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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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9/30 - One more game. The situation would seem to favor the White Sox, playing at home where they are 25 games over .500, while the Twins are 11 games under .500 on the road. But when it all comes down to one game, it can actually come down to one pitch, or one weird bounce, or one errant call. So youneneverknow…
If your baseball season is over, and you have a whole week to wait for the next NFL action, you might want to consider joining a AA qualifying league for the RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge (RIHC). Eight teams have signed up so far, but we need 12 to fill the league, one of whom must also volunteer to serve as Commissioner. The winner advances to the RIHC next year, and the top teams will be invited to move up to a AAA league. No experience required, and no cost. Click the link for more details and to sign up – while supplies last.
Hats off to Dec, whose top results for week #4 in Football Pickoff were bolstered by his double of Washington over Dallas. Only 37% of slates had a positive score this week.
9/29 - Tough day to be a Mets fan.
If you had to pick up a few pitchers yesterday in a late-game race to the wire, the chances are you did well, assuming you had a full sample to select from. In salary cap leagues, I chose from among about a half dozen plausible options, and as it turned out, none would have burned me. I ended up with various combinations of Randy Johnson, CC Sabathia, and Tim Lincecum, and from the looks of the leagues I was in, Scott Baker was also a popular choice. Those four averaged over 150 TSNP. If only my success rate was better for the first 180 days of the season!
Congrats to long-time Gurupie ColdWater Coyotes who won the championship of the 2008 RIBC, leading the league wire to wire. His final margin of victory was not a record, but his season was about as dominating as any I can recall. I managed to nail down 4th place, which is my best result in five years of RIBC activity. For some reason, I’ve been much more successful in the Invitational Football and Hoops leagues. I suppose it could be because I keep drafting Victor Martinez.
In football, Kurt Warner had an adventurous day. I don’t ever recall a QB ranking among the top ten QBs (in fantasy points) for the day while committing 5 turnovers! And the Jets defense was one of the top defenses of the day, in spite of the fact that their opponent put 35 points on the scoreboard. Of course, those two phenomena are directly related.
9/26 - In any fantasy sport, managing the endgame is always tricky. And this weekend has an extra twist – the weather. It’s entirely possible (maybe even likely) that the Mets and Phillies will both be rained out for the next two days. If so, that probably means doubleheaders on Sunday and another game on Monday, if needed. (Sunday’s weather doesn’t even look like a sure thing.) Santana and Hamels might start on Sunday, or Monday, or not at all. Key hitters like Ryan Howard, Utley, Delgado, Beltran, Reyes, Wright, … who knows when they’ll play, and how many they’ll play. And the rain could impact other venues as well, most notably Boston and Baltimore. If you’re in a tight race, stay flexible and consider a lot of contingencies – particularly in a salary cap game where you have a wide variety of options.
If you’re not in a baseball race, enjoy the mayhem! Earlier this week, it looked like everything could be settled before Sunday. Now it’s not even clear that Monday will bring closure.
9/25 - If you were a Mets fan watching last night’s game, all I can say is, “Yikes!” And if their playoff hopes aren’t enough on edge, the weekend weather may really mess things up, with 100% chance of (heavy) rain forecast for Friday, and 90% on Saturday. If you have Mets or Marlins in your weekend fantasy plans, take note. The Yankees/Red Sox series is similarly tenuous, and Philly may also have trouble getting them all played. You should probably try to figure out how your league will handle any games that have to be played on Monday.
CC Sabathia probably has no shot at the NL Cy Young award, but maybe a stonger case could be made for MVP if the Brewers survive to the postseason - and Sabathia gets them there on Sunday (once again on 3 days rest.) It’s hard to imagine how any player could have been more valuable to his team.
9/24 - The Twins did what they needed to do to stay in the hunt. So did Milwaukee and the Mets. The Phillies backpedaled a step, giving the Mets a shot at something other than the wild card. And Houston is all but toast.
Meanwhile, it was a tough night for Cy Young candidates, as both Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum lost, increasing their combined loss total for the season by a third. They should each get one final start on the last day of the season.
In football, the NFL begins the non-weather-induced bye week period, with six teams off. Alas, this is the one week of the season when you can’t benefit by pickup up the defense that faces the Lions.
9/23 - I forgot an obvious one yesterday. We also know by now that K.C. is lousy.
In spite of a few big upsets, it was a fairly rewarding weekend to pick favorites in Football Pickoff. Congrats to TD1, with 14 correct picks and a high score of 542. Slightly over half of all active slates were positive this week, and going with a straight set of favorites would have gotten you 13 correct picks.
We’re down to the final 6 (or possibly 7) days of the baseball season. At this point, it looks like not many races will go down to the final day. Boston will clinch a playoff spot any day now, leaving only the seeding between the Sox and Rays to be decided in the AL East. Minnesota almost needs to sweep their current 3-game head-to-head series vs. the White Sox, or they’ll be toast. Winning only two of three leaves them needing some big help from Cleveland on the weekend. And in the N.L., although only one playoff spot has been clinched, Philly and the Dodgers can wrap up their spots before the weekend if they can keep winning. The NL wild card spot still is anyone’s game, though, with the Mets and the Brewers the most likely contenders. Those teams are only separated by one game in the loss column. Houston still has an outside chance, but needs some serious help. And while Florida is still mathematically alive, the odds are virtually off the chart – although they could still play spoiler for the Mets this weekend.
9/22 - It usually takes at least three weeks of the NFL season before we start to understand what’s really going on. So, since most teams have now completed three games, let me suggest a few assessments:
9/19 - Tim Lincecum lost his shot to win 20 games this season, but he certainly pitched well enough. Well, almost well enough.
But the Brewers suffered a much more crushing blow, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when a 4-run lead got away in the 9th inning. Meanwhile, the Astros’ bats continued to be virtually silent. Since Ike blew through Houston, they have lost five straight, scoring only 5 runs on 16 hits in those five games combined – while surrendering an average of 7.6 runs per game. Their September has certainly been a month of extremes in many respects. Make that extreme extremes.
9/18 - Brandon Webb won his 21st game last night, but it still may be that he’s lost the inside track on the NL Cy Young award – especially if the Dbacks fail to catch the Dodgers. Tim Lincecum has been building a strong case, and if he can win his last three outings, he would win 20 games, which is really impressive, given that the Giants are 16 games under .500. Tonight he goes for number 18. And I probably just jinxed him.
Yesterday, I started a sign-up thread for the RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge (RIHC) Qualifying Leagues. If you would like to participate in this year’s leagues (12-team, 8 category roto scoring), please sign up. Even if you’ve never played before, you can join a AA league. There is no cost. Drafts will take place in October, and will be “slow” online draft, using the On The Clock software from kafenatid.net. A typical draft takes about 7-10 days, so you have plenty of time to think between picks.
I also loaded the new NBA schedule yesterday. I think all of the schedule functions, including the 4-week generator and the Sched-O-Matic are working properly – but let me know if something looks off. For those of you who are familiar with the color coding, there’s an awful lot of red in the first week or so, and hardly any green.
9/17 - Minnesota suffered a surprising double-whammy in Cleveland last night, putting their post-season hopes further in jeopardy. It started when Francisco Liriano was shelled for 8 runs in less than three innings. Liriano had been rock solid in all eight starts since joining the rotation in early August. But even though he left trailing 8-1, the Twins battled back to take a 9-8 lead in the top of the 8th. A Sizemore HR sent the game into extra innings, when stud closer Joe Nathan gave up a 3-run dinger to Victor Martinez. When Liriano and Nathan surrender 11 runs in a total of three innings, you know there’s a disturbance in the force.
I hadn’t realized it, but Nathan hasn’t actually been that solid of late. In fact, his last save was on August 27th, and his last seven appearances have produced two losses and three blown saves.
The rotoguru1 server (where most site functions reside, including the forum and stats) got a new hard drive last night, and performance has already noticeably improved. In particular, forum response times had been getting worse and worse over the past few weeks, and I finally decided that the hard drive was the most likely culprit. This morning’s performance tends to confirm that my diagnosis was correct. However, there is a technical error that is prohibiting the Assimilator (baseball and football) from being able to copy in rosters from the TSN site. I’m hoping this will be resolved shortly, but if you try it and get an error, it’s not just you. It’s due to another disturbance in the force, I suppose.
9/16 - Quite a battle last night! Worthy of staying up late – unlike many MNF games.
DeSean Jackson’s boneheaded celebratory fumble before crossing the goal line may not have cost the Cowboys a score (since Dallas scored on the next play), but in fantasy circles, I’m sure it had nastier implications. I know of at least one team (with Jackson) that lost its head-to-head matchup by less than that botched score. Sometimes it’s better not to know…
Congrats to TB, whose 13 correct picks produced the top score in Football Pickoff this weekend. Overall results were more balanced this week, with a score of zero very close to the median. For the full season, though, only about 40% of slates have their noses above water.
9/15 - Tough break for the Astros. After winning six in a row, they get stormed-out for two games at home, then are forced to move two home games to Milwaukee, and then get no hit by Carlos Zambrano. I guess that’s one way to stop the momentum.
Perhaps the most surprising moment of the football weekend was Denver’s decision to go for a two-point conversion with 29 seconds remaining, eschewing the virtually automatic tie in favor of taking a shot at winning. It worked – and it makes sense in the context of the NFL’s overtime process, which can place so much on a coin flip – but it’s still hardly ever done.
The top RB of the day (in TSNP) was from San Diego, but it wasn’t the one you’d expect. Darren Sproles had 53 yards rushing, 72 yards receiving, a 103-yard kick return TD, and a receiving TD. Even if you didn’t get any benefit from the kick return, that’s still a pretty hefty day. And I’m sure y9ou all saw that coming.
I have some NFL schedule maintenance to do, with the rescheduling of the Baltimore-Houston game and the related Cincy adjustment. My baseball programs are set up to easily accommodate rescheduled games, but my football systems are more cumbersome to adapt. So I have to remember all the places that need to be changed. I’ll try to get that done in the next day.
9/12 - If Brandon Webb can’t pull it together, and CC Sabathia doesn’t post enough wins, it’s possible that Roy Oswalt could sneak up and claim the NL Cy Young award. His full season stats aren’t as superb as one would expect from a Cy Young winner – including a 3.54 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP, and .254 BAA. But he could still end up with 18 wins (against 9 losses), and if he continues to dominate as he has recently, and if the Astros finish their Colorado-style surge to claim a wild card berth, he’d have to get strong consideration. Since the All Star break, he’s got a 1.94 ERA and a .198 BAA while going 8-1. Those stats certainly are sufficiently dominant.
But the ‘Stros will have to wait a few days to continue their surge, as the only surge in Houston for the next two days will be storm-related. It sounds like the missed games could be made up by playing 3 games over Sunday-Monday, but that assumes that the storm damage in the area is minimal enough to return to “business as usual” mode. We’ll just have to see.
Don’t forget to make your weekend selections for Football Pickoff. And if you neglected to sign up for the opening week, why not start now? With a score of zero, you’re already ahead of roughly two-thirds of all participants!
9/11 - The Angels have advanced. I’m glad that suspense is over.
Meanwhile, the imminent demise of the Rays was apparently exaggerated, as they took the final two games from Boston in Fenway Park, combining strong pitching with clutch hitting. Going into the ninth inning on Tuesday, it looked like they were about to drop behind the Sox. Suddenly, the lead is back to 2.5 games.
On the NL side, Arizona lost its 6th straight game, including a 3-game sweep by the Giants. With the Dodgers winning 9 of 10, the DBacks look like toast. But there are still 16-17 games to go.
Speaking of the Dodgers, Manny Ramirez hit two more homers last night, and is now hitting .396/.488/.766 since the trade, with 14 HRs and 40 RBI is 38 games. And Boston is paying his salary! That’s got to frost the Red Sox somewhat.
On the other hand, Jason Bay has been a reasonable replacement, with 7 HRs and 33 RBIs for Boston. Still, his post-trade OPS of .889 is almost 400 points lower than Manny’s. More importantly, though, Boston is 24-12 since the trade, and they’ve even been missing Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew for a good portion of that period. So I don’t think they’re second guessing themselves.
9/10 - A post in the message forum starts out, “I had Colston, Brady and Burleson on my team…” Ouch!
At least Colston should be back in 4-6 weeks. And I guess it could have been worse. He could have had Vince Young as his backup QB. Then again, I see that his backup QBs are J.T. O’Sullivan, Damon Huard, and Trent Edwards. So it’s not that much better.
Actually, I just realized it could be a lot worse. It could be MY team!
9/9 - If you use TSNP as a yardstick, Aaron Rodgers topped Brett Favre in week #1, and did so against the supposedly stronger defense. It’s only one week, but the Packers’ brass must be feeling vindicated so far.
In Denver, the Broncos may just ask Brandon Marshall to sit out the rest of his original suspension. They certainly didn’t miss him last night, scoring 41 points, with Eddie Royal the big beneficiary, garnering honors as the top WR in TSNP for the opening weekend.
In Football Pickoff, mafiamcveigh01 took the early lead with 419 points on 12 correct picks. Only about one-third of all slates opened with positive points.
9/8 - In every draft-and-trade style league this morning, one manager is moaning "Why did I draft Tom Brady in the first round?" Sometimes, life can be very cruel.
In any event, it look like we'll get a chance to find out if Matt Cassell is any good. Maybe he'll play so well that Brady will lose his job. Remember Drew Bledsoe?
All of the usual football stats and reports are now available. Feel free to explore.
Although football has clearly taken center stage in the fantasy sports universe, I must pay homage today to the final results in GuruGolf, which ended in a photo finish yesterday. Congratulations to G BB 2, who managed to stave off a furious late surge by the Long Island Ducks (who were attempting to 3-peat) and win by a single stroke in the best ball competition. The worst ball competition was won by WB-jeffg with a 10 stroke margin.
Finally, the prize for the top roster value was won by bestball runnerup Long Island Ducks, and this title was a 3-peat. His final value of $6260 was a full $500 better than the second place team.
All prize winners will be contacted later this week to make arrangements. Thanks to everyone for a great season!
9/5 - One NFL game in the books. 255 to go.
I haven't processed any football fantasy points for last night's game. I'll get those all worked out by next Monday.
After yesterday's expected total washout, the BMW Championship should get underway today. The popular favorite on GuruGolf teams is Vijay Singh - no surprise there - on about 38% of active rosters. But every single golfer in the tournament field is represented on at least one GuruGolf foursome this week.
This is the final week for GuruGolf in 2008. If you're contending for the overall championship - and neither the best ball nor the worst ball titles are "in the bag" yet - good luck. This is also the final week of the "Final Four" contest, which has even tighter races.
9/4 - Are you ready for some football?
The NFL season opener is at 7pm tonight, presumably pushed up to the earlier time so that NBC could show McCain's convention speech after the game. If you plan to play Football Pickoff this season, you have until 7pm to lock in your pick for tonight's game. However, you can wait until 1pm ET Sunday to lock in your picks for the rest of the weekend.
A.Rod finally seems to be heating up. It's probably way too late for the Yankees' fortunes, but the Red Sox couldn't be happier, as the Yanks have now taken two from the Rays, and the A.L. East margin is down to 3 games (4 in the loss column). Boston seems to be gaining the upper hand in the wild card race, however, so maybe the Rays' recent woes aren't of much consequence. Still, anything can happen. Remember Colorado last September?
The BMW Championship - in St. Louis - was supposed to tee off this morning, but it's already looking like the day could be a washout, if this morning photo of the arch is any indication. Tee times have been pushed back by 2 hours, and I suspect that will be the first of many delays - unless they simply give up quickly. When they do play, I'm guessing the greens will be really soft - assuming that they're not submerged.
9/3 - I'm a bit behind the 8-ball today, as I've been banging my head against the wall to try to solve some thorny programming problems - without much success. Ugh.
In any event, don't forget to set your GuruGolf rosters one final time. This week's BMW Championship is the final event in the GuruGolf season. The scheduled tee time is late tomorrow morning - although that may be problematic, as the St. Louis area is expecting heavy rains from the fringes of tropical storm Gustave. But even if tomorrow is a complete washout, the weather should clear by Friday, and with a small field of just 69 golfers, they should have no trouble making up for lost time.
9/2 - Brandon Webb may be having trouble nailing down his Cy Young award early, but Cliff Lee seems to be having no such trouble. Lee hasn't lost a game since before the All Star game, and since August 1st he's won every game he's started, never working less than 7 innings, and never surrendering more than 2 earned runs. His 20-2 record for the season surely has locked up his "Where'd that come from?" award.
Lee came to the Indians in 2002 as part of the Bartolo Colon trade. In addition to Lee, the Tribe also received Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips in that trade. If only Cleveland hadn't given up on Phillips about one season too early...
Vijay Singh won his second straight tournament yesterday, this time obliterating the field with a -8 on the final day to win by five strokes. Two GuruGolf teams shared the top bestball score of -57. Worstball honors belonged to little moe with a +47.
9/1 - When I put a jinx on a pitcher, I don't mess around. In my August 22nd blurb, I all but conceded the NL Cy Young award to Brandon Webb, who had 19 wins at the time, and whose historical record in September gave no reason to expect even a minor a meltdown (which I guess would be a "thaw", not a "meltdown".)
Then again, he had to get to September first. And in his final two August starts, "meltdown" is as good a term as any: 8 innings, 12 earned runs, and a BAA of over .400.
It was a tough day for more than one Webb. The official scorer for the Pittsburgh-Milwaukee game was a man named Bob Webb. Official scorers tend to toil in obscurity, but Webb's ruling of an infield hit in the 5th against CC Sabathia turned out to attract national notoriety, and the Brewers have even protested the call. I don't recall a team ever protesting an official scorer's call, although I suppose it's happened. While Yost was animated in his post-game comments, Sabathia was more reflective: "The ball was still rolling and I probably should have picked it up with my glove. We probably wouldn't be having this conversation. I think if I pick it up with my glove, I get him."
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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