads the pack, followed by Cahill, F. Hernandez, Price, Weaver, Pettitte, and Lester.
That list of seven pitchers would have seemed even more unlikely as of the start of the season. In the RIBC, only two of those starters were drafted before round 10 – Felix(2) and Lester(4). Weaver went in round 10, then Buchholz(12), Price (14), Pettitte (25), and Cahill was undrafted. In the 12th round, I could have taken Buchholz, but instead went with Brandon Webb. Oops.
In Wisconsin this morning, if you heard anything whistling through the straits, it probably wasn’t golf balls. Heavy fog has delayed the start of the PGA Championship for more than 3 hours. For GuruGolfers, Brandon de Jonge is the carryover favorite, on roughly 38% of foursomes. Mickelson shows up on only 5 teams. Tiger – just 4. John Daly is represented on almost twice as many teams as those two combined. Who’d have guessed that when the season started?
8/11 - For those who played the TSN Salary Cap football games last year but don’t play baseball, you’ll have trouble finding it this season. TSN exited the fantasy games business last spring. In its place, RotoHog will be offering a salary cap football game using the same scoring and roster rules. And I will produce the same statistical tools for that game, including sortable stats and the Assimilator. I loaded up the 2010 player prices last weekend, so those tools are now ready to go. For more background, see this thread. You can find the RotoHog game here. (As an aside, the traditional RotoHog Stock Exchange game has not yet been launched.)
The PGA Championship tees off tomorrow morning in Wisconsin. As a Major tournament, GuruGolf prizes are offered for this tournament alone, and also for the four majors combined - so get your rosters set.
8/6 - Following a rambling, disconnected path in my web surfing this morning, I began to wonder how tightly correlated team saves were with team wins. You’d think that a team with more wins would tend to have more saves. But it’s also plausible that teams with more wins tend to have bigger winning margins, and therefore relatively fewer save opportunities. So I ran a quick correlation analysis on this year’s team stats. The resulting correlation coefficient was 60%, suggesting that both of my subjective observations might be somewhat valid.
I figured I’d compare that with the last several years. In 2009, the correlation was much higher, 79%. In 2008, it was 75%. I began to wonder if this year was turning out to be a significant aberration. But in 2007, the correlation was only 58%.
Ranked by saves this season, the top six teams all have at least 62 wins (SF, TB, Tex, SD, Bos, CWS). But Kansas City, with a 46-62 record, ranks 7th in saves. That’s probably a consequence of playing a lot of close games, and having an excellent closer. (67% of the Royals’ wins have produced a save, which is way ahead of any other team’s ratio.) The Nationals (48-61) rank 10th in saves. At the south end of the rankings, Colorado is next to last in saves, in spite of a 56-52 record. St. Louis (60-48) ranks 24th in total saves. Philly (60-48) ranks 22nd. The saves for each of those three teams are less than 40% of their win totals.
I guess the moral of the story is that it depends on a lot of things, perhaps most importantly the quality of the closer. A top quality closer on a bad team can still amass a very competitive total of saves. And a lesser quality closer isn’t necessarily going to benefit a lot by being on a top team. But there are still anomalies. For example, the Yankees rank only 16th in saves, even though Rivera’s stats (0.91 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, .141 BAA) look as strong as ever. Go figure.
Just a quick heads up for next week. I’ll be “out of office” on Monday and Tuesday, so there will be no blurbs on those days. Back on Wednesday. Enjoy the weekend.
8/5 - Jon Lester concedes that he’s not pitching his best of late. On the other hand, in his last four starts, here are his per-game averages: 6.7 IP, 7 hits, 2 BB, 3 ER. Not great, but certainly not awful. Unfortunately for him (and his fantasy owners), they have produced a W/L record of 0-4. You’d think that a starting pitcher on the Red Sox could pick up a few wins with those stats. But so goes the fate of the Red Sox, who have scored a total of only 9 runs in those four starts combined.
The Turning Stone Resort Championship got started early this morning, but is already in a weather delay. Brendon de Jonge is the popular favorite in GuruGolf, on more than 40% of active foursomes. I guess that’s not surprising at all, since he has made 8 straight cuts, and finished in the top ten in 3 of his last 5 tournaments.
If you are mulling over the opportunity to join the RIFC AA football league (see yesterday’s blurb), act quickly. The league is almost full.
8/4 - I’m not sure of the running count, but I know that we still need a few more managers for the RIFC AA league. For those who may be unfamiliar with the RIFC qualifying leagues, here is a quick rundown:
The Turning Stone Resort Championship tees off tomorrow morning. There is a fairly significant turnover in the field vs. last week, so make sure you check your GuruGolf rosters today.
8/3 - Oakland starter Trevor Cahill is quietly putting together a very solid season. In 19 starts, he is 11-4 with a 2.72 ERA and a .192 BAA. The numbers have been even better in his four starts since the All Star break. In the past 30 days, only one pitcher has produced more total fantasy points in the RotoHog Salary Cap game, and you’ll probably never guess who that pitcher is.
Brett Myers. Who knew?
On the football front, there are reports this morning that Brett Favre will not return to the NFL this season. Of course, until we get to September (or maybe October), you can’t assume that anything is final with regard to Favre.
8/2 - The MLB trade deadline has passed, and there was quite a flurry of activity. I’ll let other sites comment on the relative winners and losers. But I counted more than 30 players on an active MLB roster this morning who were on a different team just one week ago.
The top best ball score in GuruGolf this weekend was a -55 from TD5, three strokes ahead of the next best result. On the worst ball side, BennyEmm prevailed with a +37, aided mightily by John Daly, who contributed +8 to his team scorecard on the final day. This was a tough tournament for worst ball scoring, as evidenced by the number of low individual scores, including a 59 by Appleby and a 60 from J.B. Holmes.
This week’s GuruGolf event is the Turning Stone Resort Championship, which will exclude the top golfers, who will be at the WGC event in Akron. The reason is that the Turning Stone event offers the traditional cut after two rounds, while the WGC events do not.
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
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 toGuru<firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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