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

1/31 - Chris Webber sure picked an inconvenient time to get suspended. Since it's only one game, and his pending schedule is so dense, I don't think it will dissuade many managers from picking him up. But it does reduce the benefits. Oh well...

Centers dominated the scoring last night! The top two producers were Ben Wallace and Shaq, each with 52.5 TSNP, while Wallace (59 PSP) outpointed Shaq's PSC total by 4. Jermaine O'Neal was in the mix as well, with 47.5 TSNP and 57 PSP. Only John Stockton's 50 TSNP kept it from being a center sweep.

Each season, I like to take a graphical look at price vs points/game, once the averages have settled in. Yesterday, I worked up a scatterplot showing TSNP/G vs. price, color coded by position, for the Ultimate TSN game. This morning, I added a similar chart for the PSC game. You can see these, as well as some related commentary, in this thread at the message forum. While there is nothing earth shattering, sometimes a picture helps to confirm notions that might otherwise be less obvious. You can also get the same info by using the sortable stats to sort by TSNP/G, and then scan down the list of prices to see which ones look most attractive in their neighborhood.

1/30 - Wow. January's almost over.

Two players topped 60 TSNP in eleven games last night. Tim Duncan led all TSNP scoring with 65, "spurred" by 21 rebounds. David Robinson sat this one out, so I guess they were there for the taking. Eddie Jones (62) was the other sexagenarian, and he even topped Duncan by 4 in PSC scoring. Four players were in the TSNP 50s, and eleven were in the 40s.

Some TSN teams are setting up for a 3-headed monster at forward this week, as Duncan, Garnett, and Webber all play 4 times during the trade week. After the ASB, though, the schedule seems to shift in favor of the stud guards. So I doubt if this 3HM will be a long term holding for most.

NBA Schedule oddity: If you discount the 4-day All Star break, Sacramento plays 7 games in 9 days, which is very rare. There are also several teams that effectively play on three consecutive days (spanning the break), as Milwaukee, New York, and Toronto play on Feb. 7, 12, & 13.

1/29 - Only two NBA games last night. One of them had three players above 50 TSNP, surprisingly headed by Brevin Knight with 58.5. The others were Elton Brand (55.5) and Pau Gasol (55).

It wasn't so long ago that most thought Jamaal Tinsley was the NBA rookie phenom. But not any more. Gasol has been unbelievable, averaging more than 41 TSNP/G over the last 30 days. During that span, he's been under 30 TSNP only once. Unfortunately, by playing on Memphis, hardly anyone has seen him play.

Full NBA slate tonight, with 11 games on tap. Enjoy.

1/28 - There was certainly a lot of sports variety this weekend: two NFL playoff games, a full slate of NBA and NHL action, lots of college hoops, the finals of the Australian Tennis Open, and a PGA Golf tournament, to name a few. Just about any sports fan should have been able to find something to occupy a few hours.

The biggest NBA output of the weekend was Andre Miller's triple-double 76 TSNP game against Boston on Saturday night. At a time when a lot of NBA teams have fairly active schedules, Cleveland has not been as busy, so Miller's outburst was interesting, but not particularly impactful.

Before I forget, let me give a heads up on an NBA schedule change that hasn't been accurately reflected at all of the major sites yet. Originally, Toronto was scheduled to play in Philadelphia on Sunday, Feb. 3. Some time ago, that game was pushed ahead to Monday, Feb. 4th, and my various online schedule resources have properly reflected the rescheduling for quite awhile. But I do notice that ESPN still shows the game on Sunday's schedule, so it is conceivable that other sports sites haven't got it right, either. This could be particularly meaningful for leagues with weekly Mon.-Sun. transactions, since the game moves from one week to the next. If you are working with an old schedule, you'd ought to double check to make sure this doesn't catch you by surprise.

We're down to the last game in Football Pickoff, and St. Louis has started out as a 75/25 favorite, although returns are quite light so far. If the odds end up there, a doubled underdog could garner 150 points, so all of the prize positions are not yet settled. Depending on your situation, this may be a time when you pick the team you have to pick in order to have a chance to make up ground, or when you go conservative (potentially even taking a "bye") to protect your position. Plenty to think about for those teams on the bubble.

1/25 - In his last 6 games, Steve Francis has 2 DNPs, two "normal" games, and two triple-doubles (although one of the "normal" games was almost a 3-D as well). Looking at his price history, it seems unlikely that many teams benefited from the last night's latest 3-D. Since he's showing up on only 8 of the 120 teams listed in the Gurupie rankings, I guess he's not very prevalent. And Houston's upcoming schedule is OK, but certainly not above average. Considering that he's just a migraine away from another DNP, I suspect there won't be many chasing him in the next few days. But enjoy those 3-Ds if you have him.

Only four players topped 50 TSNP last night, and all were guards. Aside from Franchise's 60.5, Brent Barry (55.5), Nick Van Exel (55), and Michael Jordan (52.5) turned the feat. This was Barry's first experience north of 40 TSNP in more than a month. Van Exel's was notable with 15 assists and no turnovers. And Micheal's featured two good halves, something which has been uncommon of late.

Don't forget the Sunday freezes for football games. In Football Pickoff, the deadline is 12:30pm ET on Sunday.

1/24 - Kobe's comment, "It's a long season, you take the good with the bad," is also applicable to fantasy hoops. Sometimes, you seem to make the right decisions, and the points build up quickly. Sometimes, you always seem to be a day late and a dollar short.

For those looking for a stud guard yesterday, the obvious choices (based on schedule outlook) boiled down to Payton and Kobe. In TSN Ultimate Hoops, Payton won the price competition yesterday, $60K to $30K, and then followed it up with a more impressive outperformance on the court, 58.5 to 35 (TSNP). The only players other than Payton to break 50 TSNP were forwards Elton Brand (56.5) and Antonio Davis (50.5).

Antonio Davis highlights some of the positional idiosyncrasies of the game. Last year, he averaged 31 SWP/G, was actively traded and owned throughout the season, peaked in price at $6.6m in mid-December, and finished the year at $5.5m. This year, he's putting up similar point totals (31 TSNP/G over the last month), but he's been virtually unowned all year, and his current gravity-bound price has now dropped under $5m. The biggest difference? Last year he was listed as a center, but this year he's listed as a forward.

Suppose he was still a center this year. He'd be ranked in the top 10 in TSNP/G (last 30 days), and no one with a higher average has a lower price. At forward, he's ranked 19th, more expensive than Gasol (ranked #7) and Eddie Griffin (#17), and rather forgotten behind a large number of big name studs. Even so, gravity may start bringing him into some people's plans, especially when his schedule intensifies. And from 1/31 through 2/24, Toronto has more games (13) than everyone other than Washington (which also has 13). During that period, he's even projected to outpoint Gasol. So maybe he's close to bottoming out. Certainly worth consideration for those of you looking for non-stupid ways to differentiate.

1/23 - Those who owned Shareef Abdur-Rahim or Kenny Thomas should have been expecting suspensions. Owners of Jason Terry were more likely to have been blindsided by yesterday's late announcement that Terry would have to sit out a game. But in this case, the late notice may have been a blessing in disguise. With the damage done before anyone could react, there doesn't seem to be any logical reason to reconsider holding him. Had the suspension been looming in the future, the issue would have been more problematic.

Speaking of suspensions, Shaq returned from exile to lead all players with 67.5 TSNP. Evidently the layoff agreed with him - even though the Lakers lost to Denver. Tim Duncan celebrated his $100K price gain (TSN Ultimate) with a 62 TSNP night. Bonzi Wells, Rasheed Wallace, and Chris Webber parlayed overtime minutes into 58, 58, and 55 TSNP, respectively. Dirk Nowitzki topped 50 TSNP once again (ho hum). And in nationally televised featured matchup between Jordan and Iverson, the top producer was... Eric Snow, with 51.5 TSNP.

With Terrell Brandon recently reactivated, those who still own Chauncey Billups need to rethink their expectations. According to head coach Flip Saunders, Brandon will get 23-25 minutes per game for at least the next few games. That leaves only 23-25 for Billups, as the minutes for those two usually add up to 48. Here's a recap of Billups' experience with and without the availability of Brandon:

                Games Min/G  TSNP/G
Brandon out 16 36 31.5
Brandon active 24 17 15.7
In either case, Billups seems to get about 0.9 TSNP per minute played. Thus, you probably shouldn't expect any more than the low 20s (for minutes and TSNP) over the next week from Billups. Still, with 8 games in the next 13 days, maybe that's satisfactory output for his price. You make the call.

One final reminder that the TSN Fantasy Golf game starts action on Thursday (yes, that's tomorrow). For more on the golf game, visit the RotoGuru Golf Forum. I've never played this game before, but I do have a team for this season. Should be fun.

1/22 - For my Ultimate TSN teams, I usually try to have about a 2-week trading plan sketched out. Seldom does it play out exactly as on paper (due to unexpected injuries, slumps, hot streaks, etc.), but it's a good discipline to help ensure you can make the most important moves while preserving enough trades to maintain flexibility or avoid disaster.

Lately, it seems like my 2-week plans are changing about every two days. I spent several hours this morning recharting all of my planned moves for all three teams. I had just done the same thing on Sunday afternoon. And the new plans are all different than the Sunday version. No doubt, they'll change again before the next week is up.

Elton Brand took top honors last night, posting 62.5 TSNP in an Odom-less win over Denver. Four other players were in the low 50s. Of those, the most interesting is Nazr Mohammed's 51, his third game over 50 TSNP in the past week. (So how many people wish they'd picked him up instead of Tony Battie back when Jermaine O'Neal went down?) Not only was Mohammed the top center over the past week, but he was the 4th best producer at any position (behind Webber, Cassell, and Pierce). Now the big question is whether he will continue to produce - certainly not at a 50 TSNP/G average, but at something attractive for his $3.8m pricetag. Or will this be an Elden-Campbell-like flash in the pan. Since Campbell's studly 3-game outburst, he's played 6 games, with none of them exceeding 26 TSNP. Decisions, decisions...

Jamaal Tinsley holders got a small consolation prize last night, as his 19.5 TSNP were certainly better than a DNP. Steve Francis also decided to play, and narrowly missed his 2nd triple-double of the week. Playing every other day may agree with him, but it probably isn't quite what his fantasy owners prefer.

1/21 - I didn't do an extensive comparison, but it appears that the weekend's best 3 for the TSN playoff game were McNabb (479), Marshall Faulk (189), and Antonio Freeman (184). In spite of his 6 interceptions, Brett Favre wasn't a bad alternative at QB, with 404 points. (Interceptions don't count.)

In Football Pickoff, there continues to be jockeying within the prize positions, even though jungleman24 has mathematically clinched the grand prize. We do have a new frontrunner in the midseason standings, with cpas surging to the fore. Only 3 games remain, but two can be doubled, so there are still "possibilities". And oh, by the way, only four people got the weekend's maximum possible score of 226, including one very distinguished (although notably mediocre) competitor.

The weekend's biggest news on the NBA front was the DNP's to two key players. On Friday night, Steve Francis generously rewarded those managers who hung in with him, getting a 66.5 TSNP result which included a triple-double. Then he promptly hosed them when he took a migraine-related DNP the following night.

The other DNP belonged to Jamaal Tinsley, which was hyper-critical due to his widespread ownership. As of Saturday morning, he was the most heavily owned player among the teams in the Gurupie Rankings, appearing on 103 out of 120 rosters. On Sunday, we saw the exaggerated impact of highly focused trading on a very light trade day, as Tinsley dropped $190K. And just because he had a big loss on Sunday, don't assume that the bloodletting will quickly subside. Remember, Sunday's trading was probably rather light. If you want to (or have to) stick with him, it will be an expensive ride.

Finally, don't forget the early freeze for the PSC game today. Get your rosters updated by 1pm EST.

1/18 - First, an early heads up on today's delayed trade freeze for TSN Ultimate Hoops. The freeze has been extended until 5pm. I know that some of you have limited internet access over the weekend, and generally do your weekend trading early. My caution is that any trades done before 5pm this afternoon will still impact the roster for tonight's games. If you planned to make a move for Saturday, stay late at work, and make the trade after 5pm.

For more background on the issue surrounding this freeze delay, see the forum - just to help level the playing field for those who may be unaware of the situation.

Tim Duncan led all players last night with a nationally televised 64.5 TSNP, highlighted by a 17-17 performance at the foul line. The glare of the same cameras also found the 2nd and 3rd best performances, from Karl Malone (56.5 TSNP) and Andre Kirilenko (53), whose game included 6 steals. AK hadn't done much lately, but this may jumpstart interest in him once again.

If you're still involved in playoff football games, don't forget the freezes tomorrow. The TSN freeze is at noon, and the Football Pickoff freeze is at 4:30pm ET.

And if you are playing the Progressive Sports Challenge basketball game, be aware of the early 1pm freeze next Monday (Martin Luther King day). There are zero NBA games on Sunday, so you probably won't have any new information on Monday morning anyway. Might as well get those changes ready on Sunday.

1/17 - I suppose I should have added Steve Francis to yesterday's list of players that you should never own without a contingency plan. He's given a lot of us migraines today.

A lot of centers did well last night, headed by 61 TSNP from Mr. Consistency, Raef LaFrentz. LaFrentz has averaged 38 TSNP per game over the last week, but hasn't had any single games between 20 and 57 TSNP. On the left coast, Alonzo Mourning took advantage of the Lakers' "lack-a-Shaq" to put up 47.5 TSNP, his second best game of the season. And rookie Jarron Collins may be the next cheapie center to attract some attention, garnering a season-best 40.5 TSNP in 31 minutes. Camby, Foster, Foyle, Battie... even Mihm... all had decent games. If you bailed out of Jermaine O'Neal yesterday, you probably did OK - as long as you stayed away from Vlade Divac.

Chris Webber had his worst game since the turn of the year. Only 52 TSNP. Time to dump him.

Actually, although my last comment was tongue-in-cheek, Webber will require some thoughtful management over the next couple of weeks. With 11 games before the All-Star break, you could always just opt to hold throughout. But his schedule is very uneven, with a 2-in-8 period starting next Wednesday, followed by a 7-in-9 (if you ignore the four day break). So, I fully expect Webber to be heavily sold and bought over the next two weeks. Garnett plays 5 times during Webber's 2-in-8, and might be the primary beneficiary of the next shuffle. If so, the shifting could start as early as today, since each of them has 3 games before then.

1/16 - The baskets are really sucking in the shots around the league. After Kobe scored 56 (real points, not fantasy points) the night before, Allen Iverson came up with 58 last night, while Jason Terry fired in 46, and Dirk Nowitzki managed a meager 40.

From a fantasy perspective, though, it ain't all about scorin'. And none of those three had more fantasy points than Chris Webber's 68.5 TSNP, his 4th consecutive game above 60. Those who shunned him because of his light schedule next week may be second-guessing themselves, especially if this pace continues for the rest of this week. Of course, Webber is another one of those guys who you should never own without a contingency plan. Ditto for Derrick Coleman (although as far as I know, his crappy game last night was not injury related - he just sucked), and maybe even Jermaine O'Neal, who I've now had to drop twice this year for injury-related problems.

There is likely to be a flurry of TSN trade activity today. On Monday, I commented that five teams begin a 5-game trade week. Add in a Jermaine O'Neal scramble, and perhaps even some Webber chasing, and a lot of trades seem likely. If so, the impact on any single player may be significantly diffused, at least today.

1/15 - It was certainly a night of extremes

On the positive side, with the Shaqles off, Kobe Bryant drubbed Memphis with 56 points in just 34 minutes, good for 66.5 TSNP. That slightly eclispsed the more balanced output from Jason Kidd, who eked out a 16-10-12 triple double for 63 TSNP. Three forwards were in the TSNP 50s, and three other players reached the 40s, including Todd MacCulloch (47.5), who seems to do this about once every three weeks. Mark your calendars.

Perhaps the disappointments were more notable. Check out this stat line: 46 minutes, 8 points, 3-18 FG, 5 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 TOs, 10.5 TSNP. That reflects the combined output of Dirk Nowitzki and and Steve Nash. The only good news is that neither was injured. Nowitzki had gained over $400K over the past week, but this may take some wind out of his sails.

And not to be outdone, Jason Williams managed a whopping 2 TSNP while watching Kobe go nuts. Meanwhile, Raef LaFrentz managed to outproduce the three of those guys combined. Barely. I'm sure those who have him were unsatisfied with his 13.5 TSNP effort, but obviously it could have been much worse. You could have had all four of them. (I suspect some did!)

You could have put together a very respectable $500K team last night, however. Guards: Hudson, Crotty, Buckner, Buford. Forwards: C. Andersen, Madsen, D. George, Monty Williams. Centers: Jarron Collins, Zhizhi Wang. Grand total: 259.5 TSNP, an average of 26 TSNP per player. More than 100 Dirks.

1/14 - Chris Webber had a double-monster yesterday. He started the day with an Ultimate TSN price gain of $180K, and then followed that up with a game of 61.5 TSNP. Webber's price gain was the third highest of the season, and the largest since November 10th, when Vince Carter appreciated by $190K. Tinsley had the largest daily gain of $210K on 11/2, and those are the only three daily price changes exceeding $150K this year.

Webber's attraction resulted from the combination of three circumstances:

  1. he was coming off of a 6-day layoff, so virtually no one had him prior to this weekend,
  2. his previous three games had all been over 50 TSNP (with an average of 64 TSNP/G),
  3. a number of other high-producing forwards were starting weak schedule periods (e.g., Garnett, Pierce, & Walker all had 1 game in the next 5 days) , while Webber plays 4 games in the next 6 days.
  4. Add it all up, and the only question was how big the gain would be. Of course, the other question is how long Webber's price will hold up, as his schedule wanes again (only 4 in the next 12 days). Some managers decided to pass on Webber this time for that very reason.

    Speaking of scheduling issues, five teams have a 5-game TSN trade week starting this Wednesday. Of those five teams, only Miami follows it up with 4 games the following week, while NJ plays only twice in the next 8 days, and Denver plays only 4 times in the next 16 days (until the All Star break). The schedule competition will limit the amount of gains that any single player will experience, and the ensuing schedule will dictate the ability of those gains to persist. If you've already got players on Denver or NJ, by all means hold on - but if you are thinking of trading into them, temper your price gain expectations, and preserve enough trades to continue to maneuver the following week.

    I see that five managers in the TSN playoff game found the top combination of Testaverde, Garner, and Rice, although it appears that more than 100 others went with a straight Oakland slate (substituting Gannon for Vinny) that was only 42 points behind. Congrats if you were part of those groups. I wasn't even above the median result, which appears to have been somewhere in the lower 500s.

    Congrats also to the 27 Football Pickoff contestants who got all four games correct, including 17 who secured the best possible result by doubling Baltimore. The next freeze is again at 4:30pm ET on Saturday, which is the scheduled time of the start of the Philly-Chicago game. Picks are already being accepted for the next round.

    1/11 - He's not a model of consistency, but that works both ways for Raef LaFrentz, who notched his best game of the season with 57.5 TSNP. So far this season, he's had five games with less than 20 TSNP, but also four in the 50s, and another five in the 40s. If you hold him for an extended period, you'll probably average something in the mid-30s. But over a shorter holding period, you could do much, much better - or much, much worse. In the last four days, he's had games of 15, 37, and now 57.5. Typical.

    Three forwards joined Raef in the TSNP 50s last night: Nowitzki (53.5), Malone (53), and Marion (51.5). Marion's name doesn't seem to appear on many TSN rosters, and he's even been mired in gravity for the last couple of weeks. The reasons are a combination of weak schedule, lackluster production, and a somewhat lofty price. But his YTD stats (averages) are pretty comparable to last season's, when he dominated the TSN/SW landscape. He's off about 1.5 rebounds per game this year, but all other categories look very similar. I guess the biggest difference is that last year at this time his SW price was $5 million, and this year it's still in the upper $8m's.

    So who is this year's Shawn Marion? In the TSN Ultimate Hoops game, the two leading price gainers are Jamaal Tinsley and Pao Gasol, Each has gained roughly $1 million since opening day, and each have similar averages (32-33 per game), although Gasol has been more productive lately, averaging 36 over the last month (vs. 30.5 for Tinsley). Those YTD averages don't put either player in the top 25, but they are the only two in the top 50 with prices under $4m. The only other top 50 player under $5 mil is Brent Barry - although he was approaching $5.5 million just before his schedule went abruptly light.

    One last reminder about football before the weekend. If you are playing the TSN (free) playoff game, the roster freeze is at noon EST Saturday. In Football Pickoff, the freeze is at 4:30pm ET. There is no subsequent Sunday freeze in Pickoff this week, so get all of your picks in by tomorrow afternoon.

    1/10 - Elden Campbell was on most of my TSN rosters for most of December. During my ownership period, he averaged about 26 TSNP/G, and never produced more than 38.5 TSNP. So what's up with him now? His last three games have been 46, 63.5, and 53.5! Before you jump on him, bear in mind that he has never strung together three games like this at any time in the past two years. So it may very well turn out to be an anomaly. But if you've got him now, enjoy the ride.

    Campbell was the top center last night, but not the top player, as two reached the 60s, and another barely missed. Kevin Garnett led the way with 61.5 TSNP, followed closely by guards Tracy McGrady (60) and Baron Davis (59.5). Two others were in the 50s, making a total of six players to equal or exceed 50 TSNP. That's a lot, considering that there were only six games played, and that only five players were in the 40s.

    1/9 - In a modestly active slate of 9 games, three guards managed to reash the 50s in TSNP. Bonzi Wellsled the list with 52.5 TSNP, followed closely by Steve Francis (52) and Sam (I guess I'll play tonight) Cassell (50). Seven others were in the 40s.

    From what I read, Elton Brand rang the opening bell at the NY Stock Exchange this morning. I don't know why - maybe he's got enough invested there to qualify for the honor. Later today, he's scheduled for an x-ray on his right elbow. Regardless of the outcome, I've got a bad feeling about his TSN price outlook for the next few days - with everyone's trades refreshed.

    If this page looks a little different this morning, that's because it is. With the NFL regular season over, I resequenced the links in the left panel. I'll continue to leave a Football Pickoff link near the top, since that game continues through the playoffs.

    1/8 - And the NFL regular season comes to a close.

    Hopefully, you didn't have any offensive players last night, as they were almost all, well..., really offensive. With no offensive TDs for either team, the only reasonable offensive performers were Terry Allen (266 TSNP) and kicker Matt Stover (170). The Baltimore defense had a nice result of 510 TSNP, although that only made it the 3rd best defense for the weekend.

    Football Pickoff continues throughout the NFL playoffs. I expect to have the selection page for the first playoff round available later this afternoon. Be advised that the deadline for making picks for each playoff round will be the kickoff time for the first game of the round. This week, the freeze will be at 4:30pm ET on Saturday. You cannot make changes for the Sunday games after that time.

    By the way did you notice who had the best score for week 17? Talk about an aberration. Even with a 751 point week, I'm still negative for the season!

    Due to server problems this morning, TSN has deferred today's Hoops freeze until 5pm this afternoon. New prices and new trades will also be delayed until then. If you planned to make trades for tonight's games, you still have some time. And if you plan to make some trades for tomorrow's games, don't jump the gun!

    In a moderate slate of 7 NBA games, there were three players above 60 TSNP, including 2 centers! The top result was a 76 TSNP triple-double from Allen Iverson. Close behind were Marcus Camby (67 TSNP) and and Elden Campbell (63.5). Based on their recent price changes, all had some ownership, but none were widely owned. None of them have particularly strong upcoming schedules either, although Campbell's isn't too bad. With Brad Miller still sidelined, these two guys certainly have to be considered as plausible alternatives.

    1/7 - It was a tricky weekend to pick NFL players, with a lot of teams having little incentive to win. Still, I came up with my second best week of the season for my TSN team, and it could have been the best if I hadn't made the boneheaded pick of Kordell Stewart (which serves me right - as a long-time Brown's fan, I should never, ever, own a Steeler, whether they are facing the Browns or not). And, by saving money on Stewart, I was also able to afford Tony Gonzalez at tight end - another brilliant move. All told, I think this was my worst overall finish in the TSN game, and I'm not quite sure why... but at least I finished ahead of my wife's and son's teams, so I still get family bragging rights for another year (since they don't play any TSN sports other than football). So it was still a successful campaign in that narrow sense.

    In Hoops, the latest calamity to strike many teams is Brad Miller, who left Saturday's game early with a hand injury. In addition, Sam Cassell skipped Sunday's game after playing on Saturday, so those who hung in there with Sam-I-am got hung again.

    The clear stud of the weekend was Chris Webber , with 138.5 TSNP in two games, including a triple-double yesterday. But before you rush to pick him up, be aware that Sacramento has six consecutive off-days, which is very unusual. I think you'll want to bide your time a little bit longer on this buy. After all, twelve teams play four games during Webber's rest period.

    Webber was also the top point producer for the past week in the PSC Hoops game. So, wanna guess how many teams ranked in the top 50 (in their free game) owned him last week? ... None.   Zip.   Zero. So much for the collective insight of the masses.

    1/4 - That smirk you see this morning is probably from someone who quickly dropped Sam Cassell yesterday for Baron Davis. Results so far? +$210K, and +69.5 TSNP. By this weekend, the situation could always reverse, but the early returns are certainly favorable. Even those who opted for Steve Nash are probably content with their 38 TSNP return (and comparable financial gain). And for the record, Milwaukee's injury outlook sounds something like this: Ray Allen (tendonitis) is probable for Saturday, Cassell (pinched nerve in neck) is day-to-day, and Glenn Robinson (thigh bruise) is doubtful for the next several games. Plan accordingly.

    How'd it get to be Friday already?

    There are no Saturday NFL games this weekend (remember, this is the makeup for week #2.) So you get to wait until the last minute to make your roster decisions. Unfortunately, with so many teams having nothing to play for (either because they are locked into a playoff seeding, or locked out altogether), roster decisions aren't entirely injury or matchup related this weekend. But, if you are in prize contention, or even just bragging-rights contention, it sure would be nice to know which players (or coaches) are still motivated to excel this weekend.

    1/3 - There were ten NBA games last night, and a lot of Ultimate TSN teams had ten players going... (those without Sam Cassell, at least, who was a last minute scratch with a neck problem).

    Kevin Garnett led the evening with 58 TSNP, while Chris Webber topped him by a point in PSC scoring (62). Three other players were in the TSNP 50s, and ten were in the 40s.

    After last night's flurry, there are only three games tonight (perhaps in deference to the Rose Bowl), and it looks like a lot of TSN teams will have no one playing tonight - although there are a few moderately held players who should see action, including Baron Davis, Steve Nash, & Ben Wallace, to name a few. Davis and Nash will both show up on a few more rosters today in the wake of Cassell's pain in the neck.

    Forwards have been the name of the game for the past couple of weeks. For the past 15 days, four of the top 5 TSNP producers were forwards, headed by Garnett, Duncan(2), Pierce(4), and A. Walker(5). Only Jason Kidd broke up the forward sweep. And if 15-day averages continue, Duncan and Garnett (each averaging 53 TSNP/G) will continue to dominate over the next 15 days. Andre Miller projects as the third leading producer over that span, although 7 of his 8 games are away from home, and although I realize it is probably statistically insignificant, he has averaged about 7 TSNP/G less on the road (39.5) than at home (46.5).

    What's it all mean? Hard to say. Duncan seems to appear on a lot more rosters than Garnett today, and with similar upcoming schedules, if you want to differentiate, KG may be the way to go. I doubt if many teams have both of those stud forwards.

    Elton Brand is the other heavily owned stud forward, but his ownership will pull back after the Clippers' extended road trip ends. In fact, I suspect he'll start losing value well before the end of next week. Remember that it takes buyers to push up a price, and at this point, most of those who are inclined to get Brand already have him. So while I don't foresee a significant leak in the near term, those who opt to hold him until the bitter end of his schedule strength will probably end up selling at a price lower than today's value.

    1/2 - Happy New Year!

    After being away for the past 10 days or so, it's good to be back home. I think I was able to keep up pretty well during the holidays, both in stats updating and injury awareness. All three of my TSN Ultimate Hoops teams are now in the top 100 - the first time that's happened all season. (Now I've probably jinxed it!) I was particularly fortunate to miss Shaq's injury. I had plans to pick up Shaq and Odom on one of my teams, but the early dollar losses to Kirilenko made that plan unaffordable, and I ended up going a different route. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than smart.

    NBA action heats up again starting tonight, with at least 10 games on three of the next four nights. Sundays continue to have fairly light activity through January (in deference to the NFL playoffs, I suppose), but the Sunday-Monday lulls that have characterized the early season start to even out now. And while there are a few teams with light current schedules, a lot of teams are going to be busy over the next few weeks. Watch your schedules.

    We have just one more week left in the NFL regular season. Remember, however, that Football Pickoff continues throughout the playoffs. While the top spot in the YTD standings looks all but wrapped up, there are still plenty of prizes up for grabs. And nothing has been settled in the midseason competition.

    TSN has launched their NFL playoff game. It's a free game, using the Three-for-all scoring format. The prizes are surprisingly attractive. So don't hang up your fantasy football cleats just yet.

    And, if you're looking for a different challenge, consider the TSN fantasy golf game, which starts action later in January. Although this is a pay game, the top 100 finishers win cash prizes, so if you think you have a shot at the top 100, you might earn a few bucks, and perhaps even a golf lesson.

    Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

    2001: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

    2000: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

    1999: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

    1998: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March

    RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

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