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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

2/27 - Neither NBA game offered much suspense last night. From a fantasy perspective, not much happened either. Even Ben Wallace’s broken leg has little fantasy implication this year.

For baseball, both AAA leagues for the RIBC have filled, and the first AA league also appears to be full. We have generally had two AA leagues, but that requires someone to volunteer to serve as the league Commissioner. Any takers? No prior experience is necessary. Even if you want to play but can commish, please sign in and provide your email address so that the league can be organized quickly if there is ample interest.

Speaking of baseball, I was a little surprised to see that Manny Ramirez rejected the latest Dodger offer. So much for “Manny being Manny.” This sounds more like “Boras being Boras.” If you have Manny in a keeper league, this has to be a bit unnerving. And if you are preparing for a draft, how do you evaluate him? Is he really willing to sit out the beginning of the season?

2/26 - Dwight Howard had the big game last night, although against the defenseless Knicks, would you have expected any differently?

Tonight is a typical light-action Thursday, with only the two TNT games on the NBA docket. Should be plenty of octane, however, with LeBron in Houston, and particularly with the run-n-gun Suns facing the Lakers in LA.

In GuruGolf, the popular favorite this week is Dean Wilson, on more than 40% of all foursomes. So far, the consensus has it right, as Wilson is tied for the early lead at -4 after 14 holes.

2/25 - Murphy’s Law struck a fair number of TSN Hoops managers yesterday. Based on the price changes, it appears that a popular trade was to sell Troy Murphy and buy Tim Duncan, as they were the top loser and gainer in the TSN Ultimate game. And then without warning, Duncan DNPs. Now that the dagger has been thrust, look for Murphy to twist it tonight with a big game against Memphis.

The MayaKoba Golf Classic tees off in Cancun early tomorrow morning. Since the top 64 golfers are playing in the Accenture match play event, this tournament will require a fair amount of GuruGolf roster manipulation. As of this morning, more than half of all foursomes still have inactive players. Don’t forget!

2/24 - Dwight Howard may have the cape, but Nate Robinson is the one playing like Superman. Last night, he scored 41 points (57.5 TSNP) in a win over the Pacers. Those 41 points tied the franchise record (Bob McAdoo) for most points by a reserve.

RotoHog baseball launched yesterday. They don’t have many players priced yet, but I’ve already got them loaded in the sortable stats. Based on a quick skimming of the rules, I didn’t notice any material changes from last year.

I’ve been getting some good feedback on the early experience of some of you in the Draft Bug game (see sponsor-of-the-month item above.) The live scoring for NBA contests is somewhat buggy, but in general, site navigation seems stable and solid. In addition to NBA contests, there are also daily NHL contests, so hockey fans might also want to take a look. Site traffic has been picking up, and while activity should be much stronger once baseball starts, this provides a good opportunity to get accustomed to the site mechanics. Remember, you can try it out using “play money”, so there’s no need to invest any cash upfront.

2/23 - Phoenix may have returned to an up tempo offense. But as the Celtics demonstrated, they’ve also returned to a no-defense approach. Just ask Rajon Rondo, who pretty much did whatever he wanted yesterday.

We finally completed 4-rounds of a GuruGolf tournament, complete with a cut. Congrats to perennial GuruGolf powerhouse Liters3 who carded the best weekend score of -51. Worstball honors belonged to Eliminator2 with a +46.

The next GuruGolf tournament is the secondary PGA tournament of the week. The top 64 players will be competing in the Accenture Match Play Championship, but the match play format obviously doesn’t work for the GuruGolf scoring method. So GuruGolf will be based on the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

I was able to get some baseball data posted over the weekend. The MLB schedule is now updated for 2009, and the sortable stats reflect 2009 players and prices for the TSN salary cap games. The Assimilator is not yet updated, but should be shortly.

2/20 - Kevin Garnett injured his knee in Utah last night, missing more than half the game. It wasn’t that long ago that this would have been the dominant story in fantasy hoops. But since he arrived in Boston last season, his numbers have no longer landed him in that ultra-elite category – which is no to say that he’s not that important to Boston.

This morning, I just learned that Amare Stoudemire will miss up to eight weeks due to eye surgery to repair a torn retina suffered on Wednesday. Just when it looked like Amare might rejuvenate his fantasy value under an up tempo Phoenix approach, this happens. It’s too early to fully appreciate how this will impact all of the Suns players. But someone is going to get a lot more minutes - Shaq can’t play 48 minutes per night!

2/19 - I guess Dwight Howard is not going to play Superman every night. Last night, he managed just 12 points, 8 rebounds, and one block. He ranked only 20th among centers in TSNP.

Today I am announcing an affiliation with a new fantasy sports game, Among the appeals of this game:

  • You can register for free. No need to prefund an account before trying it out.
  • New contests are offered daily, and most (maybe all) are for one day only. No need for a long term commitment. Play when you have the time, skip it when you’re busy.
  • You can enter “play money” contests as a means to try it out without committing actual money.
  • There are plenty of low-priced cash contests. Entry fees can be as low as $1.00.
  • Some contests use a salary cap limitation. Others use a “snake draft” approach, so you don’t have to “share” your players with any other entrant.
Here’s the real kicker: I plan to provide limited sortable stats support for the game. Player prices have been loaded into the database, and will change periodically (but not daily). Fantasy points will be tracked and updated daily. (Note: for basketball, only the sortable stats will be updated (including the projection capabilities. Player pages will not include Draft Bug data for hoops. When baseball begins, I hope to have the data fully integrated into all RotoGuru programs.) Note also that there are hockey contests. I won’t be setting up stats support for hockey, but this may provide an interesting outlet for some of you hockey fans.

The sortable stats are already up for this game. Hopefully, I haven’t bungled anything. I’ve been told that prices will be updated every week or so, but there may also be occasional daily updates for selected prices. If you notice an incorrect player price, please report it. I’ll be working on getting more automated price feeds as we go along.

2/18 - In last night’s return to NBA action, Pao Gasol had a triple double, but it wasn’t the big output of the night. Dwight Howard, evidently benefitting from the lack of any nearby kryptonite, scored 45 points, pulled down 19 rebounds, and blocked 8 shots. In TSNP terms, that’s 85.

TSN launched a completely redesigned site for salary cap baseball today. On the surface, I can’t decide whether it’s any better or worse than the previous format. But it is dramatically different - not only in look and feel, but also in the underlying reporting processes. And because of that, I am unsure whether I’ll be able to provide the full range of analytical tools for that game this season. Stay tuned…

Thanks to Gurupie Bond, James Bond for suggesting today’s quote.

2/17 - Back to business. The NBA returns tonight with a busy slate of 10 games. The NBA trade deadline also looms later this week. Be alert!

Meanwhile, if you're itching for baseball to start, the RIBC Qualifying leagues are now forming. If you are interested (and particularly if you are willing to serve as a Commish), please post your interest in the RIBC Qualifying Leagues thread. We need to get these leagues filled over the next couple of weeks so that drafting can begin in early-to-mid March. AAA leagues are available to those who finished in the upper half of a 2008 QL, plus those from last year's RIBC who did not qualify to return. That priority list is in the thread. AA leagues are open to anyone, regardless of prior experience.

2/16 - One more day of respite from fantasy hoops action. Back to the salt mines tomorrow.

I must confess I never even turned on the All Star game last night. So I missed the Kobe & Shaq reunion. But from the post game comments, it sounds like Shaq would really (or more likely, "really-really-really") like to come back to the Lakers, and Kobe wants no part of it.

The 4th round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has now been canceled. GuruGolf player prices have been updated, and roster moves for the next event have now been enabled. And please ignore the team that finished dead last in the tournament. [sigh...]

2/13 - When I googled the definition of Rondo, I found a variety of answers, including one that said it is "a piece written in the ABA form." Maybe so, but he was also in top NBA form last night, notching a "no-doubter" 19-14-15 triple double in Dallas. I don't think the NBA will be taking that one away from him after further review.

Today is Friday the 13th. Probably a good day not to have any games. Even though the NBA is pausing for a few days, I've got plenty on my plate, including beginning to get organized for baseball - which I've hardly even thought about so far. I see that opening day is a little later than usual this year - April 5. That'll help.

GuruGolf results for the first day of this tournament are difficult to interpret. With players on three different courses, single day scores aren't particularly meaningful. Suffice it to say that if you have the popular favorite - Charley Hoffman - that's a good thing (so far).

2/12 - The Knicks may have lost in overtime, but you can't fault Nate Robinson. With Chris Duhon sidelined, Robinson played 52 of the possible 53 minutes, scoring 33 points with 15 assists, 9 rebounds, and 5 steals. In TSNP terms, that was 80.5, and only one rebound shy of a 92 pointer.

The NBA begins to hunker down for the All Star break, with only three games on tonight's docket. After tonight, the regular season will be 64% complete. If you are planning to play the TSN Season 2 Salary Cap Challenge game, I added those player prices into the sortable stats yesterday. (Make sure you select Season 2, rather than Season 1.)

GuruGolf launched this morning with 208 foursomes for the opening event. The most popular opening week golfer is Charley Hoffman, on about 20% of all rosters. 103 different golfers are represented on at least one squad, and only 14 of those appear on at least 10% of all teams, so there's plenty of differentiation to start the season. Remember that golfers rotate among three different courses for the first three days, so scorecards will be matched by course, rather than by round.

2/11 - Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 23,000 points. He eclipsed Wilt Chamberlain by 5 days. It's not really a fair comparison, though, since Bryant skipped college and is already in his 13th NBA season. Wilt reached that mark in only his 9th NBA season.

When Golden State and the Knicks meet, you don't expect much defense. Actually, you don't expect any defense. And they didn't disappoint last night, combining for 171 points. In their previous meeting, they scored 163. A dream fantasy matchup.

GuruGolf tees off at 11am ET tomorrow morning. As of 11am this morning, only 120 foursomes were set, but if last year is any indication, that number could double by tomomrrow. Be there or be square!

2/10 - Who needs Ridnour, Redd, and Bogut? Suddenly, Ramon Sessions and Charlie Villanueva are playing like Stockton and Malone. If you drafted them onto your fantasy teams back in October, it was probably tough to hold them early in the year. Sessions had trouble getting playing time in December, averaging only 16 minutes per game. Villanueva's court time vacillated from week to week during the opening months. At times, he was benched in favor of Luc Mbah a Moute. But when January injuries opened up significant playing time, Sessions and Villanueva have certainly capitalized. If they continue to produce at recent levels, they'll become almost irrelevant in salary cap formats, because all competitive teams will have them. That apparently hasn't quite happened yet in the TSN game, where only 55 of the top 100 (prize standings) teams have Sessions, and only 27 have Villanueva. But when trades are replenished tomorrow, expect those ownership numbers to jump.

Let me clarify. Once they're highly owned, they'll be irrelevant until they get injured or their production subsides. At that point, they become highly relevant, as teams have to scramble to find other cheapies to fill those slots.

2/9 - The Lakers just completed a highly successful road trip, even though it started off with the loss of Andrew Bynum. They still went undefeated on their eastern swing, including the final two wins in Boston and Cleveland. It's not like they're going back for an extended homestand, however, as only four of their next 10 games are in Los Angeles.

GuruGolf is now "on the record", with the regular season teeing it up on Thursday morning at the three Pebble Beach courses. All rosters have been cleared, all cash has been reset to $4000, and trades are not counted prior to the opening freeze. Have at it!

2/6 - I had a nice field trip to Boston last night, sitting in the second row along the baseline for the Lakers-Celtics game in Boston. While it's not a particular good vantage point to follow the flow of the game, it does provide some unusual perspectives. For example, Pao Gasol is really tall. Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher are not. In fact, as the players walked past me on the way to the locker room (and I was on the end of the row, so they really walked right by me), I felt like I was looking eye-to-eye at those two shorter guys, even though they are both listed at over 6 feet, and I'm not quite 5-11. Also, you get a real feel for the amount of routine contact that's going on down low. It's hard to rationalize why most of that bumping isn't considered fouls, while some of the incidental contact in the open floor gets whistled. I know you can see that from the TV view as well, but it really gets accentuated when the action is only several feet away.

The Celts lost a rare home game, of course, but neither team ever had control. Once Garnett fouled out, Gasol was able to assert himself, and "Big Baby" was not able to fill KG's void. If the Lakers and Celtics end up the season tied in W/L record, the head-to-head sweep will give the Lakers home court advantage in the finals. Otherwise, I doubt if that game had much lasting impact.

I'll have some more comments and some photos to post in the Hoops Forum later today.

2/5 - If LeBron wants to play for the Knicks, he's certainly showcasing himself well in Madison Square Garden.

His wasn't the only triple double of the night, as Stephen Jackson managed a not-so-shabby 30-10-11 game of his own. And there were plenty of other monster games on the night, with eight players topping the 50 TSNP mark, including five over 60. Aye carumba!

This week's GuruGolf preseason event has the first two rounds played on two different courses. For scoring purposes, scorecards in the first two rounds will be consolidated by course, rather than round. Many fantasy golf games simply ignore those rounds, but that seems wholly unnecessary.

2/4 - Vince Carter watched Jason Kidd do it so many times in the past few years. Last night, Vinsanity put up a Kidd-like triple double, scoring only 15 points on 3-12 shooting, which ranked him only 5th in team scoring for the game.

When I saw the starting lineup for the Spurs last night, I figured it must be a mistake. No Duncan. No Parker. No Gino. No Michael Finley. No mistake. And yet they still gave the Nuggets a contest, losing by only 8 points in Denver.

GuruGolf tees off tomorrow morning (11:30am ET) for the second and last preseason tournament. One last shot to get in a few swings before playing for keeps.

2/3 - If you live in northern New Jersey, that thud you felt last night was an earthquake. If you live anywhere else, it might have been Chris Paul going down with an apparent groin strain. Maybe it will turn out to be minor, with no lasting impact. But if Paul misses meaningful time, it will hamper any fantasy hoops team that drafted him as one of the top first round picks. So a lot of managers will be eagerly awaiting the results of today's MRI.

In the TSN game, if Paul is out for awhile, the implications are less dramatic. Since most competitive teams have him (93% of the top 100 in the prize standings), his biggest impact is that he ties up $12m of cap space. If he's out, that will mitigate some of the advantage that the wealthiest teams currently enjoy. So all other things being equal, if you're rich, you'd like to see him remain healthy; if you're a relative pauper, you definitely would like to see him removed from the game for awhile.

Please don't misinterpret that last comment. Obviously, no fan likes to root for an injury, especially to one of the game's premier players, both on and off the court. I'm only discussing the marginal implications from a salary cap fantasy game perspective.

2/2 - This game seemed to lack some of the pregame hype associated with past Super Bowls. But the game was worthy of the name. In fact, this might have been one of those rare years when the game was actually better than the commercials.

Congrats to Beerhunters3, who took the lead into the final weekend and then nailed down the outcome by picking the winner and doubling. If the game had gone the other way, though, he'd have finished second. But it didn't, and he didn't. Kudos also to diablo, who claimed the Playoff title in Pickoff, calling 8 games correctly. Of the 11 playoff games, no one picked more than 8 correct winners.

All Pickoff prize winners will be notified by email in the next week.

2009: 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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