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

3/30 - For the past few years, you’d have been hard pressed to find an NBA player who was more consistently statistically prodigious than Kevin Garnett. He plays every game, and in TSNP terms, he posted games in the 60s and higher with “ho-hum” regularity. But that hasn’t been descriptive of this season. Sure, he ranks second (to LeBron) in both total TSNP and TSNP per game. But his per-game average is “only” 48, and he’s only reached the 60 TSNP threshold 12 times, including last night’s 73. Over the previous two seasons, he averaged over 50 TSNP/G each year, with an average 26 games of 60 TSNP or better.

In GuruGolf, there are 99 different golfers represented on at least one roster this week, including 25 who are on exactly one roster. There really isn’t much consensus, with the most popular golfer, J.B. Holmes, appearing on less than 24% of rosters.

In case you weren’t paying attention, the baseball season opens on Sunday night. It will be nice to get going, even though the most likely early impact will be to replace anticipation with exasperation, as fantasy panic develops across the land when a multitude of players start slowly, or on the bench, or on the DL. It’s a wonderful thing!

I will be on the road tomorrow, attending a family function in Virginia. There will be no blurb, but stats should be updated as usual. Updated GuruGolf standings may be delayed until late tonight and tomorrow night.

See you next baseball season!

3/29 - Charlie Bell, anyone?

The Milwaukee guard, starting in place of injured T.J. Ford, put up a triple double (19p, 13a, 10r) last night. 73 TSNP on a minimum TSN price of $500K. Who needs a high roster value?

If you were thinking of playing baseball at PSC (Progressive Sports Challenge) this year, you have some time to decide. Yesterday, that site announced that their baseball games would not launch until mid-May. If your other baseball exploits start out slowly, you can take a PSC mulligan next month.

This week’s GuruGolf event, the BellSouth Classic, tees off bright and early at 6:50am ET tomorrow morning. Almost 100 teams still have inactive golfers on their rosters for this week. Don’t forget!

3/28 - Unless you had one or both of the Washington stars, you probably didn’t have a very good fantasy hoops night. Gilbert Arenas went nuts with 40 points and 10 assists, and Antawn Jamison scored 31 points and hauled down 14 boards. On my TSN teams, I opted top go with Andrei Kirilenko instead. His 46 TSNP output can’t be considered too disappointing, but at this stage of the season, every lost opportunity has negative consequences if you are in a tight battle.

If you are a GuruPatron and you would like to participate in the GuruPatrons division for TSN Ultimate Salary Cap baseball this year, entry information is provided at the bottom of the GuruPatron validation page. If you are not properly recognized by that page, try resetting your ID online, using the link provided. As of the moment, there are nine teams registered in that division.

Attention GuruGolf data-holics: I released a program that provides a snapshot of the hole-by-hole scores for the entire field in a selected tournament. The output is rather expansive, and you might want to copy it into a spreadsheet to do further analysis. Scoring data goes back to the inception of GuruGolf in May of 2004. The database is updated after the completion of each round, so it will not pick up live scoring results for tournaments in progress until after the standings are updated. Here is the link:

3/27 - None of the #1 seeds are in the Final Four. That has happened only once before, in 1980, when the Final Four included teams seeded 2, 5, 6, and 8. In 2000, we had four teams whose seeds added to 22, which is two more than this year’s total. In 1986, an 11 seed advanced to the Final Four, along with two #1s and a #2. So I can’t cite anything about this tournament that makes it unprecedented. But it certainly has been a hoot!

In the Market Madness Contest, there are only 8 longs of George Mason, and 55 longs of the #11 seed basket. No entry has both of those longs. But with 110 bonus points for the #11 seed advancing to the Final Four, those entries all seem to be hovering near the top. The current front-runner, donkeyhunter, appears to have an insurmountable lead of 211 points. I haven’t run the numbers to see whether he can be caught, although a cursory review suggests that unlikelihood.

For the second straight week, only one GuruGolf team had the winning golfer, Stephen Ames. This week’s event, the BellSouth Classic, marks the final week of the opening contest, the “March to the Masters”. The top cumulative scores for each of best ball and worst ball at the end of this event will receive prizes, as outlined in the rules.

The baseball season starts in less than a week. My roto drafts are almost complete, so now it’s time to start looking at salary cap possibilities.

3/24 - Three of the four NCAA tournament games were the type that make the tournament so special every year. Both of the late games were very much in doubt until the final seconds. And while Duke was essentially toast with a minute to go, that game was also back-and-forth for most of the second half.

GuruGolfers who want to “ogle” the scoreboard need to scroll all the way to the bottom. If you have both Ogil-Vs on your roster this week, I hope you were trying for a worst ball score.

The top two price gainers in TSN Ultimate Hoops yesterday only combined for 55.5 TSNP (Paul and Nash). Dirk Nowitzki topped their combined total by more than 16 TSNP, but he’s been one of the biggest price losers over the last few days. Sometimes, it’s not all about maximizing games played.

3/23 - There will be a lot of GuruGolf managers ogling the leaderboard at The Players Championship today. The two most widely owned golfers on GuruGolf rosters for this event are Geoff Oglivy and Joe Ogilvie. Even so, there really isn’t much consensus on golfer selections this week. Geoff is only on about 30% of rosters, and Joe is on half as many. All told, 124 different golfers are “in play” this week, out of a total field of 144.

The major league baseball season starts in just ten days! So far, I’ve been focused on my roto league drafts, all which are winding down now. The RIBC draft will probably be completed on Monday of next week - although in the 21st round now, with more than 325 players already taken, the posted rationales have already morphed into rationalizations. Admittedly, there will be some very valuable players taken in the final 75 picks. And some eventual flotsam as well. I doubt if many teams can be hurt much with bad picks in the final five rounds. But coming up with a few diamonds in the rough could pay big dividends. Shoot, I’d settle for a few zircons.

Now that Alfonso Soriano has decided to play left field for the Nats, manager Frank Robinson has announced that he won’t even be the backup second baseman for the team. I guess if Soriano is going to retain his 2B eligibility at the start of next year’s fantasy season, he may need a mid-season trade. Then again, may he’ll sign with a team next year that plans to play him at 2B from opening day, and the issue will be moot. As one who has Soriano in a keeper league, I’m just happy to be able to play him at 2B this year. Next year will sort itself out in due time.

3/22 - Not a good week for Ohio State basketball! They entered the NCAA tournaments seeded #2 (men) and #1 (women), but neither team reached the Sweet 16.

The NBA regular season ends in just four weeks. Most teams have either 15 or 16 games remaining. Three teams play 17 – the Hawks, Pacers, and Hornets. One team plays only 13 – the Lakers. If you’re playing in a roto league and you have a max on games played, either in total or by position, now would be a good time to look ahead and see if you need to adjust your pacing. You don’t want to be starting weaker players now if you need to preserve capacity for studs down the stretch.

The Players Championship tees off at 7am EST tomorrow morning. Don’t forget to set your GuruGolf roster!

3/21 - With golf and NCAA men’s basketball currently in their early-week lull, NBA Hoops commands center stage again for those who are still contending, and baseball draft activity takes over for the rest. Those who have already drafted Alfonso Soriano must be somewhat disquieted by his latest antics, when he failed to take the field after being in the starting lineup in left field. It sounds like a showdown is imminent, unless a quick trade can be fashioned. Stay tuned.

NBA results were generally disappointing last night, other than Kobe and Yao. Most other popular players ended up with sub-par production.

You may have noticed a few entries in the Market Madness standings headed by “PP:”. Those are “Pundit Picks”, and are simulator-generated picks based on published brackets by coaches, columnists, analysts, etc. The entry currently holding down third place, PP: Phil’s Mom is from the mother of Phil Ceppaglia, better known as “Phil the Showkiller” from the Dan Patrick radio show. Among other unusual picks, she had George Mason winning it all. So far, so good. (Obviously, those entries are just for fun, and are not prize-eligible.)

Thanks to Gurupie RecycledSpinalFluid for suggesting today’s quote.

3/20 - The NCAA tournament is proceeding according to historical norms. There are two double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16, which is right on the average. Ten of the teams seeded #1-4 are in the Sweet 16, and the historical average is 9½.

With 48 NCAA tournament games over the past four days, the NBA was crowded out. Tonight, we have only four NBA games, but that’s still four more than we have in the NCAA tourney, although there are six NIT tournament games, if that’s your preference.

Kudos to DWetzel. who was the only GuruGolf team to include this week’s tournament winner, Rod Pampling. His team score for the weekend wasn’t quite so stellar, but he was the only team to get the extra trade for having the winning golfer. The best team result was posted by Cviox, whose -54 was 5 strokes better than the second best result.

By the way, I have not yet included the mulligan in the GuruGolf standings. I’ll do that sometime in April. As a reminder, each team will be able to throw out its worst week of the season (although all 4 majors must be included).

3/17 - By the time all 16 opening day games were finished, the results turned out to be very typical, with four upsets. The bigger stories were the two that got away, with Boston College and Tennessee both surviving by the skin of their teeth. Gonzaga also had a close call, although by the time the final minute came around, they were pretty much out of jeopardy. But up until then…

A sortable inventory of contest picks has been posted. UConn and Boston College were the dominant longs, while Tennessee and Memphis were the primary shorts. So yesterday’s close calls could have had major implications on first round scoring. Sixteen more games today, and sixteen more on the weekend. Market Madness standings will be updated as each time-slot of games is completed, but until we finish the first two rounds, it’s really hard to make much sense out of them. In the early rounds, the leaders always appear to be those who shorted the most expensive baskets offset by much more limited picks on the long side. It takes some time to get a sense as to how well that strategy works out. And the bigger shakeout occurs next weekend, as teams reach the Final Four. So if you are near the top of the standings early on, don’t get too euphoric. And if you are way down the list, don’t despair. The ultimate contenders will most likely be those who have long positions in several Final Four teams.

The World Baseball Classic ended early for Team USA last night, as they took a tough 2-1 defeat in what might have been Roger Clemens’ last hurrah. I doubt it; by midsummer, his pitching itch my need to be scratched.

3/16 - This is one of the busiest days of the year at RotoGuru World Headquarters, and there really isn’t any time available to compose a worthy blurb, so I won’t even try.

Market Madness entries will be locked out at 12:20pm ET. Standings will be posted by the time the early afternoon games are over, and updated after each batch of games is completed.

3/15 - Beware the ides of March. OK, now that I’ve said that, let’s move on.

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(15) will beat Texas(2), then short Texas. 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 early 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. Or let the simulator do that for you.

Every year, there is a lot of attrition between the contest registrations and the actual entries. It’s not unusual for as many as 25%-30% of the registrants to not submit a set of picks. I’m sure that some of that is simply forgetfulness, but I suspect a larger issue is the confusion factor. One of the dominant feedbacks that I get from people who play for the first year is that they felt pretty befuddled when making selections, but once they see how the tournament and the scoring play out, they can’t wait for next year. The simulator was designed to help you get over that initial hump.

This year I’ve been submitting a bunch of “pundit picks”, based on the public bracket selections of a number of different coaches, columnists, and analysts. I simply enter each of these brackets into the simulator, and use it to select an optimum set of selections. These won’t be prize eligible, of course, but will give you a chance to see how you fared against people like Tony Kornheiser or Michael Wilbon, for example. To that end, if you see any published bracket picks by any recognized “experts”, please send me a link to their brackets so that I can add them in.

And remember, you have until 12:20pm tomorrow to make or change your picks. After that, you can only sit back and enjoy.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to set your GuruGolf roster(s) as well. Those rosters freeze at 7:30am tomorrow.

3/14 - There are 6 RIBC-related leagues currently drafting. All are 16 teams deep, and all use the same 5x5 scoring system, which differs from the more traditional 5x5 framework by using slugging percentage and on base percentage instead of HRs and batting average. All are at different states of completion, but each has at least reached round 3. So far, there are 10 players that were picked in the first round of every draft. Here they are, ranked by average pick sequence:

Alex Rodriguez (1)
Albert Pujols (2)
Vladimir Guerrero (3-6)
Johan Santana (3-6)
Mark Teixeira (4-5)
Manny Ramirez (6-13)
David Ortiz (5-12)
David Wright (7-13)
Jason Bay (6-14)
Bobby Abreu (7-15)

Numbers in ( ) indicate the earliest and latest pick. I’ll be providing more comparative analysis as the drafts move on, but you can follow each of those drafts using the links provided in post 20 of this thread.

Chris Kaman had the “where’d that come from?” game last night, putting up 71 TSNP, including 24 points, 23 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Jason Kidd squeaked out a triple-double, getting his 10th assist on an otherwise meaningless dish to Richard Jefferson with 2 seconds left in the game.

3/13 - Market Madness is up and running!

The contest scoring is unchanged from prior years. But I did add one feature this year. The contest simulator is now equipped to store your picks for you. After you log in, click on the Simulate link (5th link down on the hardwood floor). Click on your projected winner for each game, as you would for a traditional bracket. Then click on the button at the bottom to produce the scores that would result if the tournament goes your way. At the bottom of the resulting table, you will have the option to automatically enter your picks with the top ten as longs and the bottom ten as shorts. If that produces a valid slate, it will be stored. If that’s invalid (because the longs cost more than the shorts), you will have an opportunity to tweak it before saving.

Hopefully, this provides a good way for people who don’t want to think about the scoring system to still submit an internally consistent, bracket-developed set of picks.

Remember also that you can always make changes to your stored picks prior to the freeze on Thursday (12:20pm ET).

There were plenty of other developments over the weekend – World Baseball Classic, NBA, fantasy baseball drafts – even NFL trades and free agent signings. Ferret it all out for yourself. I’ve got so many balls in the air right now that the chances of catching them all seems disturbingly implausible.

Why couldn’t it be “February Frenzy”, rather than “March Madness”? February is much less congested!

3/10 - Selection Sunday is almost here! Market Madness is already accepting registrations, and the new brackets, units, and prices should all be input no later than 10pm on Sunday, assuming everything goes according to plan. Maybe 9pm. You’ll then have until Thursday’s first tipoff to enter your picks.

Steve Nash helped solidify his case for a second straight MVP award by missing last night’s game in Phoenix, with a 24-point blowout loss to the Spurs ensuing.

Classic quote: In describing today’s USA vs South Africa matchup in the World Baseball Classic,’s Jerry Crasnick writes, “On paper, this looks like David Wells versus David Eckstein in a pie-eating contest.” Nonetheless, remember that professional eater Takeru Kobayashi weighs less than 120 pounds (before a contest, at least), so Eckstein’s possibilities shouldn’t be totally discounted.

In golf, Geoff Ogilvy carded a rare double eagle yesterday. I don’t recall if we had one of those all last year in GuruGolf. But 63 GuruGolf teams get to enjoy that -3 on hole #6. Today, however, Ogilvy only managed a par 5 on that same hole.

3/9 - Two triple doubles in the NBA last night. One was from Pau Gasol, whose 83.5 TSNP was a nice counterbalance to his previous game’s 11.5. The other came from Paul Pierce.

This is one of those days when it’s nice to “work” at home. The Big East tournament starts at noon today, with UConn playing Syracuse. It’s a good warmup for next Thursday, which is usually one of the best college hoops days of the year, with do-or-die games from noon to midnight.

Billy Mayfair is the most popular GuruGolf golfer this week, in 92 of 266 active foursomes (35%). Those 92 teams hope he fares better than last week’s “Mr. Popularity”, Justin Rose.

3/8 - Well, I did flip on ESPN2 at 4pm yesterday, but I must confess I was only paying limited attention in the background, with something else always commanding higher priority. So I can’t really say I watched the game.

The RIBC draft started this morning. As I write this, only three picks have been made – ARod, Pujols, Santana – no shockers there. This league has 16 teams with 25 roster spots, so 400 players will be picked over the next three weeks. Each manager will be posting a rationale for each pick, but those rationales will be delayed by two rounds, in order to avoid tipping too many strategies while still “in the moment”. Hopefully, by Friday we’ll have started posting rationales, as we need to complete a little more than one round per day, on average.

For draft preparation, I like to assemble statistical projections from multiple sources. I don’t ever like to rely on a single set of projections as every one has certain biases, and it’s helpful to be able to see the similarities and, perhaps more importantly, the relative differences. Once a difference is identified, I can then do my own research and decide whether I think the outlier projection has a valid rationale, or whether it seems unfounded. This year, I’m using four projection sources: RotoWire, RotoWorld, RotoTimes, and Seth Trachtman’s rotoDraftKit, which is featured as the Sponsor of the Month. Of the four, only the RotoTimes projections were free, but RotoWire’s are provided as part of their normal subscription, and the marginal cost of the other two are not significant.

The Honda Classic tees off at 6:45am tomorrow morning, so you’d better get your lineups set by tonight. As of this morning, it appears that about 100 GuruGolf teams still have inactive golfers. (Two are mine. I guess I’d better attend to that now.)

3/7 - I’d really like to put my NBA fantasy teams on auto-pilot for the next couple of weeks. College hoops and baseball drafting are much more interesting right now. Note to all NBA players on my rosters and in my upcoming trade plans: stay healthy!

Some NCAA bubble team got a break last night, when a last second layup by Loyola Marymount failed to bank into the net, giving Gonzaga a surprisingly close 1-point conference tournament win. That kind of game is much more appealing to watch than, say, the Kings vs. Nets.

As if I needed more distractions, the World baseball Classic starts today – well, at least insofar as Western hemisphere teams are concerned. I really don’t know whether I’ll get interested in this or not. Jake Peavy vs. Rodrigo in the US/Mexico opener this afternoon. Will it even occur to me to flip on ESPN2 at 4pm in the afternoon? We’ll see.

3/6 - Tiger Woods may have won the weekend golf tournament, but he wasn’t necessarily the most valuable golfer from a GuruGolf perspective. Woods had a winning score of -20, but over the four rounds, he had “only” 25 birdies, offset by three bogeys and one double bogey. Meanwhile, runner-up Camilo Villegas shot -28 on his under-par holes (24 birdies and 2 eagles). And so, it comes as no great surprise that the top GuruGolf team, Long Island Spuds, featured Villegas and not Woods.

It was a tough weekend for a lot of the top TSN Ultimate managers. About a third of the top 100 managers bought Dwyane Wade on Saturday, only to get surprised by a DNP. More than 40% then picked up Delonte West on Sunday. By comparison, West was a smashing success, as he played 10 minutes (7 TSNP) before succumbing to a strained groin. I don’t know how many of those teams made both moves, but I have (very) personal knowledge of at least one. Ugh…

March is the busiest month of the year at RotoGuru World headquarters. There are the fantasy hoops teams that must be maintained. Market Madness is only one week away. I will be in four slow baseball drafts, all of which will be starting over the next week. I also need to get data posted for TSN salary cap baseball (hopefully in the next few days), and of course, GuruGolf keeps chugging along.

At least variety of pending activity keeps me from over-dwelling on the latest spate of hoops injuries. Back to the salt mines…

3/3 - There were two good NBA games last night, both with playoff implications and with each still in doubt late in the fourth quarter. From a fantasy perspective, though, there wasn’t much to shout about. LeBron had a good game, falling short of a triple-double by 2 assists. Kirk Hinrich was respectable, with 41.5 TSNP. No other player topped the 40 TSNP plateau.

In case you were wondering, the Market Madness Contest will be open for business again this year. The site is already up and running, accepting registrations, and allowing “what if” testing with the simulator, using last year’s tournament brackets and results. Of course, in this contest, there really isn’t anything to do before the brackets are announced, but if you are chomping at the bit and want to reacquaint yourself with the unique scoring system, you have that option.

3/2 - Last night, Shawn Marion led all fantasy point producers with 64 TSNP, but it was still below his per-game average of the past week. Doubt if anyone (that owns him) is crying about that, however.

In GuruGolf, the Ford Championship at Doral has started, and the early scoring suggests that best ball scoring will be impressive again this week. Last year, the best GuruGolf team for this tourney posted a -59, the second best tournament score for the entire season. There are 270 GuruGolf rosters with 4 active golfers this week, which may be a record high. Justin Rose is the most popular golfer, on 112 (41%) of those rosters, but 112 different golfers are represented on at least one roster, so there is a lot of differentiation.

3/1 - March! The month when seasons begin to turn. It’s known as a windy month, but if you feel a draft, it’s probably related to baseball.

I posted the 2006 MLB schedule yesterday. It’s also available in an excel spreadsheet version, although the spreadsheet version won’t be updated during the season for postponements and rescheduled games.

The Ford Championship at Doral tees off bright and early tomorrow morning. With the tour now on the east coast, the first tee time is 7:00am ET, so you probably don’t want to wait until tomorrow morning to set your lineup unless you’re in Europe.

2006: 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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