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

3/31 - We’re getting to that point in the NBA season when teams (real, not fantasy) begin to prep for the playoffs – and when teams on the bubble have to put on a late run. In the NBA east, there are only 9 teams in contention for the eight playoff spots. Four of them have home court pretty well locked up for the first round (not mathematically, but practically). Chicago is currently on the outside looking in, but certainly in contention, only two games behind Toronto in the loss column. In the west, five teams have clinched a spot, while three others are on the doorstep. Home court advantage is still very much in play, however, as only four games separate 2nd through 8th place.

For the top overall seed, Cleveland is in the driver’s seat, with a “magic number” of just 5 to lock up home court throughout the playoffs. Barring a collapse, it looks like the Cavs could have everything in hand prior to their final two games against Orlando and Atlanta.

Now that all of the RIBC drafts are done, I posted a consolidated draft summary. Each league drafted 400 players, but a total of 492 different players were drafted in all leagues combined. Only 332 players were taken in all five leagues.

The Shell Houston Open tees off tomorrow morning. In addition to being the last tournament prior to the Masters, it’s also the final event in the first GuruGolf contest, the March to the Masters. But before looking ahead, I just realized that I neglected to give a shout out to last week’s top best ball team, Bob’s eagles (-44), with a one shot victory. I guess the late finish threw me off my usual timing.

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3/30 - Don’t look now, but the Nets have won 3 of their last four. Bring in the dancing girls!

Today I introduce a new RotoGuru affiliate, FanDuel. Some of you will remember last year’s affiliation with DraftBug, which featured daily contests. DraftBug failed to survive the fall (for economic reasons), so this year I’m introducing an alternative site for daily contests. I do plan to provide sortable stats support for FanDuel, so you’ll have access to the same support that you used for DraftBug. If you decide to sign up, please go to the site by clicking on the banner above, which should ensure that is recognized as the affiliate partner.

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3/29 - Not a good year to short the #5 seeds. If you look at the bottom of the Market Madness standings, you find the #5 seed basket on short side. And if you look at the leaders, you’ll find #5s on the long side. Since we’re guaranteed to have a 5-seed in the finals, there’s more positive action to come. The downside for the #5 seed basket is another +12, while the upside is +68.

GuruGolf is still locked for next week, since the Arnold Palmer Invitational has yet to finish. Play is scheduled to resume at noon, weather permitting.

The RIBC draft completed yesterday. Most of the qualifying leagues are coming down the final stretch or completed. The baseball season starts on Sunday. If you are planning to assemble a RotoHog Salary Cap team (which replaces the TSN Salary Cap game), this is probably a good time to start fiddling. The sortable stats and Assimilator are available.

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3/26 - When #1 seeds are beaten, brackets are busted, but the tournament is enhanced. Triple-overtime games are pretty good, too. Hope you didn’t get stuck watching the other two games for too long.

(Actually, I guess it was just double overtime. Seemed like triple overtime in the wee hours of the morning, however…)

I finally got the sortable stats posted for the RotoHog baseball games – both versions of Salary Cap and the Stock Exchange game. Ditto for the Assimilator. Since the salary cap games are virtual clones of the TSN games, the transition was easy. The point formula is halved, but I think that’s the only material difference. Of course, the player pricing is rather odd, especially the pitcher prices, which seem to be about half of what they should be. Hard to image why Pujols should be worth $12.8m while Lincecum is worth only $6.2m. Obviously, that has significant strategy implications. Plan accordingly.

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3/25 - In the span of 24 hours, the Saunders-Blatche conflict took a surprising about face. We went from:
Saunders: “Fifteen years, I’ve never seen anything like it”
Blatche: “I'd say blame me 25 percent.”
Wednesday game: Blatche starts and plays 39 minutes

Go figure. He actually led the Wizards in minutes played – although they weren’t that productive, with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 turnovers, and nothing else. I’m thinking that if I’m Flip Saunders, I don’t feel real good about my prospects of returning to coach in Washington next year. And if I’m Flip Saunders, that may be a good thing.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational teed off this morning, and Alex Prugh remains the popular favorite in GuruGolf, in spite of missing two consecutive cuts. Trade conservation is a powerful motivator. Boo Weekley is the second most popular GuruGolfer, after missing cuts in 3 of the last 4. Ditto.

Market Madness resumes action tonight. The Big East puts its last two survivors on the floor in the first games tonight, each missing a key player. In late action, Cornell tries to knock off Kentucky and completely obliterate any brackets that might still be in the running. Hopefully, this week’s action lives up to last week’s drama.

Speaking of Market Madness, I attempted to identify all GuruPatrons in the standings yesterday. If you are a GuruPatron and you are not listed in the GuruPatrons only standings, let me know.

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3/24 - Apparently, Andray Blatche has been reading his recent press clippings. He probably won’t want to read them today, however.

I didn’t make any forward progress on setting up sortable stats for the RotoHog baseball games yesterday. I’m in the throes of three baseball drafts, and I just couldn’t juggle that extra ball into the rotation. Maybe today. Maybe not. Fear not, I’ll get there before spring training is over.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational tees off tomorrow morning, with a relatively strong field. Get your foursomes set.

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3/23 - Chris Paul returned to action last night. Darren Collison didn’t start, but still played more minutes than Paul, and outproduced him as well. New Orleans plays fewer games for the rest of the season (10) than any other NBA team, so if you have a choice, it might make sense to simply stay away from that situation. On the flip side, Washington plays more games (14) than any other team for the balance of the season.

All of which suggests that the NBA regular season is winding down. Just 23 days left. Meanwhile, baseball’s opening day is less than 2 weeks away. To that end, I hope to have the sortable stats loaded with RotoHog Salary Cap and Stock Exchange data in the next couple of days. Individual player pages are already updated, so I’m getting close.

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3/22 - The sum of the seeds of the Sweet 16 teams this year is 80. There have been 25 prior NCAA tournaments with 64 teams, and the Sweet 16 seed sum has been higher than 80 four times, most recently in 2000 when the seed sum was 85. The highest seed sum was 89 in 1989. So this tournament doesn’t set any records on that front – but it’s certainly on the high side. By contrast, last year’s Sweet 16 summed to only 49, which was the lowest in history.

If your bracket got torched this weekend, its unlikely that you found much solace in your GuruGolf team. The six most widely owned golfers all missed the cut. Of the 194 teams with 4 active golfers, only three had all four make the cut, and only 21 had 3-of-4 survive. Meanwhile, 26 teams (13%) went 0-4, and 81 (41%) had only one survivor. Yikes! Kudos to go 5, one of the 4/4 teams, whose -47 was 5 strokes better than any other team. Worstball honors went to Can’t slice (+41), who managed to have 3 cut survivors.

I haven’t yet activated mulligan scoring for GuruGolf, as I usually wait until the Masters week to do that. But when mulligans are factored in, I’ll bet this week drops out for a lot of teams.

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3/19 - The Big East took a big hit yesterday, although it could have been even worse, as Villanova almost bit the dust as well. It’s looking like the Big East basket will be a good short in the Market Madness contest, although with five teams still alive, it could still turn out to be the best long. That depends heavily on Louisville, though.

I've posted a sortable summary of the unit selections in the RotoGuru Market Madness contest. Click on any linked column heading to sort by that column. Kansas, the Big 12 basket, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas State, and Kentucky are the most popular longs, while the #4 seed basket, Purdue, the ACC basket, Duke, Villanova, and the Big 10 were the most heavily shorted. Of note, only one entry had Ohio U as a long, although Georgetown was shorted on about 13% of all entries (but is a long on 20%).

25% of the 64 teams are already done, and another 25% will exit today, but it’s still too early to know how this tournament will be remembered. We could still end up with a very chalky-looking Sweet 16. Only two of the top 16 seeds are gone so far, so who knows? But if your bracket is busted already, watch the rest of the tournament just-for-fun. Or else, go draft a fantasy baseball team.

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3/18 - The Transitions Championship is underway in Florida, and Alex Prugh continues this week as the most widely owned GuruGolfer, in spite of missing the cut last week. Perhaps of greater import, Vijay Singh withdrew this morning. 18 GuruGolf teams had him, and 10 of those teams never designated a provisional golfer. I don’t understand why a team would not specify a provisional – but it’s a common occurrence.

Of course, the bigger toon-a-ment starts shortly after noon. Market Madness scoring will be updated after each set of games is completed, so check back around 3pm and every three hours thereafter.

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3/17 - For your Market Madness pick strategy: long David, short Goliath. That’s all you need to know… That, and the deadline for locking in your picks, which is 12:20pm ET tomorrow.

The RIBC draft has made it through four rounds, and rationales for each pick are being posted at the baseball forum (with a two round lag.) We go for 25 rounds, so this will run until the last few days of March.

LeBron notched another triple double last night. Ho hum.

It risks getting lost in the frenzy of the week, but don’t forget to reset your GuruGolf foursomes for the Transitions Championship.

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3/16 - The Puerto Rico Open ended rather Lamely for GuruGolf, as no foursome even had the tournament winner. As expected, team scores were bunched, with a pair of teams carding a -51 for bestball, and another pair tying for the top worstball score of +38. On to the next tournament.

Speaking of the next tournament, the PGA event isn’t the only one starting on Thursday, in case you hadn’t noticed. 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 Lehigh(16) will beat Kansas(1), then short Kansas. 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 - as long as the tournament doesn't go too “chalky”!
  • 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 (if you're running it while logged in to the contest site).

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.

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3/15 - This is the start of one of the busiest weeks of the year at RotoGuru World Headquarters, with the start of the Market Madness Contest and the RIBC draft. This year, the situation is compounded by the delayed finish of the Puerto Rico Open golf tournament (with the attendant delay in some GuruGolf processing), and the late launch of the TSN RotoHog Salary Cap Baseball game.

Enough whining about my busy schedule. From your perspective, the most critical issue is to get your picks selected in the Market Madness Contest. I’ll post some strategic tips in the next couple of days on how to make your picks, but for now, your job is to register up to three entries and get familiar with this basis of this unique contest. Obviously, all picks must be made by the opening tipoff on Thursday, so there’s not much time to procrastinate.

Those of you who have played TSN Salary Cap games in the past probably got the email announcing their exit from the fantasy game arena. What was not mentioned in that email is that RotoHog is offering a clone version of the TSN baseball game. For more information, see the RotoHog Salary Cap Baseball thread at the RotoGuru Baseball Forum.

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3/12 - Yesterday brought a number of RotoGuru-relevant developments, some short term, and some with potential longer term implications.

In the shortest term issue, the Puerto Rico Open started yesterday morning, but just barely. Only fifteen players had teed off when play was suspended (weather), and there is a chance that today may be a washout as well. If the tournament extends past the weekend, GuruGolf roster setting for the next event will be delayed, since repricing for next week is dependent on the Puerto Rico results.

Second, the Market Madness contest site has been re-activated. There isn’t really much to do for now, however. The site will be offline again on Sunday evening to set up the 2010 brackets, and then reopened by 10pm or so. You can register now if you wish, although you can certainly wait until next week for that.

Third, the RIBC (baseball) draft will be starting on Monday morning (and maybe getting an early jump this weekend.) I’ll post a link to the draft results in Monday’s blurb. For the next couple of weeks, baseball drafting will be a real time killer for me!

Finally, RotoHog launched a Salary Cap baseball game yesterday. Looking at the rules, it is clear that this is essentially a clone of the basic and ultimate TSN games from prior years. Since TSN has not (yet) released a similar game (nor are they even commenting on it), the presumption is that TSN is folding its fantasy games tent and/or RotoHog will be taking over that enterprise – although the total lack of comment from TSN leaves us all guessing if there is more to this story. In any event, it looks like you’ll have to move to the RotoHog site if you want to play the TSN salary cap style of game. I’ll plan to provide comparable stats and tools for that game, although the change in platform creates some technical issues that will delay my ability to produce those stats right away.

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3/11 - Tyreke Evans has been losing TSN ownership in the last several days, but that’s mostly (maybe entirely) a consequence of the crowded field of guards with good schedules, and not a reflection of Evans’ recent performance. In any event, he made his sellers pay last night, notching his first career triple-double. Maybe I should have dropped Rondo instead of Evans in order to pick up Wade. Oh well.

The Puerto Rico Open has teed off, and GuruGolf roster diversity is not in evidence this week, as only 65 different golfers are in play. Alex Prugh climbed over Boo Weekley to be the most widely owned golfer, on more than 40% of active foursomes. Moreover, you need only 14 different golfers to fill 75% of all active spots on GuruGolf teams this week. And 36 different golfers appear on 3 rosters or less – so if any of them has a big week, it could be quite a competitive coup. If not, then the top team scores will probably be clustered together.

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3/10 - It was a “bipolar” day for UConn basketball yesterday. The men’s team completed a late season meltdown, while the women’s team continued to steamroll, winning their 72nd straight game. Evidently, even Jim Calhoun can’t figure out the men’s team, while no opponent can figure out the women.

This week, GuruGolf ventures to the Puerto Rico Open, ignoring the WGC event since it offers no cut. In all likelihood, your GuruGolf team will need some adjustments, so get it done today, as the first tee time tomorrow is at 5:55am ET.

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3/9 - RotoHog seems to be slower than usual in launching baseball games. Today, they finally launched their own Stock Exchange Baseball game. I haven’t looked it over yet, other than to notice that the user interface looks like a clone of the TSN/RotoHog interface. There is still no posted launch date for the TSN Salary Cap game, other than “Coming Soon”.

Speaking of launches, I expect to have the Market Madness Contest site up and running in the next few days. Admittedly, there isn’t much to do until the brackets are announced on Sunday night, but I obviously need to get the basic framework setup before then. I just want to confirm for now that the contest will run as usual this year.

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3/8 - We’re in the “eye” of a change in schedule regime in the NBA. A number of popular players have reached the end of their dense schedules (OKC, Atlanta, and Cleveland are three prime examples), while several other teams start a busy period tomorrow. The transitions aren’t particularly seamless, which explains some choppy trading patterns this week. And LeBron’s DNP on Saturday threw a bit of a monkey wrench into plans. But this is a week in the TSN game when having some spare trades comes in handy.

Congrats to Yankee Rebels, whose -43 topped the GuruGolf best ball scoring for The Honda Classic, certainly helped by having Camilo Villegas on the team. Worst ball honors went to jeff2, whose +56 was propelled to the top with an impressive +19 in the final round.

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3/5 - It sounds like baseball fever has even reached the NBA. Here are a couple of quotes from last night’s Jazz/Suns game:

”Basketball is a game of runs…” – C.J. Miles

“I think we did a good job of not letting them hit the home run most of the night.” – Jerry Sloan


If you want to play in a quality roto baseball league this summer, sign-ups for the AA RIBC leagues will be closing soon. Each league will have as many as 16 managers, with 5x5 rotisserie scoring, a slow online draft (over the second half of March), and an opportunity to advance to the next level in 2011 if you have a decent season. Leagues are forming at both Yahoo and ESPN. No prior experience is necessary, and there is no cost. But the clock is ticking. Procrastinators, I know some of you are still thinking about it. Now is the time!

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3/4 - It must have been “gotcha” day in the NBA – at least as far as TSN Ultimate Salary Cap game is considered. The biggest price loser among active players was Darren Collison, who responded with a tidy 51 TSNP game. The top gainers were Andray Blatche and Rajon Rondo. Blatche’s total of 33.5 TSNP wasn’t bad, but it was more than 30% under his average of the past two weeks, while Rondo’s 23 TSNP was just over half of his recent average.

Boo Weekley is the most widely owned GuruGolfer this week, on roughly one-third of all foursomes. About 10% of his owners dumped him after missing the cut last week, but the desire for trade conservation (or the hope for a rebound) kept his ownership relatively stable.

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3/3 - There’s nothing quite like facing Golden State to get a player’s stat line back on track. Just ask Dwyane Wade, who lit up the Warriors for 35 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. Unfortunately for Wade, the two teams don’t meet again this season.

Incidentally, based on today’s quote, it appears that Don Nelson and Herm Edwards don’t subscribe to quite the same coaching philosophy. Maybe I’m just reading too much into Nelson’s comments, but it seems that Rasheed Wallace’s attitude is more in synch with Nelson’s.

The Honda Classic tees off bright and early (6:50am ET) tomorrow morning, as the PGA Tour moves east. GuruGolfers – get your lineups set by tonight!

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3/2 - One of these days – and the time is coming – Chris Paul will return to action, and Darren Collison will presumably have trouble finding playing time. But he’s not giving any reason for managers to bolt early, including last night’s 10 point, 15 assist, 5 rebound, 2 steal game against the Spurs. There is no set date for Paul’s return, but it should be in mid-March.

If you are working off an old NBA schedule, we’re approaching the rescheduled date for the Atlanta-Washington game that was snowed-out. This will give the Wizards an unusual stretch of 3-straight games (March 11-13) and 5 games in 6 days. For Atlanta, the extra game falls within a period when the original schedule had only one game in 7 days, so there’s no risk of overwork there.

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3/1 - March, eh?

I guess I’d better start preparing for baseball. Curiously, I’ve seen no evidence of any launch date for TSN salary cap baseball. But I’ve got to believe that if they are running golf and stock car games, they won’t skip baseball. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, there are still openings for AA managers in the RIBC qualifying leagues. We hope to fill these leagues in the next week, so if you have been on the fence, now is the time to jump in. One league will be hosted at Yahoo, and the other at ESPN. Choose your preferred host, and sign up: Yahoo league - ESPN league.

In GuruGolf, Wheatridge Deuces demolished the field, posting a seven stroke victory over the second best team for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. I don’t ever recall such a large separation from the pack. Worst ball honors were taken by louky 1, who finshed a more modest 2 strokes ahead of the closest competitor.

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2010: February . . . January

2009: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2008: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2007: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2006: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2005: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2004: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2003: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2002: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2001: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2000: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1999: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1998: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March

RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

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