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3/31 - If you have any fantasy baseball rosters to set today, get to it! Ten of today's games have afternoon starts, with the first two at 1:05pm EDT.
We have our first Final Four with all four top seeds. Scoring the Market Madness Contest gets pretty straightforward from here. The two winners of the next round get 16 each, and the winner of the tournament gets another 26. I haven't figured out what that means for the contest standings. But it does mean that the best long will be the #1 seed basket, which will earn a net return of 101.
Only one GuruGolf team had the winner, Andres Romero. But the best tournament score didn't need him, as sargesB-team took the weekend honors with a -46. Worstball honors were shared by two teams at +43.
I hope to have current year baseball stats in the Assimilator, sortable stats, etc. by the end of the day. I figured I'd wait until today to do that, leaving last year's stats there until most teams had started playing. So that's my afternoon/evening project for today.
3/28 - Two #3 seeds kept advancing, Louisville in a convincing win over Tennessee, and Xavier in an overtime thriller over West Virginia - whose failure may have been their inability to can free throws down the stretch. The two potential bracket busters (West Virginia and Western Kentucky) departed, and Market Madness scoring remained rather tame. Tonight, Michigan State (#5), Davidson (#10), and Villanova (#12) take their shots. If they all fail, we'll have no seeds left that are worse than a #3. But we'd have at least three #3s, and maybe all four. Hopefully you didn't short the #3 seed basket.
In the NBA, Denver took care of business last night, besting a Nowiztki-less Mavericks team that is now only one game from being out of the top eight teams in the NBA West. Six of Dallas' final ten games are against playoff contenders, so they really have to find a way to win without Dirk - or to get him back sooner than expected. Two of those games are against Golden State. Most likely, only two of the Warriors, Nuggets, and Mavs are going to the postseason, so those head-to-head matchups will be critical games. Last year, the Warriors knocked out Dallas in the first round. This year, the could do the deed before the first round.
Baseball's traditional opening game is Sunday night, with the Braves christening the Nationals' new stadium. For the TSN Ultimate game, you need to have a complete roster in order to generate any points on Sunday, but if you don't plan to have any players in that game, you can wait until Monday without penalty. However, if your roster isn't full by Monday's freeze, you'll forfeit your first allocation of 3 extra hitter trades on April 3rd.
3/27 - As "Hootie" Johnson would say it, today marks the return to the NCAA "toon-a-ment."
Meanwhile, the NBA Western Conference race has a bit if a toonament feel itself, with 9 teams scrapping for 8 playoff spots. It looks like a Western team with a .600 winning percentage will be able to make tee times for the third weekend in April, while the Eastern Conference will welcome at least one losing team. It may not seem fair, but as they say, "It is what it is."
In GuruGolf, Joe Durant is the holdover favorite, on slightly over half of all rosters. The most highly added golfer this week is Jim Furyk, picked up by roughly 20% of all teams. Meanwhile, the early toonament leader, Garrett Willis, is nowhere to be found on this week's GuruGolf scene.
3/26 - Now that the Japan series has ended, we can go back to spring training mode for another few days. Ditto for the Red Sox and A's, both of which play three more preseason games on Friday-Sunday, in spite of having already played two official games.
The Zurich Classic tees off tomorrow morning, and GuruGolf teams may want to starting formulating plans for the Masters, which is just two weeks away. There are a few golfers in this week's field who plan to play each week through the Masters, so if trade conservation is important, there are options to mitigate that issue.
3/25 - It was fitting that a Japanese pitcher would earn the win in the MLB season opener in Tokyo. But given that information, it is surprising that it was not Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, but rather Hideki Ojajima, who worked a scoreless ninth after the Red Sox tied the game with a home run in the top of that frame. When all was said and done, we have our first game and first two blown saves in the books.
RotoHog baseball trading action started yesterday, and several programming glitches got the opening session off to a rather rocky start. Fortunately, by mid-afternoon, everything was working reasonably well, and diligent traders should have been able to make a lot of money over the course of the day. The trick will now be to hold on to those gains today. If you want to review the first day price movements, you can check out my sortable stats for RotoHog. I'll capture opening prices each morning for these tables, but for intra-day price movements, you'll obviously have to go to the RotoHog trading floor.
3/24 - Three-fourths of the tournament teams have been eliminated. Three-fourths of the games have been played. And yet, it's still hard to figure out which slates are really in good shape in the Market Madness Contest, because the big moves occur next weekend, when teams advance to the Final Four. One thing is clear, however. The two teams on the top of the current standings won't be there for long, as neither has any long teams still alive.
The first round results matched the historical norms, with 8 seed-based upsets. The second round produced only 3 upsets vs. a norm of 5, but when you have two 12-seeds who both advanced as seed favorites, I guess it's hard to argue that favorites did better than usual. Regardless, we get three days of rest before action resumes.
In GuruGolf, Pro Rated parlayed a foursome of Durant, Canizares, Kelly, and Baird to the best score of the weekend (-44), while Sacs Aces took worst ball honors on the strength of a +19 in the final round.
The baseball season opens early tomorrow morning, with the Red Sox and A's playing in Japan. And in RotoHog, the market opens at noon EDT today for real trading. Preseason versions of the RotoGuru sortable stats are now available for both TSN and RotoHog, although the Assimilator has not yet been updated. Hopefully today.
3/21 - Belmont almost delivered the first bracket buster. But as the saying goes, "Close only counts..."
And so we were left with a rather ho-hum first day of the tournament, with only two seed-based upsets: USC (6) losing to Kansas State (11), and BYU (8) losing to Texas A&M (9). The first round typically delivers about 8 upsets, so there's work to be done today!
If you're interested in the tally of Market Madness selections, I've posted them in a sortable format here. UCLA, North Carolina, Texas, and Pitt are the most popular longs, while Memphis, the Big 10 basket, Tennessee, and Wisconsin were the most heavily shorted.
I've really got to turn my attention to the salary cap baseball games this weekend. RotoHog trading opens on Monday at noon, and the first game of the MLB season is early Tuesday morning (EDT). I'll make an effort to have sortable stats up for both RotoHog and TSN by the end of the weekend.
3/20 - It's March, baby!. Dust off your Dick Vitale math, and get your Market Madness picks in by 12:20, when Georgia and Xavier get things going.
In GuruGolf, the Puerto Rico Open is underway. This is a lower priced, lower caliber field, since the top golfers are playing in the WGC event this week. The Puerto Rico tournament was selected for GuruGolf because if offers a traditional cut. But it has also produced a convergence in the force, as only 60 different golfers were selected for GuruGolf rosters this week, headed by Joe Durant, Alex Cejka, and Matt Kuchar, each who appear on about half of all teams.
The RIBC draft has now completed - in fact, all five RIBC league drafts are now finished. I posted the consolidated draft results at the baseball forum, although I haven't yet had an opportunity to analyze them. Market Madness preparations trump baseball draft analysis.
3/19 - This is setup day. We need to set up our NCAA tournament picks. We need to setup our GuruGolf foursomes. And I need to get busy setting up the sortable stats with players and prices for two salary cap baseball games (TSN and RotoHog).
But before moving ahead, I need to pause to recognize the RotoGuru Hall of Fame - Class of 2007. These are the individuals who demonstrated extraordinary excellence in the various 2007 RotoGuru contests and leagues:
Now, get your picks in, select your golfers, and get ready to enjoy the Madness!
3/18 - 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:
3/17 - The NCAA basketball brackets were announced, but that may have been the 3rd or 4th biggest story of the sports day. Consider:
The brackets are loaded at the Market Madness Contest site, ready for your selections. You can make and change your picks until the first tipoff on Thursday. Please report any apparent glitches.
Tiger Woods ended up paying his GuruGolf freight quite nicely, as his win earned his owners an extra trade. Nonetheless, the top foursome of the weekend was Tiger-free, as West Texas Wild Hares carded a -43, with all four golfers going the distance. Top honors for worstball scoring was shared by four different foursomes.
3/14 - The Suns have got to feel a little better about the Shaq trade after back-to-back wins against western conference playoff teams. Then again, Shaq didn't play much last night, racking up 5 fouls in only 14 minutes played. Which makes you wonder...
LeBron takes a couple days off before resuming action on Sunday. It won't be long before his schedule becomes a bigger issue in salary cap games. Starting March 23, Cleveland plays only 11 times over the final 25 days of the season. And that includes 3 games in the season's final 4 days, when - if Cleveland's postseason position is secure - LBJ might be getting some rest. As you plot out your endgame in salary cap formats, he's not someone you're going to want to simply buy and hold. Plan accordingly.
3/13 - The Arnold Palmer Invitational is off an running, and somehow, Tiger Woods is not (yet) in the lead, carding only one birdie - and one bogey - in his first 11 holes. About 15% of GuruGolf teams paid up to roster him, making him the fourth most widely owned golfer of the week. But other than holdover Steve Marino, who still graces more than half of all foursomes, this week's GuruGolf lineups are pretty dispersed, with 102 different golfers represented from a total field of just 120.
Tracy McGrady had guaranteed a 20th straight win, and the Rockets obliged by downing the Hawks by 8 points in Atlanta. That margin did stop the team's run of double-digit point wins at 10 games, which tied an NBA record. Houston hosts Charlotte tomorrow night, and you've gotta figure that the streak goes to 21. But then the Lakers come to town on Sunday. And then the Celtics invade Houston on Tuesday. And then they go to New Orleans, Golden State, and Phoenix. So it's going to be very tough for this streak to keep its legs for the next week. But you've got to admire the recent surge, during which time they've climbed to a tie (with San Antonio) for second in the West, just one game back of the Lakers.
3/12 - As part of the RIBC baseball draft, each manager is required to post a brief rationale of each pick. Those are posted in the message forum. It's often interesting to read what others are thinking about as they make their picks.
Don't forget to set your GuruGolf teams for tomorrow's Arnold Palmer Invitational. Tiger is in this field, if you have $1900 and a trade to invest. But bear in mind that he's only a one week hold, since the GuruGolf tournament next week is the Puerto Rican Open (which offers a full field and a cut), and not the WGC event where Tiger will be, along with about 70 of his closest friends.
I launched the Market Madness Contest site last night. The rules are the same as last year, and there really isn't any need to register before the brackets are announced, But if you want to, it's there. And you can noodle around with the 2007 bracket teams, if you want to.
3/11 - Two triple doubles last night. One from LeBron (ho-hum...), and one from Hedo Turkoglu, his second of the season. Hedo is quietly putting together a very solid season. He ranks 21st in total TSNP for the season, and the ESPN player rater has him ranked as #20 overall. I'll bet nobody drafted him that high. (Nor should they have.) He was an 11th round pick in the RIHC. Unfortunately, the team that got him drafted Yao Ming and Dwyane Wade in the first two rounds, so the season hasn't gone very well for him of late.
The baseball season starts just two weeks from today! Of course, there are only two games (in Japan) to open, followed by four more days of spring training. But if you plan to be ready by March 25, the clock is ticking.
3/10 - What a difference a week makes! Last Monday, I noted that 40% of all GuruGolf foursomes survived intact through all four rounds, and 84% had at least 3 golfers playing on the weekend.
This weekend, we had the polar opposite. Less than 8% of foursomes survived intact. More than half had at most two golfers for the weekend, and almost 20% had no more than one weekend golfer. And even some of those teams took a further hit after another eight players were cut after Saturday's round, the first application of the PGA Tour's new "second cut" rule. Actually, given the high individual scores, it was generally better to have an empty foursome than to have only one player active.
Kudos to lockhart2 and youngroman's Luschen who tied to top best ball honors with a team score of -38. Worst ball honors belonged to Left Coaster 2, who somehow managed to keep three golfers in play through the weekend while continuing to pile up the bogeys.
In Hoops, the protested final 52 seconds of the December 19th game between Atlanta and Miami was replayed this weekend. From a fantasy perspective, if you are in a league with limits on games played, you probably got screwed if you happened to have any of Josh Childress, Jason Williams, Shawn Marion, or Mike Bibby in an active roster slot on December 19th. None of them played in the original game - Marion and Bibby weren't even on either of those teams at the time - but all four played for the final 52 seconds, thereby all earning an extra game played. Marion now even has credit for two games played on December 19th, since he already played a game for Phoenix on Dec. 19. Weird.
3/7 - March is always the busiest month of the RotoGuru year. Basketball and GuruGolf continue apace. Baseball preparations swing into high gear. And Market Madness must be ready for action by the middle of the month. At times like this, it would be nice to have a staff of employees.
And perhaps the cruelest turn of all is that we lose an hour of sleep this weekend, as Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday. (For those of you who live outside the U.S., game time freezes will be an hour earlier on Sunday!)
The first round of the RIBC draft is now completed. Based on all five RIBC-related drafts, here are the 16 consensus first rounders, in order of average pick
Remember that the RIBC uses a modified 5x5 rotisserie format, substituting on base average for batting average, and slugging percentage for home runs. So there are reasons why this list might differ from conventional 5x5 cheat sheets.
3/6 - It wasn't a triple double, but it was close. LeBron put up 50 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals in a monster performance at Madison Square Garden that also included seven three-pointers. He's pretty good.
GuruGolf is off and running once again, and Steve Marino continues to be the most popular GuruGolfer, still on more than 60% of all rosters. Joe Durant is also a popular holdover, with almost 50% representation.
3/5 - The RIBC draft has started, and will continue for the next 21/2 weeks. Looking at the five RIBC drafts, there has been fairly tight consensus on the players who are drafted in the first round, although after ARod (who was the #1 pick in all five drafts), the sequence has been somewhat varied. I'll have more comments after the RIBC draft moves ahead, but don't want to say anything at this point that might influence pending picks.
GuruGolf moves to the PODS Championship this week, and this field shows considerable overlap with last week's field, as 100 of the 144 entrants are returning. Teams will probably opt to conserve trades this week. However, roughly 40% of all foursomes still include at least one inactive golfer, so a lot of managers still have some work to do today.
3/4 - I was doing some fantasy hoops planning yesterday, and noted that the end of the season is now in sight. The NBA regular season ends six weeks from tomorrow. Curiously, while fantasy hoops managers consider that to be the end of the season, most casual NBA fans consider that to be when the season really starts - when games become really meaningful.
Deron Williams was the big kahuna last night, dishing out 20 assists while scoring 17. In the RIHC, I drafted him in the middle of the third round as the 31st pick overall. According to the ESPN player rater, he ranks #10 so far this season, on the strength of these averages: 19.1 points, 10.1 assists, 51% FG, 80% FT, 1.1 steals, and one three-pointer per game. I wish I could brag that I had that all figured out, but after reading my rationale for that pick, I seem to have thought he offered respectable value, but was not a steal. Interestingly, the other two PGs that I considered at that time went in the next two picks: Chauncey Billups, and Baron Davis. Davis actually ranks #9 overall at this point. Billups is ranked #21. So all three of them have provided decent value as mid 3rd-rounders.
As I look back over my draft, none of my early picks really worked out badly. Kevin Martin (round 4) and Ben Gordon (6) have missed some games due to injury, but when they play, they are generally putting up numbers consistent with expectations. My first really wasted pick was Walter Herrman in round 10. Of course, my best gem was Calderon in round 14. I knew that T.J. Ford was more likely than most to miss some time. But I certainly never expected Calderon to step up the way he has.
Here's hoping my upcoming baseball draft goes as well. It probably won't.
3/3 - Not only is it March now, but the major league baseball season starts just three weeks from tomorrow, with two opening games in Japan! The RotoGuru MLB schedule grid is up for 2008, and you can also access a full-season version in excel if you wish. (Note: This full season grid will not be updated for postponements during the season.)
The TSN salary cap baseball games launched a few weeks ago, although all players are not yet priced. I haven't yet updated the sortable stats, and may not get to that until next week. The TSN game interface has once again been redesigned, but the rules appear to be essentially the same as last year.
RotoHog also launched its 2008 baseball game over the weekend. The rules are structured more like this winter's (NBASE) basketball game, with graduated transaction fees designed to hamper the ability to generate excessive roster value, and with 5-day minimum holding periods for starting pitchers. The prizes are also reduced from last year (e.g, the grand prize is a Ford Mustang instead of $100,000). Once again, many players have yet to be priced, so I won't be loading them in the RotoHog version of the sortable stats until they are more complete. But if you are thinking of playing this year, you can now register your team and read through the rules. Or read through the rules and then decide if you want to register a team.
The Honda Classic didn't provide particularly low scoring, but GuruGolf managers did an excellent job of finding golfers who made the cut. Of the teams that started with 4 active golfers this week, 43% had all four survive through the weekend, and 84% had at least three golfers active throughout. I don't usually track that ratio, but I suspect this is an extraordinary rate of success. Weekly kudos to SANFORDORS2 with the top best ball score (-42), and to worst ball medalist TD2, who was one of the few teams with only 2 golfers to survive, but made the most of it with a +58 WB team score.
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
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 toGuru<email@example.com>.
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