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3/31 - The baseball season opens today with six games scheduled. Weather issues make a couple of those games (particularly in NY and Washington) tentative, but we’ll see. The season typically opens on a Sunday, but this year’s schedule was advanced by a half-week, presumably in order to end the season a half-week earlier and try to get the World Series completed before the end of October. There is snow in the forecast for the northeastern U.S. over the next day or so, but I suppose that’s still preferable to playing into November. Not sure why they don’t schedule the earliest games in warmer climes, however.
It looks like the tools at DailyBaseballData.com are working properly so far. Here’s a quick rundown:
In GuruGolf, the three most popular golfers for the Shell Houston Open are Spencer Levin, J.J. Henry, and Brendan de Jonge, each on about 25% of foursomes.
3/30 - Sounds like Cavs fans got to live vicariously for one night. LeBron did manage a triple double, but the Cavs still beat the visiting Heat, and LBJ and his entourage were even denied parking privileges in the arena parking lot.
The Shell Houston Open is not only the Masters tune-up for some pro golfers, but it’s also the last week in the first GuruGolf contest of the season, the “March to the Masters.” Get your foursomes set!
We’re now in hurry-up-and-wait mode for the MLB season. Although RotoGuru baseball processing may be more limited this season (without the RotoHog games), my affiliated site - DailyBaseballData.com - needs to be fully functional as soon as possible. If you’re not familiar with that site and the tools offered there, check it out!
3/29 - Only two days until the MLB regular season starts. I have decided not to provide 2011 sortable stats for the game formally known as RotoHog Salary Cap Baseball, now offered as Fastboint Salary Cap Baseball through Facebook. With a new interface to adapt to, and very limited interest from the RotoGuru community, I have decided that there are better ways to devote my time and effort. I’m also suspending stats production for the RotoHog Stock Exchange game, even though the interface there has not changed. Once again, there doesn’t seem to be much interest. I may resume coverage of these games for football and/or hoops, but I’ll wait until much later to make that call.
I will, however, be producing sortable stats for FanDuel. If you’re unfamiliar with FanDuel, they produce daily contests, both free and with cash fees and prizes. They have already posted regular contests for March 31, and a special “One-Day Grand Slam” for April 1st (no foolin’). I hope to have sortable stats up for that game in the next day or two. If you’ve never tried daily sports contests, this might be a good season to try it out. You get to choose when to play and when to sit it out. And there’s no lingering impact of an unfortunate prior decision. Every day starts afresh.
The five RIBC drafts have been completed, and yesterday I assembled an analysis of consolidated draft results for the five leagues. If you participated in one of those drafts, you might find it interesting to see how your picks compare to the consensus.
3/28 - So, in 15 years, will the official NCAA record book show that John Calipari coached Kentucky in the 2011 Final Four? Or will this trip eventually be vacated as well?
Market Madness standings are updated, after having undergone a lot of weekend volatility. VCU earned a G$110 bonus for making the Final Four; Butler’s bonus was a scant G$80. The entry currently in 2nd place, Downard Dog, is effectively now long VCU, Butler, and Kentucky, while being short UConn. If Uconn loses to Kentucky, I like his chances – although I haven’t done a formal scoring forecast for the eight possible combinations of Final Four games. Meanwhile, I made an entry on behalf of my dog, Rufus, based on canine mascots, and if it comes down to a Husky-Bulldog final game, I like his chances, with five longs represented by those two teams combined. Go figure. (In any event, if you’re worried about Rufus, be assured that he is not prize eligible – although I haven’t told him yet.)
The top best ball score for the weekend in GuruGolf was a -44 by Cyberwahoo7. Interestingly, his four players posted individual scores of +4, even, even, and -2, but his best ball scorecard obviously worked out like a charm. Worst ball honors belonged to aptly named Rancid (+57).
3/25 - It won’t be much longer before the “true” standings of the Market Madness Contest begin to come into focus. As teams advance to the Final Four, bonus points are awarded, equal to 10 times the seed value. So, for example, if Butler advances to the Final Four, they will earn 80 points as a #8 seed. Those points help the longs (including basket units), and kill the shorts. So, you can expect tremendous volatility in the standings over the weekend.
The RotoHog salary cap baseball games have been launched. This year, they are being offered under the company’s “Fastpoint Games” moniker, and – more importantly - they are only available to Facebook subscribers. So, if you want to play and you aren’t a Facebook member, you have to decide whether you want to join Facebook in order to play. As an aside, although I have not yet made a final decision, my inclination is to not provide sortable stats for those games this season. My sense is that there is simply not enough demand within the RotoGuru community to make the effort worthwhile.
3/24 - Is it possible that the Carmelo trade actually improved the Nuggets and hurt the Knicks? The Knicks are 7-10 since the trade, losing 7 of their last 8 and falling below the .500 mark. The Nuggets are 11-4, and currently stand 14 games over .500. Go figure.
Two triple doubles in the NBA last night. Blake Griffin got his first career TD, getting four of his ten assists in overtime (3 of them in the 2nd OT). More surprisingly, Chuck Hayes got one in Houston in a 131-point scoring explosion over (who else) the Warriors – with no overtimes required.
Stewart Cink continues as the popular holdover golfer in GuruGolf this week, on about 45% of active foursomes. So far, not so good, as he is +3 with no birdies through 14 holes.
3/23 - Still no launch of the RotoHog salary cap baseball game, at least as far as I can tell. Word has it that the game will be accessible only through Facebook this year, and until I see the interface, I don’t even know if I’ll be providing statistical data for it this season.
The NCAA has admitted that the refs erred in calling the backcourt violation against Syracuse in the final minute of their
The Arnold Palmer Invitational tees off tomorrow morning. The originally announced field has remained very stable this week, with Mike Weir being the only one to withdraw, due to a wrist injury. Must be the Arnold effect. (That’s Palmer, not Ziffel.)
3/22 - The RIBC baseball draft is “rounding third,” now in the 18th round of a 25 round draft. Rationales for each pick are being posted at the forum. Hard to believe, but the baseball season opens just 9 days from today.
Dwight Howard sure keeps piling up the stats. Last night in Cleveland he scored 28, grabbed 18 rebounds, blocked 4, stole 4, assisted 4 times, shot 9-11 from the floor, and 10-12 from the line! On the season, his FT% is still right around his career average of 59%, but occasionally he’s in the zone – like last night.
3/21 - A week ago, I mused whether the Big East basket would be a good short or long. While it could still work out as a good long, that now depends on Marquette advancing to the Final Four. Not likely. If Marquette loses its next game and UConn goes on to win the tournament, the best possible net return for that basket is +$G4. Not a good way to invest $G95.
We had 7 upsets in the opening round, which is pretty normal. There were 5 upsets in round two – again, fairly normal - although four double-digit seeds advanced to the Sweet 16, about twice as many as in a typical year. And at least one of those teams will advance to the Elite 8, since #10 Florida State faces #11 VCU.
Speaking of VCU, my daughter – who goes to Hofstra – pointed out this weekend that the Colonial Conference had three teams in the tournament (VCU, ODU, & Geo. Mason). Had I recognized that at the outset, I would have set up a conference basket for them. And if I had done that, I suspect it would have been a popular short. So, with VCU advancing to the Sweet 16, many of you can thank me for being oblivious that conference. That basket would probably have cost $G10, and would already have returned $33, for a net gain of $G23, with VCU still alive and kicking. Make that alive and kicking butt!
It was hard to pay attention to GuruGolf over the weekend with the big dance taking center stage. One GuruGolf foursome romped through the weekend, as LAMBES FAIRWAYS posted a -50, a full seven strokes better than the runner-up (which was also one of his teams). Worst ball honors went to Donkey Hunter with +41.
3/18 - The most exciting game-endings yesterday occurred in several of the afternoon games. Too bad for those of you chained to your work desk with no video access. While you can always watch the replays, there’s nothing like watching the drama unfold in real time.
I've posted a sortable summary of contest selections for 2011. A few quick observations:
Standings are updated through the day, but it’s tough to get much of a feel for the relative rankings until after at least the first weekend, as entries with lots of baskets shorted have a big cash advantage to open the contest. That value typically works itself off after the first couple of rounds, although until we get to the Final Four, the volatility can still be very pronounced. My best advice is to watch the game but don’t fret about your relative ranking unless your long teams are going down the tubes while your shorts are hanging around. If you picked well, your score will work eventually itself toward the top.
3/17 - This is one of the funnest and busiest days of the year at RotoGuru World Headquarters. Market Madness swings into full gear, baseball drafts are proceeding rapidly, a new GuruGolf tournament gets underway – and the NBA keeps plodding along. Really not much time for composing a thoughtful blurb today. At least, that’s my excuse.
Stewart Cink and Jerry Kelly are the two popular (holdover) GuruGolf favorites this week. Kelly owners have to hope his back holds up better than it did last week, when he withdrew in the middle of the second round.
Get your final Madness selections locked in by 12:15pm ET today, and then enjoy the ride!
3/16 - Unusual triple-double last night from JaVale McGee: 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 blocks! It didn’t really help the Wizards, though, who dropped to 1-30 on the road, losing by 19 in Chicago. Every other team in the NBA has at least four road wins. Washington does close out the season in Cleveland, but with only ten away games remaining, it’s hard to see how they can get up to four wins.
You have until 12:15pm ET Thursday to submit up to three entries in the Market Madness Contest. Be there or be square!
The next GuruGolf event tees off tomorrow morning. In the midst of all the basketball hoopla and baseball drafting activity, don’t forget to set your GuruGolf rosters today.
3/15 - Perhaps the reports of the Miami Heat’s demise were greatly exaggerated.
On to Market Madness. This year I’ve once again 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 bracket so that I can add them in.
Meanwhile, the baseball drafts for the RIBC and all four qualifying leagues are now underway. Here are links to each draft in progress:
3/14 - Every year there is a hue and cry about bubble teams that got snubbed by the NCAA basketball selection committee, and unworthy teams that get in. Once the tournament starts, that’s all quickly forgotten. But some of the decisions this year are puzzling, and the rationales put forth by the committee chairman were generic and less than satisfying. As Jay Bilas tweeted, “Ten members with different criteria. Why? Can we not agree on the criteria? Not sure we do this correctly.”
Regardless, RotoGuru’s Market Madness Contest is open for “bidness.” The first four games do not count in the contest scoring, so the entry deadline is at the tipoff time of the first game on Thursday. The Big East basket has 11 teams this year. Not sure whether that makes it a good short or a good long. At a cost of $G95, it’s an expensive long, but gets you a lot of upside potential in one unit. That high price also makes it a tempting short – with a lot of potential downside if several of those teams go deep.
3/11 - Amare Stoudemire followed the lead of Dwight Howard and picked up his 16th technical foul last night, earning him a furlough day on Sunday. Plan accordingly.
I probably could have scrounged up a quote related to the Heat-Lakers game, but a quick survey didn’t find anything obvious – so, in deference to the pending NCAA tournament, I went with the hometown hero (from the perspective of RotoGuru World Headquarters), Kemba Walker.
Speaking of the “toonament”, the RotoGuru Market Madness Contest has been launched. Rules will be the same as last year, and there really isn’t much to do until the brackets are announced, but if you want to register now and review the contest format, be my guest. The one potential difference relates to the four opening round games (or whatever they’ll call them this year.) Two of those games will feature the last four at-large teams in the field, so they won’t feed into a 1/16 first round matchup. The results of those games still won’t count in the scoring, but some of those teams may factor into conference basket units, so I’ll have to work out those pricing and scoring mechanics after I see how the actual bracket is laid out. I’ll discuss that on Monday.
3/10 - Kevin Love didn’t decide to go ahead and play until minutes before gametime, and then went out and scored 16 points with 21 rebounds, securing his 52nd consecutive double-double, the longest such streak in the last 35 years (since the NBA-ABA merger). That’s nowhere near the all-time NBA record, though, as Wilt Chamberlain once had a streak of at least 227 games.
This week’s most popular GuruGolfer is old man Jerry Kelly (age 44), whose opening round of +3 (one birdie, 4 bogeys) isn’t going to get the 50% of his GuruGolf foursomes off to much of a start. Meanwhile, early leader James Driscoll has 9 birdies and an eagle – but no GuruGolf team has him.
3/9 - It appears that LeBron is correct. If Miami loses all of their remaining regular season games, they’ll finish with a 43-39 record. For that record to fall out of the playoffs, either Indy must go 16-3, or Charlotte must go 17-2. Not likely.
Andrew Bynum played 35 minutes for the first time this season, and topped the 50 RSCP mark for the second time – both in the last 3 games. Looks like he’s rounding into top form just in time to face Miami. It’s probably not a coincidence that the Lakers have won 8 straight, during which he’s averaged almost 40 RSCP.
The Puerto Rico Open tees off at 6am ET tomorrow morning, and your GuruGolf foursomes are probably going to require a lot of turnover this week. If you haven’t attended to that yet, get started! As of this morning, more than 100 GuruGolf teams still have multiple inactive golfers.
3/8 - Over the past 15 days, the top three NBA players in RSCP/G are all center eligible. The top two - Dwight Howard and Kevin Love - have both been near the top all season. But #3 has not. Al Jefferson has averaged 49.4 RSCP/G since Deron Williams was traded away. Coincidence? That’s 15 fantasy points per game higher than his pre-trade average. And using FanDuel scoring, Jefferson ranks second (since the trade), behind only Howard.
I’ve been on a nice roll in FanDuel daily Hoops contests lately. Since the beginning of February, I’ve won 15 of 21 (a pace which I’ve undoubtedly now jinxed by mentioning it.) Al Jefferson has been a useful weapon for me over the past couple of weeks, as I’m basically using the sortable stats as a screening tool, looking for players who have recently provided good bang for the buck. Those 21 contests have been played against 16 different opponents, so there is still a good mix of competition. And I’ve been exclusively playing the “expert” level contests ($55K cap), which is not nearly as popular as the standard $65K contest format. If you haven’t tried it yet, or if you’ve taken a break, there’s still plenty of flow – and you get to start fresh every morning!
3/7 - The Lakers may be getting their act together. After heading into the All Star break with three straight losses (including one in Cleveland), they’re now 7-0 after the break, including yesterday’s 16-point win in San Antonio.
The Miami Heat? Not so much. They haven’t beaten a team with a winning record in more than a month, and yesterday’s loss was their fourth straight, and fifth in the last six. It doesn’t get easier, as their next two games are against Portland and the Lakers, and they don’t face a sub-.500 team until March 23 at Detroit.
Nice weekend for Andre Iguodala - back-to-back triple doubles!
The Honda Classic continued to produce high scores all weekend. Even through tournament winner Rory Sabbatini was nine strokes under par, only 12 other golfers scored in red figures. The top bestball score for GuruGolf, shared by two teams, was only -39. Last year, the corresponding top score was -44. Worstball honors went to Dusty with a +60, four strokes higher than last year’s worst.
3/4 - I didn’t turn on the Orlando-Miami game until midway through the 4th quarter, after the Heat had already “gone cold” so to speak. Apparently, Mike Miller had made a 70-footer just after the clock expired at the end of the first half, and Miami could have used those points. Maybe they should have tried lining up Miller for another 70-footer at the end of the game. Neither of Miami’s two final 3-point attempts from Bosh or LeBron were particularly close.
The leaderboard after the opening round of the Honda Classic looks more like a U.S. Open leaderboard. Only eight golfers were under par, and the pro-forma cut line was at +4. Reportedly, today’s winds have “quieted a touch”, but conditions are still such that the cut line is likely to climb today.
Last call for managers to sign up for a AA qualifying league for the RIBC. If we can get about another ten managers, we could set up two full AA leagues. But we need to get it settled by the beginning of next week. Recruit your friends! Sign up (or ask questions) in this thread.
3/3 - I am aware that many of you are getting a notice that rotoguru1.com has been reported as an attack site. I have reviewed much of the recent activity at the site, and have not found any “attack code,” so I don’t know what Google has identified as problematic. I have requested a site review from Google Webmaster tools – hopefully that will diagnose any problem. Until I get that report, it’s up to you as to whether you want to unblock your browser from the site. Ugh. (Afternoon update: “attacked” page was identified and eliminated. Site access should now be restored.)
Kevin Durant was one of the big price gainers in the RotoHog salary cap games yesterday, and he proceeded to sprain his ankle. The prognosis is uncertain, although Durant says it’s nothing major. If you have him on any team in any format, you’ve got to hope he’s right.
J.J. Henry is the carryover favorite in GuruGolf, again on more than 40% of all active foursomes. Jhonattan Vegas is second in the popularity sweepstakes at 35%. Those two teed off this morning, and so far they have 5 bogeys and only one birdie after 29 holes, combined. It may not be as bad as it sounds, though. In each of the past two years, the cut line has been at +3. So this course plays relatively tough.
3/2 - The player to own on the Knicks last night was not Carmelo or Amare – it was Chauncey Billups, with 30 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 52.5 RSCP. His fantasy points almost topped the combined total of the “big 2”, matching the Carmelo-Amare total of rebounds, and topping the pair in assists and steals.
Billups wasn’t the top producer of the night, though, as Jason Kidd put another notch in his triple-double belt, the 107th of his career. And in Toronto, facing the Hornets, Jose Calderon had a Chris Paul-like stat line of 22 points, 16 assists, 7 boards, and a steal. Meanwhile, Chris Paul had a Calderon-like line of 7 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal. On second thought, that stat line is typically sub-Calderon.
If you are thinking of joining a qualifying league for the RIBC, you need to act now. Sign-ups for the two AAA leagues and one or two AA leagues are taking place at the baseball forum. You need to be pre-qualified for a AAA league (based on your result in a RIBC league in 2010), but anyone may sign up for a AA league, provided there are sufficient openings available. There is no cost to play (and no cash prizes), but those who finish in the top half of a AA league will qualify to move up to AAA next year, and the AA winner will move all the way up to next year’s RIBC. The league is a 16-team 10-category format, and the “slow” draft will take place online over the second half of March, using the draft software at Draftime.com
The Honda Classic tees off early tomorrow morning, so your GuruGolf foursome will lock at 6:50am ET. If you are planning ahead, be aware that next week’s GuruGolf event will be the Puerto Rico Open, and not the WCG event at Doral.
The Cavs season from hell continued apace, as Antawn Jamison is now out for the season with a broken finger.
If you made your weekly GuruGolf moves early, you might want to recheck. Sixteen golfers withdrew yesterday from the upcoming Honda Classic.
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
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