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

3/30 - Countdown to baseball season. T-minus 2+ days!

Monday morning, I’ll start producing baseball stats. For the first day, some patience will be required, as there are some processes that can’t be updated until I have live data to work with.

We’re getting to the part of the NBA season when teams that have their post-season seeding fairly well locked up might start adjusting player minutes. For instance, Dallas looks secure in its top seed, and you would think that guys like Dirk would start getting some pre-playoff rest. Phoenix has been faltering a bit of late, and now is in danger of falling below the Spurs, which would be undesirable for them if that changes the home court advantage for a potential Suns/Spurs series. That may keep the Suns players (and coach) motivated, last night notwithstanding. Certainly, it’s something to be wary about.

The other trend to watch for is for teams who are hopelessly out of it. They may opt to give some bench players more PT, not so much to try to move up their draft position, but mainly to give some of their backup players a chance to show what they can do.

And, of course, all of this is what makes the final weeks of any fantasy season maddening if you’re trying to sprint to the finish.

3/29 - When Denver began a 5-in-7 schedule burst a week ago, who knew that the big producer would turn out to be someone other than Iverson, Carmelo, or Camby? It wasn’t even a close call. Nene has produced 196 TSNP over those 5 games, more than lapping the field, with runner-up Iverson more than 50 points behind. Congrats if you made that call. Now that more managers are jumping on the Nene bandwagon, you can probably expect some reversion to the mean.

The Shell Houston Open is underway, and the popular favorite in GuruGolf is Jose Maria Olazabal, although he’s only on about 25% of all rosters. And he’s also +1 after 4 holes.

3/28 - As you might have expected, the Memphis-Lakers game produced the player with the top TSNP total for the night. But if you made a list of the likely candidates, that player probably wouldn’t have been in your top five guesses. Rudy Gay did the deed, with 20 points, 12 boards, 5 assists, and 4 blocks leading to 52 TSNP. Lamar Odom, with 16 rebounds and 11 assists, was seemingly close to a triple-double, until you notice that he scored only 3 points.

If you are planning to play TSN Ultimate Baseball this year, be advised that TSN amended the game rules yesterday to reduced the potential appeal of the “day late” strategy. If you fail to have a complete roster in place by Monday night’s freeze, you’ll forfeit the 3 hitter trades awarded on the first Thursday. That doesn’t mean the strategy is necessarily a loser. It just means that in addition to forfeiting any points while waiting to assemble a roster, you’ll also forfeit three hitter trades. I’m not sure why TSN felt the need to make that change, especially so close to the start of the season, but they did. And if you hadn’t planned to visit the TSN site until next Tuesday, you could be in for a rude surprise.

The Shell Houston Open tees off at 8:20am ET tomorrow morning. This is the final event before the Masters, and also the final event in the first GuruGolf Contest, the “March to the Masters”. The leaders in both the best- and worstball contest look to have pretty secure margins, but,… you never know. Regardless, there are still a lot of rosters with inactive players, so don’t forget to set your lineups today.

3/27 - Now that the drafts are over for all five RIBC leagues, I’ve posted a summary of the consolidated picks for all five drafts. Bear in mind that, for hitters, these leagues use on-base and slugging percentages in lieu of the more traditional 5x5 categories of batting average and HRs, explaining some of the differences between these drafts and many published rankings.

Denver got quite a performance from their 2-headed monster of Camby and Nene last night, as they combined for 30 rebounds, 45 points, and 116 TSNP in 88 minutes. The combined TSNP for Iverson and Carmelo was less than the individual output of either big man. I’m sure we all saw that coming.

I updated the baseball sortable stats yesterday to include the 17 players added to the TSN baseball game since launch. I suspect there are still some out-of-date team affiliations to correct, but I’ll get most of those resolved as teams announce their 25-man rosters to start the season, if not sooner. If there are any “important” goofs, please let me know.

3/26 - We didn’t get the excitement of a long shot trying to slice its way into the Final Four (à la George Mason). But we did get four entertaining games, highlighted by momentum swings, and climaxed by Georgetown’s late game heroics (or was it a North Carolina late game meltdown?) And so, while all four #1 seeds got to the Elite Eight, only two advanced to the Final Four. That’s a very normal count of #1 seeds, but the Final Four seed sum of 6 is the second lowest since the field was expanded to 64 (or 65) teams. In 1993, the Final Four included three #1s and one #2.

Kobe Bryant failed to reach 50 points last night, but it wasn’t for lack of trying, as he shot 15-33 from the field. The Lakers did squeeze out a 2-point win, holding their lead in the sweepstakes to avoid having to face either Dallas or Phoenix in the opening round of the playoffs.

In Golf, although Tiger won, Paul Casey was the biggest price gainer of the weekend in GuruGolf, by virtue of his ability to register his 17 birdies and one eagle one holes that, on average, were more difficult for the field. The top GuruGolf team for the weekend was kooldad4 with a -43, while three foursomes tied for the worstball best of +57.

3/23 - Three of the four NCAA games were in doubt right down to the wire last night. Still, none of the seed underdogs survived, including Tennessee, which squandered a 20 point lead. Ohio State is either very lucky, very resilient, or very good – and probably all three. But after two close calls, you have to figure that they’ll either bow out in the next game, or else win it all. Maybe it’s their year, or maybe they’re on heavily borrowed time.

In tonight’s action, we get two more #5 seeds, a #6, and a #7. The odds are good that at least one of those teams will prevail. But if not, the Elite 8 will consist of four #1s, three #2s, and a #3. That would be surprising in a year when no teams have shown the ability to be to consistently dominant.

Speaking of consistently dominant, Kobe Bryant has apparently decided to shoot more. He’s scored 175 points in his last three games, and since the Lakers won all three (after having dropped seven straight), I’d expect the trend to continue.

3/22 - Today we return to a full schedule – NBA hoops, college hoops, & golf, with a continued undercurrent of baseball drafting in the background. A multi-tasker’s delight!

The WGC-CA Championship is underway, and of the 73 golfers in the total field, 71 are represented on at least one GuruGolf roster. The only two missing golfers are Jim Furyk and Shingo Katayama. The most popular golfer is Mark Wilson, who appears on almost 40% of all teams, easily outdistancing runner-up Charles Howell III (25%).

3/21 - Tomorrow’s golf tournament, the World Golf Championships-CA Championship, is different that the usual GuruGolf event. For openers, there is no cut. That’s because there are only 73 golfers entered. For GuruGolf, the average price of the golfers in the field is also much higher that normal, and the number of low priced golfers is quite limited. To address the latter issue, this morning I added the four golfers who were previously unlisted in GuruGolf, providing four more options at the minimum price of $500. Since they were added late, I figured I should point it out here so that those who might have already set their roster could at least reconsider whether any of the new names might be roster-worthy.

When there are multiple events, I always try to pick the tournament that has a cut, since that is an important aspect of GuruGolf scoring. But this week, there is no other option.

The NBA season ends just four weeks from today. For many casual, non-fantasy fans, the more appropriate statement would be “the real NBA season starts just four weeks from today.”

As a long-time resident of Connecticut, I’m immersed in one of the few cultures in the entire world that actually gives a hoot about women’s collegiate basketball. I’m not going to try to convert anyone – I’ll be the first to admit that more often than not, I find the games to be unwatchable. But one common knock against the women’s game is that parity is still lacking, particularly when tournament time comes. Maybe so,… but the empirical evidence doesn’t support that this year. For the men’s tournament, eleven of the Sweet 16 teams are “chalk” teams (seeded 1-4), and the other five teams include 3 #5s, one #6, and one #7. By contrast, the comparable 16 in the women’s bracket includes one #5, two #7s, one #10, and a #13. Just an observation.

3/20 - Only two NBA games were played last night, and none of the four teams is likely to be around for the post-season. From a fantasy perspective, the most interesting aspect was the near triple-double by Josh Smith, who did himself in by scoring 9 points while converting on only 1-4 from the foul line.

Tonight, however, brings a slate of 10 games, and in the TSN game, we’re going to see a significant regime change, as the schedules of several NBA teams now pick up dramatically. Four teams (Denver, Detroit, Portland, and Washington) play five games in the next seven days, and several other teams have significant impending schedule density as well.

3/19 - Whew!

It’s nice to get a little breather from non-stop activity. The NCAA tournament has generally been devoid of the monster upsets that often crop up in early rounds, but there are still a few teams that could wreak bracket havoc in the next round. Five teams seeded #5 or higher have advanced to the Sweet 16. Only one region has the 1-4 seeds still intact. Three #5 seeds are still alive, each knocking out the #4 seed to advance. Those #5 seed successes explain my unusually high placement in the Market Madness standings so far, with five representations on the long side of my slate (Butler, Tennessee, and the #5 seed basket). But if they all drop in the next round, my prospects could fade quickly.

The weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational was notable on several fronts. First, for most GuruGolf teams, the cut line seemed to be relatively kind. And yet, team scoring on Saturday and Sunday was really difficult, with no GuruGolf team managing to post a -20 total for the final two days. Only two teams even managed to best -40 for the tournament, with the top score of -43 posted by The Misfires. Worstball scoring was pretty spectacular, however, with nine teams posting in the +60s.

We also had a number of big games in the NBA, just in case anyone was watching. Five players topped 60 TSNP, and I think the only notable injury was to Chauncey Billups. If you’re still active in fantasy hoops, then I know this is old news. If you’re not active, then I know this is irrelevant news. Now that my distractions have been temporarily reduced, I’m going to have to spend some time reworking my hoops plans this afternoon. I’m usually pretty good at multi-tasking, but when you throw in several baseball drafts on top of everything else already mentioned, this weekend was clearly blowing through my biological RAM capacity.

3/16 - By the numbers, it wasn’t an unusual opening day of the NCAA tournament. Three underdogs (by seed) won, even though two were just 9s beating 8s. What did seem unusual, though, was the lack of close games. Only two games were really in doubt down to the wire, so the day lacked the usual end-game drama that makes the event special. Maybe today.

I posted the summary stats for the Market Madness Contest. Georgetown, Florida, UCLA, and Texas are the most popular longs, while Wisconsin, Memphis, Washington State, and North Carolina were the most heavily shorted. Every team and basket got some action, although North Texas managed to find its way onto only two slates, once as a long, once as a short.

A big storm is expected to dump up to a foot of snow and sleet over the next 24 hours in central Connecticut, home of RotoGuru World Headquarters. Sounds like a good weekend to hunker down and watch some hoops! Just keep those power lines up and delivering the juice!

3/15 - Beware the ides of March…

It’s a busy day. The highlight, of course, is the opening of the NCAA tournament, with 16 games running nonstop from noon to midnight. But if there is ever a lull in the college action, there’s a golf tournament, 3 NBA games, and (in many cases) some fantasy baseball teams to draft. Aye carumba!

You have until 12:20pm EDT to enter your picks for the Market Madness Contest. As of early this morning, we have more than 500 registrations, and more than 400 sets of picks have been logged. Once your picks are entered, check back throughout the afternoon and evening for scoring updates.

Some people wait until the playoffs to start watching NBA games. If so, last night we got a glimpse of things to come, with Phoenix taking two overtime periods to win in Dallas, thanks to a missed free throw by Dirk Nowitzki with seconds remaining in regulation, which Steve Nash promptly capitalized on by sinking a buzzer-beating trey which was practically shot from the Dallas bench.

It will probably be lost in the rumble, but the Arnold Palmer Invitational teed off this morning, and the GuruGolf field has no consensus at all this week. Of the 120 golfer in the tournament field, 105 are represented on at least one GuruGolf roster. The most popular golfer is Pat Perez, but he’s on slightly less than 25% of all rosters. Tiger Woods appears on less than 6% - outflanked by luminaries such as Cliff Kresge, Brandt Snedeker, and Doug LaBelle II. Obviously, price is the driving issue there – no one really believes Tiger is inferior to those guys. (Do they?)

3/14 - My RIHC team has been reeling ever since Dwyane Wade went down, but the Miami Heat don’t seem to be having the least bit of trouble, going 8-1 since losing their star guard. Maybe Shaq really is more important to the team. At the time, I thought they might slide out of playoff contention, but instead, they’ve moved solidly above the cutoff line, and find themselves only ½ game behind Washington for the #3 seed in the East. Go figure! I wish my fantasy team had the same resilience!

With the clock winding down, we’re up to 350 registrations for the Market Madness Contest. Picks will be frozen at 12:20pm tomorrow, so if you’ve procrastinated, you’d better get busy!

And just to keep the frenzy going, don’t forget to set your GuruGolf lineup for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which tees off at 8:15am EDT tomorrow morning.

3/13 - Here’s a name you probably haven’t noticed this year: Derek Anderson. I didn’t even know what team he was on. But last night he scored 24, dished out 10 assists, and with a smattering of other stats produced a total of 51.5 TSNP in 34 minutes. In his previous outing, he generated 39 TSNP. Word of caution: he had a similar 2-game spurt like this back in mid-January which was immediately followed by a sustained pattern of irrelevance. So, buyer beware.

If you are looking for some guidance on how to go about making picks for the Market Madness Contest, I posted some advice this morning on the news page of the game site. Mind you, I don’t usually score well in this contest, but that’s not because my strategy is flawed; it’s because my choices of winners and losers is usually (to quote Simon Cowell) “a complete and utter mess”. IF you’re any good at picking early round upsets and the final four survivors, then I my approach will put you in good stead.

3/12 - Today marks the beginning of perhaps the busiest week of the year at RotoGuru World Headquarters. I hope the NBA doesn’t serve up any blockbuster developments, because my personal attention span will be diverted in many other directions this week. It will be a multi-tasker’s delight, with several baseball drafts in full swing (some reaching what are probably the most critical rounds), and the Market Madness contest requiring some TLC, first during the selection period, and then when 75% of the games are actually played. I’d like to personally thank the U.S. Congress for taking an hour of sleep away from me as preparation for this week!

Mark Calcavecchia looked like toast after a +4 in the first round of the PODS Championship, but ended up playing like a monster over the final three days, not only winning, but posting 23 birdies over four rounds, virtually lapping the field in that important category. Classic Calc! Congrats to Beach Hazards for posting the best GuruGolf team score (-47) for the tourney. On the flip side, the aptly named Black Cat posted a very impressive +50 in worst ball scoring.

Market Madness is open for business. You need to make your picks by the opening tipoff on Thursday (the Tuesday game doesn’t count). Free to enter. Get your whole family involved, and see if you can finish ahead of your kids (or your parents). No experience necessary. (Sometimes I think that prior experience is an impediment.)

3/9 - For those who aren’t into fantasy hoops, March is highlighted by two phenomena – the NCAA basketball tournament, and drafting for fantasy baseball. While the former is in “hurry up and wait” mode, baseball drafts are now in full swing – including the RIBC and all four qualifying leagues. You can follow the RIBC draft with this link (sequential picks at the top, grid at the bottom). For links to each of the qualifying league drafts, see post #2 of this thread. Bear in mind that these leagues use OBP (on base pct.) and SLG (slugging pct.) instead of the more traditional 5x5 categories of batting average and HRs, so the relative values of hitters will differ somewhat from most of the widely published rankings.

I’ll be updating the Market Madness Contest with all of the 2007 bracket data on Sunday night. With any luck, everything should be ready by 10pm ET that night.

In golf, Fred Funk and John Daly did it again. Both withdrew partway through the second round. Only one GuruGolf roster has Daly this week, but 38 teams hung in there with Funk. The maxim “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…” comes to mind. And of course, since they both made it through the first round, neither is eligible for replacement by a provisional golfer.

The U.S. (at least most of it) switches to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, three weeks earlier than in recent years. For those who live overseas, you need to recognize that the gametime freeze for Sunday NBA games will arrive an hour earlier than you might otherwise expect.

3/8 - I just don’t get the NBA’s position on Kobe Bryant. If they think he is intentionally trying to whack his defender in the head, then there is already a penalty for that. It’s called an intentional foul. And so far, the refs haven’t even called that one.

The PODS Championship has teed off, and the early leader is Cliff Kresge. He’s on only three GuruGolf rosters, but one of them is mine! Which means, of course, that he’ll probably go on from here to miss the cut. There isn’t any consensus golfer this week, with no one on as many as 25% of all rosters. Most of the widely held golfers are holdovers from previous weeks, like Harrison Frazar, Briny Baird, Pat Perez, and Mark Calcavecchia. The only new face among the top five is Vijay Singh, on roughly 20% of all active rosters.

By the way, someone pointed out a minor scoring discrepancy in the GuruGolf standings for last week’s event, so I reran the Honda Classic scores this morning. I don’t know the source of the problem, but it seems to be fixed now. Most teams were unaffected.

3/7 - There were some decent stat lines in the NBA last night. The best ones tended to come from the Minnesota/Lakers game, which (not coincidentally) took two overtime periods to resolve. In addition to the likely candidates of Kobe (73.5 TSNP) and KG (58.5 TSNP), Ricky Davis produced a gaudy 61.5 TSNP, his second consecutive game over 50 TSNP (but only his third of the season). Away from that game, Marcus Camby had the best outing in spite of only 8 points scored – thanks to 6 blocks, 4 steals, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists. Almost a 5x5 game, and good for 59.5 TSNP.

The PODS Championship tees off at 7am ET tomorrow morning. There’s not nearly as much turnover from last week’s field as in previous weeks this season, but don’t forget to check your GuruGolf lineup(s) and restock if needed.

I launched the Market Madness Contest site this morning. Obviously, there isn’t much to do until after the brackets are announced, but you can register now if you wish, and you can even fiddle around with the scoring simulator if you want to refresh your memory on how everything works.

3/6 - On Sunday, nine players reached 50 TSNP or higher in seven games. Last night, in six games only one made the cut - LeBron James (53) - and only three others topped 40. It was probably a good night to have players with nights off (rather than off nights).

We still need two more teams to complete the AA Sally League, one of the qualifying leagues for the RIBC. If you are interested, register your interest in this thread.

3/5 - Sunday featured a number of unusual happenings.

The NBA featured two triple doubles (from Kidd and Garnett). Overall, nine players reached the TSNP 50s or better – which is quite a few when only seven games were played. And the Wizards game was decided by a technical foul called with 0.1 seconds remaining.

In golf, the tournament went to a 4-way playoff that wasn’t decided until this morning. Boo Weekley bogeyed the 72nd hole from 3 feet, after hearing a chorus of “Boo’s” as he approached the green. And if he had won it, no GuruGolf team would have benefited, because no team had him. Team louky 3 managed to post the best GuruGolf score (-42) for the weekend without having any of those four playoff contenders. Meanwhile, this tourney featured some really hideous team scores. I haven’t yet applied the Mulligan feature to the standings, but when I do, this tournament will be the one to toss for a lot of teams.

3/2 - Ray Allen played the role of “surprise DNP” last night. Most of the TSN teams that had him had just picked him up recently when bailing out of other injured players – so in those cases, this simply compounds the aggravation.

Speaking of painful DNPs, Fred Funk withdrew after completing the first round of the Honda Classic. If he had pulled out at least one hole earlier, he’d have been eligible for replacement by a provisional golfer in GuruGolf. Instead, all 60 teams that own him are stuck with him. At least 54 0f those 60 also had him last week (when he won), so he certainly wasn’t a complete bust for 90% of his owners.

RIBC Qualifying leagues are still being formed at the baseball forum. Even if you have little or no experience playing in a roto league format, you are invited to give it a try. Eight managers are needed for the AA Sally League. Win it, and you earn a slot in next year’s RIBC. Finish in the upper half, and you could qualify for a spot in a AAA league next year. For more details, and to sign up, see this thread.

3/1 - This time it was Ron Artest with the surprise DNP. Then again, with Ron Artest, should anything ever be called a surprise?

GuruGolf is off and running once again, with 270 teams locked and loaded for the Honda Classic. The popular favorite this week is Harrison Frazar, but he’s only on 31% of all rosters, so there really is no consensus pick this week. Ninety-two different golfers are represented, a fairly normal spread.

2007: 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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