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

3/31 - Another PGA Tournament, another rain delay. Today’s first round of the BellSouth Classic won’t tee off until 1pm at the earliest, and it’s clear that the first round won’t be completed today.

Steve Nash had his second career triple double midway through the third quarter last night. His 61 TSNP topped all players last night, and he needed only 27 minutes of playing time.

Just a few more days to get your baseball lineups set up!

3/30 - In some ways, putting together an opening lineup for TSN baseball is much easier than drafting for a roto team. But in many ways, it’s more difficult.

For a roto team, you are essentially drafting players that you will own – and hopefully use – all season long. But for TSN, many of the players you take on opening day won’t survive on your roster into May. You need guys who will perform well now. Some of those choices will seem obvious a week from now. But the crystal ball still appears rather murky today.

PSC has released its player pricing for opening day, so you can now work on both your TSN and PSC rosters. The first freeze for the TSN game is Sunday night, although the first price changes won’t occur until Tuesday night. The PSC game will ignore Sunday night’s game, with the first freeze on Monday.

3/29 - The Players Championship took awhile, but it’s now in the books and we can move on. The BellSouth Classic tees off just two days from now, so there isn’t much time to stew over your next GuruGolf lineup. This next tournament is the final installment in the March to the Masters competition. The current leaders in each of the best ball and worst ball formats have a five stroke lead. So the fat lady ain’t singin’ yet.

Tons of points were put up in the NBA last night. Perhaps most notable was the 68 TSNP from Tracy McGrady, just after some managers bailed due to his hip injury. All told, seven players topped the 50 TSNP mark, and team scores above 400 TSNP were fairly commonplace. The regular season ends just three weeks from tomorrow.

3/28 - Four regional finals. Four overtime periods. North Carolina won conventionally, but Michigan State picked up the option on the extra OT. In Market Madness, Michigan State and Louisville turned out to be the big kahunas, with 50 and 40 point bonuses respectively. And now we hurry up and wait – for six days! There are four teams that could win the championship, but there are only two entrants still alive for the Market Madness grand prize.

While the tournament brought a series of intense finishes, The Players Championship in golf was – or is – trying to get some traction. Hopefully, the final rounds will get played today.

Baseball draft activity is winding down, and opening day – or night – is just seven days away. I’ve got to do some homework on my TSN roster alternatives. Preparation for a traditional league draft is not fully transferable to preparation for a TSN roster draft, since TSN price plays a critical determinant of value. In fact, there are some players who I’ve flagged as having potential value that weren’t even taken in the just-concluded RIBC draft.

3/25 - Thanks to those of you who sent me good wishes yesterday. I’m not completely better, but I did sleep through the night (and well into this morning), so I’m going to “suit up” today.

Hopefully, those of you on the east coast were able to stay awake for the late tournament games last night. Both had exciting finishes, unlike the evening’s earlier games. The conventional wisdom that Washington would not advance was proven correct, and Louisville is now in the same position they’d have been in if they were a #1 seed.

In the Market Madness contest, Saturday and Sunday will see big swings in the standings, especially if more #1 seeds fail to advance. Any non-#1 seed that advances to the Final Four earns a bonus of 10 times its seed, so we know that the Louisville/West Virginia game is worth 50 if Louisville wins (10+40), and 83 if the Mountaineers triumph (13+70). Some entries will get those results doubled or tripled if they have them embodied in the related basket units as well.

In golf, The Players Championship saw very low scoring yesterday, but that may not persist. The bigger challenge will be getting the tournament completed, as rain is forecast off and on for the entire weekend and even into Monday. I’m sure they’ll make a Herculean attempt to complete all four rounds, but they are going to need some good luck, it would seem.

Enjoy your Easter weekend!

3/24 - I’m going to take a DNP (did not post) today:

Guru – DNP – flu like symptoms.
Consider me day-to-day.

3/23 - I guess drafting Barry Bonds as my first round pick in the RIBC wasn’t such a good idea. Oh well….

I just ran a current download of all TSN baseball players, and see that there are 42 players that have been added since the game was launched. I’ll process these updates this afternoon, and also check for any position updates as well. I assume that most of the additions are rookies.

The Players Championship tees off at 7:00am tomorrow morning. Don’t forget to set your GuruGolf lineup(s). If you log into the GuruGolf game site, you may also notice that the “Manage Roster” page now allows you to navigate directly from one team to another. (If you have only one roster, you won’t notice any change.) Thanks to Gurupie Barrington for suggesting this rather obvious enhancement (that for some reason had never occurred to me).

3/22 - I feel like we’re approaching the eye of the hurricane. For several weeks, the pace of fantasy sports activity has been intense, with multiple baseball drafts taking place, and Market Madness ramping up. Now the baseball drafts are winding down, and we transition into the “hurry up and wait” mode for baseball, with opening day still more than 10 days away. The NCAA tourney is in hiatus awaiting Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchups. Besides, my bracket isn’t just busted, it’s blown to smithereens. So, for the balance of the month, I can refocus on the NBA a bit. I do have to get my TSN baseball lineups researched and set. So there’s plenty to do. But the persistent sense of urgency has waned a bit.

The NBA season ends four weeks from tomorrow. If you are still contending, you can map out your trading plans for the balance of the season, if you wish. There will certainly be a number of bumps in the road, so plans can’t ever be locked in, but you can at least begin to assess how many trades you need, and how many are left for opportunistic moves, or for damage control.

3/21 - If it seems to you like there have been more upsets than usual this year in the NCAA tourney, guess again. The sum of the seeds in the Sweet Sixteen is 72, and that is the median since the tournament has included 64 (or 65) teams. For the previous four years, the Sweet Sixteen seed sum (SSSS) was 73, 75, 67, and 73. The record is 89, in 1986. The SSSS is somewhat held in check because all four #1 seeds are still alive, but that’s not abnormal either. Over the past 20 years, 10 tournaments have seen all four #1 seeds advance this far. So, by at least those two measures, it’s business as usual.

Of course, if you are long the #2 and #3 seed baskets (like me), then it’s already time to move on to baseball.

The weekend golf tournament was actually the more abnormal event of the weekend. In particular, worst ball scoring looked more like that of a major tournament, with three of the rounds posting a high worst ball score in the mid 20’s. For the season’s first four tournaments, no worst ball round exceeded +19. The top best ball score for the tournament was a -48 by Little M. I’m particularly impressed with the 97 stroke spread between his best ball scorecard and his worst ball scorecard. I don’t keep track of that gap, but that seems like quite a remarkable difference.

3/18 - I did a lot of channel flipping yesterday, hopping back and forth between tournament action and steroid testimony. I didn’t expect the House hearing to be as interesting as it turned out to be. And the most notable aspect wasn’t so much the testimony itself, but the body language, the fervor, the side stepping, and the flip flops. Of the players testifying, McGwire seemed to have the toughest day, as his continual refusal to “not discuss the past” was tiresome and sometimes unduly evasive. Canseco was particularly weasely, many times taking positions in direct contradiction to statements made in his book. Palmeiro was clearly uncomfortable, but forthright. Sosa was reticent. Schilling was talkative, often rambling. The issue is a thorny one, and nothing was resolved, but the drama of the day should serve to keep the debate at the forefront, whether the public wants it there or not.

Meanwhile, 16 teams were eliminated, with only two seed upsets but a number of other close calls. Contest standings were updated throughout the day, and in spite of a few glitches, I think everything was hunky dory by evening. I have not yet identified the GuruPatrons (which is relevant for most of the prizes), but should have that done within the next 24 hours.

I posted a tally of all contest picks. Washington was the overwhelming consensus pick (predominantly as a short), and if they do well, the 29 slates which have them as a long will be the ones to reckon with. Overall, there is a lot of diversity on the picks, and should make for another good contest. Every unit was picked, with Chattanooga the least active unit (2 longs). It’s tough to interpret the standings yet, as slates with expensive shorts tend to dominate in the early going. After the first weekend, you can get a better sense, although it’s not until teams have advanced to the Final Four that you can begin to smell the winners. The Final Four bonus points can create huge swings, especially if there are any teams seeded 5+ in that group.

It was just as well that the golf tournament was halted early in yesterday’s round, since hardly anyone was paying attention. I didn’t even bother to update the GuruGolf standings last night, since the results were so sparse. I’ll do that tonight.

3/17 - Johnny Davis will have plenty of time to veg out in front of the tube today. And there’ll be plenty to watch, as the tournament starts at 12:20, which is precisely when picks for this year’s Market Madness Contest will be locked.

If ever there is a day for the RotoGuru server to blow a fuse, this is the one. And although I fully expect the server to keep up, I’m not sure whether my cranial processor will be able to handle all of the “open windows”, as I’ll be multi-tasking across Market Madness, GuruGolf, and 4 baseball drafts. Hopefully I can find time to watch some of the afternoon action. My fantasy hoops teams will simply have to run on autopilot today.

I’ll post a tally of the picks for this year’s Market Madness Contest by mid-afternoon. There’s a link along the left side called “Recap of Entries”. It still leads to last year’s report, but that should be updated by 3pm or so.

3/16 - The “don’t call it a play-in” game is over, and today is “finalize your brackets” day. I went through an exercise with the scoring simulator yesterday afternoon, but subsequently have changed my mind on several key games, so I’m going to redo it today. Tomorrow’s first scheduled tipoff is at 12:20pm ET, and that is when all Market Madness Contest picks are frozen.

The RIBC draft has just about completed round 15. The talent pool has thinned out a lot, but we still have 10 rounds – 160 players – to go. While it’s tempting to discount the tail end of a draft, in this league, more than 25% of the daily starters are going to be picked in rounds 16-25. Unfortunate picks can really drag down an otherwise strong team. And inspired picks can really make a team. Here’s a short list of some of the key players taken after the 15th round in last year’s draft: Victor Martinez (16), Oliver Perez (18), Ben Sheets (18), Brad Lidge (19), Travis Hafner (19), Carl Pavano (21), and Adrian Beltre (24). If I could only see ahead to the comparable list of names I’ll be mentioning next year at this time!

3/15 - We’re up to 300 registrants for the Market Madness Contest, which is on the same pace as last year. I haven’t even started working on my own picks yet, and I probably won’t get to it until tomorrow. I’m still in the thick of 4 baseball drafts, and it’s hard enough to stay on top of those.

If you are new to the Market Madness format, don’t despair when you read the scoring rules. Even if you don’t “get it”, fill out a set of picks and try it for a year. Once you’ve lived through a tournament, you’ll catch on, and be much better prepared next year. If you want a few simple tips, try these:

  • For your shorts, look for first round upsets, and short the loser. For example, if you think that Penn(13) will beat Boston College(4), then short B.C. You might also try shorting one or two of the top seed baskets (1-3). For example, shorting the #1 seeds gives you plenty of opportunities to profit from an upset.
  • For longs, pick the 4 teams you expect to survive to the Final Four. In many instances, it’s good to take those teams not only as single teams, but also in their basket forms – unless you think the other teams in those baskets are really overrated.
  • Pick one or two double-digit seeds as longs. These will pay off well if they make it to the Sweet 16.
Actually, my best advice is to use the scoring simulator. Pick each of the games as you would for a typical bracket, and then let the simulator calculate the returns under your scenario. Use those returns as a basis for your picks – picking your longs from the top of the listing, and your shorts from the bottom.

As a final note, a few of you may get an error when you click on the “Send confirmation” button. While this is working for most, there is evidently some browser or browser setting that is creating a conflict. If this happens to you, simply print out your picks if you want a record of them. Next year I’ll work on a better email confirmation routine, but I don’t expect to get it debugged before Thursday. As best I can tell, less than 5% of users are having problems, although AOL users might not be receiving those emails, as I’m getting a lot of rejection notices from the AOL mail server.

Thanks to Gurupie Swish City for suggesting today’s quote.

3/14 - There doesn’t seem to be as much whining about tournament seeding or snubs this year. Notre Dame seems to be the most vocalized snub, but they did themselves in by losing to Rutgers in the first round of the Big East tourney. And while there are some differences of opinion about the ordering of the top 16 seeds, no team seems to have been egregiously shafted. Of course, the great thing about this tournament is that if you win, seeding doesn’t matter…

…unless you’re keeping score in the Market Madness Contest. Seeding obviously plays a significant role in the scorekeeping. And you now have three days to figure out how that impacts your selections. Because when Thursday’s first game tips off, all you can do is watch and root. And what a tournament to watch!

Time to do some research.

3/11 - If you can’t find something of interest at in March, then what are you doing here in the first place? Between the NBA, the NCAA Tourney, GuruGolf, and baseball draft activity, I know my head is spinning.

I have to point out a post made yesterday at the message forum. It’s from Gurupie Go Easy, a serviceman who recently returned from Iraq. Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning my wheels endlessly on trivial pursuits. And while I don’t mean to elevate my own “service” in light of the tremendous sacrifices being made by others around the globe, it is gratifying to know that some of the efforts serve a greater purpose from time to time. Go Easy then followed up his testimonial with a generous GuruPatron contribution as well. I’m humbled. (I also showed that message to my Mom, who I think sometimes wonders whether there is any point to what I do. Her response: “Wow!”)

Should be a fun weekend, with lots of college conference tourney action, followed by the bracket announcements. Don’t spend the whole weekend in front of the tube. (That’s what next weekend is for!)

3/10 - At this stage of the fantasy hoops season, the most important stat line might be the “DNP” line. Last night, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili appear to be two of the most notable DNPs, although there have been so many lately that it’s easy to miss a few. Whether you are playing a TSN-style game, or whether you are in a close race in a roto-style league, late season DNPs from key players can be difficult to overcome, especially if they linger. I used to start my morning hoops analysis by looking at the top producers. Now I go directly to RotoWire and look for new injuries.

The 2005 Market Madness constest site has been launched. Admittedly, there isn’t much to do now, since the bracket announcement is still 80 hours away. You can register, and last year’s tournament data is still loaded if you wish to tinker. The scoring rules are admittedly complex, so you might also want to start reacquainting yourself with the framework. On Sunday evening, I’ll update the next brackets, and expect to have everything set up and ready to go by 9pm or so.

3/9 - In TSN Hoops, schedule is important. But It’s not everything. Just ask those managers that picked up Chris Webber eight days ago, looking at Philly’s 6 games in 8 days. Six games later, the best that can be said is that Webber suited up for all six of them. He averaged less than 25 TSNP/G. And that’s probably the last time you’ll see him on a contending TSN roster this season, unless he figures out how to make it work in Philly.

I’m in the midst of 4 baseball drafts now. I like slow drafts, because I have time to think about how the draft is going, and I can react thoughtfully in real time. The trick, though, is to balance multiple drafts at once, when each league has different scoring categories, different roster configurations, different numbers of teams, and sometimes different player eligibility standards. I’ve got four big spreadsheets going, and I enjoy this part of the season a lot. It’s easy to get consumed, though, and that puts pressure on the rest of my schedule. Of course, that’s why they pay me the big bucks. Oh wait,…. That’s why I gave up the big bucks, so I didn’t have to find time for a real job.

3/8 - If all goes well, the Market Madness contest site should be up sometime in the next day or so. I’ve updated the historical stats pages, archived last year’s results, and all that is left is to review the programming infrastructure to see what, if anything, needs to be adjusted. Of course, this is the classic hurry-up-and-wait contest, as there isn’t much to do until the brackets are announced on Sunday night. But with baseball drafts in full swing, GuruGolf requiring some maintenance, and daily NBA injuries, it’s tough to find time to dust off the contest programming. If only this tournament could be held in October!

At least there’s plenty to distract me from all of the Hoops injuries. The latest to go down is apparently Grant Hill, who has a bruised shin. Coming on the heels of injuries to Brad Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tim Duncan, the TSN game is getting to be a real drag. I know just about everyone is in the same boat, but that boat sure is taking on a lot of water lately.

In a disappointing (but understandable) turn of events, Swirve announced that they cannot afford to offer their fantasy baseball game this season. From their site:

Due to a new standards and restrictions set by Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Advanced Media, we will not be able to offer a 2005 Fantasy Baseball game. We apologize for this inconvenience and disagree with MLB's policy on these matters.

However, at this time, MLB-AM requires that we pay for the right to use player names in any of our games. We do not believe this is their legal right, but have no desire to litigate this matter with them and believe the fees they charge are unreasonable.

In the meantime, we will continue to offer our football and college basketball related games, and are looking for other options for interactive sports games we can provide.

Too bad. Swirve’s games always were a bit unique, and I’ve been playing them for many years.

3/7 - Tiger’s “What a day” exclamation is an apt description for yesterday, and it extends beyond golf. College Hoops saw a number of electric finishes, including the first loss for Illinois. And in the NBA, both Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan were injured. Aye carumba!

Meanwhile, the RIBC (RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge) draft started, and the second round is already more than halfway complete. Once 2 rounds are done, managers will start posting rationales for each pick as well. Hopefully, this draft will help you plan your own roto league draft. Be aware, however, that we use on base average and slugging average for hitters, whereas the tradition is to use batting average and home runs. For some players, that makes a significant difference. For example, I picked Barry Bonds with the 7th overall pick in this league. I would not have taken him that early if batting average were used in lieu of OBA. You can follow the rationales at the forum, once we start posting them. Some of the qualifying leagues are also posting rationales, which you can read at the Baseball Leagues & Standings Forum.

3/4 - There was no wading in this time. Eighty-six of the top 100 TSN Ultimate teams added Dwyane Wade yesterday, and he’s now tied with Iverson and Nowitzki as the dominant players in the top 100, each on 97 rosters. On the same day, Mike Bibby dropped in ownership from 96 teams to 22. I get a visual image of a large school of fish in which everybody turns at once. So much for differentiation.

3/3 - There are quite a few fantasy baseball drafts already underway at the baseball forum. Some are for qualifying leagues for the RIBC. The RIBC draft itself will officially commence next Monday, using the “On the Clock” draft software from, which I highly recommend if you are looking for a way to keep your slow draft organized and timed.

As a refresher, the RIBC leagues are 16 team leagues using 5x5 rotisserie-style scoring. Hitting categories are R, RBI, SB, OBA, and SLG. The use of on-base and slugging averages differs from many leagues, where HRs and batting average still seem to be the norms. The pitching categories are the traditional W, S, K, ERA, and WHIP. Each RIBC manager will be posting a rationale of each pick, although they’ll be deferred for two rounds to avoid immediately influencing the draft in progress. Hopefully, you’ll find some of the rationales to be helpful in formulating your own draft plans. I’ll post relevant links next week, so that you can all follow the draft as it unfolds.

3/2 - Sacramento seems to be them team creating the most sudden trade needs for TSN. Last week, it was the Chris Webber trade that precipitated a quick selloff. Now, a Brad Miller injury prompted a sudden DNP last night. With trades refreshed today, Miller’s TSN immediate fate is tenuous at best. Burn those trades! Or not. Your call.

Note to file: When Philly plays Milwaukee, get Iverson. In the three Phi/Mil games this season, AI has averaged 62.3 TSNP. They face each other once more – on April 18. Last night’s game wasn’t of any great TSN impact, because most active teams already have him, including 96 of the top 100 TSN Ultimate teams. They’ll probably have him on April 18 as well, as the Sixers will be finishing a 4-in-5 that night.

GuruGolf rosters freeze at 7am ET tomorrow, as the tour moves to the eastern time zone. Unless you are a very early riser (or a European resident), you’d better finalize your roster today. And if you haven’t registered yet, why not create a team so you can vie for one of the “March to the Masters” prizes. Remember, there’s not only a best ball prize, but also a worst ball prize.

3/1 - Weatherwise, March arrived like the proverbial lion, at least in the Northeast. In fact, after I post today’s blurb, my next task is to go blow the snow out of our driveway.

From a fantasy sports perspective, the jury is still out. At least, February didn’t go out very ferociously, as only one NBA player managed to top 50 TSNP ( Lamar Odom with 55) last night.

March will come in a bit earlier than usual, though, with today’s first game scheduled to tip off at 2pm ET. If you wait until early evening to make your TSN trades, you won’t be buying anyone on Golden State or Memphis. I’m sure some managers will get caught by surprise.

March is always the busiest month of the year at Hoops continues apace, Market Madness takes center stage in mid-month, and baseball draft activity consumes the baseball forum. This year, GuruGolf provides an additional diversion. I’ve already noticed an increase in site traffic over the past two weeks, and I’m sure the pace will remain strong into April. So come and feast at the RotoGuru table! There’s plenty for everybody.

2005: February . . . 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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