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

11/30 - A lot of Smallworld points were scored this weekend. The best possible roster produced over 4000 SWP, and there's still one more game to go. Hope you got your fair share.

My Thanksgiving roster shuffling was of mixed success. Barry Sanders was probably the biggest disappointment, garnering only 64 SWP on turkey day. I had also picked up Johnnie Morton for my "sleeper" pick, and was bummed when his apparent TD catch was ruled incomplete. I had Vinny Testaverde as well, and on most weeks, his 354 SWP would have seemed pretty good. But so far, it ranks only 7th among quarterbacks, and Steve Young still has his game to go. I had considered picking up Peyton Manning (vs. the Ravens), which would have gained an extra 98 SWP, but opted to go with WR Marvin Harrison instead. Unfortunately, he got injured. At least I did have Marshall Faulk for his huge 606 SWP game. I swapped out of Hearst for him, and I doubt if Hearst will do that well tonight. My higher ranked team picked up over 1800 SWP so far, and with Steve Young yet to play, a 2000+ weekend looks quite possible - barring injury.

Team defenses took the brunt of the high offensive production. The average team defense produced -496 SWP, the highest of any week thus far. Of course, tonight's game could still change that (though tonight's two teams would have to combine for -90 SWP to tie the second highest average defensive weekend). Unfortunately, I didn't have Miami (I had them last week for their -615 SWP game instead - argh!). But I'm sure Green Bay disappointed a lot of you. Looking ahead to next week, I don't see any "comfortable" choices. This is going to take some thinking.

As I mentioned in my response to a feedback request last week, I'm going to attempt to produce a division ranking this week, probably based on the average score of the top five teams in each division. If you are in a division which begins with the letters "RotoGuru" or "Guru", I will automatically include your division. If you're in a different division, and you want to be included, please send me the name of your division (and tell me whether it's from the Smallworld or CNN/SI site).

I've changed the RotoGuru poll for this week, based on a suggestion from Gurupie Jeff Hagen. IF you have specific comments to make (such as what you do or don't like about the defense slot or formula), send me a feedback email.

11/25 - The RotoGuru Team Rankings underwent an expansion and a facelift last night. Gurupie Tim Lilly wrote to ask me if I had the means to isolate and rank the points just for team defense. Tim thought he was doing quite well with his defensive picks, but lagged on offense, and was hoping to find something to "hang his hat on". After a little thought, I realized I could do it, using the summary stats by scoring category at the bottom of each team page - information which I had previously thought was pretty useless (actually, I still think it's pretty useless, but at least I now have one use). Since the team defense scoring categories are unique, I can break out a defensive SWP subtotal. However, since defensive points are negative, I soon realized that teams which haven't been active all season have a decided advantage. In fact, even teams which happened to be invalid for just one week have an advantage. Using my historical data - which is admittedly incomplete - I identified teams that appeared to have at least one invalid week (including late starters), and left them out of the defensive point rankings. The rest of the RotoGuru teams are now ranked for defensive average (I figured the average defensive score was more intuitive to evaluate). And Tim, you were right! You rank #5 in average defense, but your #600 ranked offense does indeed suck!

By expanding the table with an extra column, the page was getting too wide to work with the standard RotoGuru page format, so I eliminated the left menu. Also, since I had a defense breakout, it was simple to isolate the points for offense as well, so I also ranked that too. All teams are ranked for offense, including those with invalid weeks, since missing a week is a disadvantage for offensive points. I haven't fully evaluated the results yet, but I wonder whether there is a theme (i.e., what's more important to success: offense, or defense?).

One footnote on defensive points. I have no way to identify the number of bye defenses that were included in a team's score. A bye week defense is included in the summary stats as 325 yards allowed, so there's no good way to break this information out. Just under 30% of the RotoGuru teams have averaged better than -325 per week, and about 1/8th of the teams are averaging better than -300. One of my teams is just under that mark, at -298. Of course, it's the team with the worse offense. Figures.

Here's my plan for the rest of the week. I'll update all pages later today after prices are updated. Assuming SW gets the new prices released at the usual time, most of my pages should be updated by late afternoon. New team rankings probably won't be updated until mid-evening. Tomorrow, over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house I go! I'll be taking a few days off. Points for Thursday's games won't be updated until next Monday, along with the regular Sunday game processing. If you've got Sanders, Moss, Cunningham, Stewart, the Smith bros, or any other Thursday players - do your own ciphering if you're that anxious to know how they did! I'm goin' "cold turkey" for a few days.

Happy Thanksgiving, Gurupies!

11/24 update: Oops! I found a data error in the first release my latest article. It had an impact only on the Quarterback data, and has now been corrected. Sorry about that!

11/24 - Does Terry Glenn really mean that much to the Pats offense, or did the Fish really just "blow some coverages"? Glenn, returning from a 4 week hamstring injury, didn't really light 'em up, posting only 118 SWP, but his presence does seem to give opposing defenses more to think about. Incidentally, Glenn's price is currently only $100,000, so if you're "cash-challenged", you may want to consider him.

I posted my latest research piece, Opposing Viewpoints, in which I take a position-by-position look at how relative scoring differs by opponent. I'll be the first to acknowledge that, while there's a lot of data to evaluate, I'm not sure how much of it leads to useful information. But, it should be of interest to hard core Gurupies.

Hope you took my contrarian signal last week and avoided the Chargers' and the Dolphins' defenses. Yech! (Too bad, too, because my team with Miami had over 2500 SWP without the defense, and a strong game from the Dolphins could have done a lot for my ranking.) I could sure use a bye week about now. That guaranteed -325 SWP is lookin' more attractive every week. Those were the good ol' days!

One quick alert: the tables of team defenses vs. opponents was incorrect yesterday. It's fixed now, but if you used it yesterday, you ought to recheck it to make sure your "facts" are valid.

A few Thanksgiving week thoughts:

  • Beware of Jamal Anderson tomorrow. I suspect a lot of managers dumped him prior to Sunday, since his playing status was questionable. In fact, more than half of the top teams which held him last Wednesday had dropped him by Sunday. If you want to pick him up, wait until Wednesday night. (But make sure to get it done before the Thursday morning freeze period.) If you still have Anderson, and cash matters, you might even want to drop him and leave his roster slot open, so you can pick him back up cheaper.
  • If you've got the cash, consider Barry Sanders. I don't have stats to back it up, but if recollection serves me well, he always seems to do well on Thanksgiving. Maybe it's the national attention.
  • Green Bay's defense hasn't been too stellar this season, but this week they get to face the thrice-shutout Eagles in Lambeau field. How much downside can there be?
  • Sticking with the Eagles-Packers game, note in my latest research that wide receivers have not done well against Philly, getting held below average 9 out of 10 times. This may not bode well for Antonio Freeman, who is coming off 3 sub-par weeks. Will the trends continue, or is Freeman due?
  • If you're looking for a cheap option at tight end, consider Buffalo's Jay Riemersma, who gets to test one of the more striking matchup stats - New England's horrendous record against tight ends. Last night, Miami's Troy Drayton kept the pattern going, picking up 94 SWP, which was 53 SWP above his YTD average.
I'll let you pick up from here. Happy trading!

11/23 - There was a lot of offense out there yesterday. Some of it was highly relevant (from a SW standpoint), and some was not. To wit:

  • At quarterback, the few who benefited from Jake Plummer's second consecutive big game are to be congratulated. But I doubt that anyone (who is serious about the game) had Trent Green, who put up a ridiculous total of 650 SWP!
  • At running back, those who decided not to risk a potential no-show from Jamal Anderson may have been disappointed when he ended up starting, but were probably happy that they ducked when he posted only 112 SWP. But I doubt many made the best switch, swapping Anderson for Priest Holmes and his 442 SWP showing. Actually, I did pretty well on my swap, though, dropping Anderson in favor of Garrison Hearst, who had the second best day for running backs. More on that choice later.
  • Randy Moss rewarded his believers with his second big day against the Pack. But I doubt many of you had the even better choices of Michael Westbrook or Derrick Alexander.
  • And I doubt that many of you had either Wesley Walls or Freddie Jones, each who cracked the 200 SWP mark, a rarity for a tight end.
  • But team defense was probably the make-or-break roster slot yesterday. If you had either side in the KC/SD shootout, my condolences. I had SD on one of my teams. Roughly one-third of the top 100 teams had one or the other of these teams as well. About 1-in-5 of the top teams had Atlanta, which turned out pretty well. About 1-in-10 had the guts to go with the Giants, and they got the big reward. (I know a lot of you are kicking yourselves today for not having picked them.) And 7 of the top teams held on to Oakland - which turned out to be a predictable disaster. Miami was another popular defensive pick for this weekend, and we've got to wait another day to see how that one fares.
Why did I pick up Hearst? Two reasons. (1) He had 306 SWP in his first game against the Saints, and (2) based on my latest research, I discovered that the leading rusher of the Saints' opponents had exceeded his average in eight out of the 1st ten games this year. I've been looking for trends in over- or under-performance by position by opposing team, and while most of the data is inconclusive, 8 out of 10 sounded like it might be relevant. And it was - at least this time. I'll try to get my findings written up by tomorrow, so you can have the benefit of it prior to this week's trading.

By the way, there are Thursday games this week, so the trading freeze period is early. Ditto for next week.

Finally, sorry about the late update today. Technical difficulties have prevented me from being able to update anything since Saturday, but I think they're ironed out now.

11/20 - The next Green Bay running back has bitten the dust, as Raymont Harris is now sidelined indefinitely with a crack in his upper fibula. So this week it's up to Darick Holmes, who actually gained 100 yards last weekend as well. Frankly, I can't see why anyone would have a Packer RB on their roster now, anyway.

The big news in my neck of the woods is the Patriots' planned move to Hartford in 2001. If it all goes through, the new stadium will be about a 10 minute drive from my house (except on game day, I suspect). Cool. Believe it or not, I've never attended an NFL game - the only major sport which I've missed. As a kid, the closest pro football team was the Browns, who typically sold out. And Municipal Stadium was a wretched place to watch a football game, too - so I'm told. Actually, the other close pro football franchise was the OSU Buckeyes, who I did see play once in the horseshoe. But it looks like I may get a golden opportunity to rectify that void in my life. By 2001, the Browns may even be respectable again, if the fate of the last two expansion teams is any indication.

My email this week has been focused (or unfocused, actually) on the choice of defense for this weekend. Gurupie Steve Houpt, who has contributed some interesting analysis in prior weeks, essentially threw in the towel this week when he offered that:
  "I can understand why there is no consensus on a defense this week. I've used different calculations and analysis, using your team defense and prior opponents' offense, different power ratings to predict probable points allowed, and team takeaways vs. giveaways. I've averaged them, looked at each teams best/worst prediction and I've been able to convince myself of about ten different teams that would be a good pick"

Gurupie Tony Slaymaker noted that the top ten teams at the SW site have nine different defensive selections. The top 50 WW leaders haven't been updated at the SW site (and at this point, they probably won't be), so I can't get a complete inventory of the top 100 teams. I can only get at the rosters of 93 of the top 100 teams, and here are their defensive picks as of 10:00 am EST this morning:

     19 Oakland
     16 San Diego     
     10 Denver
     10 Kansas City
      8 Miami
      8 Atlanta
      6 NY Giants
      3 Minnesota
      3 Baltimore
      2 Dallas
      1 NY Jets
      1 Carolina 
      1 Arizona
      1 San Fran
      4 none selected

Surprisingly, there are still 19 holding onto Oakland, although some of those may change before Sunday. Given the importance of the team defense in the point scoring, this could be a make-or-break week, since there is obviously a lot of differentiation across the board. For my two teams, I'm going with San Diego and Miami, so you should probably take those picks as good (i.e., bad) contrarian indicators.

Go for it!

11/19 - I had yesterday's price change called pretty well, didn't I? Too bad I can't get the point producers right. The money doesn't matter much if you don't own the right players.

I updated the RotoGuru team rankings last night, and one team came very close to achieving the highest possible price increase. The maximum change was $11.88 million, and the team "taxman1040" managed to get an increase of $11.29 million. Unfortunately, looking over this team's historical performance indicates that it isn't producing as well on the field either.

The most expensive roster now costs $113.05m, a figure now affordable by roughly 10% of the RotoGuru teams. The best scoring team is worth about $109m, making it affordable for 105 of the RotoGuru teams - more than 15% of all teams. So much for holding down roster inflation.

The listing of WW leaders hasn't been updated at the SW site, so I can't yet update my inventory of the top 100 teams. Based on my incomplete tally, though, there is no consensus on team defense for this week. In fact, Oakland still seems to be the most prevalent, on roughly 25% of rosters, although this is down from last weekend's 55%. And I suspect there will be more Raider dumping prior to Sunday.

11/18 - Repricing day. I've had a few people ask me whether I think there is a carryover effect when a player maxes out on his weekly price change. Specifically, since both Steve Young and Randall Cunningham dropped the max of $3 million last week, is it reasonable to expect that last week's excess sales (those which would have pushed their prices down by more than $3m) could cause their prices to continue to drop this week?

I this the answers are "yes" and "no". Yes, I do think that excess sales are carried over, and absent any buying interest, those two prices would drop further today. However, I'm pretty sure that won't happen. In the case of Young, there was already a good deal of buying between Wednesday and Sunday by the top 100 teams, and with Young putting up reasonably good numbers on Sunday, he looks pretty attractive at a price under $10 million. It wouldn't surprise me to see him recover most of that $3 million today - maybe even all of it.

The case for Cunningham is less clear cut, as there wasn't much buying interest in him late last week, given the uncertainty of his playing status. However, if you want Cunningham on your roster, I'd be inclined to pick him up now, rather than waiting. With Brad Johnson back on the shelf, Cunningham is going to be starting for a few more weeks, if not the remainder of the season. And at a price of around $3 million, there isn't much downside. Actually, I'd expect some price increase for him as well, but not nearly as strong as for Young.

With Young and Cunningham coming back, this bodes poorly for the price performance of the other higher ranked QBs. I'd expect Testaverde to take it on the chin, after a rather uninspired performance last Sunday. McNair will probably falter as well, though he did a bit better on the field, his YTD points are better and his price is lower, so he will probably hold up better. Interestingly, those two face each other this weekend in Tennessee.

The somewhat unfortunate side effect of all this is that Young is likely to dominate most rosters once again, making it tougher to gain ground on the pack. Still, every other QB looks inferior next to Steve, so it's hard not to go with the perpetual hot hand. Even when he's having a rather mediocre game - as was the case for most of the Atlanta game last Sunday - it took only a few quick strikes to get him back on track. The two late TD bombs to Rice and Owens were worth about 250 SWP - which means the rest of the game was only worth about 100. Had Young been shut down in the 4th quarter as well, this week's trading outlook would have been much cloudier.

I think the more interesting trade story today will be about defenses. It's not clear to me that any team will dominate the buy side. But Oakland will probably suffer massive selling, reversing the heavy buying of the past month. Dallas may lose some steam as well, after its poor showing in the second half against Arizona. I suspect the winners today will be Miami, San Diego, Kansas City, and possibly the Giants (on the basis of their matchup vs. the hapless Eagles). The Jets could do OK, although they may have been derailed a bit by their poor showing against the Colts. Atlanta could also get some action, given their recent hot streak and a matchup vs. the Bears. We'll see.

I'm having trouble finding good "quotes of the day" for football. If you find any football related quotes that are pertinent, impertinent, or funny, shoot 'em in.

RotoGuru team rankings were updated last night. Both of my teams lost ground on the field. No Fred Taylors, 2 McCaffreys, one Dallas, ... I just can't seem to get it right. Oh well.

I hope those meteors stay away from the Smallworld satellite today.

11/17 - There are a few positions which will require some extra thought in this week's trading. In particular:

  • Quarterbacks are still in play, with both Young and Cunningham back in the fold at discounted prices.
  • Ed McCaffrey's injury last night, while perhaps not serious, still merits some trade thought.
  • Oakland faces Denver, and especially with Raider cornerback Eric Allen out, we can expect a big Oakland selloff. But who to pick up?
You may want to check out some of Doug Loeb's updated defensive stats for help on your team defense decision. See the feedback page.

I made some minor scoring changes last night to Jerry Rice and Steve McNair. It appears that the NFL made prior week scoring adjustments for each of them, but I can't tell which game they apply to - and it doesn't look like Smallworld picks up these prior weeks adjustments anyway. So I just posted the correct week 11 point total, and left their prior weeks unadjusted.

Thanks to Steve Lubot for suggesting this weeks poll question. I got a few more good suggestions as well, so I'm stocked for the next few cycles. Thanks for your ideas.

11/16 - The winner of the QB sweepstakes yesterday was Jake Plummer. But if you didn't have him on your roster, take heart; neither did any of the top 100 teams. I updated the roster inventory shortly after gametime yesterday. As you can see, Steve Young was picked up quite a bit during the second half of the week, and a couple of late TD bombs made that pickup worthwhile - unless, of course, you dropped Plummer, Kordell Stewart, or Brett Favre to get him. Actually, I see that one of the top 100 teams did have Plummer on Wednesday, but dropped him before Sunday - probably in favor of Young.

It's even more interesting that 15 of the top 100 teams dropped the day's best RB, Fred Taylor, between Wednesday and Sunday. (Wonder if the same guy who dropped Plummer also dropped Taylor?) Robert Smith was the big beneficiary of the Taylor swaps. What a disaster that trade turned out to be! A giveup of 424 SWP. Hoo-boy!

Jerry Rice was one roster slot that the top teams seemed to get right yesterday, as he appeared on 51 of those rosters. But Reidel Anthony appeared on none of them. In addition to his high SWP total, Anthony also probably had the best end-zone dance of the day. If you watched any of the post-game wrap-up shows, you probably saw it. And now that Randy Moss has been purged from most rosters, he put up a big day (250 SWP) once again.

On the defensive side of the ball, Oakland came in right on its average. But the big winner of the day was Green Bay, which posted a rare positive score against the pitiful Giants. Again, none of the top 100 teams had them either. But 18 of the top teams got stuck with Dallas and their -640 SWP close call vs. Arizona.

I'm looking for a good poll question for the week. Shoot 'em in.

I'm going to wait until tomorrow to update the Team Rankings. No sense posting interim results, especially with Denver still awaiting its game.

SW Hockey managers: I put a "button" link to the SW Hockey stats site, which has been looking more and more RotoGuru-like of late. Just click on the icon in the left menu.

11/13 - The QB "fog" for this weekend is starting to clear. Steve Young seems ready to start, and given the importance of the matchup against Atlanta, he'll get the benefit of the doubt. Elway will sit out the Monday night game at KC, which makes Bubby Brister an interesting non-mainstream opportunity, especially for any "cash challenged" teams. Randall Cunningham is officially listed as "probable", but if you're thinking of picking him up, I'd wait until the last minute. And given the trade deadline snafu this week, waiting until the last minute comes with its own special risk.

Speaking of cash, the average cash balance for the RotoGuru teams is up to $7.4 million this week. (It was $4.4m last week.) The dumping of Steve Young undoubtedly contributed a lot of this. Almost 10% of these teams have more than $20 million in cash. Some of this may be for teams that still have open spots in their roster, but there are a lot of teams with tons of money and not many places to spend it. The most expensive team possible now costs just under $111 million, and 23 RotoGuru teams are already worth more than that. This most expensive team has a few players that aren't particularly desirable, too, like Jeff George and the San Fran defense. Substituting Young for George, and Dallas for San Fran produces a roster cost of $105.9m, a figure which is covered by 78 teams. It's just a gut feel, but I think relative roster inflation is much greater in this game than it has been in recent SW games. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Only seven weeks left in the NFL regular season. If the NBA doesn't get going - and that's looking doubtful - I may be out of a job by Christmastime. Oh well, that will give me an opportunity to develop a much more advanced game for the NCAA basketball tourney. I've got some really cool ideas in mind - but they depend on some database programming, which I'm not yet up to speed on. With a few weeks of concentrated self-study, though, who knows?

11/12 - The most noteworthy aspect of yesterday's repricing was not the results, but that it was done at all. From various Gurupie reports, trading was halted at the SW site around 10:00 am EST yesterday morning, and was never restored prior to repricing. So a number of managers failed to get their trades done - and the damage was substantial. Having done my trades on Tuesday, I was oblivious to the issue until emails started arriving yesterday afternoon. It does seem like a delay of several hours, if not even a full day, would have been a more appropriate choice, but the decision wasn't mine. So, deal with it. And in the future, recognize that waiting until the eleventh hour to do your trades does entail this sort of risk.

The actual price changes were rather predictable, especially at QB. The two big winners - McNair and Testaverde - probably benefited as much from their relative health as from their recent production. Favre probably would have done better if he had played better on Monday night. Chandler might be the sleeper pick of the week, facing the 49ers defense which is ranked only #25 against the pass. (In the interest of full disclosure, I do have Chandler on one of my two teams.)

Away from QB, there were a few interesting results:

  • Jamal Anderson continued to attact believers, who pushed his price into 8 digit territory. Natrone Means failed to recover his pre-bye price, rising only $300,000 after dropping $1.9m the previous two weeks. I suspect Jamal has taken Natrone's spot on a lot of rosters.
  • At wide receiver, Ed McCaffrey posted his third straight strong increase, and is now probably quite vulnerable to an off-week. At his current price, he only averages 23 SWP/G/$m, which is a little on the pricey side. At the other end, Randy Moss hit a new low in price, even lower than his draft price. What a difference a few weeks makes!
  • Tight end Cleeland Cameron held up remarkably well after having been completely shutout last weekend - demonstrating again that tight ends just don't matter very much. Ditto for kickers, where John Carney evidently picked up some slots previously held by Mike Vanderjagt.
  • Oakland's defense held its price fairly well, but watch out for this one next week, when they face Denver. Minnesota took over the bottom spot on the price list after a surprisingly strong showing by Arizona, who presumably increased based on late trades last week in advance of their matchup vs. the Deadskins.
I updated the roster inventory this morning for the top 100 teams. I've tallied the current rosters vs. those of last Sunday. One caveat - the teams included on the two lists reflect the top 100 as of the listed date, but only 78 of the teams are included in both listings, with 22 teams changing. So the relative shifts aren't necessarily the impact of player trades. Although the broad universe of SW teams seemed rather indifferent to Testaverde vs. McNair, these top teams show a distinct preference for Vinny. And the overwhelming choice at defense continues to be Oakland, adding further evidence for next week's predicted crash.

The final tally for "a click a day" week:   1564 clicks!   This compares to the prior week's unsolicited click total of just 129. For the past week, roughly 1 out of every 22 ads exposed was clicked. Thanks a lot. Going forward, I'll leave it to your discretion to remember to click from time to time - or at least I'll revert back to more subtle suggestions. The higher the click intensity at this site, the more attractive it is to advertisers. 'Nuff said.

Finally, a brief note about MLM. Those of you who play that game are probably aware that the MLM site has been down since Monday. Frankly, I have no insight on what's going on. The server itself is functioning, but most of the active pages seem to have been taken offline. As long-time MLM players know, communication is not the strong suit of MLM. So I don't know why it's down, or if/when it will return. We're all in the same boat - and it's obviously a rather leaky one.

11/11 - The "Pack" has lost another running back, with Travis Jervey now out for the season with a broken ankle. That's got to continue to hurt Brett Favre, whose troubles of late have been blamed (at least in part) on the lack of a viable Pack ground attack. So now Raymont Harris is "the man". He did gain over 1000 yards (barely) last season for the Bears, and Jervey was no game-breaker, so maybe this latest setback isn't all that consequential.

After six days, 1312 clicks.   Cool!   Today's the last day of the "a click a day" challenge.

I updated the RotoGuru team rankings early this morning. The average point total for these teams last weekend was only 1063. More than one-third of the teams scored less than 1000. So the quarterback carnage is very apparent. Meanwhile, the average ranking of these teams continues to climb. I know that WW ranking is an "apples & oranges" stat, since it includes rankings from two different sites. But just working with the raw, flawed numbers, the average ranking is now at 11679, vs. last week's average ranking of 12043. In fact, the average WW rankings of these RotoGuru teams have showed progressive week-to-week improvement:

             Week        Avg. WW Rank
               3            21,189
               4            15,209
               5            14,215
               6            13,541
               7            13,029
               8            12,753
               9            12,043
              10            11,679
I suspect this steady improvement is attributable to several factors:
  • RotoGuru managers are probably more attuned to the $value building strategies than the population at large, which allows for progressively improving performance as better players can be afforded.
  • As more weeks pass, the random elements are less and less dominant - at least in the YTD scores. Better managers will tend to perform better.
  • RotoGuru managers are probably less likely to drop out as the season wears on. We're winning a war of attrition.
I realize that this isn't earth shaking analysis - but it's a slow day, so I'm groping.

I'm heartened to see that my "Afterthoughts" team moved up more than 1600 spots in WW ranking, from 4500 to 2900, on the strength of a 1500+ point week (obviously Young-less and Cunningham-less).

I may not have new price tables available until later than usual this afternoon. One of my sons has a 3:00 dentist apppointment, so I probably won't get started on the price updates until after 4:00. Assuming SW has eveything updated by then, expect my pages to be up in the 5:00-6:00 (EST) corridor. RotoGuru team rankings, updated with new franchise values, will probably be posted by late night.

11/10 - Brett Favre and Kordell Stewart continued to muddy this week's QB situation, with Kordell eeking out a 1 SWP advantage over Vinny Testaverde for best SWP performance of the week, while Favre contributed a rather uninspired 198 SWP effort, roughly 80 SWP below his average. However lackluster, though, Favre's output was enough to move him into 2nd on the YTD point listing for QB's. So, how the QB churning evolves is anyone's guess. A few of you have written to say that your first priority is just to try to find 2 QB's who are virtually guaranteed to start, with a reasonable chance to finish their next game. A tall order!

All player stats are now up-to-date in all of the various reports. Several errors in yesterday's preliminary stats have been corrected. Team rankings will be updated later today.

With a lot of QB trading required this week, it is quite likely that the price volatility for other positions will be dampened. Most running backs are performing as expected, so aside from the likely post-bye recovery of Natrone Means - which may also be disappointing - not much churning is likely there. Wide receiver has been a perpetual on-field problem for a lot of you (and me), but Randy Moss doesn't look like he'll recover his recent losses, and other trading at that position will probably be scattered, although I suppose Ed McCaffrey still has a little upward potential on the heels of his third consecutive strong game. Tight end and Kicker are likely to be non-events, and even defense will probably be somewhat toned down. Next week will be the wild week for defenses, as Oakland goes up against Denver in Colorado a week from Sunday. Given the number of teams which currently own Oakland, a big shakeup is likely then. But this week's Oakland matchup - Seattle - doesn't look too scary.

"A click a day" week certainly turned out to be a success, as you achieved the initial goal two days early. Through 5 days, you've clicked a total of 1,012 adds. Thanks, Gurupies! Two days to go - let's see where the total goes!

Note to SW Hockey fans - due to systems problems, stats at the site cannot currently be updated. However, an alternate site has been temporarily established at where stats files have been updated.

11/9 - 'Twill go down as the weekend that the QB's exploded. But before you feel too depressed about your own QB performances yesterday, take a look at the rosters as of the freeze period yesterday for the top 100 teams (the top 50 ww leaders at each of the Smallworld and CNN/SI sites). In fact, 28 of these teams had the dynamic duo of Cunningham and Young, which netted a combined output of minus-2 SWP. None had Testaverde, Dilfer, Plummer, Detmer, Banks, Brister, Chandler, Marino, or Brad Johnson, and only two had Steve McNair - who managed the second highest QB total of the day largely due to his 70-yard TD run near the end of the Sunday night game, a single play which netted him more than 200 SWP. So, If you had any of these top 10 QB's yesterday, you're in select company. Brett Favre could still salvage the weekend for a few teams tonight, but the QB carnage was certainly widespread. Even the best possible roster failed to break the 3000 point mark for the first time (although tonight's game could still change that, too). So, expect a lot of QB trading activity this week. Should be quite interesting.

Just to complete the wreckage this weekend, my stats source this morning was screwed up, so I had to make a number of manual adjustments. Thus, you should consider everything suspect today. If you find any errors, please let me know. I caught a lot of them, but a few may have snuck through.

On a more positive note, you're up to 768 ad clicks through the first four days of "a click a day week". Keep on clicking!

Last, but not least, Gurupies Marina Halperin and Tamim Al-Kuwari have programmed a simple Smallworld Football point calculator which they are graciously making available to all Gurupies for free. If you are the type that has trouble waiting until Monday morning to figure out your team score, and you hate having to do all that arithmetic in your head, then this Windows-based program may be for you. Click here if you want to download a copy.

11/7 - Just a short blurb today.

After two days, you're up to 516 ad clicks. Nice job! Keep clicking.

And be sure to check out the latest feedback letters on receivers and defenses. Good stuff!

11/6 - First things first. As I announced yesterday, this is "a click a day" week at, and the goal is to have 1000 ad banners clicked by the end of Nov. 12th. Day one got off to a flying start, with 291 clicks! I may have been aiming way too low with my goal of 1000. On the other hand, weekends are slow days, so maybe not. Thanks for the good "first down yardage."

I posted my article on The Perfect Draft this morning. Three more Gurupies came up with the best roster before I posted it - Matt Sokol, Gus Pick, and Ken Neikirk.

Good luck this weekend. I know a lot of you are already feeling like you won't be able to recover well enough to make it into the worldwide top 50. If you're in this camp and want a less lofty goal for the second half, see if you can finish ahead of my two teams, and Afterthoughts. They are both ranked around #5000, and about 40% of the way down the latest RotoGuru team rankings.

11/5 - After reviewing yesterday's price changes, it's hard to tell whether rosters are converging or diverging. I think the correct answer is probably "both".

When there are a lot of large price increases, the implication is that a lot of rosters are headed in the same direction. This week there were six players that increased more than $1 million. However, when you look at the biggest declines, the names are some of those who were the most pervasive - like Young, Cunningham, Hearst, and Moss. So the dominant QB tandem of Young and Cunningham is now getting infiltrated by the likes of Brunell, Flutie, O'Donnell, McNair, and Aikman. On the other hand, the WR trio of Freeman, McCaffrey, and Moulds is probably pretty common right now. And the Oakland defense must be all over the place as well.

I'll do an analysis next week on the top 100 rosters (the ww leaders from each of the two sites). I want to wait until after Sunday's games, to make sure the "bye effect" has flushed itself out.

On to the best possible draft. Yesterday, I invited you to submit the best roster that could have been drafted, using initial prices and total SWP through 9 weeks. I got four submissions that matched the best roster I could find. I won't divulge the roster yet, since it will be the topic of my next article - which should be out in the next day or so. I will tell you that it cost $49,410,000 and it produced 17,215 SWP. Congrats to Rich Cullip, Ron Holt, Greg Holland, and Sean Cheah - each of whom submitted the winning roster. One of these guys emailed their submission only about an hour after I posted the stats and ground rules! (I won't say which one, since he was probably doing it at work, and I don't want to get him in trouble.) The most frequently submitted roster produced 17,152 SWP - quite "close, but no cigar!"

The team rankings have been updated to include yesterday's price change. A lot of you did quite well - again suggesting a trend toward roster convergence. There are now 61 teams worth more than $100 million, or roughly 10% of the total list. I'm not quite there, but my teams are both in the high 90's, and both are running with a fair chunk of cash. The average cash balance for the entire list is now roughly $4.4 million, up from $3 million just last week. This suggests that a lot of you are feeling pretty unconstrained in your roster selections. I know that's the case for me.

Finally, allow me to try a simple experiment. For the next week, I'm asking all of you to click on at least one advertising banner each day you visit the site. Over the course of a typical recent week, roughly 125-130 banner ads are being clicked from a RotoGuru page. Thanks to all of you who take the time to click on an ad just to show your appreciation. But now I want to see how many ads are clicked over the next week if I make a conscious effort to promote the practice. The goal is 1000 ad clicks over the next seven days - from Nov. 5-12. I'll post the running tally each day, so you can see how you're doing collectively. Thanks in advance.

11/4 - Back in the saddle again.

I've regained my ability to update pages on this site, and just about everything has been updated now, including the team rankings and the Assimilator. Sortable stats and individual player stats will be updated with Monday night's stats after new prices are available. The site is still running on an alternate server, so I'm hoping speed won't be a problem. Hopefully, everything will be back to normal quickly.

I'm working on an analysis of the best possible draft roster. Using total SWP through the first 9 weeks, the task is to assemble the highest producing roster using draft prices, a limit of $50 million and no subsequent trades. IPO players added after opening day are not eligible for inclusion. And ignore the -325 deduction for the defense's bye, since all defenses have exactly one bye. If you want to take a crack at it yourself, I've prepared a text file with all of the necessary data which you can download by clicking here. Once you have your best effort, email it to me and I'll let you know whether it's the best submission so far. Winner gets mentioned in a blurb. (It doesn't get much better than that!)

(By the way, I've come up with a draft roster that would currently rank #1 worldwide - excluding the -325 bye charge for the defense.)

11/3 - The RotoGuru server crashed "pretty hard" last night, and the site has been moved to a temporary machine for now. This has several implications:

  1. Response time may be slower than normal.
  2. I don't have the ability to directly upload updated web pages.
Hopefully the situation will be resolved later today. However, none of the stat updates will likely be available - at least in their usual places.

I'm setting up a link to a page that I can update, which is where I'll post instructions on how to get to any temporary stat updates. To get the latest word, CLICK HERE. Sorry for the inconvenience. Believe me, it's more inconvenient for me than it is for you!.

11/2 - Although Terrell Davis got most of the media attention yesterday, he only ranked 4th in SWP among running backs, after Jamal Anderson, Fred Taylor, and Eddie George. And Steve Young continued his descent to mortality, posting a very undistinguished 209 SWP (although his offensive line should probably take a good deal of the blame, after allowing 9 sacks).

Meanwhile, in receiverland, Jake Reed won the Minnesota "favored receiver of the week" sweepstakes, undoubtedly confounding a good many Randy Moss and Cris Carter owners.

And on the defensive front, what happened to Minnesota? They seem to be a real Jekyll & Hyde team defense, playing great at home, but really stinking on the road - even against supposedly weak offensive teams. (Guess who had the Minnesota defense this past weekend. Grrr....) Oakland continued on a roll, however, and with Baltimore the next Raider opponent, it looks like the end isn't in sight yet.

I hope I've got all the players updated. My stat source left out a few players this morning, which I had to add back in my hand. As always, let me know if you find anything that seems wrong.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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<>.