Daily blurbs from the Guru
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1/31 - Just 2 days until the start of the GuruGolf preseason. Just 5 days until the
OK, so maybe the football game doesnít quite belong in the same context as the other two events. But with a 2 week gap, the NFL sure seems to have lost significant momentum.
The Cavaliers are 5-0 since LeBron James started wearing tights. Coincidence, or not? His personal production has been pretty solid during that period as well, averaging 55 TSNP/G. Heís also overtaken the full season lead in total TSNP, and seems to be pulling away. He isnít quite the most heavily owned player in the TSN Ultimate game, but heís now second only to Shawn Marion, and within a couple of days, will be in the top spot there as well. Maybe even by tonight. Of the top 100 TSN Ultimate teams, 99 have him. (Iíll let you find the LBJ-free team.)
1/30 - Anyone for golf?
GuruGolf 2006 has been launched, although the next two weeks are ďpractice roundsĒ, designed to give you a chance to try out (or remember) the game, and a chance for me to remember how to administer the game. Play for keeps starts with the Nissan Open, which tees off on Feb. 16.
I just noticed that we turned the corner on the midpoint of the NBA season. For the rest of the season, the Clippers play the most games, 41, which is 50% of the schedule. Every other team has passed its halfway mark, with Denver in the lead, having played 46 with only 36 to go. If injuries havenít scared people away from Marcus Camby, maybe the schedule will.
1/27 - There were three NBA games last night, but the big story was the trade between the T-wolves and the Celtics. It remains to be seen whether this trade helps either team. But for those managing TSN teams, it has immediate implications for those currently holding any of the impacted players, particularly Szczerbiak and Ricky Davis. Both teams play tonight, but it is unclear whether any of the traded players will be in uniform tonight. Interestingly, the two teams face each other on Monday.
Chris Webber certainly has been a model of consistency this year, hasnít he? Check out his last 30 days. The most remarkable stat is that heís had no DNPs in that span. He has averaged 33.5 TSNP per game, but here is his TSNP breakdown by decile:
Under 10: 1
1/26 - Iím still hoping to launch GuruGolf next week, although there are still some setup tasks left to do. As in past years, I will probably start off with a 2-week preseason period, which gives me a chance to shake out any processing glitches, and which (more importantly) gives all of you enough time to get set up so that we can start the season with as many competitors as possible. Iíll let you know the status by the beginning of next week.
Long time Gurupies know that soccer gets about one mention per year in this blurb space. I might as well get the 2006 installment out of the way today. The team in Houston will be called ďHouston 1836Ē. I suppose it has the advantage of being distinctive, and of being politically correct. But 1836 has 5 syllables, and Iím sure the team will not be commonly called by all five. In most sports, names with 3 syllables are too long. For example, the Timberwolves are the T-wolves. The Knickerbockers are the Knicks. The Mariners are the Mís, and the Athletics are the Aís. So what will be the abbreviated form of the ď1836Ē? The ď6Ē? The ďdateĒ? The ďyearĒ? Or maybe just ďHoustonĒ? Time will tell, I guess. But inquiring minds want to know.
1/25 - The on-again, off-again trade of Peja for Artest took on an amusing twist yesterday afternoon. The story broke in the late afternoon, shortly before ESPNís 6PM (ET) SportsCenter. Stephen A Smith was interviewed early in that broadcast, and apparently mentioned that Artest did not want to play for Sacramento. On the radio this morning, Tony Kornheiser wondered aloud whether the Maloof brothers actually heard that first from Stephen A., since it was apparently only moments later that they called Jim Gray, who originally broke the story, to tell him they were rescinding the deal.
Probably not, but interesting to speculate on, nonetheless.
I had some technical server issues to deal with this morning, so Iím a bit behind the 8-ball in looking over last nightís results. From a quick look at the boxscores, though, Iíd say that Mike Bibby certainly prospered from the Stojakovic absence, scoring 44 real points and 52 TSNP. Kevin Martin, whoís been driving a lot of his owners crazy of late, also got a nice boost in playing time and production, with 29 TSNP in 43 minutes. On the other hand, teammate Brad Miller was awful, going 0-8 from the floor while hauling in only one rebound. Of course, of those three players, you know which one I have. Me and about 800 others.
1/24 - The issue of home vs. away productivity for NBA players is something Iíve been pondering for the past few days. Yesterday, I noted that Kobe has averaged 10 TSNP/G better at home than he has on the road. And then, as noted in todayís quote, Van Gundy calls attention to TMacís prowess in road games.
I didnít have a convenient way to measure fantasy point averages split by home vs. away. So I bit the bullet this morning and added those splits to the averages on the individual player pages. For example, here is Kobe, and here is TMac. Lo and behold, McGrady has averaged 10 TSNP/G more on the road than at home, and over the last month, the gap has been 20 TSNP. No wonder Van Gundy noticed.
(I realize that home/away splits have little meaning over shorter periods, but I calculated them for all displayed periods anyway.)
Iím not sure what, if anything, Iíll do with these splits, as I suspect they arenít particularly meaningful for most players. But since many of the denser schedule opportunities occur over prolonged road trips, itís probably at least something to consider when buying into a player with an impending schedule imbalance.
1/23 - The NFL conference championships were settled yesterday, but the big story this morning seems to be Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points. And he did a few things besides shoot. In TSNP terms, he produced 70 TSNP by shooting, but another 20 from the other stats.
Itís notable that this was a home game for the Lakers. This year, Kobe has averaged about 50 TSNP per game at home, but only 40 TSNP/G on the road. After an immediate 4 day hiatus, the Lakers have a very dense schedule which includes seven consecutive road games over an eleven game span. Iím sure Kobe will be a popular pickup in the TSN game during that period, but it does give you pause.
In Football Pickoff, 36 slates had both games correct this weekend. But only one contestant has picked all ten playoff games correctly. Kudos to jreese2, who is one game away from posting a perfect score for the playoffs (including doubles).
1/20 - Kobe scored 50 points (62 TSNP) and lost. Nothing unusual there.
Kenny Thomas matched Kobeís TSNP with a triple double. Nothing usual there.
Sundayís NFL games donít start until 3pm ET, so that is when Football Pickoff freezes. Both home teams are currently 57-43 favorites as of this moment, so there are still ample opportunities for decent swings in the scoring.
1/19 - LeBron had a chance to be Superman at the end of the nationally televised game in Denver last night. But he missed a crucial final free throw that would most likely have sent the game into OT, depriving the Cavs of a chance to win, and depriving himself of a chance for a triple double, falling short by one assist.
It will be interesting to see how the NBA handles Antonio Davisí charging into the stands last night.
Last nightís ďcheapie du jourĒ (or should it be ďcheapie du soir?Ē) was Denverís Eduardo Najera (aha, ďcheapie de la nocheĒ), with 46 TSNP on a minimum TSN Ultimate price of $500K (although he is still a bit over $1000K in the Basic game.) Before you jump on his bandwagon, though, realize that he produced 1.5 TSNP two days earlier. The two extremes essentially kept him right at his average for the last month.
1/18 - With only two games in the NBA, it seemed like a Thursday Ė except that they werenít nationally televised. So there wasnít much to watch last night, and there isnít much to look at this morning.
Kirilenko sticks out, however, with an 18 point, 11 assist, 16 board triple double, with 4 blocks and 3 steals thrown in for good measure. Nothing cheap about that effort!
There are 12 NBA games tonight, followed by just two on (the real) Thursday, followed by 13 on Friday. Many players seem to have very similar looking schedules, which probably means that the buys in the TSN game will be spread out. Fifteen teams have 8 games scheduled over the next two weeks, so I suppose that doesnít bode well for players with lighter schedules, like Kobe, Baron Davis, and Kirilenko, whose teams each play only 6 times over that span.
1/17 - As the saying goes, you shouldnít believe everything you read in the papers. Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Elton Brand would not play in the afternoon game against the Jazz. Brandís subsequent DNP resulted in 46 minutes played, 35 points, 14 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 76.5 TSNP.
It was actually a very good day for (reportedly) injured players. Gerald Wallace had 45.5 TSNP in 39 minutes. David West had 41.5 TSNP in 33 minutes. Chris Paul (who perhaps should no longer considered injured) had 51.5 TSNP in 34 minutes. Who am I forgetting? I guess Jermaine OíNeal, was the primary party pooper. I suppose I could add Okafor and McGrady to the no-show list, but no one really held out hope for either of them to appear.
1/16 - The Indy-Pittsburgh game came within a whisker of being a game for the ages. Certainly, if the Bettis fumble had been returned for a game winning TD, the play would have taken on ďimmaculate receptionĒ status, and Jerome Bettis could have become Buckner-esque. The Buckner-Bettis comparison isnít quite fair, but today, what do you think of first when you hear the name ďBill Buckner?Ē Maybe the name ďEarnest BynerĒ is a better comparison Ė although neither Buckner nor Byner had Hall of Fame credentials to go with their blooper. Still, both were certainly good players over a protracted span who deserve a better mental bookmark.
By the way, isnít this a fair paraphrase of one of Peyton Manningís post-game quotes: ďIím going to be a good team player and not blame my offensive line, who clearly blew the game for us.Ē
Nine slates in Football Pickoff had all four games correct this weekend, and five of them had Pittsburgh doubled. Three entrants have gone 8-8 in the playoffs, headed by jreese2, who has also doubled the optimum game in each weekend.
1/13 - The curse of a good schedule: A lot of TSN teams owned both LeBron and Kobe for last nightís faceoff. OF the top 100 TSN Ultimate teams, 95 had LeBron, and 52 had Kobe. Those two combined for only 61.5 TSNP. Meanwhile, Shawn Marion and Steve Nash, whose schedule has been sparse of late, combined for 104.5 TSNP. Surprisingly, Marion is on 63 of the top 100 rosters, so his schedule hasnít been a significant deterrent (although he was on 97 of top 100 a week ago). Nash is only on 9.
Triskaidekaphobics, beware! Today is Friday the 13th. If you make trades today, they may blow up in your face. Of course, if you fail to make trades today, it may blow up in your face. This has been a public service announcement.
Donít forget to make your playoff picks in Football Pickoff. Picks for all four games are locked at 4:30pm tomorrow (Saturday).
1/12 - Kobe Bryant scored only 41 last night, but even 45 would have been insufficient for the Lakers, who apparently needed at least 52 to overtake the 11-24 Portland Trailblazers.
Break up the Knicks! Not only have they won 5 straight, but they are only 2 games behind the 8th seed for the playoffs.
Apparently, the mad rush to reacquire Chris Paul isnít totally mad. Six of the top 100 Ultimate rosters added him yesterday, but his net price change was zero, so itís quite likely that some teams dumped him too. For what itís worth, Iíve pretty much decided to pass on picking him up this time around. His schedule is OK in the short term, but heís not an obvious long term hold from a schedule perspective. There are enough other guys in his price range that are producing comparably. And itís impossible to anticipate how his injury might impact his numbers. Itís impressive that he played 35 minutes in his first game back. But his output of 27.5 TSNP was inconclusive. Iíll let other managers take the risk, and reap the rewards, whatever they may be.
In other words, it wonít be me who jinxes his comeback.
1/11 - I think Chris Paul has taken himself out of contention for the Marcus Camby award. Although Paulís recent injury was expected to keep him sidelined for 2 weeks, he played 35 minutes last night, just four days after his injury. If you got stuck with him on a tradeless TSN team last week, his unexpected return was amazingly well timed, with new trades doled out at 11pm last night.
We had an unlikely triple double last night, from Mike Miller. I guess he was counterbalancing a disturbance in the Miller force, as Brad and Andre combined for only 27 TSNP. Of course, Brad and Andre are each on more than 500 TSN Ultimate rosters. Mike is on 12.
1/10 - Since 1990, the top two teams in each NFL conference have earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Historically, those bye teams have then won their first game more than 80% of the time. But in Football Pickoff, the early odds show two visiting teams as early favorites: New England (54%) over Denver, and Carolina (52%) over Dallas. The betting lines do list all of the home teams as favorites, and maybe Pickoff will drift in that direction as well. On the other hand, the pickoff odds differed on one game last week (Washington over TB), and the pickoff consensus was right for that game.
In the NBA, Kobe Bryant has been getting most of the notice lately, based on his fourth straight game of scoring 45 or more (which has not happened since Wilt Chamberlain). But the top TSNP producer last night was Allen Iverson, who scored 41 while shooting 60% from the field (15-25). Kobe had to launch 32 shots to get his total, and made only 14 of them (44%).
Guess who was the top TSNP producer over the past 7 days. Not Dirk Nowitzki, who amassed 205.5 in 5 games. Nope. It was Toronto guard Mike James, who also played 5 games over that span, and managed to top Dirk by a half point. But before you jump on James bandwagon, be aware that he plays only twice in the next seven days, so heís not going to repeat that feat. If you want to pick up a James today, pick a different one.
1/9 - Three NFL road teams won playoff games this weekend. And in spite of this being a season in which betting favorites were dominant, only 2 of them won. Eighteen Football Pickoff contestants picked all four winners, and nine of them had the optimal team (Carolina) doubled.
Injuries dominated the fantasy NBA news. Tracy McGrady left the court on a stretcher yesterday with severe back spasms. But from the perspective of the TSN game, the loss of Chris Paul was the big story, with more than 1000 TSN Ultimate managers dumping him on Saturday alone. On Friday, every team in the TSN Ultimate top 100 had Paul; by Sunday night, only 2 still had him, and both of those teams were tradeless (not clueless).
Iíve started posting the daily statistical analysis of the TSN Ultimate top 100 teams. You can now find these every morning at the Hoops Standings forum.
1/6 - We finally got a night without a college football game running into the wee hours of the morning. I actually got to bed before midnight. No, the nationally televised Pacers-Warriors game wasnít enough to keep me up.
The NFL playoffs start tomorrow at 4:30pm tomorrow afternoon. In Football Pickoff, your selections for all four games will be frozen at that time. You might as well tend to that now, rather that risk forgetting.
For most of the NBA season, the leader in total TSNP has generally been either Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, or Marcus Camby. Barring injury, however, it looks like LeBron James is about take over. James is currently ranked 3rd, and would probably already be on top if he hadnít played less games than either Wade or Iverson. Over the past month, heís been averaging almost 53 TSNP/G. Curiously, heís on less than 20% of all TSN Ultimate rosters, and with only one game in the next 4 days, thatís unlikely to rise imminently. But youíve gotta figure his ďstockĒ is going to rise shortly.
1/4 - The Orange Bowl game provided a lot of entertaining football last night, but finishing at 1am ET is hard to take. I must confess that I was lapsing in and out of consciousness during the overtime drives. I think I saw the end of each drive, but there are some details that occurred on the other side of my eyelids.
The PGA Tour starts its 2006 season this week. GuruGolf will not launch until late January or early February, however. Iíll let you know.
I canít close out 2005 without a final thanks to everyone who ponied up with a GuruPatron contribution during the year. Although it was the lowest annual total collected since the inception of the GuruPatron program, and the lowest number of contributors, it was still sufficient to cover my costs for the year, and I appreciate this tangible voluntary show of support from the 108 who made the gesture. Meanwhile, Iíve already received a few donations in 2006, and Iíll soon roll over the odometer and start tracking the tally for the new year.
I have a conflicting obligation to attend to tomorrow, so there will be no Thursday blurb Ė although stats should be updated bright and early.
1/3 - Yesterdayís blurb was prophetic, as we did lose power here at RotoGuru World Headquarters from 4:30am until about 1pm today. Consequently, no blurb today. Iím still thawing out.
1/2 - Itís good to be back home again, although an impending storm of freezing rain, snow, and wind may adjust my attitude shortly. If I disappear, assume that the power is out.
The NFL regular season is now in the history books. As is often the case of the final week of the season, you can pretty much throw darts to pick winners. And that may be why the two ďdartĒ entries in football pickoff scored so well this weekend. But not as well as Venom, who went 13-1 after (apparently) forgetting to get picks logged for the Saturday games. In the overall competition, there is quite a battle underway heading into the playoffs, as the top three teams are separated by only 22 points. One of those three, gurudan, is running away with the midseason contest, having amassed more points after week #8 than he has for the full season.
Remember that Football Pickoff continues throughout the playoffs, and there is even a separate prize for the best score during the playoffs, so itís not too late to enter (or to resuscitate a dormant team).
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed toGuru<firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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