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1/30 - Pittsburgh remains about a one-TD betting favorite, but in Football Pickoff, they are currently only a 51/49 choice. Don’t forget to make your final picks of the season.
There were only two NBA games last night. Among active players in TSN Ultimate, Shaq was the top price gainer. But he showed that even the league’s “MDP” is no match for “HBS” (High Buyer Syndrome), managing only 16 TSNP for his lowest output since November 16th.
Although this week’s GuruGolf event is only for practice (“Practice? We’re talkin’ about practice?”), HBS seems to be in play there as well. The most popular golfer on GuruGolf rosters this week was Phil Mickelson. But Lefty rewarded his faithful supporters by carding a +5, which included only 2 birdies – and one of those was on the easiest scoring hole of the day. Meanwhile, first round leader (and tour rookie) James Nitties (7 birdies) found his way onto two GuruGolf foursomes. I wonder if those teams would have picked him up if this week was for keeps?
1/29 - Greg Oden has quietly strung together five decent games, averaging 37.4 TSNP. Of course, the three preceding games totaled 18 TSNP, so consistency is not yet there. But if you have him on your roto team, you’ve got to be encouraged that he’s been both productive and healthy.
Neither started, but Marcus Camby and Baron Davis each played 22 minutes off the bench last night. Neither looks to be ready for prime time yet, and with the Clippers’ dense road schedule, you’ve got to wonder just how productive or durable either one will be in the near term. If you’ve been riding any of their backups, you may not need to dismount just yet.
The GuruGolf preseason is up and running, with live scoring during each round. About 100 GuruGolf foursomes are on the course today, which will give the system a nice shakedown.
1/28 - I’ve been playing TSN Hoops for quite awhile – more than ten seasons. Every season, it seems as though there is a period when things always seem to work out well. And every season, there seems to be at least one period when nothing works out right. I’m definitely in the midst (or hopefully the end) of one of those latter situations. Ultimate success depends on how all of those episodes balance out. Some years the balance is great, some years it sucks. The jury is still out this year.
LeBron had a triple-double again last night. But in TSN Hoops, that doesn’t really matter much, as almost all of the competitive teams have him. Ditto for Chris Paul. The key to success is tied up in the players who aren’t so widely owned. For example, if you had Mo Williams for his 43 point, 11 assist, 8 rebound, 70 TSNP game last night, that would be huge. But none of the teams in the top 100 prize rankings had him. Or Kevin Martin, who put up 35-7-7 and 4 steals, good for 63.5 TSNP – in the same game. Two of the top 100 teams had him. High fives if yours was one of the pair. Mine wasn’t. In the comparable price range, I have Mike Bibby instead. He’s managed 19 TSNP in his last two games combined. Swell.
If you want to try out GuruGolf, tomorrow begins the two-week risk-free opportunity to try out the game. The next two tournaments are designated as preseason events, so they won’t count in the official standings. Whether you’ve played before or not, why not give it a try? Just set up a foursome before Thursday’s 9:40am ET tee time.
Thanks to many of you who sent along your wishes for a speedy recovery. All went well yesterday, and I’m missing a boatload of kidney stones this morning. I’ve been dealing with stones for about twice as long as I’ve been dealing with TSN Hoops. Believe me, in that context, my bad streaks in fantasy hoops don’t seem quite so nasty.
1/26 - So much for the reported early return of Marcus Camby. Should have figured.
The latest injury calamity was Michael Redd, whose torn ACL and MCL will sideline him for the rest of the season. The Bucks are currently ranked 8th in the East, but that injury should open up room for any of a half-dozen teams who are right behind them. Then again, there is no reason to assume that any of those teams will necessarily do better than a Redd-less Bucks team. And of course, none of them is going to beat the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. Or Cleveland. Or Orlando – depending on how the top teams in the East end up being seeded.
GuruGolf has been launched for 2009. As before, the first two weeks are designated as “preseason”, meaning the all game features will be active for the next two tournaments, but all results will be wiped clean in preparation for the official GuruGolf opener in two weeks. Registrations are carried over from prior years, so you don't need to re-register if you remember your username and password. All team names have been erased, however, so you will need to establish 1-10 teams once again. The game is the same as last year - until the final two events. We'll see how that works. Details are in the rules. Use the GuruGolf login link in the upper left panel on this page. And if you notice any glitches, please report them here.
I won’t be blurbing tomorrow, as I’m having 10 kidney stones removed on Tuesday in a medical procedure that I don’t even like to think about – nor would you, if you knew the details. At least I’ll be knocked out for the episode. Back on Wednesday.
1/23 - With the sudden emergence of DeAndre Jordan as Marcus Camby’s fill-in, I spent a good deal of time yesterday trying to figure out if, how, and when I should move into him on my TSN teams. And then this morning, I find out that Camby might return to action as early as tonight, just days after a 7-10 day time frame was extended to “more like two weeks.” Marcus Camby healing early? That had to be a long shot. But it sounds like it’s back to the drawing board, now trying to figure out if, how, and when to pick up Camby. Of course, with Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman still sidelined, Jordan may still have parlayed his recent success into some extra court time. But maybe not.
Back to the drawing board. This game can be such a time killer. For those of you with day jobs, how do you do it?
Thanks to Gurupie Bond, James Bond for suggesting today’s quote.
1/22 - The evidence suggests that Kobe’s right ring finger isn’t all that important to his game. One night after dislocating the finger, he produced a triple double. And while 18 points scored might suggest that it impacted his shooting, the 12 assists demonstrate that there’s nothing wrong with his passing. Just ask Andruw Bynum, who was on the receiving end of five of those assists in the process of scoring a career high 42.
Of additional note in that same game was the play of Clippers rookie center DeAndre Jordan, whose playing time been the beneficiary of the Camby injury (or, more correctly, the Camby-Kaman-Randolph injury combo). Last night, Jordan contributed 23 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 51.5 TSNP. Those are Camby-like numbers. But to be fair, he obviously didn’t do much defensively to stop Bynum from scoring at will. Or at least, not enough.
I forgot to mention yesterday that we reached the midpoint of the NBA regular season, with 616 of 1230 games played through Tuesday night. If you have ground to make up, that’s good news and bad news. There’s still plenty of time. But we’re on the downslope now. Plan or panic accordingly.
1/21 - Last night’s best results came from Paul Millsap and Mike Bibby. Millsap’s exploits have been widely publicized ever since Carlos Boozer disappeared from the scene. But Bibby has been very quietly putting up nice numbers of late, including a 41 TSNP/game average over the past week, and 35 TSNP/g over the past month. Atlanta is off for the next two days, but then they play 11 games over the next three weeks leading up to the All Star break, topped only by the 12 games scheduled for the Clippers and Indiana. In the TSN Basic game he has been getting some action, but in the Ultimate game, he’s still getting ignored. That may change.
I’ve been doing some setup work on GuruGolf this week, with plans to launch next Monday. As before, the first two weeks will be designated as “preseason”, meaning that the site will be active, but the stats will not count toward the regular season. This approach gives me a chance to shakedown the system before we play for keeps, and it also provides a two-week window for GuruGolfers to get signed up for the coming season.
1/20 - Every now and then, good players have bad games. I guess that’s the kindest thing I can say about Amare Stoudemire, who produced this stat line against the Celtics yesterday: 3 pts, 0-7 FG, 1 rebound, 4 turnovers, 1 block. It’s never good when the top two stats are missed shots and turnovers. In TSNP terms, that works out to -1 TSNP . To his credit, he had just strung together 8 consecutive respectable games. Not great games. Not games worthy of a first round fantasy draft pick this year. But good enough that, with a decent pending schedule, he was evidently the choice of a number of TSN manager to replace the injured Marcus Camby. And it still could work out OK. But a negative fantasy point total in hoops is pretty rare, and rarer still from someone of Amare’s caliber.
Meanwhile, David Lee gave a lot of TSN owners a scare yesterday when he left the game before halftime with a sprained ankle. He did manage to get it retaped and played the second half, allowing 97 of the top 100 TSN teams (Top 100 TSN Ultimate Prize Standings) to dodge another bullet, at least for now.
The more impressive in-game recovery had to be from Kobe Bryant, who dislocated the ring finger on his shooting hand in the opening minutes, had it popped back into place, and immediately re-entered the game to play 41 minutes and score 20 points with 12 assists in a win over the Cavs. Kobe is not nearly as big a factor in TSN Hoops right now (on only one of the top 100 teams), but’s it still impressive, nonetheless.
1/19 - They say that it’s difficult for a team to beat a closely matched rival three times in a single football season. But I guess if the QB matchup is Roethlisberger vs. a rookie, that’s a tough differential to overcome in a critical game. Certainly, the evidence on the field backed up that assessment.
The NFL home teams finally held serve yesterday, and so we end up with a high powered passing attack against a stifling pass defense. The early odds show Pittsburgh as almost a touchdown favorite. We’ll see.
About one-quarter of Football Pickoff slates found both home teams yesterday. No one has made it through the playoffs so far without missing at least two games, though. And the Pickoff championship comes down to a virtual dead heat between two perennial powerhouses in Football Pickoff, one of whom is even a former champion.
In hoops, Marcus Camby and Chris Duhon became the latest injury issues. Camby sprained an ankle, while Duhon has back problems. Both are highly owned in the TSN game, so many managers are anxiously watching today’s starting lineups. And there are plenty of games with afternoon starts, beginning with Duhon’s Knicks at 1pm. So if you have to work today, hopefully you aren’t blocked from the relevant sports sites.
1/16 - In the TSN game, viable cheap guards have had a tough week. The latest casualties are Steve Blake, who separated a shoulder on Wednesday night, and Delonte West, who fractured a wrist last night. If you have a different cheap guard, bear in mind that these things tend to come in threes – so be very afraid. (Or did I miss the third already?)
If Football Pickoff odds are any indication, we may be headed for a Pennsylvania Turnpike Super Bowl. Both PA teams are better than 60% favorites so far. Of course, those odds can change before the freeze on Sunday afternoon – but only if you make your picks. So far, less than 60 contestants have done that. By the way, “freeze” will be an apt descriptor for the second game, when Pittsburgh hosts a night game with a predicted 15oF temperature and an 80% chance of snow flurries (according to weather.com).
Special thanks to Gurupie Rendle for pointing out today’s quote.
1/15 - It was a game of two guard “ships” passing in the night. Facing the active career leader in triple doubles, Chris Paul flirted with a quadruple double, getting 7 steals. The other ship, Jason Kidd, managed only a triple-seven, getting exactly that number in points, assists, and rebounds. That would be useful in blackjack, but doesn’t do much in fantasy hoops.
Paul Millsap turned out to be the latest mishap, with his 2nd straight DNP after having pronounced himself as 90% confident of playing the day before. Sometimes players are the most unreliable indicators of playing status. Remember last week when Rodney Stuckey proclaimed himself as “highly doubtful”. Everyone who dumped him based on that self-diagnosis is still smarting.
1/14 - Not only did Orlando make 23 three-pointers, but they missed only 14. That’s impressive – especially when it’s done on someone else’s court. And as expected, that makes you tough to beat. Just ask the Kings.
Speaking of tough to beat, LeBron led the Cavs to a 15-point win in Memphis on the strength of a triple double (30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists.) For those playing the TSN game, that was an 80 TSNP effort. Even as the highest priced player in the game, that’s a bargain. (Actually, in the basic game, he is priced $20K behind Dwight Howard – but that will reverse quickly, given their relative schedules.)
In fact, in TSN Ultimate Hoops, “high buyer syndrome” was nowhere to be found. The top three gainers – LeBron, Stuckey, and Shaq - all topped their recent averages. Sadly, my top TSN team had none of them. And as a result, it’s no longer my top TSN team. Oh well.
1/13 - Fantasy Hoops – particularly salary cap formats – can be so mentally exhausting. Every day, it seems like some player is getting injured, or putting up a surprise monster game, or putting up a surprise stinker. In order to do well in those formats, you need to plan ahead. But every day, it seems like yesterday’s plans no longer seem optimal. And every time a move is made, it seems to take only a day before buyer’s remorse sets in. By the time the regular season ends, I’m always so relieved. I don’t know how I’d deal with it all if I had a real job to compete for my attention.
The latest surprise DNP was Paul Millsap. And last week’s hot cheapie, Tyrus Thomas, has turned quickly from Jekyll back into Hyde mode. Tonight will undoubtedly bring about a few more surprises. Sometimes I think I’d be better served to ignore my teams for a week. At least I wouldn’t be so susceptible to overreacting to isolated DNPs or to false positives in point production.
The void left by Millsap’s absence last night seems to have been filled by Mehmet Okur (43 points, 9 rebounds, 60.5 TSNP) and Andrei Kirilenko (23 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 55.5 TSNP). That was evidently quite a void!
1/12 - The real NFL playoffs results look a lot like typical fantasy football playoff results this year, with lower seeded teams routinely knocking off higher seeded teams. Pittsburgh is the only team from among the top two seeds in either conference to survive. And two teams who finished the season with only nine wins are playing for the NFC Championship. Go figure.
Only one entrant in Football Pickoff called all four weekend games correctly. In a devilishly difficult week, the aptly named Diablo found the magic combination, picking up a cool 280 points on a week when more than half of all slates produced negative scores.
1/9 - The BCS Championship game was better than many, and although it featured two high powered offenses, the Florida defense probably was the difference maker, stopping Oklahoma twice inside the Florida 10-yard line in the second quarter.
As competition, the NBA offered two ho-hummers. From a fantasy perspective, the top producer was Brandon Bass. [Yawn…].
The NFL Playoffs resume tomorrow, and your Football Pickoff selections for all four games will be locked in at 4:30pm ET on Saturday. As of Friday morning, three of the home teams are significant favorites, but visiting Baltimore has a slight edge over Tennessee, bucking the published betting line. That may be a good sign for the Ravens. Consistently picking all Vegas favorites this season would have netted a cumulative total of only +22 points; going with Pickoff consensus favorites generated +532 points.
1/8 - Boston lost its 6th of the last 8 games, and this was even a home game. Now they get to try to shake the slump by traveling to Cleveland, facing the team with the best record in the East (and tied for the best in the NBA). In a strange twist, it almost becomes a must win game for the Cavs, who have to take advantage of home court against a team that’s struggling. The Cavs are the only team to remain unbeaten at home this year, at 18-0.
“High buyer syndrome” (HBS) struck again last night. The top price gainer in TSN Ultimate Hoops was Kevin Durant, who rewarded his new owners with a 9 point, 1 assist, 2 rebound, 7 TSNP effort in a splinter-collecting rout in Minnesota, where he managed only 22 minutes of court time. Hard to say whether he was victimized by the blowout, or whether he was one of the leading causes. Probably both.
Meanwhile, after giving props to Shaq for his recent dominating play in Tuesday’s blurb, he responds with a DNP. Figures. Of course, he was the second highest gainer in TSN Ultimate. HBS is a powerful force.
1/7 - Clearly, the two major fantasy sports are football and baseball. For eight months of the year, at least one of those sports is in its regular season. March is often devoted to fantasy baseball drafting. But if you don’t play fantasy hoops, or hockey, or golf, or some other sport that’s currently in season, January and February can be tough months to keep your attention.
If you are one of those who is anxiously awaiting baseball, one site you ought to check out is The Waiver Wire at waiverwire.blogspot.com. It is produced by Alex Zelvin, who is the reigning 2008 RotoHog baseball champion, and who was a frequent poster in the RotoGuru baseball forum in 2007 when RotoHog baseball was in its first year. Currently, he’s adding multiple posts each day on all things baseball related. The blog focuses especially on fantasy formats with daily contests and daily transactions. Alex clearly knows his stuff, and the blog is well written. Even if you are caught up in a winter fantasy sport, you ought to pop over there a few times each week, just to keep your brain’s baseball juices flowing.
If you are playing Hoops and can use a cheap guard in a salary cap game, or an injury filler in a roto league, the Clippers have a couple of options to consider. With Baron Davis sidelined, check out the recent performances of Eric Gordon and Mardy Collins. Collins is a direct beneficiary of extra playing time, and he’s making the most of it. Gordon has enjoyed a lot of minutes all season, but with the team lacking the scoring punch of Davis, Randolph, and Kaman, he’s stepping up his contributions, including 32 points last night in Dallas, which followed a 31 point output on Sunday.
1/6 - In limited NBA action last night, most popular players seemed to produce fairly well. Even Stephen Jackson racked up 30 TSNP before leaving with a hamstring injury late in the first half.
This morning, I took a quick look at the top 10 players in average TSNP/G over the past 15 days. Interestingly, you could organize them into a standard TSN Ultimate roster (i.e., the position configuration is OK), but the current cost is $86,600 – not on anyone’s affordability radar yet, with the wealthiest team just over the $70 million mark. The top of the list offers no big surprises – LeBron, Wade, Paul, Camby. But the rest of the top 10 goes like this: Joe Johnson, Kobe, Durant, Shaq, Al Jefferson, and David Lee. Shaq must be the most surprising name on the list, averaging more than 42 TSNP/G. Time warp! If he can keep plugging away, he’s certainly got value at a $4.5m price tag, with a schedule that has no back-to-back off days until the end of January. Of course, that could be the reason to fear picking him up at this point. Can he continue to produce (or even play) with that sort of schedule density? Eight of his next 12 games are on the road as well, including an east cost swing in the second half of January. Might be worth a gambit, but keep a trade in reserve.
Notable for not appearing in the top ten are Dwight Howard (#15), Duncan (#13), Bosh (#17) and Dirk (#23). None of them are doing poorly – but they may not be earning their hefty keep.
1/5 - San Diego may be only 9-8 this year, but they are in the second round of the playoffs. New England is 11-5, and watching it all from the sidelines. How do you suppose that makes Bill Belichick feel?
It was odd that the visiting team was the betting favorite in each of the weekend’s four NFL playoff games. I don’t ever recall that happening. If my archives from the previous 6 years of Football Pickoff are accurate, 21 of 24 first round home teams were favored over that span – so this was a remarkable year in that respect.
In spite of the oddity, six Football Pickoff slates called all four games correctly, and two had the optimum game doubled. One of those was by HooeyPoo, who parlayed the result into a first place tie in the YTD standings. Of some surprise was that five of the top ten slates in the YTD standings failed to submit picks this week. Too much New Year’s merriment? And several slates picked the Saturday games but not the Sunday games, apparently failing to recognize that during the playoffs, all games freeze at the time of the first kickoff. Oops.
1/2/09 - Happy New Year!
The first order of business for the new year was to resequence the left menu items, dropping the football links to the bottom. While Football Pickoff does continue throughout the playoffs, all other fantasy football statistical production ifs done for the year. And for Football Pickoff, remember that the freeze for each playoff round occurs at the scheduled kickoff time of the first game. So you have until Saturday at 4:30pm to lock in your picks for all four games. No waiting until Sunday this week.
I’ve gotten a few emails asking about GuruGolf for 2009. I do plan to offer the game once again, but the launch will be later in January or early in February, as has been my norm over the years. So fantasy golfers, just hang loose for a few more weeks.
The NBA schedule cranks up in earnest now. All 30 teams are in action tonight, which is very rare. In fact, it’s the only day this season with a full slate of 15 games.
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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