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

2/28 - On Friday, I made special mention of a rare -18 team score in GuruGolf. Lo and behold, we had two more rounds with a top score of -18. Last year’s winner lockhart got one on Friday, which was followed up by another from the MN Northmen on Saturday. For all golfers who made the cut, the average under par scoring was -20 (i.e, birdies count -1, eagles count -2). Only one GuruGolf tournament last year exceeded that (Las Vegas: -22). From a “bestball” perspective, the most valuable golfer of the weekend was Steve Stricker, who wasn’t even in the playoff. He carded 30 strokes under par (all birdies). No one else had more than -27 in red numbers.

There are 5 tournaments that tee off in March. I have decided to offer a small prize to the teams with the best combined results for those five tournaments. The team with the best total (bestball) score for those 5 events will win a sleeve of Titlelist golf balls imprinted with a RotoGuru logo. The team with the maximum worstball score for those five events will win a sleeve of Top Flite XL balls (same logo). If either winner is a GuruPatron, the prize will be doubled. To be eligible for the doubling, you must be a GuruPatron by March 17th. In the event of a tie, the team with the highest value (golfers plus cash) at the end of the BellSouth Classic (including the related price changes for that tournament) will win the tiebreaker for each prize. If that’s also a tie, I’ll simply offer duplicate prizes. Since these five tournaments lead up to the Masters (which is not included), I’ll call these the “March to the Masters” prizes.

2/25 - It looks like there was a fair amount of roster shifting from Chris Webber to Kevin Garnett in TSN Ultimate yesterday. Unless KG picks it up, a trade reversal might be just around the corner. Apparently, between Webber and Garnett, there are only 2 good knees to be found. In the case of Garnett, it affects his play. In the case of Webber, it affects whether he plays. Choose your poison.

It was nice to get in a full round of GuruGolf all in a single day – that first time that’s happened since the regular season started. Congrats to the Rodney R.I.P. team, which posted a rare -18, which included one par, but also an eagle.

If you are a GuruPatron and would like to join the TSN Ultimate Baseball GuruPatron division, the details are on the bottom of the GuruPatron Validation page. And if you aren’t a GuruPatron but would like to join the division, it’s not too late to become a GuruPatron. As of yesterday, we topped the $1000 mark in donations for the year, coming from 29 people. It’s gratifying that nine of them were first time donors. GuruPatron donations are the primary funding source for this site, covering all site hosting costs, and also providing limited prizes for sponsored games and contests. For information on how to add your name to the list, click on the link in this page’s heading.

Thanks to Gurupie Motley Crue for suggesting today’s quote.

2/24 - There were 11 NBA games last night. But the major activity didn’t occur on the court.

By now, you’ve probably heard that Chris Webber was traded to Philly in a six player deal. Obviously, that has some longer term implications for Webber and new teammate Allen Iverson, which may take awhile to sort out. The short term implication, though, is that instead of playing (or at least being scheduled to play) three times in the next 5 days, Webber is now likely to play no more than once, and maybe not at all. Early (though unconfirmed) reports are that he will not be in uniform for Philly’s game in New York tonight, and it’s unclear whether he will play against his former team on Saturday. The Sixers then play 6 times in the ensuing 8 days, which bodes well for Webber’s production, though it also bodes poorly for his aching knees. Nonetheless, as of this morning he is on 81 of the top 100 TSN Ultimate teams. Without this trade, that number would probably have remained the same – or even increased. But all of a sudden, it seems likely that he’ll be dumped, at least for a few days. That certainly would be the case for any stud who was approaching a 1-in-5. And with a lot of trade coffers relatively full, most teams will have the wherewithal to make a move, or even a combination of moves.

With the trade deadline fast approaching, it remains to be seen whether any other unexpected moves might also be warranted. This is one of those days when it makes sense not to pull any triggers early in the day. Although the deadline is officially at 3pm ET, delayed news reports are possible. There are only three games on tap tonight, and only one is as early as 7pm. So the best advice I can give is to hang loose until any more potential deals are done.

Switching channels… The RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge (RIBC) league has been formed. For this second year, invitees were selected based upon their finish in last year’s RIBC, in several other high profile RotoGuru leagues, or in any of several sanctioned “qualifying leagues” (QL). This year, a AAA qualifying league has been formed for which invitees were also selected based on last year’s results. Now, several AA QLs are forming. The structure of each qualifying league will be patterned after the RIBC, and the winner of each AA league will qualify for next year’s RIBC. In addition, the top finishers in each AA QL will have priority status in filling next year’s AAA QL. If you want to have a chance to participate in next year’s RIBC or next year’s AAA QL, then you need to play in a AA league this year. Each league will have 16 managers, will use rotisserie-style scoring, and will be free to join (using Yahoo as the hosting site). If you are interested in joining a AA QL, please add your name to the waiting list in the RIBC AA league thread at the baseball forum. A second league is just about full, but a 3rd league can be started if there is ample interest.

2/23 - Josh Smith seems to have returned from All Star weekend rejuvenated. He scored 19 points, collected 10 rebounds, blocked 4 shots, dished 4 assists, and got a steal. That was good for 50.5 TSNP. Those who moved (in the TSN game) from Grant Hill to Smith last Wednesday appear to be positioned for a good return on both points and value, as Hill managed only 23 TSNP.

Some years, Shaq’s knee injury would be big fantasy news. Of course, if you have him on a traditional fantasy team, it is big news for you. But in the TSN Ultimate game, he’s barely a factor this season, on roughly 4% of all teams, and some of those teams are probably dormant. He actually hasn’t played so badly, averaging just under 40 TSNP/G. The problem is that he has the third highest price, and his ownership, while light, has been sufficient to keep him out of price-correcting gravity.

2/22 - Enough goofing off. The time has come to get our fantasy Hoops teams back on the right track. Might as well start tonight.

Adam Scott mercifully put a bullet in the Nissan Open when he sank a par put on the first playoff hole around 12:30pm ET yesterday. Sometimes the early bird gets the worms. But this time the worms got the birdies. On to the next tournament. For GuruGolf, this week’s event is the Chrysler Classic of Tuscon, which excludes the top 65 golfers in world rank, since they are all playing in the match play event at La Costa.

Yesterday, I did some prep work for baseball. The MLB Schedule generator is now loaded with the 2005 schedule. The Assimilator and the sortable stats now have the TSN players, prices, and positions for 2005. For now, individual player pages still reflect their state at the end of last season, so they do no yet reflect updated prices, position eligibilities, or team affiliations. In due time. You can find the baseball links in the left menu, below the basketball section.

2/21 - I couldn’t have picked a lousier tournament to launch the GuruGolf season, could I? It remains to be seen whether the tournament will complete more than the 36 holes that are currently in the books, and the current delay is also impacting the ability to set lineups for the next tournament, since price updates are dependent on last week’s results. Hopefully, we’ll have a resolution today, come hell or (more likely) high water.

We have one more day to ignore fantasy hoops. Sixteen teams play tomorrow night. Meanwhile, if you are playing the PSC Hoops game, remember that all players have been repriced, and you need to reset your entire roster sometime before Tuesday’s first tipoff. Don’t wait until the last minute, as the repricing makes it a lot more challenging to fit a roster that you can get comfortable with.

2/18 - The break.

If you manage your fantasy hoops teams with intensity, then the All Star break offers a welcome chance to kick back. Frankly, I’ll be happy to not think about hoops for a few days.

This gives me a brief opportunity to focus on baseball. I need to work on some league setup, get some preseason player rankings started, and do some reading. I’m sure many players switched teams and never told me during the off season, so a time for new discovery is clearly warranted.

Day #1 of GuruGolf is in the books. Well, almost in the books. There were a handful of golfers still on the course when play was suspended last night. One of those players was on some GuruGolf rosters, so some minor scoring changes could be coming. I’ll adjust for those when the Round 2 standings are posted tonight.

Enjoy the weekend!

2/17 - Yesterday, I noted that it seemed like a crossover day for TSN Hoops, as some popular players were likely to be exchanged for the next batch. That was an easy call. LeBron James is now on 99 of the top 100 rosters in TSN Ultimate.

Today feels like another crossover day, but on a more macro level. Hockey is officially dead for the year. The NBA regular season is about to go into stasis until next Tuesday. Meanwhile, the GuruGolf regular season opens today with almost 270 teams entered. And fantasy baseball offerings are now available from a variety of sites.

I haven’t studied the various baseball offerings yet, but I haven’t yet heard of any material changes in the rules, setup, or cost of many of the popular options. I have not yet heard whether Swirve or PSC will be offering baseball this season. The Swirve site still says “Coming soon”, and the PSC site still lists only the 2004 baseball offerings. Of particular interest to many Gurupies, the TSN Ultimate game is now available, and Yahoo! will continue to offer free league hosting. So, while you take a pause from Hoops, you might as well consider your fantasy baseball options for the coming year.

2/16 - This is sort of a crossover day in TSN Hoops. Teams will be shedding Garnett, Arenas, Iverson, and probably even Grant Hill. Everybody will be adding LeBron James , although the other beneficiaries on the buy side will be spread around a bit more. Of course, Garnett started his departure from many rosters earlier in the week, and didn’t do much to reward those who showed patience. Iverson also started his exit a few days ago – but still managed to be the top TSNP producer over the past week, in spite of one less game than runner-up Gilbert Arenas. And Grant Hill poses a significant conundrum. At his low price, there is a lot to be said for simply holding him through the next 6 game days (during which time Orlando plays only once). On the other hand, everyone has new trades today, and that’ll be enough to grant Hill a leave of absence from many teams.

Tomorrow marks the opening of the regular season for GuruGolf. We’re now up to 160 teams with full rosters, and I’m sure more will be formed today. The freeze is at 10am ET tomorrow morning, which coincides with the first tee time at 7am in Los Angeles.

I do plan to offer modest prizes for GuruGolf this year, mostly (maybe exclusively) in the form of golf balls with a RotoGuru logo imprinted on them. In addition to some overall prizes, I’ll be offering various smaller contests throughout the season, such as bestball and worstball contests for the Majors. Some prizes will be for GuruPatrons only, while others will be open to all entrants. So, why not give it a go?

Speaking of prizes, emails will be going out in the next day or so to all prize winners in Football Pickoff. They’ll be sent to the email address you registered under, so if you are a prize winner, remember to check that address in the next day or so.

2/15 - There were 5 NBA games played last night. The Phoenix/Utah game was the highest scoring game in the NBA so far this season, with 264 points. What makes that remarkable is that Utah lost two of its starters in the first half, with Boozer spraining a foot and Kirilenko twisting an ankle. Amare Stoudemire evidently noticed the absences, as he went off for 42 points (and 67.5 TSNP). But somehow the Jazz were able to score 128 points without their two big inside scorers. Tough break for those TSN teams that just added Kirilenko yesterday. He was the top price gainer in the Ultimate game, and close to it in the Basic game.

Time for another GuruGolf plug. More than 100 people have registered for the game, and more than 100 foursomes have already been filled. Each manager can have multiple teams, and you can manage up to 10 teams under a single ID. Some people like to run multiple teams simply to diversify roster choices. But some like to play different “games within the game”, and there are several ways to do that. Here are a few options:

  • Worstball: although the game uses best ball scoring on each hole, it also keeps score using a “worst ball” approach. You might want to set up one team with that specific objective. You don’t have to declare it as a worstball team, although if you give it a name starting with “WB-“, it may help you (and others) to view it in that light.
  • Even/odd week: Some managers prefer to have total freedom to choose their foursome each week without regard to limited trades. To satisfy that preference, the standings program allows the option to include only odd weeks or even weeks. By populating your foursome only every two weeks, you’ll always have 4 trades available. So, you might want to run an odd week team and an even week team – and see how those squads compare (for the appropriate weeks) to teams that are actively managed every week. This is a new scoring option for this season, and should appeal to those managers who prefer not to have to look ahead when making weekly selections.
You have until Thursday morning’s opening tee time to get a roster – or 2 or 3 - set up for this week. Be there or be square!

2/14 - Enough practice. GuruGolf is good to go, so let the game begin!

Congrats to GuruGolf manager Rex Davidson for eking out a one shot victory over Challenger in the two GuruGolf preseason events. But those results are about as meaningful as a strong spring training in baseball. And that’s because as of today, we start afresh. Every roster is empty. Every coffer has $4000. Every team has the same trade capacity. And this is the last time that will happen this season, because we start playing for keeps this week.

There’s a whiff of fantasy baseball in the air. Supposedly, all of the 2005 fantasy baseball games will be launched with great fanfare on February 17th. There is a new licensing arrangement this year, which sounds like it may squeeze out some fantasy baseball vendors, either via fiat or pricing. Whether it will impact your favorite site remains to be seen. For more background, you can peruse this forum thread. I have no idea what the future holds, so I’ll just have to wait and see like everyone else.

2/11 - The Garnett shift is on! After residing on almost every competitive TSN roster for more than a month, almost half of the top 100 TSN Ultimate managers dumped him yesterday, most for [gulp!] Chris Webber. Those who elected to hold KG probably plan to stick it out until next Wednesday, or even the All Star break. But it’s unlikely that he’ll ever reach the $13m mark again, given the various holes in the Minnesota schedule for the balance of the season. That and the fact that he hasn’t averaged above 50 TSNP for the last month. Who would you rather have – Garnett and someone like Dan Dickau, or a combo of, say, Vince Carter and Mike Bibby. OK, so most teams already have Carter and Bibby, but you get the point. When Garnett averages close to 60 TSNP, you can pair him with a cheapie and get good results. But when he averages below 50 with a medium schedule, the attraction wanes.

Having said all that, if you still have him, he does play 3 times in the next 5 days. And, he is Kevin Garnett, after all. You might just want to hang in for a few more days. After all, how often can you own KG as a differentiator?

2/10 - It seems to me that Allen Iverson has some of his best games when he’s not even expected to play. Last night’s 62 TSNP was a good example. He even played 45 minutes. Not bad for a guy who was reportedly too sick to play.

It wasn’t the best performance of the night, though. Jason Kidd had his second straight 3-D, another 73 TSNP effort. And if you were missing either of those two guards, there were still plenty of other big nights. Kevin Garnett had a 50 TSNP game, and he ranked only 8th for the night. Neither of the top two money gainers were above that level, however. Those who dropped Iverson to pick up either Gilbert Arenas (33 TSNP) or Vince Carter (41.5) will have to take solace in the favorable TSN price swing to overcome the point deficiency.

2/9 - He’s doing it again!

The Chris Webber tease. In the last week, he’s moved from many teams’ “Never again” list back to the “Gots to have” list. Admittedly, back-to-back triple doubles are hard to ignore. But so are those recurring – and often without warning – DNPs. Adding more uncertainty to his situation, Webber punted the ball into the stands following last night’s game when goaltending was not called on a Brad Miller layup attempt as time expired. So, a suspension certainly is possible. Buy at your own risk. And no one who picks him up now has any right to complain if they are forced to dump him sooner than expected.

If you want to try out GuruGolf before the regular season starts, you have about 24 hours to pick your lineup for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Rosters freeze at the first schedule tee time tomorrow, which is 8:00 am Pacific time. This tournament has a larger than normal field (180 golfers are currently entered, vs. a normal tournament field of 140), but the cut will only impact the final day. The first three rounds are played on three different courses, so GuruGolf scorecards will be matched by course for those three rounds. Most fantasy golf games simply ignore multi-course rounds, but GuruGolf is no ordinary fantasy golf game! Try it, and see for yourself. It’s free.

Thanks to Gurupie allhair allstars for suggesting today’s quote.

2/8 - The tandem of Kidd and Carter has really been piling on lately. Last night the Nets duo combined for almost 150 TSNP, including a triple double for Kidd. Jason appears on 75% of the top 100 TSN Ultimate teams, and Vince is currently on 60. Expect those numbers to climb next week. New Jersey has one of the best schedules over the next month.

If you were missing both of those two, you probably had a tough night. There were some pretty good options, though, as Jermaine O’Neal posted 63 TSNP, and Gilbert Arenas was close behind with 60. Jermaine recently acquired center-eligibility in the TSN game, enhancing his value. Arenas has a strong schedule for another week, and seems to be responding well to the Larry Hughes void.

And then there was Iverson, who sat out with the flu.

2/7 - The NFL season is over, and official congratulations are in order for the new Football Pickoff champion, HooeyPooey, who can be forgiven for getting yesterday’s game wrong because it was the strategically correct pick to ensure the victory. He also took top honors in the Midseason contest, which means that Midseason runner-up The Dan’s Your Daddy takes the Midseason prize. There are a number of GuruPatron prizes to be awarded as well, but I need to do a final accounting of GuruPatron status. It looks like there may be at least one team that is not accurately denoted.

As Football Pickoff transitions into mothballs, GuruGolf completed its first preseason weekend. Phil Mickelson was a popular pick, on roughly 25% of all rosters for the weekend. Consequently, scoring was pretty respectable, and price gains were also better than average. Unfortunately for all Lefty owners, it is only preseason, and after this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach tournament, all slates are cleared and we restart from scratch. Hope you didn’t peak too soon!

In the NBA, we had a couple of near misses for triple doubles yesterday, as Bob Sura and Lamar Odom each fell 2 assists short. We did have one on Saturday, from none other than Chris Webber, who notched 71 TSNP. If you still had him on your TSN roster, you also managed to amass a total of 71 TSNP from him in Sacramento’s last 5 games combined. I wonder how many teams now have him on their “never again” list? Curiously, although the Kings finally had all five of their starters playing in that game, they still lost to Portland. They had won 3 out of 4 when Webber, Peja, and sometimes Mobley were out. Go figure.

2/4 - There were only 3 NBA games last night. Tony Parker was the only NBA player to reach 50 TSNP, and no one has him – at least no one in the top 100 of the TSN Ultimate game. LeBron James was close behind with 49.5, and he is on 10 of the top 100 teams, but probably not for long, as Cleveland plays only 4 games in the next 12 days. After that, Cleveland has a very nice schedule, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a big shift from Garnett to LeBron on Feb. 16. Perhaps a massive shift, assuming KG can hold on for that long. Set your calendars.

One day, and almost one round, is now in the GuruGolf books. There were a few minor glitches yesterday, but most of you probably didn’t even notice. I’ll continue to do some testing during today’s live scoring, so bear with me if you see anything strange pop up in your scorecard.

You have one last shot at Football Pickoff this weekend. New England is currently about a 2:1 favorite. The top spots in the standings may be effectively locked up, but some GuruPatron prizes are still up for grabs. Picks will be locked in at 6:30pm Sunday.

2/3 - Kevin Garnett may have characterized last night’s drubbing by Phoenix as “clouds in his coffee”, but it looked more like a tornado to me. (Arguably, it was really too much “Sun” in his coffee, I suppose.) The Timberwolves trailed 95-55 late in the 3rd quarter, at which time the fat lady was already at home and fast asleep. Perhaps I should take partial blame, as I commented yesterday that KG was at least always above the 40 TSNP mark. Last night he barely topped 30.

Some NBA players seem to do their best when they are surrounded by the other regulars in their lineup. For example, when Steve Nash missed a few games last month, guys like Marion and particularly Stoudemire were much less productive. Evidently that doesn’t apply to Brad Miller, who erupted last night for 73.5 TSNP in 50 minutes of play. (An interesting sidelight: 50 minutes and zero personal fouls!) On the other hand, when Webber, Stojakovic, and Mobley were all AWOL, who else was Bibby going to pass the ball to? Less than two weeks ago, Miller was widely disparaged at the Hoops Forum as not being worth his $7m TSN price tag. But you haven’t heard that sentiment lately.

GuruGolf heads into today’s opening round with 83 registered managers and more than 130 active rosters. That’s a good start, especially for a preseason week that won’t count in the final standings. Live scoring should be up and running today. I may be tweaking the program code a bit, so if something goes haywire at any time, give me a few minutes to fix it – or else post a message at the Golf Forum and I’ll look into it. Most of the underlying process is the same as last year, but there are a few changes that have yet to be fully shaken down.

2/2 - Groundhog Day. Everytime you wake up and check the boxscores, Chris Webber isn’t playing. Or so it seems.

LeBron James evidently didn’t see his shadow last night, so he played. Or perhaps it was his evil twin. 39 TSNP isn’t bad for most mortals, but if you have LeBron, you consider that a disappointment. Kind of like a 43 TSNP game from Kevin Garnett. KG has had a few recent games worthy of his premium pricetag, but not many. Only 3 times in his last 11 games has he topped 50 TSNP, and 2 of those were barely over 50. His most redeeming features of late are that he stays above 40 TSNP, has a good schedule, and doesn’t DNP. If those stars fail to align, the game will get a bit more interesting. And it looks like misalignment is only a couple weeks away. I’m not suggesting that dropping KG is a good strategy today. But when his schedule turns average, a TSNP/G in the 40s won’t support a $13m price. And at that point, the wealthier teams may lose a competitive advantage. At a minimum, the advantage will be worth less. Of course, if Garnett returns to a high 50’s average, the story could be different. Only time will tell.

GuruGolf registrations continue to come in. More than 100 teams have been created. Tomorrow’s freeze will occur at 9:40am ET, which is when the first group is scheduled to tee off in the FBR Open.

2/1 - Take a look at the top guards from last night and you’ll probably get a good blueprint for the top TSN price gainers over the next few days. With Josh Smith in freefall, there’s a need for cheap solutions. And at least two guards seem poised to capitalize. Iverson also looks like a lock to pick up a lot of buys with his return to action and a favorable Philly schedule. If you notice a burning smell, it’s probably all those trades racing through the system.

After one day, we’re off to a good start in GuruGolf registrations. 45 managers have registered, and 68 teams have been created. Keep ‘em coming. There plenty of room!

2005: January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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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