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

2/28 - It seems like it would have been a good “Leap Day” event, but we don’t have one of those this year. So Boris Diaw will have to settle for getting his TSN center eligibility on Feb. 28th. I don’t ever recall a player having eligibility at all three positions before. Actually, there has never been a player with both G and C eligibility, either. Diaw hasn’t actually started any game at guard this season, but the TSN game listed him there to start the season. Most of his starts this year have been at forward, but he now has five starts at center, prompting the unusual circumstance.

LeBron James may have a commanding lead in total TSNP for the season to date, but he hasn’t been anywhere close to the hottest player of late. In his past five games, he’s averaged a little under 40 TSNP/game, which ranks only 25th over that 7-day period. Over those same 7 days, Shawn Marion has played only 3 times, but his total of 216 TSNP (a monstrous average of 72 TSNP/G!) is more than 20 TSNP better than LeBron’s 5-game total. Five different players have averaged better than 50 TSNP/G over the last week, the most surprising of which is Yao Ming. Congrats if you found that hot hand in advance. And I guess last night’s 62 TSNP is a good indicator of what Yao can do when he gets to match up against a center like Boris Diaw.

2/27 - This weekend’s PGA tournament in Tucson produced a best team score of -61. Last year, the best team score for the entire season was -61, and it was done at this same tournament. But this year, we also had a “perfect” team scorecard, as that same team, Nuclear Golfers WB, carded a score of -19 in the second round with every hole showing a birdie or better. The most amusing part of this is that the team name suggests that this team was constructed for “worst ball” scoring. Unfortunately, that team scored only a +3 for that round using the worst ball.

In TSN Hoops, the buzz is that we may have our first player ever eligible for all three positions. Boris Diaw got his 4th start at center on Saturday, and with Kurt Thomas out for awhile, his 5th start at center is eagerly anticipated for tonight – especially with cheap center alternatives like Dalembert and Kaman recently sustaining injuries. Hopefully, the TSN system is configured to handle a player who is eligible at 3 positions.

Special thanks to long-time Gurupie What About Bob for suggesting today’s quote.

2/24 - The NBA trade deadline has passed, and although there were a flurry of late deals, none seems to have significantly shifted any balance of power, team-wise or individually. The biggest name to move was Steve Francis, in a deal that was anticipated for some time, and that no pundit seems to think will work. One has to wonder if the U.S. government would run the Knicks any less efficiently.

The TSN fantasy game site is down this morning, but all of my stats are up and updated, so you can easily see how your players did last night. However, the various standings updates that are typically posted in the forum will have to wait until the TSN site is back online.

2/23 - If you look up “beat-down” in the dictionary, it should now show a picture of the scorecard for Tiger Woods’ pasting of Stephen Ames yesterday. Woods won every single hole on the front nine, and then tied #10 to close out the match in the minimum possible number of holes played. I guess he’s recovered from last week’s bout with the flu.

If you are interested in playing in a roto baseball league this season, RIBC qualifying leagues are currently being formed. Openings in the RIBC (RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge) league are filled each year with managers who qualify by finishing well in a qualifying league. Two AAA leagues are already filled – again with those who qualified based on last year’s results. But we can have as many AA leagues as needed, and no prior qualifications are required – not even prior experience in a roto league. Two AA leagues are already formed and almost filled, but as long as we get a volunteer to serve as commissioner, we can start recruiting for another one. Last year there were three AA leagues. The winner of each moved up to the RIBC, and those finishing in the top half of each 16-team AA league were invited into a AAA league this year. If you are interested, check out the baseball forum.

2/22 - There were 12 NBA games last night, and plenty of points to be had from a range of studs and cheapies. Nine players topped 50 TSNP, including a 66 TSNP triple double by Jason Kidd and a bargain basement 52 TSNP from Indiana’s Danny Granger.

The Chrysler Classic of Tucson tees off at 9:15am ET tomorrow morning. In GuruGolf, you can field any foursome this week, as the most expensive possible team costs only $3920. Of course, that’s because the most expensive golfers are in California, playing in the Accenture Match Play Championship this week.

2/21 - Back to the daily grind. The NBA season has 58 days remaining (57, if you exclude the one common off-day). That’s only a bit over one-third of the full season. But it’s still enough to make a big difference for any team, fantasy or otherwise.

The NBA trade deadline is only a few days away, and some big names are still swirling around. Some years, the talk never amounts to much, and that may very well be the case again this year. But at this time of the season, it’s best to plot out your fantasy trading plans in pencil, rather than in something more permanent.

A number of GuruGolf teams got off to shaky starts last week, especially when Tiger Woods withdrew after only 2 rounds. But I do have good news. (And no, not about GEICO.) For this season, every GuruGolf team gets a mulligan. At the end of the year, your worst tournament of the season (other than the majors) will be excluded from your total score. So, if this was a difficult week – or if you forgot to field a lineup – there’s still hope. And there will also be a number of contests for shorter periods throughout the season, so if you get off to a slow start, there will be plenty of opportunities for fresh starts as the season progresses. It’s never too late.

2/17 - If you scrambled to pick up one of last night’s players in the TSN Ultimate game, the odds are against you unless they played for Phoenix. Aside from four Suns’ starters, only Ben Gordon put up worthwhile numbers.

Well, that’s not quite true. Mike Sweetney had 41.5 TSNP. But who in their right mind would have picked up Mike Sweetney?

So now it’s the All Star break? What’s a fantasy manager to do?

  • New prices for the PSC Hoops game have been released, and you need to completely reset your roster by next Tuesday. It won’t be easy. My current roster is now $30 million over the cap. Yikes!
  • Create a team for the second half TSN basic game. If you want the play-for trade version, play it at the TSN site. If you want to play without the capability to buy trades, play it through the site. Aside from the trade capacity, all other rules and prices are identical. (The Assimilator now contains the Season 2 prices for the Basic game.)
  • Start researching your baseball draft. I realize that it’s still pretty early, but spring training isn’t far away.
  • Fret over your GuruGolf results.
  • Goof off.
Enjoy the break.

2/16 - I don’t pore over the boxscores from night to night, but Dwight Howard’s stat line last night sticks out. He scored 16 points while going only 1-3 from the floor.

Most NBA teams are done until next week. Four teams play tonight, and all four of them get the night off next Tuesday (when most other teams return to action). So, if you are playing TSN Ultimate, there doesn’t seem to be much trading advantage to be gained today. Still, with trades recently refreshed and not many opportunities to blow them this week, the trade flows should be easy to discern for those who just can’t stand to conserve them. (Hint: you probably don’t want to sell LeBron - the way he’s going, he might score on a day off.)

GuruGolf starts the regular season today with a few more than 250 teams. Good start. The most popular golfer on opening rosters is J.B. Holmes, who appears on about 30%. Tiger Woods is the second most popular, but on less than 20%. Of the 144 golfers in this week’s field, 119 appear on at least one GuruGolf roster. For a detailed breakdown, see this forum thread.

2/15 - There are still a fair number of empty rosters in GuruGolf. They need to be filled by 10am ET tomorrow, when the Nissan Open tees off and the GuruGolf regular season begins.

I had six players active last night on my best TSN Hoops team. Those players combined for 123.5 TSNP, an average of less than 21 TSNP per player. Elton Brand was my big kahuna with 29 TSNP. Sometimes it’s simply better not to know….

Utah and Detroit are done until after the NBA All Star break. Philly and Phoenix play twice in the next two days. And then we all get a 4 day hiatus. I guess I’ll have to start looking ahead to baseball. Or maybe I should do my taxes.

2/14 - It may be Valentine’s Day for most of the world, but at RotoGuru World Headquarters, this is Hall of Fame day. Today, I am pleased to announce the Class of 2005 Enshrinees into the RotoGuru Hall of Fame:

  • Duane Ockenfels, winner, 2004-05 Football Pickoff
  • Kevin Knight, winner, 2005 Market Madness Contest
  • Nate Ott, winner, 2005 Market Madness Contest, excluding basket units
  • Brian Booden and Eddy Westerveld (co-managers), champion, 2004-05 RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge
  • Chris Alesso, champion, 2005 RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge
  • Ted Derol, winner, 2005 GuruGolf
  • Dave Hall, champion, 2005-06 RotoGuru InvitationalFootballball Challenge
  • Dan Girard, winner, 2005-06 Football Pickoff
Last year, I inducted the Class of 2004 in mid-January, several weeks before the Super Bowl, which means that last year’s Football Pickoff winner had to wait until now to be enshrined. This year, I decided to postpone the ceremony until after the Super Bowl, which is why there are two year’s worth of Football Pickoff winners in this class.

Congratulations to all members of the Class of 2005!

2/13 - We survived 2 feet of snow at RotoGuru World Headquarters yesterday, so it must be time to start the GuruGolf season. After two weeks of practice rounds, all rosters have been emptied, all cash has been reset to $4000, and now we start playing for keeps. Congrats to Gurupie gurudan, who posted the top best ball total for the two preseason weeks. But it has the same impact as winning the Cactus or Grapefruit leagues. Squadoosh.

A word of caution when setting your opening GuruGolf rosters. Next week’s event is the Chrysler Classic of Tuscon, which will not attract any of the world’s top golfers. The top 64 in the World Golf Rankings will instead be playing in the Accenture Match Play Championship. So if you want to conserve some trades in the early weeks, don’t load up on players in the top 64.

If you plan on playing the Season-2 version of the TSN basic game, I’ve posted prices as a separate game option in the sortable stats. The Assimilator will incorporate those prices after the end of the Season 1 game (Friday morning). I know that many of you don’t like the Basic game because of the “pay for extra trades” option, but a comparable game is offered through which uses the same engine and the same player prices, but which does not allow for buying extra trades. So you can still play the free version of the game on a level playing field.

2/10 - Both of last night’s NBA games were blowouts. Surprisingly, the Miami at Dallas game was a total beat down, with the benches emptied for most of the fourth quarter. That’s never a good thing for fantasy sports. I couldn’t stay awake long enough to see the last quarter of the Chicago/Sacramento game, but from the part of the game I did see, it was a blowout from the get-go.

NBA All Star rosters were announced yesterday. Gilbert Arenas seems to be leading the “who got snubbed” parade, but if you look at a simple list of all players ranked by total TSNP for the season, Jason Kidd and Baron Davis both outrank him among those on the outside looking in. Of course, TSNP is not necessarily a valid arbiter of All Star credentials. Just look at the Detroit foursome. Billups ranks 20th in total TSNP, and Rip Hamilton is way down at 48th. But it’s hard to argue with their on-the-court record.

2/9 - It’s a Thursday in the NBA, so not much will happen. Two games.

But, Thursdays are busy days for the PGA. The ATT Pebble Beach National Pro Am tees off this morning. This tournament uses three different courses for the first three rounds, which has several implications for GuruGolf. First, GuruGolf scorecards for those three rounds are consolidated by course, rather than by round. Second, the cut doesn’t apply until the final round. So, if this is your first GuruGolf event, it’s not really a typical event. It is, of course, still a preseason event, so no matter how it goes, we start from scratch next week, when the regular season starts for keeps.

2/8 - On some talk show yesterday – I forget which – the comment was made that February is the worst sports month of the year. Football is over, baseball hasn’t started, pro basketball and hockey are in the thick of a fairly meaningless regular reason, and college basketball is merely slugging it out in the scramble for better seedings in March tournaments. The Winter Olympics couldn’t come at a better time; I’m sure we’re all eagerly anticipating those curling matches!

I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. Most of January is pretty dead for football, and while college basketball clearly peaks in March, February still offers some good conference action – much better than the many David vs. Goliath matchups that permeate the early season schedule.

This just in: The Monday night football broadcast crew for next season will be Mike Tirico, Joe Theisman, and Tony Kornheiser. The choice of Kornheiser is curious, as though who follow him closely know that there are two things he avoids as much as possible - flying, and staying up past 9:30pm. As he has said recently on his morning talk radio show, he’s going to have to significantly change his life style, and there’s every likelihood that he’ll be dreadful in the booth (again, this is what he said). While he’s probably a better choice for this than Dennis Miller was, I wonder if this gig really suits Mr. Tony’s talents. My suspicion is that it doesn’t. He’s a funny guy, but it’s yet to be demonstrated that a guy whose primarily talent is “being funny” is able to enhance the broadcast. But we’ll see.

2/7 - A few leftover tidbits from the Super Bowl:

  • Roethlisberger reportedly said (on Letterman last night) that he didn’t think he crossed the goal line on the disputed play. While the play was being reviewed, the Steelers were preparing to go for it again on 4th down.
  • There were no fair catches in the game.
  • Much has been made of Mike Holmgren’s apparent snub of Bill Cowher after the game. But this morning, I heard an reporter interviewed who apparently saw Holmgren trying to find Cowher immediately after the game. Because Cowher was still celebrating with his team at the time, and because the field was mobbed, he simply couldn’t get to him. In other words, no story.
We almost had a couple of triple doubles in the NBA last night, but LeBron and Kidd each came up one rebound short. And thus, Dwyane Wade had the biggest fantasy point night, scoring 34 with 8 assists and 8 boards (and 62 TSNP). Meanwhile, the biggest story might have been Baron Davis, with 23 points, 12 assists, 4 steals, and 52.5 TSNP in 37 minutes. Not bad for a night when he was questionable to play.

2/6 - The score was close. The execution was spotty. The officiating was puzzling. Or perhaps the execution was puzzling and the officiating was spotty. Regardless, the NFL season is in the books, and we move on.

Congrats to jreese2, who completed a clean sweep through the playoffs in Football Pickoff, nailing all 11 games with optimal doubles. Big congrats to gurudan, who coasted to the full season title on the back of two strategic no-pick weeks.

Since gurudan wasn’t busy making final football picks, he instead used his free time to pick up the top team in the weekend GuruGolf tournament. Of course, we’re still in the preseason of GuruGolf, so this opening victory has no lasting impact. You get one more week of GuruGolf for practice, and then we play for keeps. Golfers have all been repriced, so feel free to set your roster.

2/3 - In case you had forgotten, the NFL season isn’t quite over. There is one game left to go. One chance to improve your finish in Football Pickoff.

I was looking at a sorted ranking of Hoops TSNP/G this morning, and noted that 15 players have averaged better than 40 this year. That’s up from only 11 last season. Last year, Garnett outpaced the field at 52.9/G, followed by LeBron at 49.5. Two players (Iverson & Dirk) were in the 45s, and then four in the 42s. This year, nobody has topped the 50/G threshold for the season, although LeBron is inching close (49.4). Garnett seems to have fallen off a lot, but his average of 47.1 still ranks second overall.

Garnett’s decline of 5.8 TSNP/G is still notable, even if he is still the second most productive player. But there are a fair number of players with bigger declines. Just looking at those in the top 100 (ranked by average per game last year), three players have experienced declines of slightly over 12 TSNP per game: Antoine Walker (from 33.6 to 21.1), Quentin Richardson (from 25.9 to 13.6), and Larry Hughes (from 39.7 to 27.6). Fifteen other players (including Marbury, Francis, & Shaq) have seen their production decline by more than Garnett, which means he ranks only 19th in that regard.

Last year, there were times when TSN managers were willing to hold Garnett through temporary schedule lulls. But this year, not everyone has him even when his schedule is dense. Minnesota plays six games over the next 9 days. After that, watch for Garnett to become a hot potato.

2/2 - Two triple-doubles last night. You probably heard about the one from LeBron. The other was a career first from Joe Johnson, who is quietly putting up a very solid season in Atlanta. He ranks 30th in total TSNP for the season. More impressively, he ranks #26 overall in the ESPN player rater, which ranks players based on a typical 8-category roto system. Atlanta plays only 6 times in the next 15 days leading up to the break, but after the break they play 32, and only one team (Indy) plays more games for the balance of the season. He certainly bears watching.

GuruGolf is off and running, and live 1st round scoring appears to be working well. More than 200 teams were submitted for this opening preseason tournament. Last year, we seldom had more than 250 active rosters during the peak of the season, so this seems like a decent start. (Last year, there were only 136 teams submitted for this tournament, which was also the preseason opener.)

2/1 - Sometimes, patience is handsomely rewarded. Sometimes, it is mercilessly punished.

In the TSN Ultimate Hoops game, those who held Boris Diaw through the past two weeks have endured approximately $500K in price drops. But with his triple-double 66 TSNP last night, they must feel vindicated for their patience. This year, it has seemed that patience has often been punished, but not in this case.

The FBR Open tees up at 7:40am in Scottsdale, Arizona tomorrow. That is equivalent to 9:40am ET. So far, 160 GuruGolf rosters have been filled, even though this is only a preseason GuruGolf event. That should provide plenty of ammunition to get the system up and purring. If you’ve never tried GuruGolf before, this is perfect opportunity to try it out with no risk. A lot of participants have never played fantasy golf before, but have found it to be fun, even addicting. And it has the advantage that roster moves are only required once per week, so the intensity of management activity is more similar to football, as opposed to other sports which often necessitate daily maneuvers.

Did I say it’s free?

2006: 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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