Daily blurbs from the Guru
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1/31 - Those who swapped from one O'Neal into the other got a nice return yesterday. The SW price swing was $320K, and Jermaine then proceeded to put up 45.5 SWP, while Shaq watched the Lakers on TV. Keep your eye on the schedule, though, because Jermaine plays only 7 more times between now and Feb. 22nd. His schedule is OK for the next few days, but for the 19 days starting Feb. 4, Indiana has the worst schedule in the NBA, playing only 4 times while 14 teams play at least 8 times. Forewarned is forearmed.
Top honors for the night were easily won by Chris Webber, with 65.5 SWP and 242 SvP. (Not a bad output for the midpoint of his 1-game-in 5-day stint.) Three players were in the SWP 50s: Malone (55), Kobe (53.5), and Darrel Armstrong (52).
Time to announce the prize winners for Football Pickoff. Congrats to James Surles, who not only repeated as Pickoff champion (Sludge 2), but effectively clinched the title prior to the playoffs. James, known to message forum users as "Sludge", openly discussed his selection strategy at the beginning of the season, started out slowly (-326 after the first two weeks), and then gradually climbed into contention until weeks 15-16, when he surged to the top with scores of 514 and 704. James wins the grand prize of $500, plus a(nother) listing in the RotoGuru Hall of Fame (yet to be posted).
Here are the other prize winners:
If you have suggestions for next fall's Football Pickoff game, please make them here. Thanks to everyone who played this year.
1/30 - According to reports before the game, Nick Van Exel was going to sit it out. But he played 38 minutes, and produced 44.5 SWP and 160 SvP.
According to reports before the game, Raef LaFrentz hoped to be ready to play. But he sat it out.
Trying to manage around injuries is one of the most frustrating aspects of fantasy hoops. It's especially maddening when the advance information turns out to be wrong. Does it sound like I held LaFrentz and dumped Van Exel? Actually, I had neither, and these particular situations didn't have any direct impact on any of my teams. But if they impacted yours, I can certainly empathize with you.
Kevin Garnett led all players with 58.5 SWP and 223 SvP. Close behind him was Antonio McDyess with 57 and 206. (With a 5-game week looming, McDyess should see some nice price gains tomorrow.) The other players to top 50 SWP were Terrell Brandon and Shawn Marion. It was Brandon's 7th consecutive game of 40 SWP or more, which probably means he's about due for an injury.
Time to look back at the previous week's scoring for SW Three For All again. Here are the tops at each position, plus a few of the more popular choices for the week:
1/29 - I guess I should lead with football today. With a very convincing win over the Giants, Baltimore closed the NFL season with a definitive statement. Given the defensive (and special teams) nature of the game, there weren't many fantasy points up for grabs. And because the odds were pretty even, the point swings in Football Pickoff weren't as big as they could have been, either. (Baltimore was a 53-47 favorite in Pickoff.)
Unofficial final scores are now posted for Football Pickoff. I'll wait a day or so to ensure there aren't any lingering scoring glitches, and then formally announce the prize winners.
On a day when the sports scene was dominated by the Super Bowl, two NBA games managed to get squeezed in. Kobe Bryant was the only player to top 40 SWP, with 47 in a Shaq-less game in NY.
For quite awhile in SW Hoops this season, the center position was one of the simplest to manage. Jermaine O'Neal was a lock in one slot, and many teams held Shaq in the other. Then when Shaq began to falter, Marc Jackson emerged as a solid, cheap alternative, and with decent schedules, the center slots were done deals.
Recently, however, the situation has become much trickier. First, Jermaine O'Neal's schedule turned very light. Ditto for Shaq, and Marc Jackson is heading into a relatively lean period as well. Raef LaFrentz was one popular alternative, but he missed Friday's game with an ankle sprain, and now Shaq's prognosis is uncertain. I'm sure there are many teams that went from Jackson to LaFrentz to Shaq in the last few days, and given their disparity in prices, that usually means other roster moves have been necessitated as well. The Atlanta centers (Mutombo and Wright) offer alternatives at different price levels. Jermaine O'Neal has a good schedule for the next few days, but then it turns light again. Suffice it to say that there are no obvious solutions, and each team needs to plan in relation to its cash and trade situation. If you're looking for ideas, or just want to commiserate, stop by the message forum.
1/26 - With 36 points and 21 boards, Tim Duncan was a one-man wrecking crew against the Kings last night. It didn't hurt that he was up against Chris Webber, who played most of the game with only 1.5 eyes. And it also didn't hurt that he only missed 3 free throws, after missing 26 in his previous four games. Duncan totaled 65.5 SWP and 232 SvP, easily outdistancing runner-up Kevin Garnett, who had 54.5 SWP and 200 SvP. No one else was above 50 SWP, and only five other players reached the SWP 40s. And no centers cleared 30 SWP.
We're finally coming up on the Super Bowl, and that means it's time for one more set of picks. If you are playing the SW Playoffs game, or if you are playing Football Pickoff, don't forget to register your final picks for the season.
1/25 - Kind of a dismal night for fantasy point production. With seven games on tap, the best output anyone could muster was Shandon Anderson's 50 SWP and 186 SvP. Shawn Marion was close behind with 49.5 SWP and 179. Eight other players were in the low 40s for SWPs. And the top center of the night was Iakovos Tsakalidis with 36.5 SWP and 31 points in 3-For-All scoring. The latter total is of some consequence, since with Phoenix's 5-game schedule this week, Tsakalidis did find his way onto some rosters in that game.
For the record, my call on price changes yesterday was pretty good. Aside from the big gain for Steve Nash (go figure!), the gains were pretty dispersed. On the loss side, we did see some pent-up pressure released on sales of Antonio Davis, Kidd, and Whitney. The biggest loser, though, was Rasheed Wallace, who found the magic combination of recent lackluster performance and a light impending schedule.
1/24 - Twelve games in the NBA last night. A lot to look over this morning. And the winner is... (drum roll...) Ron Mercer, with 67.5 SWP and 241 SvP. (By the way, for a good example of inconsistency, look at Mercer's recent track record.) Actually, Michael Finley took the Swirve honors with 250 SvP (and 63 SWP) on the strength of his 10 steals. No triple doubles for anyone.
With four new SW trades doled out yesterday, a lot of teams are getting a chance to repair the remnants of last weekend's damage. I expect an active trading day, but it is quite possible that the trades will be spread around, both on the buy and the sell side. If so, that will dampen both the gains and the losses. We'll see.
I made a small enhancement to the Hoops Assimilator this morning. If you look at the page which assimilates all of the points, there is now a point total at the bottom of the right-most yellow column (marked with an asterisk), below the scheduled opponents. This sums the average pts/game (using whichever period is selected) just for the players with a game scheduled on the most recent day. You can compare this value to the actual point total for the day, to see whether your roster did better or worse, in aggregate, than the averages would suggest. It should help you get a feel for whether your roster over- or under-achieved yesterday. Nothing earth-shaking, I realize, but I'm sure some of you will find it interesting.
1/23 - The Blazers set a franchise low with only 58 points scored in Cleveland, including only 24 in the first half. Suffice it to say that there weren't any Blazers that helped your team much... not that any Cleveland players exactly lit it up either. The top producers were Stacey Augmon and Jim Jackson, but neither reached 40 SWP or 130 SvP. 'Nuff said.
The Blazers' weak outing no doubt gave fits to some Survival 3-for-all teams last night. Portland players were popular this past week, and today is "cut day", when divisions are reduced from 14 teams to ten. As I've mentioned before, I'm in four different divisions, and the experiences are dramatically different. In one division, a team with 1664 points finished 11th and missed the cut. In two other divisions, that team would have placed 1st, and in one of those the cut was only at 774 points. When we get to the overall finals, the teams to watch are those emerging from divisions which haven't pushed them too hard. But even those divisions may see a change in the next period, as only 4 of ten will survive to the next round.
For the past week, here are the notable producers (leaders, plus some of the more popular choices) in Three For All scoring:
1/22 - Well, that was certainly a wild weekend.
Between Kidd's ordeal, Payton's suspension, Iverson's injury, Stackhouse's flu, Antonio Davis' injury... I imagine just about every team had and/or has a few things to deal with. Any team that had built up a few "rainy day" trades probably feels like they just went through a monsoon.
Not that there weren't some good outings over the past three days. There were 2 triple doubles, headed by Stephon Marbury's 77.5 SWP and 248 SvP. On Friday night, Jamal Mashburn had the other TD, just missing the 60 SWP mark. Two other weekend games earned at least 60 SWP - Vince Carter's 62 yesterday, and David Robinson's 60 SWP on Saturday.
If you still have some trades left, there are probably still some decisions to be made today. Not enough time...., not enough information.... Argh.
1/19 - 'Twas a night for forwards, I guess. Three of them topped 60 SWP, led by Antoine Walker's 64 SWP, including his 4th triple double of the season (Kidd leads with 5). Dirk Nowitzki had an overtime-assisted 62 SWP night, and led the Swirve scoring with 230 SvP. Antawn Jamison also had 62 SWP, and finished 2nd in SvP with 221. Four guards were in the SWP 50s, and each also topped 200 SvP. It's very unusual to have seven players exceed 200 SvP in the same night - especially when there were only six games played.
Speaking of Antoine Walker, his schedule now turn light, with only 2 games in the next 7 days (and only 3 in the next 10). So if you are thinking of picking him up, this is probably not the ideal time. But if you already have him, in the last four days he's had SWP games of 58, 77.5, and 64, which totals 199.5 SWP. It looks like he's enjoying the Pitino-free era.
No NFL football this weekend, so I don't need to remind you to make your final football picks just yet.
1/18 - It wasn't a triple double, but the fantasy point results for Antoine Walker were better than a lot of triple double games, as he posted 77.5 SWP and 291 SvP. Seven other players topped 50 SWP, including Antonio McDyess, who needed only three quarters of action to generate 61.5 SWP in a blowout win over Vancouver.
For the past few weeks, it's been an easy decision for most teams not to own Shaq. The Lakers' schedule has been so light that, even if he had been producing at last year's pace (and for the past couple of weeks, he has) it would have made little sense to tie up $12m when a number of centers would have provided 90% of the total outpoint at half the cost (or less). But with the Lakers easing back into action - especially after the All Star break - the question of Shaq's viability becomes trickier. To address this issue from one perspective, I worked up a series of rosters which optimize SWP/G for various SW salary caps. The results are posted at the message forum, and offer some interesting insights not only for the Shaq question, but about optimized rosters in general. I hope this thread will attract some insightful feedback as well, which is why I posted it at the message forum rather than as a stand alone essay. Even if you don't make regular use of the forum, you might want to peek at this one.
1/17 - Three of last night's top four players were from the same team. Milwaukee's three-headed monster of Cassell, Robinson, and Allen averaged 50 SWP and 175 SvP for the night. Only Miami's Anthony Mason kept the Bucks trio from sweeping the top three medals, as he tied Allen in SWP and nosed him out by 1 SvP.
Today is "trade day" for SW Hoops, and the price action may be defined more by the losers than the winners. The Clippers play only once in the next seven days, while Cleveland and Indiana have only 2 games. Expect guys like Odom, J. O'Neal, and Andre Miller to take it on the chin. But with no teams playing 5 games this week, the buy sides of those trades could be varied, especially since 15 teams play four games this week. Five of those teams play eight games over the next two weeks - NJ, Phoenix, Philly, Seattle, and Golden State - and those players may be the biggest price beneficiaries. And Denver plays 12 times over the next 3 weeks, so I guess you can add them to the mix as well.
1/16 - With 12 games on yesterday's NBA docket, there are a lot of results to sift through this morning. Kobe Bryant was the top dog with 72.5 SWP (incl. a triple double) and 242 SvP. Antoine Walker also had a triple double, but his 58 SWP only ranked 4th, behind Shaq's 61.5 SWP and Donyell Marshall's 60.5. (Donyell's upcoming schedule is lousy, but with a SW price under $4m, he may soon start to attract some interest.) Six other players reached the SWP 50s.
It's time to look back at last week's "Three For All" scoring results. There were three teams with 5 games during the past week - Charlotte, Philly, and Seattle. At guard, the top player was... Gary Payton, who overcame a slow start to post 235 points, 17 more than Mike Bibby and Steve Francis, each of whom played one less game. For those of you who picked Allen Iverson, he was a disappointing 4th with only 202 points (in 5 games).
At forward, Chris Webber was the big kahuna with 265, topping all positions. Next in line was Shareef Abdur-Rahim with 225. Among the five-game forwards, the best output came from George Lynch with 159, although he ranked only 16th overall. Still, he did better than some of the more popular 5-game picks, like Rashard Lewis (155) and Theo Ratliff (153).
Shaq led the centers with a 3-game, 223 point week. But assuming you didn't want Shaq for a 3-gamer, the best of the rest was Elden Campbell with 184. Patrick Ewing, who was a popular pick due to a five game week, garnered 125, ranking only 10th on the list of centers.
In the Survival game, four more teams will bite the dust after the coming week. Don't forget to register your picks - you don't want to be among them!
1/15 - The two NFL games yesterday were each rather remarkable. That the Giants beat the Vikes is not so surprising, but the utter annihilation was certainly unexpected. And the Ravens continue to prove that a good defense is enough - if it's that good. And theirs may just be.
Football Pickoff standings are now beginning to clarify. The top spot is now clinched, and the contestant in second place is looking pretty solid. There are still a handful of competitors jockeying for the 3rd through 5th prize spots. The top spot for the midseason prize is probably also nailed down, although there is a mathematical possibility of an upset if the odds are long enough and the frontrunner doubles on the wrong side - all of which seem rather unlikely. However, if jungleman025 winds up in third place for the full season prize, then the midseason prize could shift (since each entrant can win only one prize. See the rules [item 8] for a more complete description.) And I'm sure there are still some bragging rights battles up for grabs.
Selections for the Super Bowl will be accepted shortly. As previously announced, the Super Bowl round is a blind one, so no advance data will be available on emerging pick percentages. You also have the option to double the game.
There were only four NBA games yesterday, and the surprise top producer was none other than Bonzi Wells with 61 SWP and 196 SvP. Vince Carter was only a few points back (58.5 & 191). Two other lower priced forwards topped 50 SWP. I'll let you find them.
Today's NBA docket is about as full as it gets, with only 5 teams having the day off. Of the 12 games, seven will be played this afternoon.
As a final note, tomorrow begins the final week of the third round of the SW Hoops Survival game. No teams play five games this week (Tues. thru Monday), and only four - Detroit, Miami, Portland, and Toronto - play four times. (And Bonzi Wells isn't listed, so you'll have to look elsewhere for a hot guard!) Four teams will be eliminated from each division after this round, leaving ten to survive to round four. And the fourth round will be a tough one, with only four out of ten surviving to the divisional finals. Bear in mind that the third week of the next round is NBA All Star week, when no team plays more than twice. So you'll probably want to jump off to a good start in the week of January 23rd. In fact, if you can coast this week, it's probably not too early to start planning ahead.
1/12 - Darrell Armstrong was the big kahuna last night, putting up 60.5 SWP and 212 SvP. Teammate Tracy McGrady ranked second, with 52 SWP and 201 SvP. And while I'm sure each player appeared on some of your rosters, I'm pretty sure neither is as widely owned as they would have been if Orlando's schedule was denser at this point of the season. But as Shawn Marion aptly demonstrated earlier this season, moderate schedules aren't so bad if you can post lofty numbers like this.
The only other player to exceed 50 SWP was Jason Kidd, who managed 51 SWP. No forwards or centers accomplished the feat.
If you are still involved in any fantasy football, there are still four teams alive. The Football Pickoff deadline is Sunday at 12:30. The Small World freeze is a half hour earlier. Don't forget to make your selections.
1/11 - I may have been premature last week (1/5) when I gave props to Gary Payton for his resiliency. Since then, he's had four games in the SWP mid-20s, including last night's 22.5 SWP outing in which he had only one assist! What's up with that? He may have said, "Ain't nothing wrong with me," but the stats certainly suggest otherwise.
Obviously, GP didn't top last night's leaderboard. That honor belonged to Chris Webber with 57 SWP and 233 SvP. Kevin Garnett matched that SWP output, but fell shy of C-Webb's Swirve point tally. Three other forwards achieved 50+ SWP, but no guards or centers managed the feat.
Yesterday's SW price changes seemed rather tame. With three teams having 5 games this trading week (Cleve., Clips, Portland), I thought their players might see more upside. But Odom actually dropped a tad. Go figure. Could it be that managers are actually looking ahead to next week, when Cleveland plays only twice, and the Clippers only once? Who'd 've thunk it!
1/10 - Steve Francis might have gotten a triple double if the score had been closer. But he sat out the final minutes as Houston beat Toronto by 19, and ended up two boards shy of the feat. Still, his 59.5 SWP and 217 SvP topped all players last night. Even with three overtimes and 55 minutes played, Elton Brand could only muster 53 SWP & 207 SvP. Ratliff, McDyess, Abdur-Rahim, and Jalen Rose were the only other players to reach 50 SWP.
Today is another "trade day" for SW Hoops. If you usually feel compelled to burn your trades quickly, you ought to first look ahead to next week, when the schedule turns light for a number of popular players. You might just want to conserve a few this week.
Today is freeze day for the next week of SW Three-For-All. It's interesting to look back at the prior week and see who the top producers turned out to be. The overall leader was Antoine Walker, who averaged 45.4/game over 5 games (227 total). Only 2 points behind him was Antawn Jamison, who needed one less game to accomplish his total. (A good week for "Anton's" regardless of spelling, it appears.) Top guard was Pierce, with 209. McDyess was actually the hottest player, averaging almost 68 per game - but he played only 3 times. Darius Miles had a productive week with 186 points, only 21 behind teammate Lamar Odom (207, 4th overall). And at center? Jermaine O'neal was tops with 166 points. But a lot of teams went with one of the 5 game options, and of the three most likely - Potapenko (110), Olowokandi (94), and Rooks (54), Potapenko was the winner.
This week offers three teams with 5 games - Philly, Charlotte, and Seattle. That gives a lot of choices, but no slam dunk picks that I can see. Get your selections in by noon today.
1/8 - The big individual performance of the weekend didn't happen yesterday. It was on Friday night, when Chris Webber turned 51 points and 26 rebounds into 94 SWP and 352 SvP! That is the best single day I can remember over the past 4 years, excluding bonus points for a triple double. (Shawn Bradley had 108.5 SWP in April, 1998, but that included a 25 point bonus for a triple double.)
Yesterday's best was a paltry 58.5 SWP and 217 SvP from Mike Bibby. Five other players were in the 50s (SWP). [Yawn...]
In Football Pickoff, four people found the maximum possible result of +241 (picking all four winners while doubling Baltimore). Aside from coasting from the overall leader, Sludge 2, the rest of the prize standings continue to shuffle. Only three NFL games remain, but with doubling, there are enough potential points at risk to keep a fair number of entrants in the running for prizes. And I'm sure there are other, out-of-the-money races for local bragging rights still in play as well.
This week's Pickoff selections will be locked in at 12:30pm EST on Sunday, Jan. 14.
1/5 - The rumors of Gary Payton's death were greatly exaggerated.
Following Tuesday's game, in which he scored only 6 points, a strained groin reportedly threatened to keep "The Glove" on the bench last night. But instead, he was only 3 boards shy of a triple double. As Payton said after the game, "Ain't nothing wrong with me."
Payton wasn't the top producer of the night, though. The best performances came from the Bulls-Wizards game (go figure!). Top honors belong to Elton Brand, whose 64.5 SWP and 231 SvP were capped with a game-winning buzzer beater - moving the Bulls to within one game of the Wizards in the race for the base(ment). The other notable game was from the Wizards' Chris Whitney with 60.5 SWP and 218 SvP. He is quickly making the Wizards forget about Rod Strickland. (Now if they could only forget about Strickland's salary.)
If your SW Hoops team is "value-challenged," don't despair. Over the past 7 days, the best producing roster (most SWPs) would have cost only $60 million, and that even includes Kevin Garnett and his $11m pricetag. For only a 2 SWP giveup, you could have saved another $6 million and fielded a top result for less than $55m! What was this star-laden lineup?
Final reminder: If you're still playing football, don't forget to get your picks in by Saturday morning.
1/4 - Aaron McKie is making the most out of his Snow-less minutes in Philly, posting his second straight triple-double. The Sixers have a full schedule for the next few weeks, and if you're looking for a cheap option at guard, he probably warrants consideration.
McKie wasn't the top producer of the night, though. Scottie Pippen nosed him out with 53.5 SWP (vs. McKie's 51). Other players in the 50s included Baron Davis (53), Antonio McDyess (52), Jerry Stackhouse (51), and Joe Smith (50). Shaq didn't quite get there (49.5), but he did lead the Swirve point listing with 206 SvP.
Small World has launched its 2001 golf game. Although RotoGuru does not provide supporting stats for golf, there is a message forum area dedicated to that game, and an open RotoGuru division is forming.
1/3 - Last night's top performances came from unexpected places.
The top result came from Vlade Divac (61.5 SWP, 218 SvP), who stepped up his game when Chris Webber was tossed in the first quarter. On the other side of the same court, Tony Delk produced 57 SWP, coming mostly from his 53 points scored. The only other player to break 50 SWP was Jermaine O'Neal, with 54 SWP.
Even beyond the top three producers, it was a good night for the cheapie. Nineteen players had SWPs in the 40s, and 12 of them have SW prices under $5 million. Meanwhile, studs like Garnett, Payton, and (obviously) Webber all undershot their averages.
Football Pickoff selections are trickling in, and the early returns show that home teams are getting a little more respect this week. While frontrunner Sludge 2 cannot be caught as long as he resists the urge to make any picks (which he seems to be able to do), the other prize battles are very tightly contested. Eight different entries had the maximum possible score last weekend of 280 points (while only one entrant managed to find the complementary worst possible score of -280).
1/2 - Happy New Year!
Rasheed Wallace was the only player to reach 50 SWPs yesterday, and no one managed as many as 200 SvP. Of course, there were only 2 games on the schedule.
After several weeks of light activity, the NBA schedule starts to show some green again for the next few weeks. But not in the Lakers' column. They just recently started a 12 day period during which they play only twice. Not a good time to own either Kobe or Shaq.
From today through the All Star break, three teams play 21 games: New Jersey, Seattle, and Philly. Of those teams, NJ may have the best pacing, as they only have back-to-back games four times, and only once do they have 2 consecutive off days. Seattle looks to have the densest schedule over the next few weeks, with 16 games in the next 26 days.
Belated props to the top finishers in the RotoGuru Football Rankings. The managers of freaknaztee (SW) and Sponge Bob Square Pants (Swirve) are eligible for enshrinement in the RotoGuru Hall of Fame. I won't be updating the HOF listings until after the completion of the Super Bowl (and Football Pickoff), but if the winning managers could send me a brief biographical blurb (see the existing HOF listings for the appropriate tone and scope), I can begin to get things set up.
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
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