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

1/31 - The Wizards almost got their first road win this weekend, taking OKC to double-overtime before buckling. Assuming that they come up short tonight and tomorrow at Dallas and New Orleans, then their next (and most promising) shot is in Cleveland on Feb 13. Compelling drama.

The GuruGolf preseason is over. All rosters have been cleared, and we now start playing for keeps. Get your lineups set by Thursday morning.

Speaking of golf, the ending of yesterday’s tournament provided some good moments. Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, and rookie Jhonattan Vegas all provided some late drama, highlighted by Mickelson having his caddy tend the flag on the final hole for a 72-yard pitch shot that he had to make (but didn’t quite) – after Watson made a very tough up-and-down from the sand. And Vegas took himself out of it when his ball failed to heed his English-spoken exhortations on the final approach shot, plunking in the drink. Vegas had been speaking to his caddy in Spanish; maybe the ball was Spanish-speaking as well, and simply didn’t understand him.

By the way, Tiger Woods = total non-factor. He failed to birdie any of the four par-5s on Sunday, shooting +5 in the final two rounds combined (74-75).

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1/28 - I only watched the 4th quarter of the Heat/Knicks game last night, and I must say that the Heat were very unimpressive. I see what Phil Jackson means when he criticizes their lack of team play. If that’s how they intend to run their offense, they won’t make it through the playoffs.

GuruGolf appeared to run smoothly yesterday. So did Tiger – although his 3-birdie, no-bogey round wasn’t the ideal scorecard for the GuruGolf format. Much better to have 8 birdies and 5 bogeys.

Yao Ming was elected as the starting center for the NBA West All Star team. Since he’s injured, I heard on ESPN radio this morning that David Stern will replace him. That conjures up a rather comical visual image, doesn’t it?

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1/27 - If you selected Kevin Durant as the top pick in your fantasy hoops draft last October, you were finally presented with a “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about” moment last night: 47 pts, 18 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk. 79 RSCP, if you keep score that way. 73 FanDuel pts. Holy crap!

GuruGolf tees off for its one and only preseason event today, in San Diego. Because the first two rounds are played on different courses (Torrey Pines North & South), GuruGolf scorecards will be matched by course, rather than round. More than 130 GuruGolf foursomes are competing this weekend, with Tiger Woods only the second most popular golfer. Charles Howell III is on about 23% of teams, while Woods appears on only 19%.

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1/26 - The top NBA performances last night were from J.J Hickson (52.5 RSCP – showing that facing the Celtics isn’t always going to hurt your production) and Andray Blatche (51.5), who has to be one of the top candidates for the title of Mr. Inconsistency.

All sorts of big news on the NFL front:

  • Chad Ochocinco is changing his name back to Chad Johnson.
  • Michael Vick signed his first endorsement contract since his release from prison.
  • The 16 Packers who are on injured reserve are miffed because the team has decided to exclude tham from the Super Bowl team photo.
Yep, that’s why we need two weeks of Super Bowl hype, to make sure stories like these don’t get buried.

GuruGolf tees it up for the one and only preseason event tomorrow. So far, there are 100 GuruGolf teams with a foursome set up for this tournament, so why not give it a shot, even if it all gets wiped out after the weekend?

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1/25 - When I think of NBA teams that typically allow a lot of scoring, the teams that come to mind are Golden State, Phoenix, and the Knicks. But there’s a fourth team that belongs in that club – Minnesota – who now leads the NBA in average points allowed (108.9). Last night, they surrendered 129 to Houston, but still lost by four.

Being aware of teams that typically play high scoring games can pay off in daily contests. Last night, in the FanDuel freeroll contest, the best possible roster would have included 6 players (out of 9 total) who either played for or against Minnesota, Phoenix, Golden State, or the Knicks. Here is that best possible lineup , with FDP in ():
PG: Paul (41), Felton (38)
SG: K. Martin (41), Douglas-Roberts (33)
SF: DeRozan (41), D. Wright (37)
PF: Love (46), T. Young (40)
C: D. Lee (45)

That roster totals 362 points. The top team scored 319 (with four players from the list above), so there was a lot of margin for error - although not enough margin for me, as I got hurt by Iguodala (17), Rudy Fernandez (5), and Nick Young (22), while matching only two of the optimal players (Love and DeRozan), with a total score of 273.

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1/24 - Now we get to wait for two weeks before the Super Bowl is finally played. Wake me up on Feb. 6; until then, I won’t be paying much attention to football.

FanDuel is offering an NBA freeroll contest today. One (free) entry per person, $250 in prizes, spread over the top 14 finishers. If you are already registered at Fanduel, then go ahead and enter via the link on the FanDuel home page. If you are not registered, use the FanDuel link at the beginning of this paragraph (or the FanDuel banner above).

You can use the sortable stats as a convenient screening tool. Start with this link (sorted by FDP/G over the last 15 days), and then re-sort as you wish. The list is already filtered to show only players whose teams are active today.

As promised, GuruGolf was launched over the weekend. If you remember your login and password from last season, you can log in and start setting up your teams and rosters. If not, just register again. This week’s PGA tournament, the Farmers Insurance Open, will be a preseason GuruGolf event and will not count in the regular season standings. The regular standings will start with the first tournament in February.

Thanks to Gurupie gurudan for suggesting today’s quote.

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1/21 - For those who have been patiently (or not-so patiently) waiting, GuruGolf should be launched this weekend. Next week’s tournament (Farmers Insurance Open) will be a preseason event, and the regular season will start with the Waste Management Phoenix Open in the first week of February. I have typically waited until this time to launch GuruGolf for a couple of reasons: (1) I want to delay the setup work until after the Christmas holidays, and (2) I want to avoid the Bob Hope Classic, since it has five rounds, and I don’t want to have to modify the programming to accommodate that.

For those of you who can’t wait for baseball to start, I now have the 2011 MLB Schedule loaded in the typical RotoGuru color coded table format. There is also a non-color coded version available in spreadsheet format.

Don’t forget to make your Football Pickoff picks this weekend.

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1/20 - Big game from Danny Granger, scoring 32 with 13 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals, a block (and 7 TOs). He’s been anything but consistent, though, - so you never know what you’re going to get. I actually did take him in my FanDuel contest last night, figuring that Golden State as the opponent was about as good as you’ll get (other than perhaps the Knicks.) But if you own him on a roto team, you probably find his inconsistency somewhat maddening,… as apparently does his coach, Jim O’Brien

Kevin Love has not only been putting up studly numbers this year, but he’s been a model of consistency. In the last month, he’s averaged 46 RSCP/G, and he hasn’t had a game under 40 RSCP since December 27. Today, the Twolves begin a stretch of four consecutive off days, ending a string of ten consecutive odd-numbered dates (i.e., every other day). So even his schedule has been consistent.

Speaking of days off, the Miami Heat have played only once in the past four days, and only play once in the next seven, for a very rare 2-in-11 (with an embedded 1-in-8). For a team that’s been nursing injuries, this couldn’t come at a better time.

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1/19 - Chris Bosh is often the overlooked one of Miami’s Big 3, but last night showed that he apparently matters. Wade and LeBron both played, but Bosh sat – and Miami failed to win a home game, falling in overtime to Atlanta. Joel Anthony had a Rodman-esque stat line, with 16 rebounds, 3 blocks, and no shots attempted. In fact, of the five Heat starters, Wade and LeBron combined to score 61, and the other three combined to score 2.

FanDuel is offering some promotional (free) contests over the next week. On Thursday, there is an NHL freeroll with cash prizes totaling $100. Then, next Monday brings an NBA freeroll with $250 in prizes. Only one entry per person, so you don’t need to worry about experienced players loading up with multiple entries. If you haven’t registered yet, this might be a good time to give it a try.

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1/18 - A boatload of fantasy points were put on the board yesterday. My highest ranked RotoHog Premiere SalCap team generated 450 points – and still dropped 14 places in the worldwide rankings! It was also the weakest result of my three teams, with the others producing 470 and 490. There were two triple-doubles, eleven players topped the 50 RSCP threshold, and among the most widely owned players, Zach Randolph was the weakest link with 30.5 RSCP. Randolph was also the biggest price gainer yesterday, once again demonstrating the powerful force of high-buyer-syndrome – although 30.5 doesn’t suck.

Only four teams didn’t play yesterday. One of those – the Miami Heat – were reportedly without all three of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh at practice yesterday, and Wade is the only one listed as probable for tonight. Exactly one week ago, I evidently put the hex on them by virtually conceding the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They immediately proceeded to lose three straight.

One of those losses was to the Clippers, who have won 10 of their last 14. That still leaves them 10 games under .500, but with half the season remaining, they are also only five games behind the current #8 seed (Portland), and they are the only “outside looking in” team in the West that’s been winning of late. Obviously, Blake Griffin is the biggest reason for their recent success, although Eric Gordon, Baron Davis, and DeAndre Jordan have all been putting up very solid numbers as well. All four are averaging better than 30 RSCP/G over the past two weeks. Only one other team has that many 30+ RSCP players over that time period – can you guess which team it is? (Hint: one of those players appeared only once in the last two weeks.) And one team has nobody who has averaged 30+ over the last 15 days. No, it’s not Cleveland (they have two). Click on the blurb link immediately below to see who those two teams are.

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1/17 - Before writing off yesterday’s Jets win as one of those flukey “on any given Sunday” games, recall that the Jets actually won 2 of 3 from the Pats this year. If anything, the early December beatdown inflicted by the Pats looks more like the flukey game.

Only three Football Pickoff slates had all four winners this weekend, and none of them was bold enough to also double the Jets. The best score was a 247 posted by Eat My Panda, who doubled the Green Bay win.

The MLK holiday NBA slate is very full with 13 games on tap, 10 of which tip off in the afternoon. Two of the three night games are televised nationally on TNT. If you have to work today, the NBA day will be pretty much over by the time you get home – but those two TV games (Magic@Cetics, Thunder@Lakers) look like good ones.

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1/14 - Those who argue that LeBron should win the NBA MVP award can point to last night’s game as Exhibit A, as the Nuggets whalloped the LeBron-less Heat by 28 points.

The nationally televised Magic-Thunder game (I like that – “Magic Thunder”) was the marquis game of the night, with the Thunder prevailing 125-124. In the middle of the 3rd quarter, I recall the announcers noting that both centers – Howard and Krstic – had scored the same total (16) at that moment. You’d never guess that from the final boxscore, as Krstic was already done scoring, while Howard drained another 23 points in the final 1½ quarters. The most magical stat line for the evening may be that Howard was 17/20 from the foul line.

The Wizards have two games in Cleveland this season, so they may still get a road win this year. One of those Cleveland matchups is the final day of the season – so maybe that game will actually have some meaning!

Once again, you need to make your Football Pickoff picks by 4:30pm ET on Saturday, when the first game of the weekend kicks off. As of this point, the most lopsided game is the Pats-Jets (currently 78%-22%), while Seattle is getting slightly more love with 28% vs. Da Bears.

Several of you have asked if and when GuruGolf will launch this year. The answer to “if” is “yes”, and the answer to “when” is “soon.” I hope to launch in time for the first toonament in February, although that may be a preseason (exhibition) week. Depends on how much I get setup work I get done next week. Patience, Grasshoppers!

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1/13 - Just one night after rubbing salt in the Cavaliers’ wound with his infamous tweet invoking both karma and God, the Heat lost to the Clippers, and LeBron sprained his ankle. Thought for LeBron – “karma” is like a boomerang; sometimes it’s better not to throw it out there.

High fantasy point man last night was Zach Randolph (63 RSCP), who’s been pretty solid of late, if not always consistent. In his last eight games, he’s had two RSCP games in the 60s, two in the 50s, two in the 40s, and two in the 30s. If those are the only ranges he rattles around in, that’s not too bad.

Also starting to put up more noticeable numbers is Steve Nash, who’s also been north of 50 RSCP four times in the last eight games. His other four games weren’t as useful – 31, 29, 27, and 7 – so you really don’t know what you’re going to get from him. But he’s still very quietly averaged 39 RSCP/G for the season, so if you can hold him for a long enough time to get the full range of results, you’ll probably get good value for a guard who is priced a notch or two below the top echelon.

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1/12 - I guess Cleveland’s 55-point loss to the Lakers points out how much they miss Anderson Varejao! (Just kidding, of course.)

The top three NBA players in RSCP last night were Arron Afflalo (52 RSCP), Darren Collison (51.5), and Ronny Turiaf (51). We all saw that coming, right?

The Kings and Wizards scored a lot of points last night. The final score was 136-133, and although there was an overtime period, it was tied at 126 in regulation. Nick Young contributed 43 of those points, and after the game commented, “Might give Gil [Arenas] a call and talk trash. Yeah, it's going to be a lot of talking trash going on.” I considered that for my quote of the day, but decided that LeBron’s was more telling – albeit also more publicized.

I didn’t have any of Afflalo, Collison, Turiaf, or Young on my FanDuel contest roster last night. Still managed to scrape out a win. Just goes to show that you don’t need to have crazy insight. This pushes my FanDuel hoops record to 31-22, enough to keep me in the black for the season.

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1/11 - Not quite the offensive explosion we were told to expect. I suspect the 5-week layoff contributed to the lower score – both because 5-weeks with no game action is a long time to keep offenses clicking, and because that’s a long time to “coach up” defenses for a specific game plan. Either way, any college football title game that goes down to the wire with the number of twists and turns of this one has to be considered a good one.

The NBA offered limited action last night, no doubt in deference to college football. The Celtics dropped their second consecutive home game, this time to Houston. Their 9 losses now ties them with Miami, and the Heat now seemed positioned to take the top seed in the East, having lost only once since the end of November, going 21-1 over that span. I guess Erik Spoelstra can stop looking over his shoulder for Pat Riley.

I just took a quick look at the top NBA players over the past 30 days using the RH salcap point formula. You have to go down to the #11 spot to get the 4th guard, but other than that, the top producers form a properly configured RotoHog roster with a current cost of almost $79m and an average RSCP/G of 45. There are a few teams that can already afford that roster size, and many more that are on the verge – so chasing the dollar may already be of diminished impact. Notably, the top player is LeBron and the top guard is Wade, which helps to explain the previous paragraph. It’s also notable that the preseason consensus top fantasy draft pick, Kevin Durant, currently falls out of the top ten players.

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1/10 - Three road teams won in the NFL this weekend. And the home team that did win was the one that was the biggest underdog. Go figure.

Suffice it to say that this is a better day for Nick Folk than it is for David Akers.

Only one Football Pickoff entry had a perfect slate this weekend, including a double of Seattle. Congrats to Raz2. Two other slates had all four winners correctly picked, but those two each doubled Indy.

Some RotoHog salary cap managers aren’t paying attention. Tyreke Evans was one of the top price gainers in both game formats, in spite of the fact that he was listed as doubtful a day in advance, and clearly announced as out on Sunday morning. I suppose that the 1pm game time may have caught some people off guard, but even so, this one shouldn’t have been a surprise.

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1/7 - Tyreke Evans followed up Tuesday’s big game with another one last night, garnering 27 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, and a couple of steals, shooting 11-18 from the field and 5-5 from the line. He was added to only two teams in the RotoHog Premier Salary Cap game yesterday, and is only on 12 teams total, so he’s clearly flying under the radar – or else people just don’t trust him yet.

The NFL Playoffs start tomorrow. For Football Pickoff, all weekend picks will lock at 4:30pm on Saturday. You can’t wait until Sunday for that day’s games.

It would be fun to have an overtime game this weekend, as the NFL has a new overtime rule for the playoffs. As I understand it, the team that receives the overtime opening kickoff would win the game on that first possession only by scoring a touchdown. A safety on the opening possession would also end the game. But a field goal would give the opposing offense a chance to score.

There were 19 overtime games in the 2010 NFL regular season, and only two of those were won on an opening drive FG. Based on that limited sample, you might expect the rule to have limited impact. But the bigger impact might be on how teams approach overtime strategy. If you won the toss, would you elect to kick or receive – especially if wind direction is a material factor? And would you try an onside kick? A successful onside kick counts as a change in possession, and an ensuing FG would win the game. I can imagine a team trying that in the regular season. But would any NFL head coach have the cahones for that tactic in a playoff game?

Which bring up the question, why was this rule not deemed to be fit for the regular season?

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1/6 - Fortunately, I read my own blurb yesterday, decided that San Antonio was not a defense to be avoided, and started Rajon Rondo in my daily FanDuel contest entry. He responded with a monster triple double (53 FanDuel points, 91.5 RotoHog salcap pts!). My $55K FanDuel contest entry totaled 290 points which is way above my average of about 220 – but I needed most of those points, as my opponent (who also had Rondo) scored 272.

Since the week in mid-December when I chronicled my daily FanDuel results, I haven’t been quite as successful (or in some cases, as lucky), going 7-9 since that time - which included one cold streak when I dropped 5 straight. Overall, I’m now 28-21 in this contest format, which still puts me slightly in the black.

Actually, with full disclosure, I may not have actually needed Rondo to pull out that win. It’s quite possible that Jose Calderon would have been my alternative (he was on my short list), once I learned that he would be starting and Jerrod Bayless would DNP. Calderon responded with 20 points and 17 assists, good enough to top Rondo on most nights. Ever since the Raptors traded away Jarrett Jack, Calderon has been quite productive – when he suits up. Unfortunately, he’s missed six games in the past month, and you almost always have to wait until gametime to find out if he will play. For daily contests, that’s often OK, since the Raptors often play in the early time slot, which means his status is generally known before the contest locks. For a traditional salary cap format, that’s problematic, though, as you can’t pick him up in advance of a decent schedule and have any reliance that he’ll play all of them.

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1/5 - If all Ohio State wanted was a win last night, then they got it. But if they were trying to choke it away, then they sure gave it the ol’ college try. Fortunately for them, Arkansas found a way to fail to capitalize at the end.

It’s hard to know what to make of Tyreke Evans this year. There are days when it sounds like he is on the verge of opting for surgery on his foot. But for his last five games, he’s been consistently playing almost 40 minutes, and last night he put up a stat stuffer with 29 points, 8 assists, 5 steals, 4 rebounds, and a block. I guess he’s good to go for the time being.

It used to be that San Antonio was noted for its defense, and when a team faced them, you would typically expect a much lower-than-average score. Two and three years ago, they ranked in the top three in points against. Last year, they slipped to a ranking of 8th. This year, they rank right in the middle of the league, and last night they gave up 128 points to the Knicks in New York. They never surrendered 128 points in any game last year. Even so, they sport the best record in the league at 29-5, so the point is not that they have a problem – only that they are no longer an opponent to be avoided for fantasy purposes.

The flip side is that the Spurs are scoring more, too. The biggest beneficiary seems to be Tony Parker, whose RSCP average is 30% higher this year vs. last year. Most of the other Spurs starters sport slightly higher averages as well, with the exception of Tim Duncan, whose production has declined by about 10%, although much of that can probably be attributed to an 8% decline in minutes played.

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1/4 - We had a triple double last night from an unusual suspect. Hedo Turkoglu had 10 points, 10 assists, and 14 boards in a win over the defensively challenged G.S. Warriors. Apparently, the return to Orlando is agreeing with him.

Meanwhile, in his second game after returning from an extended injury, Rajon Rondo seems to be back in form, dishing out 16 assists.

Since I was on vacation last week, I need to give a belated shout-out to the RIFC champion, Mötley Crüe, who won his second RIFC title this year (the first was in 2004). Curiously, for both of those championships he entered the playoffs as the #6 seed, and both times he bested the #8 seed in the championship game. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice?

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1/3 - Happy New Year!

The final week of the NFL regular season can be a tough one, as many teams are either motivated to rest for the playoffs, or to give untested players some game experience. But three Football Pickoff slates managed to have 14 games picked correctly, headed by TD2. And if you are playing Football Pickoff, you’re not done. The game continues through the NFL playoffs.

Much has been made of Seattle advancing to the playoffs with a 7-9 record, while two NFC teams with 10-6 records are done for the year. But it’s tough to have too much sympathy for the Giants, who could have closed out the Eagles in week #15, and then could have knocked off the Packers in week #16. They essentially had the playoffs on their racket, and then proceeded to double fault. Tampa Bay’s story is not quite as dramatic, but they effectively blew it when they lost at home to Detroit in week #15. Their other losses were all to playoff teams. Of course, neither of those teams would have knocked out Seattle. But they each found a way to take themselves out of the picture.

In Hoops, Chris Paul has been the top player over the past week, averaging almost 54 RSCP/game. Wade and LeBron rank 2nd and 4th respectively, which helps explain why Miami has only lost twice in their last 20 games – both to Dallas.

Tough sports week in UConn land. As of Christmas day, they had not lost a football or basketball game (men’s or women’s) in the months of November and December. Then, the men’s basketball team lost to Pitt. Then the women’s team lost at Stanford. Then the football team lost in the Fiesta bowl. Then the football team lost its top running back to the NFL draft. Then the football team lost its head coach. Ugh.

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2010: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2009: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2008: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

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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