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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 - Add LeBron to the worry list today. At least Camby played last night, and played well. Kaman, Maggette, and Butler were no-shows, and none are certain for their next games tomorrow. The game is really getting debilitating, not only for the players, but for fantasy managers. Best not to dwell on it.

GuruGolf teed off this morning with 153 active foursomes and no clear cut favorite. Justin Leonard is on the most rosters (33), followed closely by Mickelson (32), but the field is well dispersed this week. In addition to the 153 active foursomes this week, another 60 teams have been formed, but are apparently skipping this preseason event. Next week, we start playing for keeps.

1/30 - It was a night with many improbable results in the NBA:

  • One of the league's worst teams, Seattle, managed to stop its 14-game losing streak with a win over San Antonio. Or, to put a different spin on it, San Antonio continued to struggle against teams with 14-game losing streaks.
  • Washington, playing without Caron Butler (and of course, without Gilbert Arenas), somehow managed to beat Toronto in overtime.
  • And Boston, playing a road game without either Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen, and getting only 7 points from Paul Pierce, obliterated the Heat by 30.
How bad is Miami? They lost by 30 to last year's Celtics. No, let me expand on that. They lost at home by 30 to last year's Celtics minus Al Jefferson. Aye carumba!

As mentioned above, Caron Butler became the latest key player to post a surprising DNP, this one due to a left hip flexor strain. What makes this one more maddening is that, according to the game recap, Andray Blatche was told in the morning that he would be filling in for Butler, yet there were evidently no published reports about the injury until gametime, making it difficult for fantasy teams to react. Butler did not even travel to Toronto for tonight's home-and-home rematch, so at least tonight is not another dreaded gametime decision. But it's been a tough week for last minute surprises to key players, either due to injuries or flu.

Having said that, it strikes me that this is a fairly regular occurrence every NBA season at about this time of year. The grind of the schedule probably makes players more vulnerable to injuries (or more wiling to sit out a game or two to recover), and "flu-like symptoms" becomes a regular part of the vernacular. So while you never know the precise timing, it should probably regarded as a question of when rather than a question of if.

The next (and final) GuruGolf preseason event tees off tomorrow at 9:40am ET. No Tiger this week, since the tournament in Dubai is not part of the GuruGolf schedule. The number of registered GuruGolf teams has roughly doubled since this time last week, so I guess the word is getting out.

1/29 - Even casual fans of the NBA know that Boston has gotten off to a great start this year, although they have been rather ordinary of late, winning only five of their last 10 games. But even ardent fans of the NBA might not fully appreciate whatís going on in New Orleans, where the Hornets now have the best record in the Western conference after winning 9 of their last 10, placing them Ĺ game ahead of Phoenix and one game ahead of Dallas. If I interpret the All-Star guidelines correctly, Mike D'Antoni is not eligible to coach this year since he did so in 2007. So the “battle” is with Avery Johnson. The team with the best record on the Sunday two weeks before the game is the coach. New Orleans plays only twice in that span, at home vs. Golden State, and then at Sacramento. Dallas also plays only twice, at Boston and at Detroit. So Byron Scott would seem to have a pretty good chance Ė although I don't know who coaches if the two teams are tied. Their head-to-head record is 1-1, while Dallas will have the better in-conference record, so perhaps they win the tie.

Patience can be a virtue or it can be punished. Those who held Gerald Wallace through last week's potential DNP have been rewarded with steady play. Not only has he played every game since then, but heís missed only 16 minutes in his last four games combined. But then there's Chris Kaman, who surprisingly sat on Saturday with a previously undisclosed shin contusion, and then followed that up last night with a DNP-flu. The next one to watch is probably Marcus Camby, who was rather ineffective in a blowout loss last night while nursing a sore knee. Camby seems to be downplaying the severity, but then again, this is Marcus Camby, who's already way overdue for a DNP. So if you have him, hold your breath, and work on getting your crystal ball calibrated.

1/28 - According to a blurb on, yesterday's buzzer-beater by Turkoglu was “the first game-winning, walk-off, 3-point field goal in the NBA either of the last two seasons. The last was a 23-footer by Damon Jones of the Cavaliers in a win at Toronto on March 8, 2006.” Thatís hard to believe. It seems like Gilbert Arenas was doing that regularly last season. But who am I to doubt the Elias Sports Bureau?

I guess there was good reason for GuruGolf teams to pay up for Tiger Woods last week. He obliterated the field. Take a look at the detailed tournament scorecards for the Buick Invitational. About the only thing he didn't do was card an eagle. But he did average 6 birdies per round. Perhaps the more remarkable scorecard was posted by Ryuji Imada, who posted an average of 5 birdies per round, and whose entry price was only $560, roughly 30% of Tiger's price. It's not surprising that the top two GuruGolf teams for the weekend were the only two teams to have both Woods and Imada.

1/25 - When Miami is trying to avoid a 15th consecutive loss and manages to keep the Spurs from leading for almost 47 minutes, it's a shame when they fall short in the final minute. But I guess that's what happens to bad teams (and that's also what happens to good teams).

When the struggling Nets, one of the league's lowest scoring teams, faces Golden State (the second highest scoring team) in Oakland and goes toe-to-toe in a high scoring contest, it's a shame when they fall short by two points in a 121-119 finish. The second half was too late for this easterner to stay up for, but apparently in the fourth quarter the Warriors both scored 22 consecutive points and blew a 13-point lead, which has got to be a difficult pair of feats to accomplish in a single quarter. The 119 points by the Nets was their highest output of the season. And although the team lost, if you had any Nets on your fantasy team, you were probably pleased with the output.

GuruGolf live scoring ran smoothly yesterday, although team scoring in this tournament is difficult to assess after just one round, since two courses are used. Teams which have a couple of golfers on each of the two courses tend to have a scoring advantage after one round. But those differences disappear after round two scores are posted, and all teams are back on an even footing. Interestingly, Tiger Woods turned out to be the most widely owned golfer, on almost 30% of the 95 teams who put together a foursome. It's unusual to see the highest priced golfer attain that status, especially early in the year when team values are more constraining. On the other hand, since this is only a preseason event, maybe more teams decided to get Tiger now when the implications of taking three other much cheaper golfers had no lingering consequences. Iíll confess that I threw him on one of my teams "just for kicks." I'm not saying that a foursome of Tiger and three cheapies can't be the best option. But it is difficult to find those three cheapies in advance!

1/24 - If you dumped the recently disappointing Jason Kidd or the risky Gerald "Game Time Decision" Wallace, here's hoping you picked up Josh Smith as the replacement. Smith went nuts with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 blocks, and 3 steals, falling only 2 steals short of a rare 5x5. (He also had 7 turnovers, so arguably, it was a 5x5 of sorts.) Of course, Wallace not only played, but he played all 48 minutes! - the only player in that game to do so. Go figure. And tonight, Kidd faces the Warriors, who tend to be one of the best matchup teams for opposing fantasy points. So Kidd could just as easily reverse course tonight. Then again, the Nets have been pretty awful lately.

GuruGolf tees off late this morning. It's only "spring training" for GuruGolf purposes - well, maybe "winter training" is more apt. Regardless, this looks like an interesting tournament, with Tiger and Phil both entered, playing the course that will host this year's U.S. Open. The first two rounds are played on two different courses, so GuruGolf scorecards for those rounds will be matched by course, rather than round. Hopefully, the scoring programs will behave. If you notice any apparent glitches, feel free to report them at the golf forum.

1/23 - Tomorrow, the first GuruGolf tournament tees off. So far, about 50 teams have set up a foursome. As a preseason event, there is no compelling reason to participate this week, as the scoring for this event (and the next one) does not carry over to the regular season. However, there's probably no better way to get prepared for the first official week than by starting now. Not only will the proper brain cells get activated (or reactivated), but you'll begin to develop some ideas that will carry over into the first regular event.

If you've never tried GuruGolf, let me provide a brief synopsis. Here's the process:

  1. Register at the game site. Then log in.
  2. Go to the My Account page and create one or more teams. You may have as many as 10 teams under a single registration. But if this is your first time, start with one. You can always add more later.
  3. Go to the Manage Roster page. Here you will buy four golfers to fill your four open roster slots. The price list shows the current prices, and you have $4000 in cash to make your initial buys.
  4. Feel free to work up a roster using a trial and error approach. The system is smart enough to allow you maximum flexibility. If you buy a golfer and then decide you don't want that golfer, just sell him. Any time you sell a golfer who has been bought since the last tournament, that transaction is always automatically treated as an "undo" of your buy, rather than as a sell. And if you really get messed up, you can clear your roster with a single click and start over. No penalties.
  5. You can also set up a provisional golfer in case one of your foursome fails to tee off tomorrow, but that's not necessary, so I won't discuss that here. Read the rules if you want to explore that option.
  6. Starting tomorrow at 8:30am Pacific time, you can follow your team's scorecard on the Tourney Recap page. Scores will update during the day as play progresses. Your team score for each hole is the best individual score on that hole, all expressed relative to par. So if one of your golfers birdies the first hole and the other three all bogey it, you still get a -1 for that hole.
  7. Scoring can get more volatile in the later rounds, after some golfers fail to make the cut, which generally occurs after the first two rounds. Part of your strategy should be to find golfers who you think are more likely to make the cut. However, you can't make any roster adjustments once the tournament starts, so you have to live with your opening foursome, regardless of how many survive to the weekend.
  8. At the conclusion of the tournament, the prices of each active golfer is adjusted up or down, depending of that golfer's performance in the tournament. The repricing formula does not depend on how popular a golfer may have been. It is solely based on his scorecard and his starting price. The repricing formula rewards lower priced golfers more than higher price golfers (all other things being equal), and it rewards good scores on difficult holes more than good scores on easy holes (with hole difficulty graded "on the curve." You don't need to understand the formula, however. Just accept the results.
  9. Then, for next week's tournament, you can sell any golfer on your roster - particular those who are not entered next week. And you may buy other golfers to fill those openings. Your available trades are generally limited to an average of two per week, but there are opportunities to exceed that by effectively paying a premium price for new golfers. (It's all fantasy money, of course.)
That's all there is to it! If you haven't played before, my recommendation is to register today and try it out for the first two weeks. If you decide it's not for you, then just stop. But many who get started this way find themselves hooked, even if they don't know much about professional golfers. As usual, there are plenty of quantitative tools available to help guide you through the weekly buy/sell decision process, and like fantasy football, you only need to make roster decisions once per week. So it's a low intensity game from a time and commitment standpoint. And did I say it's totally free?

See you on the first tee!

1/22 - Back in October, when I was drafting my team for the RIHC, I was very tempted to take Dwyane Wade as early as the 7th pick of the first round. I ended up passing, but thinking that if he was healthy by the beginning of December, he would offer good value if he returned anywhere close to last season's form.

As it turned out, he was back on the court sooner than expected. But after two months of action, he just hasn't delivered numbers anywhere approximating last year's. In fact, based on averages over the last 30 days, he only ranks 19th overall in the ESPN player rater. Now, a ranking of #19 isn't shabby. But it's certainly not what you hope to get from Wade. And it's also not enough to get Miami over the hump, as evidenced by the lack of even a single team win over that span.

While I did duck Wade, I ended up taking Dirk Nowitzki, who hasn't done that much better, currently ranked #15 based on YTD averages. At this juncture, it looks like Chris Paul would have been the steal at that point of the draft. He ranks #1 overall on the ESPN rater. Or Baron Davis, currently at #5. I tend to avoid Baron because of his awful shooting percentages, but this season his other contributions have been plenty sufficient to compensate.

Lots can change, as there's still plenty of the season remaining. But we are about to reach the midpoint, which occurs tomorrow when game #615 is played.

Thanks to Gurupie Ref for suggesting today's quote.

1/21 - A Brett Favre Super Bowl would have been pretty enticing, but I gotta believe the Fox Network is pretty happy with the ratings prospects of a Patriots-Giants Super Bowl.

Football Pickoff has morphed into a 3-way barnburner. Former winner HooeyPooey parlayed back-to-back perfect slates into the driver's seat, but two other contenders are within 50 points.

Need something to occupy the two-week gap until the Super Bowl? How about giving GuruGolf a try? The 2008 game site was launched last night, with the next two weeks serving as preseason weeks. All game features and functions will be active for the next two tournaments, but after those two events, rosters are emptied, scores are reset, and we begin to play in earnest. If you've never played before, this is a perfect opportunity to try it out. You might just like it! And if you have played before, you get two weeks to reactivate those brain cells before your mistakes have any linger effect. And, of course, it's all free.

Finally, be aware that the NBA has 13 games scheduled today, and 10 of them have afternoon start times, which is very unusual for a Monday. If you wait until late afternoon to address your roster needs, more than half of the action will already have been completed.

1/18 - LeBron could have nailed it down, but missed a 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining in the game. But Manu Ginobili missed his final attempt, and the Spurs uncharacteristically lost a close on at home. I know, it's no big deal in January.

Prior to last night, Marcus Camby's career highs for rebounds was 24, and for block was 11. Last night, he matched both of those marks, falling only a dunk shy of a triple double. The boxscore shows that he was only 4-13 from the field, so he had ample opportunities. But I doubt if any of his fantasy owners are weeping over that spilled milk.

A lot of people still have to make their Football Pickoff selections for the weekend. The deadline is Sunday afternoon at 3pm ET. Both home teams are easy favorites, with the Pickoff odds currently showing New England at 78-22 and Green Bay at 67-33.

1/17 - Plenty of big performances in the NBA last night. In eight games, eight players topped the 50 TSNP mark. The most unlikely of that octet was Toronto's Carlos Delfino, with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. His 56 TSNP was almost three times his YTD average.

I'm in the process of retooling GuruGolf for the 2008 season. At one point yesterday afternoon, I inadvertently triggered a "remember to set your lineup" email, so if you received one of those, just ignore it. If things go smoothly over the next few days, I could have it up and running by early next week. As usual, the first couple of weeks will be exhibition rounds, for practice and site shakedown purposes only - so the official start won't be until early February. But for those of you who are chomping at the bit for a fantasy golfing fix, help is on the way!

1/16 - It wasn't a triple double, but LeBron's 51 point, 8 rebound, 9 assist game last night was no less spectacular, especially since the Cavs won in overtime. In LBJ's career, Cleveland is now 2-2 in games in which he scores at least 50 points. This was also only the fifth time since 1989 that an NBA player has produced a game of at least 50-8-8, and the other four were by Gilbert Arenas (2006), Kobe (twice in 2006), and Michael Jordan (1989). None of those were triple-doubles either.

Early in the season, LeBron was one of those "gots to have" players in the TSN game. After his hand injury, he hasn't really regained that status, first due to concern over lingering effects of his injury, and then due to a spotty schedule. But by the end of January, Cleveland has as many games as any team up to the All Star break, and continues apace immediately after the break. Plan accordingly.

1/15 - If you parlayed Andrew Bynum's misfortune into a quick segue to Marcus Camby, nice going. Denver couldn't quite overtake Charlotte, but it wasn't Camby's fault, as he managed 20 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 blocks, shooting 7/14 from the field and 6/6 from the line. On the other side of the ball, Gerald Wallace continued his January assault on the stat books with 40 points, 8 boards, 6 assists, and a pair each of steals and blocks. With either one of those two guys, you always hold your breath, waiting the eventual and inevitable injury. But last night shows why you are willing to put up with the anxiety.

1/14 - You've probably already heard the cracks about the wrong Manning still being alive in the NFL playoffs, so I won't go there. Will we now be subjected to non-stop commercials featuring Eli? Not likely. We'll still probably see as much of Peyton as we will of Eli on Sunday.

This weekend was apparently somewhat trickier (than last week) in Football Pickoff. Only seven slates had all four games right, including three with the optimal double. One of those was former Pickoff champion HooeyPooey, who put himself back in contention for the top spot again this year. It looks like a 3-way race for the title, and no one can play a prevent defense for the final two weeks.

In hoops, the latest news is the injury to the knee of Andrew Bynum. He was becoming a fixture on many of the top TSN and NBASE teams, and if this turns out to be anything serious, it'll force a little more differentiation. He's already ruled out for tonight, and the Lakers have only one game scheduled in the following six days, so he'll have some time to recoup. The Lakers were putting together a nice season so far, and he was clearly one of the big reasons why.

1/11 - Although the NBA returns to a full slate of games for the next few days, attention starts shifting back to the NFL playoffs, with the first games on Saturday. It's quite normal for at least one wild card team to advance past this round. Which one(s) will do it? Using Football Pickoff as a guide, the Giants have the best shot as a 38-62 underdog. Other Pickoff odds as of this moment are Green Bay 75%, Indy 78%, and New England 85%. Picking the right underdog could rack up some nice points this weekend, ... if there is a right underdog, of course.

Meanwhile, the NBA is apparently entering the flu season. Steve Nash didn't even travel to Utah for last night's game, after sitting out most of the second half of Wednesday's game. But different players react differently. Consider John Salmons, who was a game time decision, but went on to post a near triple double (28 pt, 11 reb, 7 asst). I suppose Salmons realizes that his days as a starter are waning, with both Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby expected to return to action sometime next week. But Salmons' recent performance is going to make it difficult to sit him down.

1/10 - When Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked to explain how Charlotte had just beaten them, he replied, "It was our execution." Well, it certainly was an execution, and Jason Richardson was the executioner. I watched much of the game on TV, and just about everything he threw toward the basket went in, regardless of degree of difficulty - and some were acrobatic, fall-down, twisting fadeaways. The Celtics have had a tendency this year to create matchup difficulties - or at least subpar results - from many top players. But Richardson apparently never got that memo.

Meanwhile, Jason Kidd fell 5 rebounds short in his attempt at a 4th consecutive triple double. And speaking of falling short, Baron Davis managed 2.5 TSNP in a loss at Portland where 4 of the 5 Golden State starters played less than 20 minutes apiece. So I guess you know what Warriors coach Don Nelson thought of the effort.

1/9 - While discussion of the whole steroids issue can get a bit tedious at times, some aspects of the Clemens/McNamee episode just don't smell right. In particular, it's hard to make sense of the flow of the taped phone conversation, even though I'll acknowledge that the presence and coaching by Clemens' attorney no doubt influenced his comments, how he said things, and most importantly, what he didn't say or ask. Obviously, there is little or no fantasy sports relevance to any of this, so I don't want to belabor the issue here. But some of the drama can be compelling.

Speaking of compelling, Jason Kidd certainly is on a roll, going for his 4th consecutive triple double tonight in a home game vs. Seattle. All of his TDs have been very Kidd-like, barely reaching double digits in each category, and his FG shooting percentages have been pretty dismal (33%) as well. But, they are triple doubles. After tonight, the Nets play only three times in the next nine days. And then, starting on January 19, they go on a western tour, playing six road games in nine days. At that point, in salary cap games, every team will have him - and the fatigue of the trip will probably bring his output back to earth. Never fails. Well,... seldom fails.

1/8 - The BCS Championship game had plenty of points: 62. But if points is what you look for, the NBA really had them in abundance.

With only two games on tap, 503 points were scored in the NBA, with the lowest scoring team of the night (Denver) getting 115. Even San Antonio managed to reach 121. Admittedly, the scoring benefited from an overtime period. But after a sluggish 19-17 first quarter, the Spurs and Warriors really turned up the spigot.

The NBA goes full tilt with 20 games over the next couple of days. Twelve teams play both nights, while only Denver and San Antonio can go fishing.

1/7 - The Giants have found the answer to playing under the glare and the pressure of the New York spotlights. Just get out of town. After a season opening loss in Dallas, the Giants haven't lost a road game, while their home record paled at 3-5. Next weekend they get to avenge that Dallas road loss. And with NY surging of late while the Boys have not exactly been steamrolling the competition, who knows?

Speaking of who knows, about 1-in-6 active Football Pickoff entrants picked all four weekend games correctly, half of whom also got the optimum double. Meanwhile, the battle for the overall championship is shaping up as a 2-way contest, although if both frontrunners falter this week, a handful of others could still sneak back into the fray.

1/4 - The biggest NBA outing last night was from Portland guard Brandon Roy, who is quietly putting together a very solid sophomore season. His stat line: 25 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and zero TOs. With decent shooting percentages, that amounted to 59 TSNP, and 55+ RHP. He was benefited but 2 overtime periods, but was hindered in those OTs by a cut under his eye and a bruised tailbone. Portland plays only twice in the next 9 days, so he should have plenty of time to recuperate, although they do play Utah tomorrow, when he's likely to still be sore.

Oh yeah, Portland won, too. In fact, they've been doing that quit a bit lately, with a record of 20-13 and Greg Oden on the bench. Who knew?!

The NFL playoffs start tomorrow afternoon. If you've been playing Football Pickoff, remember that the game continues throughout the playoffs. All picks for the first weekend will be locked at the time of Saturday's first scheduled kickoff (4:30pm ET), so don't dally.

1/3 - I guess the bowl games are winding down, although a quick glance at ESPN shows there are at least four more. I must confess that I missed almost all of last night's game. I was out earlier in the evening, and then just forgot. Brain fart.

The NBA was in high action, with 12 games. Nine players topped 50 TSNP, and another 13 were in the 40s, so there were plenty of fantasy points available if you had the right players. I'll let you figure out whether you did.

Today is shaping up to be a big trade day in the TSN game. Some teams are wrapping up heavy schedules, and some players are topping out in price. I'm still trying to figure out how to maximize points, preserve value, and avoid a nasty case of buyer's remorse tomorrow morning, which always seems to happen after a big trade day. The reasonable possibilities seem almost endless. I guess it's a good day not to have a real job to compete for my attention. On the other hand, this is probably one of those days when excessive analysis doesn't necessarily lead to better decisions.

1/2/2008 - Happy New Year!

I'm back after a week of holiday travel. The NFL regular season has ended, and in celebration, I booted the football menu items to the bottom of the left panel. Of course, Football Pickoff continues through the playoffs, so there's still work to be done there.

Chris Paul appears to have been the biggest kahuna during the past week. His low game was a 40 TSNP effort at Charlotte on Dec. 28, which was also his only game under 50 TSNP out of his last six games. While he does play three times in the next four days, his schedule gets spotty after that, so if you don't have him, weigh the consequences. And if you do have him, weigh the consequences.

2007: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2006: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2005: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2004: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2003: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

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

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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