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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

1/31 - The Minnesota-Dallas game was an entertaining game to watch last night. And if you had both Garnett and Nowitzki, it was also a productive fantasy game, as they combined for 122.5 TSNP.

If you are playing the TSN Basic Hoops game, today's repricing situation is confusing. The game site indicates that there was no repricing yesterday (due to a technical snafu), but when I checked on my team this morning, prices were different. It's not clear whether the updated prices were really from yesterday, or whether these are 2-day price changes that updated prematurely. Hopefully, you didn't get caught at the last minute unable to make a planned move. I thought I had a $180K price cushion, but ended up with zero cash when my one planned trade was done. How efficient! How fortunate!

I'm pleased to announce the following prize winners for Football Pickoff:

  • Grand prize ($150): PGunn
  • Midseason Prize ($100): Mike2083
  • GuruPatron prizes (RotoGuru merchandise):
        Full season - Nuclear Gophers, BF Dead, Squirrel, Mrs Sludge 2, HooeyPooey
        Midseason - The System, Motley Crue, Valkyrie2
  • Notices were sent to the registered email addresses of all prize winners. If you are on the list but have not received a notice, please send me an email ( Congratulations to all!

    1/30 - Jason Kidd was last night's casualty. Although he's not heavily owned, he was on 25 of the top 100 TSN Ultimate rosters last night, so this does matter to a meaningful number of managers. Compare that to the top producer of the night, Tracy McGrady, whose 59 TSNP were enjoyed by only 3 of the top 100 teams (including mine!).

    After yesterday's "sell Webber, buy Kobe & Dirk" shakeup, Mike Bibby remains the most heavily owned player among top teams, still on 94 of the top 100 rosters. Dirk and Kobe now rank 2nd and 3rd, on 83% and 76% respectively. Nowitzki may plateau from here, but Kobe will probably take over the top spot within the next week. It will also be interesting to see whether Shaq starts attracting some sponsorship. Only fifteen of the top 100 teams picked him up yesterday, so he's still got plenty of upside potential. The question is whether he can start to consistently deliver Shaq-like production. Or should I say "Kobe/Duncan/Garnett-like" production? The center slot has been widely used as a place to stow mid-priced and cheaper players this year, with the likes of Ilgauskas, Yao, Hilario, Bradley, and Laettner often found in those slots. But we may start seeing a shift to more studly big men, as Shaq, Nowitzki, Wallace, Jermaine, and even Gasol show up as attractive options after the All Star break. We'll see.

    1/29 - Last night was a dismal night in many respects. It also might have been a blessing in disguise for my top team.

    All told, I had 8 players scheduled to play, and they managed to produce an aggregate total of only 184 TSNP. Scottie Pippen was my only player to exceed 30 TSNP, and the only reason I even owned him was because I bailed on Amare Stoudemire yesterday morning. If everyone had hit their 15 day average, I'd have had almost 100 TSNP more. Chris Webber sprained his ankle, and Jason Terry aggravated a hip contusion - so those two combined for only 27.5 TSNP.

    Shockingly, my ranking improved when the night was done! I guess misery loves company. And with a boatload of trades in reserve and plenty of time this morning to figure out a new plan, I had no trouble adapting to the last minute surprises (although any Webber injury should really not be characterized as a surprise). So maybe this will help my competitive situation over the next week or so. It would have been even better if Webber's injury had happened on a day other than a Wednesday, when trades are refreshed for everyone. But I guess I shouldn't be greedy!

    Webber had almost become a non-factor anyway, as almost all teams had him. Now that honor might belong to Kobe or Dirk, both who would have been heavily bought today even without a Webber injury.

    1/28 - Minnesota beat San Antonio last night, and more importantly from a fantasy perspective, Garnett doubled up Duncan. As of last night, Garnett was on roughly half of the top 100 TSN Ultimate teams, while Duncan was on 40%. So the performance of each currently has a relevant differentiating impact, especially compared to someone like Chris Webber, who is on 95 of the top 100 rosters.

    There are a few other players that bear close scrutiny over the coming days.

    • Amare Stoudemire is still very heavily owned (89 of the top 100 rosters as of yesterday), but his recent performance has been disappointing (averaging only 17 TSNP/G over the past week), and the Phoenix schedule turns light after another week. So even though Phoenix plays four games in the next week, it is reasonable to expect Stoudemire to rapidly begin losing sponsorship, probably as early as today. And if he does incur a material loss today, there are new trades available for everyone tomorrow. So be aware that if you decide to hang on to him until the bitter end, the price impact could be pretty bloody.
    • Juwan Howard has been a disaster over the past 3 games, totaling only 20 TSNP over that span. To be sure, the reasons are somewhat flukey - a DNP due to a funeral, and an early ejection last night - but with three off-days starting tomorrow and trades refreshed, trigger fingers will be itchy. As I mentioned a few days ago, Denver's schedule turns strong again after the 3-day layoff, and Howard does not necessarily need to be sold from a fundamental point generating perspective - if you assume he'll resume his normal productivity. But TSN managers are not noted for their patience, and I expect a lot of managers will bail and not necessarily pick him back up immediately after the layoff. So it is not safe to assume that any price losses in the next few days will be quickly recovered. He'll probably have to prove himself again. And tonight's game will certainly play into that assessment. Incidentally, Howard is currently on about 60% of the top 100 Ultimate teams.
    • Maybyner Hilario obviously has the same schedule outlook as Howard, but his lower price and his respectable performance should provide more price support over the next few days. Of some concern is his high ownership (80 of the top 100), and he'll clearly take a price hit tomorrow, but I'd be much more comfortable holding him for the foreseeable future. Of course, I could always be wrong...
    • Mike Bibby is the other player who appears on an extremely high percentage of rosters (96 of top 100). Sacramento's schedule is pretty strong up until the All Star break, so as long as he produces, he should be fairly stable from a price standpoint. However, his upside from here is almost non-existent; remember, when there's no one left to buy, it's reasonable to expect him to drift downward a bit over the coming week. And any on-court disappointments could be quickly followed by price punishment. So keep a wary eye on him.
    In the interest of full disclosure, I dumped Stoudemire this morning, I'll move Howard from one team tomorrow (and I reserve judgment on my other Howard holding pending tonight's result), I'll move Hilario on only 1 of 3 teams (it just happens to fit with some other moves), and I have no plans to drop Bibby over the next week. Now you can make your own decisions.

    Special thanks to Gurupie KnicksFan for suggesting today's quote.

    1/27 - There's not much I can add to the Super Bowl post-mortem that hasn't already been said ad nauseam. So I'll simply cap it off by congratulating PGunn for his decisive victory in Football Pickoff. I believe all of the standings are now final, although I'll wait a day or so to see if anyone contests their scoring, and whether any unidentified GuruPatrons emerge. If everything stands as is, I'll contact the prize winners later this week.

    The NBA managed to squeeze in 6 games before the NFL took over yesterday, and there were three triple-doubles among those games. Anyone with the triumvirate of Pierce, Webber, and Brand ended up with at least 226 TSNP. And I'm sure there were some with all three. I was fortunate to have two of them on my top Ultimate team, making a Sunday morning switch from McGrady into Pierce when I learned that McGrady did not make the trip. A nice reward for getting up early on Sunday morning!

    By the way, can you imagine how many NBA games would be missed if every NBA player stayed behind to witness the births of their progeny? The NBA might have to expand roster sizes just to ensure there were no forfeits!

    1/24 - In only three games, four players reached the TSNP 50s last night. Three of them were the usual suspects - Kidd, Webber, and Nowitzki. The fourth was Pao Gasol, who has now reached the 50s in 5 of his last 7 games. Admittedly, the other two games were only in the 20s, but even so, for less than $7 mil in the TSN Ultimate game (he's over $8 mil in the Basic game, where he avoided sustained gravity), he's someone to consider. Unfortunately, Memphis has a light schedule for now - only 2 games in the next 7 days - but you probably ought to be looking ahead to see if there is a convenient opportunity to slide him into your lineup.

    While on the topic of looking ahead, I should mention that I adjusted the 4 week NBA schedule grid so that the background color scheme now ignores the 4 days of the All Star break. Previously, the background color turned red for all teams heading into the break, which wasn't conveying useful information. Now, for purposes of color determination, Feb. 11 is assumed to immediately follow Feb. 6. The four days of the break are still shown, but they are greyed-out.

    This change helps to point out several teams with strong schedules wrapped around the break, including Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Clippers, Lakers, and Seattle. Denver's schedule is particularly peppered with green starting on Feb. 1 (green peppers?). Those who were planning to dump Howard and/or Hilario beginning with the 3-day-off period next Wednesday might want to rethink those plans, as it's hard to find a better long term schedule immediately afterward.

    Don't forget to make your final pick in Football Pickoff!

    Thanks to Rolly Rollins for suggesting today's quote.

    1/23 - Starting last Monday, there are some TSN Ultimate teams that have managed to own Webber, Garnett, and Duncan all at once. There are many more teams that own only two of the three. And so far, it looks like the best two to own are Webber and Duncan, as Duncan produced 73.5 TSNP last night to counter the 76 put up by Webber on Tuesday, and Garnett managed only 42.5. In the past three days, they've each played twice, and Garnett trails slightly over that span (Duncan 125, Webber 120.5, Garnett 107.5), although the differences aren't great and could easily shift, as they each play twice more over the next 3 days. A look at the top 100 teams reveals that Garnett and Webber are the two most popular choices right now, with Garnett on 99/100 and Webber gracing 89/100. Duncan is way back, currently on only 31 of those rosters. So owning Duncan last night might have been a powerful differentiation move. Of course, if you don't own Webber, you probably just recovered your opportunity loss from the prior day.

    Meanwhile, there were two triple doubles last night - although both were slightly under Duncan's TSNP total. Sam Cassell and Jermaine O'Neal had 67 and 66.5 TSNP respectively, the latter which included 10 blocks. Five of the top 100 teams owned Jermaine; none had Cassell.

    1/22 - If you've been having troubles accessing all or parts of the RotoGuru site over the past 24 hours, you're not alone. The hosting service has been experiencing frequent network problems which have resulted in intermittent slowness and/or outages for both of my servers. The rotoguru1 server (hosting the forum, sortable stats, and player pages) has been less impacted than the rotoguru2/rotoguru server (hosting the blurbs, Assimilator, yesterday's points, and schedule functions), but both have been unreachable on occasion. You'll just have to be patient - as will I. It's also impacting my ability to receive email, although I don't think anything has been lost - just delayed.

    Last night would have been a good time to own Chris Webber, who cranked out his second game north of 70 TSNP in the past week. Webber can drive you crazy with his sporadic DNPs, but when he's hot, he's someone you want to own. And although there were only three games played yesterday, Webber wasn't the only one to excel, as three others (McGrady, Nowitzky, and Ilgauskas) each topped the 50 TSNP mark.

    It was, however, not a good time to own either Yao Ming or Shawn Bradley. The pair combined for only 9.5 TSNP. Bradley has been below 15 TSNP in 5 of his last 6 games, and it looks like his stock is dead unless LaFrentz gets injured again. Yao has been up and down of late, but his inconsistency is probably just rookie-related. With trades newly refreshed and two off-days to start the week, he may suffer some selling today, but I don't see any fundamental problems in the long term. But of course, that's your call to make.

    Thanks to Gurupie KrazyKoalaBears for suggesting today's quote.

    1/21 - Twelve NBA games yesterday. Two players reached the TSNP 60s (Kobe and Garnett). Six found the 50s. Thirteen were in the 40s. There were plenty of points to go around, and most competitive teams found their share of them. One of my TSN Ultimate teams generated 330 TSNP (9 players going) and dropped in WWR.

    The TSN Golf game launches this week. The initial roster freeze will occur one minute after midnight on Thursday morning. The game is free to enter this year, and although the PFT (pay-for-trade) format understandably turns many people off, there are NET (No Extra Trades) divisions forming. You get 30 trades for free to manage through 21 tournament weekends, ending with the U.S. Open in mid-June. It seems quite plausible that some NET teams - maybe quite a few - will manage to finish in prize territory, as prizes are paid to the top 250 teams. See the golf forum for more info Gurupie divisions.

    Thanks to Gurupie rfs for suggesting today's quote.

    1/20 - Both of yesterday's NFL games were entertaining throughout, which means I didn't get much else done. But then, I suppose that's what Sunday afternoons and evenings are for.

    Twenty-seven Football Pickoff entrants found the perfect combo of Tampa Bay (doubled) and Oakland. Seven got it totally backwards. Only one more pick to be made, although you also have to decide whether to double or not. I suppose most will double their pick, although there are certainly some situations where that may not be the best decision, depending on whether prizes or divisional honors are at stakes. In any event, you have until 6pm EST on Sunday to log your final selection.

    We are entering a very dense schedule period in the NBA. Over the next 14 days, there are 107 games. There is no other 14-day period this season with as many games. There are even six games scheduled on Super Bowl Sunday (although they are all early afternoon tipoffs). Most rosters are probably loaded up with heavily scheduled players, which suggests that, barring injuries, trading over the next week may be limited. Or, perhaps trading will simply be more opportunistic, as there will be fewer needs to dump a player solely based upon schedule weakness. If you've had trouble maintaining a few TSN trades in reserve, this might be a good opportunity to bank some. Immediately before and after the NBA All Star break, there are likely to be a lot more schedule-driven needs, and you'll probably have no trouble finding good uses for any extra trades around that time period. Bear this in mind as you're wheeling and dealing in the next week or so.

    1/17 - Michael Jordan had 28 (real) points at halftime, and seemed destined for a monster scoring night. He finished with only 32 points, however. But he also had 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals, leading to 52.5 TSNP. A pretty good return from a mid-priced player.

    TSN launched its Ultimate Baseball game yesterday. Frankly, I can't understand the value in launching a game so far in advance. Talk about "Hurry up and wait!" But it is interesting to see the rules changes that will be included in this offering, including:

    • The fourth outfield slot will be converted to a DH slot, in which any hitter can he held.
    • Some players will be eligible at multiple positions. For example, Albert Pujols can be used at 1B, 3B, or OF.
    • Prizes have been increased, and will now be paid to the top 200 teams.
    I'll eventually get the new data loaded in the sortable stats and the Assimilator, but don't hold your breath. Figuring out how to efficiently accommodate multiple position players will not be trivial. Perhaps that will be a good exercise for me during the NBA All Star break.

    1/16 - If you are playing the PSC Hoops game this year, you now have some significant work to do. The mid-season repricing has been released, and all rosters need to be "redrafted" from scratch. The roster that I'm using this week, which cost just under the $75 million limit, now would cost almost $107 million. So many of the "automatic" cheapies from the first half - Stoudemire, Yao, etc - are no longer automatic or cheap. This will probably promote more roster differentiation during the second half, which is a good thing.

    All of the new PSC prices are now loaded in the sortable stats and the Assimilator, so there's no time like the present to get started. If you forget to do this before next Monday's freeze, you'll have an empty roster next week!

    Chris Webber had a triple-double in a nationally televised blowout win last night, and given his moderate TSN price uptick yesterday, some teams benefited from the 77.5 TSNP. Ditto for Kobe Bryant, whose 60.5 TSNP (not a triple-double, though) were also enjoyed by some teams - although not a lot, given the Lakers light January schedule. In spite of that schedule weakness, Kobe has held his own, with his worst game of the month being a scant 49 TSNP against Miami last week. In his six games since the turn of the year, he's averaged almost 60 TSNP. That totals to only 4 TSNP less than Stephon Marbury, who's had nine games to accumulate his production.

    1/15 - Those who hung in there with Tim Duncan for the entire TSN trade week finally got rewarded. Timmy went off for 86 TSNP, which ended up making him the top TSNP producer for the past week, in spite of a rather uninspiring start. In fact, if you look at the last two weeks, which coincides with the date that Duncan started his schedule-related selloff, there was only one player who accumulated more TSNP during the period, and that was Tracy McGrady, who outpointed Duncan's 327 TSNP by only 4 TSNP even though he had one more game played during that span. Admittedly, there were other players with similar output and lower prices - for example, Marbury (316), Marion (310), and Kurt Thomas (301), so keeping Duncan wasn't necessarily the optimal choice. But if you could stomach almost $600K in price drops, Duncan certainly pulled his weight in production.

    Even so, with only 2 games in the next trade week and only one in the next five days, don't expect him to be treated kindly in today's repricing. After this five day "doughnut", however, San Antonio has 8 games in 13 days, which is as many as any team over that period. So if you rode Duncan through the last 2 weeks, staying put might not be the dumbest decision you could make.

    1/14 - Yao Ming shrugged off his knee injury and produced a very customary 39 TSNP. In the last month he has played 14 games, and in 7 of them his output has been between 38.5 and 41 TSNP. I guess if you own him you know what you're going to get about half of the time.

    Pau Gasol led all producers with 51 TSNP, completing back-to-back 50+ games. Last year, he was the TSN Hoops wunderkind, averaging about 35 TSNP/G on a price that hovered around $4m for most of the season (after an initial increase from his $3m draft price). This year, he's barely registered on the radar, as he's spent a good deal of the season mired in price gravity. However, as of this morning he ranks #18 in total TSNP (averaging 34 TSNP/G), and at his current price of TSN Ultimate price of $6.8m, there is no one with more TSNP at a lower price. He's certainly not the screaming bargain that he was last year, but you probably ought to at least keep him in mind during the second half of the season.

    I decided to reset the GuruPatron tally monitor as of January 1. We are now entering the third year of the GuruPatron voluntary support system for this site. During 2001, 195 Gurupies donated almost $10,000. Last year, $6,640 was received from 150 GuruPatrons. Fortunately, due to savings in server costs last year, the reduced intake was still sufficient to cover my costs for the year.

    As I've said before, I'll endeavor to maintain the site as long as it is financially supported and seems to fill a need. Thanks in advance for continuing your generous support. And thanks as well for the many non-financial ways that many of you contribute to the message forum via your insight, your contributed software, your statistical tracking, and your moderating. The site is truly a community effort, making the whole much greater than the sum of its parts..

    1/13 - Dealing with injuries is one of the most critical - and confounding - aspect of fantasy hoops. Knowing when to hold and when to fold is often not a straightforward task. Reports are generally spotty, and often unduly optimistic, if not flat out inaccurate. While getting saddled with one or two injured players can really dampen your team's output, making unnecessary moves can also be costly.

    Last week, it was my turn to make those decisions. My top TSN team had been on a hot streak, putting up good points and avoiding injuries. But suddenly, Shawn Bradley, Ben Wallace, and Yao Ming all created the need for timely decisions. In part because of my favorable run, I had plenty of trades in reserve. But who to deal, and who to stick with? None of the injuries sounded serious, but sometimes the dreaded "day-to-day" is the worst thing to hear.

    I ended up bailing on all three. In Bradley's case, he was at risk of losing more playing time to LaFrentz anyway, so that made the decision easier. In the case of Wallace, I waited a day and then moved to Pierce, who has a solid schedule and a decent price potential that I was otherwise going to miss. And Yao - well, that was a tougher call, as his injury seemed the mildest of all. But I opted to downgrade to Lorenzen Wright, providing an opportunity to differentiate a bit, and also paving the way to be able to afford both Garnett and Duncan later this week. Wright's 13 TSNP result last night doesn't make me feel particularly secure about that move so far, but I'll ride it out and see where it gets me. It's nice to have plenty of trades in reserve to deal with these situations, but it can also be a drawback if it prompts unnecessary moves.

    Injuries can be even more problematic in games which allow moves only once per week. In the PSC game, Ben Wallace really hurt me last week, as I was stuck with his 2 DNPs while many of the other top teams didn't have him. Yuck!

    Enough about Hoops. In Football Pickoff, 14 people found the best possible result, picking all four home teams with Oakland doubled. Another 28 people picked all four teams right, but failed to double the Oakland game. Meanwhile, only one person managed to find the worst possible slate (all four visitors with the Jets doubled), although 16 entrants went "oh-fer" the weekend.

    1/10 - Well, I'm glad I didn't hang onto Tim Duncan for his last two games. 80 TSNP in two nights is not up to Duncan-esque standards. Curiously, it appears that some teams actually added him prior to yesterday's game, as he gained in price in both the TSN Basic and Ultimate games. Go figure.

    Meanwhile, on a couple of my teams I did hold on to Jason Kidd for his final two games prior to 4 straight off-days, and that has started out even worse, as he managed a scrub-like total of only 18.5 TSNP in a blowout loss to Sacramento. Sometimes it is worthwhile to hold onto a stud player until the brink of a schedule weakening, trading off the inevitable anticipatory price losses against the upside in differentiation point potential. But this week, those who followed that path for Duncan and/or Kidd are not reaping any silver linings to offset the price hits.

    With only two NBA games last night, there isn't much to look at this morning. Tonight's schedule is extremely heavy, though, as everyone but San Antonio plays. If you don't have a full slate of players going tonight, then you held on to your Spurs for too long. With only 4 games in the next 12 days, the only Spur that I can conceive of holding would be Steven Jackson (because of his ultra-low price).

    Incidently, there are only two days with as many as 14 games during the NBA season (when all but one team play). The first was on October 30, the second day of the season. The other is today.

    If you're looking for something to do, there are some NFL games to plan for this weekend. Whether you're in a postseason fantasy game, or simply playing out the string in Football Pickoff, don't forget to complete your required maneuvers before the relevant freeze. For Football Pickoff, all weekend picks are frozen at 4:30pm EST tomorrow (Saturday).

    1/9 - I spent so much time (undoubtedly too much time) this morning thinking about what to do with Shawn Bradley that I almost forgot to produce today's blurb. Good thing I don't have a real job to get in the way! (Incidently, if you want to review my though process, see here.)

    There were eleven NBA games last night, and surprisingly only two players managed to (barely) top 50 TSNP - Juwan Howard (53) and Raef LaFrentz (51) - both of whom are center-eligible in the TSN game. While there was no shortage of studs on the courts last night, none of them were able to post über-studly results. I suspect those who hung onto Tim Duncan were particularly disappointed with his 45 TSNP output. For most players, 45 TSNP is very satisfactory, if not stellar. But when you've suffered through $500K of recent price declines, you really want a big payoff - and 45 TSNP doesn't qualify. If you still have him, root for a big game tonight. And then consider a move, as he'll have only 3 games in the ensuing ten days. Garnett plays twice as many over the same period. In fact, eight teams play six times over that span, and another 14 teams play 5 times. There must be a more efficient way to deploy Duncan-sized capital. But I'm sure you knew that already.

    By the way, I'd advise against a Duncan-to-Bradley shift...

    1/8 - Kobe Bryant scored 45 (real) points last night. It's hard to imagine that he only managed to amass 52.5 TSNP. I guess he put the other facets of his game on the back burner, stood behind the arc, and launched. He made 12 three-pointers, including an NBA record 9 straight at one point. Three point shots don't carry any special significance in TSN or PSC scoring, but they do in many rotisserie scoring formats.

    Kobe wasn't on a lot of TSN rosters, and his reward today will probably be to get dumped by those who did own him, as the Lakers play only twice in the next 7 days, and only 7 times in the next 3 weeks, two less than any other team, and five less than some teams.

    Yesterday brought the announcement of the next two entrants to the Baseball Hall of Fame. And so it seems particularly appropriate for me to announce four new baseball enshrinees in the RotoGuru Hall of Fame:

    • Brad Hess (a.k.a. Smallwhirled), TSN Ultimate Baseball
    • Bill Fleming (j o s h), Swirve Baseball
    • Randy Turner (Tosh), TSN Midseason Ultimate Baseball
    • Pete Pederson (Pistol Pete), TSN Basic Baseball
    Congrats to each of these deserving Gurupies on their fine baseball seasons!

    1/7 - Often, TSN Hoops trading on the last day of the trade week is pretty light. That may not be the case today, as there will be a number of teams picking up Yao Ming, and others adding Kevin Garnett. Of course, some teams that planned one or both of these moves may be stuck tradeless, especially if they had to deal with Webber, or Artest, or Derek Anderson, or any of the other unexpected injuries/suspensions of the last week. If so, new trades arrive this afternoon.

    If you are playing the TSN Basic Hoops game, we're heading into the final stretch. I trust that you realize that the Basic season ends at the All Star Break, which means the last game is on Thursday, Feb. 6 - which is now less than a month away. I have one team in that game, and I haven't planned to buy any extra trades. Even so, it looks like I'll have a chance to finish in the money, as prizes are awarded to the top 500 teams. Admittedly, the $10 prize for finishing 251-500 isn't going to motivate me financially, but my competitive juices will probably keep me attentive to the bitter end, unless I see that it becomes hopeless. My current ranking is 428, and I still have 3 trades available (5 after noon), so we'll see. I'll confess I haven't paid much attention to that team. And frankly, if prizes stopped at the top 100, I'd be tempted to abandon it at this point. I guess there's just something about finishing "in the money," no matter how little money is involved.

    1/6 - If NFL games were 58.5 minutes long, I could have been 4-0 in Football Pickoff this weekend. But as a long time Cleveland Browns fan, I kept having flashbacks during the 4th quarter of that game - John Elway, Earnest Byner,... - and now this collapse. It's not nearly as severe a malady as the Curse of the Bambino for the local Red Sox, but it's at times like this that I can empathize. And then the Giants out-Browned the Browns. What a day for fans of those two teams.

    There were 195 active slates in this weekend's Football Pickoff round. With 4 games, there were 16 possible sets of picks (ignoring doubles). Nine of those slates had all four games correct, of which four had the gumption to double Atlanta. Five entrants also managed to get all four games wrong. Historically, home teams win NFL playoff games about 75% of the time (as I recall), so the weekend seems pretty normal in that regard. But the final results certainly don't tell the stories of these games.

    Four more games next weekend. The Pickoff freeze is once again on Saturday at 4:30pm.

    Meanwhile, in the NBA, Chris Webber once again demonstrated why you seldom want to pick him up for a heavy schedule period. Some TSN Hoops managers never got that memo, I guess, as he enjoyed a big gain on Saturday, much of it presumably coming from trades out of Tim Duncan. Two days later, Duncan has an additional 57 TSNP, while Webber has back-to-back DNPs.

    The other notable NBA story was the 3 game suspension of Ron Artest. According to an AP story:

    Artest stormed off the court after the Pacers lost to the Knicks 98-96 at New York on Friday night, grabbed a monitor and threw it. He then approached a cameraman, yanked the high-definition $100,000 camera away from him and smashed it to the floor. ``Tough loss, I guess,'' said MSG Network cameraman Mike Miner, who was filming in the tunnel leading from the court.
    Just imagine if Artest played for either the Browns or Giants!

    1/3 - It's a long NBA season.

    It wasn't so long ago that most TSN teams had a majority of the following: Kwame Brown, Drew Gooden, Gilbert Arenas, Bobby Jackson, Aaron McKie, Nene Hilario, and Loren Woods. As of Nov. 15, these were the most widely owned players, at least on Gurupie rosters. Today, most of these guys are nowhere to be found, although Hilario may start making a comeback, as he should become center-eligible next week, and Denver's schedule gets pretty dense. Even so, with Yao Ming returning to many rosters by next Monday, there probably won't be a widespread need for an ultra-cheap center.

    Today, the most popular cheaper names are Amare Stoudemire, Brian Grant, Larry Hughes, and Ricky Davis. Yao will rejoin that list soon - perhaps at Grant;s expense. But there already seems to be a lot more roster diversity now than there was in mid-November. Part of that is because studs are more affordable. Part of that is because there just aren't many cheaper players that are showing sustained consistency. Stoudemire is the primary exception - but it makes you wonder whether he'll still be the most widely owned player in February or March. If he keeps it up, he probably will be. But then, the same was true of Kwame Brown back in November. Only time will tell.

    Reminder: Don't forget to make your weekend Football Pickoff picks by the time of tomorrow's opening kickoff (4:30pm EST). You cannot wait until Sunday to pick the Sunday games. All games are locked tomorrow.

    1/2 - Tonight will be the calm before the storm. The Orange Bowl will command center stage, and only three NBA games are scheduled. Then tomorrow brings the Fiesta Bowl and a resumption of heavier NBA fare.

    Yesterday's biggest price gainers didn't contribute much on the court. A rare Miami blowout victory relegated some of their regulars to more bench time than usual, resulting in only 46.5 TSNP for Brian Grant and Eddie Jones combined. The other player with a $100K price uptick, Shawn Marion, plays tonight - so at least he met the expectations of his owners yesterday.

    1/1 - Happy New Year! I'm back home again after a little more than a week away. I have some catch-up work to do on site maintenance - updating GuruPatron data, updating football stats for the MNF game, and adding the baseball HOF bios before it's time to add the new football enshrinees. And there are probably a few other loose ends from 2002 that I need to complete. They'll come to me eventually.

    I did resequence the left menu to put Hoops on top now. However, I left a link for Football Pickoff, because that game continues through the end of the NFL playoffs. While PGunn looks to have the grand prize all but locked up, that leaves the midseason prize up for grabs among a lot of contenders (because PGunn will be ineligible for that prize if he wins the overall grand prize). The GuruPatron prizes are also still in play, and I'm sure many of you have personal competitions still going.

    Special Note: For the playoff rounds, the freeze for the entire weekend occurs at the time of the scheduled kickoff of the first game of the weekend. That means that all four of this weekend's games must be selected by 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon. You cannot wait until Sunday to pick the Sunday games!. This differs from the regular season protocol, but is the way the playoffs have always been handled.

    I will not be producing NFL stats for any of the player-based playoff fantasy games, either TSN or PSC. You're on your own. Playoff games tend to attract a much lighter following, and this has not proven to be an efficient use of my limited resources.

    Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

    2002: December. . . November. . . October. . . September. . . August. . . July. . . June. . . May. . . April. . . March . . . February . . . January

    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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