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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

10/31 - It's going to take awhile to remember to update TSN price changes at 11pm. Last night was the first time O forgot. Expect more.

One of the more critical pieces of information in anticipating TSN price changes for individual players is the degree to which each player is owned. To satisfy that need, longtime Gurupie RecycledSpinalFluid has started producing a daily summary of ownership, based upon a tallying of frozen rosters. These are being posted in the Basketball Standings Forum. For example, as of last night's freeze, Eddy Curry is the most heavily owned player, on 56% of all rosters. Others at the top of the list include Zach Randolph (46%), Jamal Crawford (44%), Carlos Arroyo (41%), Tim Duncan (41%), and Dwyane Wade (39.5%). This is significant, because if any of these heavily owned players falter, there are plenty of itchy trigger fingers available to sell them. That doesn't necessarily mean you should follow suit. But you should be aware of the potential ramifications.

For those who may wish to follow the progress of the RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge (RIHC) league, I've set up a summary page that will be updated daily. To find it, click on the league logo near the top of the left menu.

10/30 - Lots of stats to mull over today. The best advice I can give is to be patient. The best players last night won't necessarily repeat their exploits every night. Ditto for the worst. At this point in the season, I'm more focused on playing time. It's hard to produce if you're not on the court. But even that can change a lot in the early games, as some teams continue to tinker as they attempt to find the best on-court combination(s).

It's hard not to be impressed by the opening game of Lebron James, though. It seems unlikely that he'll be this "Mike-like" all the time, but for at least one night, the hype was warranted.

The first TSN price changes were released last night. As is normal for the time first few days of any season, the gains were well distributed, but the losses were focused. It's still too early to tell whether there are any noticeable adjustments in the underlying formula - particularly the general price sensitivity - but the next week or so should give a feel for that.

If you wanted to pick up anyone on the Clips or Sonics today, I hope you did it very early. That game was played in Japan, and was over before many of us were even awake. Elton Brand had a 65 TSNP monster. Only one other player was north of 40 TSNP (Radmanovic), although there were also a few interesting cheapie results, which I'm sure you'll find. And you can take your time. After another game tomorrow morning, the Clips play only twice in the next 13 days. The Sonics have a better schedule, although they also have a 6 day layoff before it starts.

10/29 - And they're off!

Player performances are magnified at the beginning of any season, and I'm sure this will be no exception. Take a look at yesterday's points and I'm sure you'll get a glimpse of some of the early price movers for TSN. Just be careful - you have limited trades, and it is unwise for you to blow them all immediately based upon very limited info. Decide what matters, and be willing to ride out some of the early bumps.

At the beginning of each season, I like to offer a brief paragraph on expectations - specifically what you should expect from me. Each morning, I update the sortable stats, player pages, yesterday's points, and the Assimilator. Normally, these should be updated by 9am EST, but occasionally they may be a bit late, depending on whether I have any inconsistencies to research (or whether I overslept). As to TSN price updates, we'll have to see. I'll try to update the prices shortly after they are released at 11pm EST. It may take me awhile to get this scheduling into my stream of consciousness, however. I've been doing noon updates for so many years that it's going to take awhile to retrain me to remember to do this at 11pm. So please bear with me.

One note on stats: In many of my pages, I provide point and point/game averages for the full season as well as for the most recent 7, 15, and 30 day periods. If you look at any YTD numbers, they will reflect only regular season stats. But if you look at 7, 15, or 30 day stats, they will include the preseason, if applicable. And for this purpose, the three days between the final preseason games and the opening regular season games are ignored. (i.e., Oct 24. is one day prior to Oct. 28).

10/28 - I can tell that a lot of you are busying figuring out your opening hoops rosters. Yesterday was this site's highest bandwidth usage day since March 24. Feel free to keep cranking away - I have the capacity.

After a one week hiatus, picking favorites was again a good approach for Football Pickoff, as 11 consensus favorites won. EliIsrael found a good game to deviate from that formula, doubling the Giants' win over Minnesota, leading to the week's top score of 592 points (12 correct games). And don't look now, but RotoGuru Hall-of-Famer and 2-time Pickoff champ Sludge 2 creeping toward the top with his traditional slow and steady approach.

10/27 - I had a respectable weekend in TSN football, but it could have been better. When deciding to pick up either Domanick Davis or Brian Westbrook, I took Westbrook. When choosing between Randy Moss or Marvin Harrison, I took Harrison. Those two choices cost me 374 TSNP. But the rest of my lineup (other than the Minn defense) did respectably, so for a change, I didn't suck.

But I'm happy to have basketball start. Tomorrow night brings three NBA openers. If you plan to have any players in those games, then your TSN roster must be complete by 11pm tomorrow night, with game players in place prior to their game start. It's never a good idea to wait until the last moment to make roster moves - especially this season, when there is no opportunity for a delayed freeze.

Of course, if you don't plan to draft any players who play tomorrow, then you might want to wait until Wednesday to draft. Doesn't cost anything, and you might learn something Tuesday night that prompts a late adjustment.

The PSC games have a weekly freeze at 7pm tomorrow. There is no viable opportunity for late start teams in that game. If you miss the opening freeze, you miss all games for the first 6 days.

10/24 - I've gotten a few recent inquiries about the GuruPatron division that I set up in each year for TSN Ultimate Hoops. This year, I put the division invitation at the bottom of the GuruPatron validation page, rather than sending out a mass emailing to all GuruPatrons. If you are a GuruPatron and want to join, check out that page. If your ID is not recognized, then send me an email ( and I'll reset your ID and send you the password.

The RotoGuru Hoops Invitational Challenge draft has been completed. Everyone is invited to leave general comments about the draft in this draft recap thread.

10/23 - The Marlins are nothing if not resilient. Jeff Weaver is nothing if not consistent (whatever that means). And we're now down to a best of 3. The excellent MLB post-season continues.

Lebron James had his best preseason effort last night, cranking out 37 TSNP in 37 minutes against the Wizards. His stat line included 19 pts, 8 assists, 2 steals, and a block.

Tim Duncan, however, was the top NBA producer of the night with 46.5 TSNP in just 30 minutes. Duncan has made the most of his preseason minutes, generating an average of 34 TSNP in just 22 minutes per game. That productivity ratio of 1.55 TSNP/minute tops all players in the preseason. LeBron's ratio is approximately half of that.

10/22 - Today I welcome a new prize sponsor for Football Pickoff - johnglad's DVDs and Video Games, an Ebay power seller. Prize details are posted at the Football Pickoff site. johnglad has been a GuruPatron since the program's inception in March, 2001. Why not get your holiday shopping started now? If you bid on or buy anything from him, make sure you tell him you're a Gurupie too!

The RotoGuru Hoops Invitational Challenge draft is nearing its conclusion, currently in round 14 out of 15. Be sure to check out the posted rationales of each manager's picks. It's interesting to read about the various thought processes, including some of the strategic shifts as the draft was unfolding. This has probably been the most competitive Hoops draft I've ever been in. In most drafts, I can generally target some sleepers that will slide a few rounds past the point where they offer relative value. That generally hasn't worked out in this draft. So many times, guys who I've been waiting for have been snapped up shortly before I get the chance. Maddening, but a testament to the quality of the competition.

10/21 - This turned out to be a more balanced week in Football Pickoff. Consensus favorites only compiled 9 wins and -11 points. That means that consensus dogs totaled a complementary +11. To to do well this week, you had to have some of each - and in the right combination.

That must have been hard, because no one had more than 11/14 correct. The top result belonged to The Knuckles, with only 483 points. He almost got last night's game correct, however, which could have really boosted his tally. The field was simply one yard too long for the Raiders at the end.

Also, the Smart Dart turned out to be not so this week, with only 6 correct picks for -175. It's a humbling game - even for computers.

10/20 - We had some interesting football results yesterday, both in games and players. I ended up making some fortunate RB switches this week, picking up Deuce McAllister and Shaun Alexander, while dropping Stephen Davis and Ricky Williams. Those two trades netted me 456 TSNP. Unfortunately, I also added David Boston, and failed to dump the Baltimore defense. And thus, "random walk" still seems like the most appropriate slogan for my exploits.

Hard to believe the NBA season is only 8 days away. This Friday will be the last time we can get some misleading stats from preseason games. Which reminds me, I haven't run yesterday's preseason game stats yet. I'll get them posted by early afternoon.

10/17 - It was a game carved from the same mold as so many before it. First make 'em think you're going to win it. And then find a way not to. It's one of those mornings when I'm glad I'm not a die-hard Red Sox fan. Because they die hard so many times. The Red Sox poster child should be Charlie Brown getting ready to kick off, with Lucy holding the football.

10/16 - This is starting to smell strongly like "Curse Week" in MLB. There's not much I can add to the Cubs story. The Red Sox still have at least one chapter to write, however. If the Yankees beat Pedro, the Red Sox pain will be severe. But it might be even worse (ultimately) if the Sox prevail tonight. They could still build up a 3-1 lead over the Marlins, only to lose in seven, most likely on some Buckner-esque play. The true measure of the curse is that it continually teases, making you think that this could be the year, and then, just when everyone believes, pulls it all back. In the case of the Red Sox, many fans still have doubts about the ability to win tonight's game. But if they do win, and then build up a lead on Florida, the optimism would be hard to contain... and that's when cruel destiny takes control.

Maybe I'm just a sadist. I'm not even a Red Sox fan, although I'd root for them over any of the remaining alternatives. But after living in New England for more than 25 years, I've gained an appreciation for how this always seems to go, and it would not surprise me if the roller coaster still has a few more twists and turns. In fact, the kindest fate for a die-hard Red Sox fan might be a quick demise tonight.

Regardless, the story line will probably present something unforeseen, so I'll be content to "see a lot just by observing."

Meanwhile, new prices for Progressive Sports Challenge Football have been released, and are now loaded in the sortable stats and Assimilator. If you are playing one or more of the PSC games, you need to refill your entire roster, and it won't be as easy this week as it has been in recent weeks. So get started!

10/15 - If the Cubs aren't cursed, then they should just shut up and win tonight. If they are cursed, then Moises Alou may have actually been spared by that fan. If the fan hadn't tipped it, it probably would have glanced off of Alou's glove - and probably onto his head. In any event, I hope that fan doesn't have a ticket for the same seat tonight.

I added a column for minutes played on the yesterday's points page. I stuck it just to the right of the TSNP column. When I glanced at that page this morning, it just seemed like that info should be included. So now it is.

And that allows you to see that Jamal Crawford played 51 minutes for the Bulls last night. It's unusual for a starter to get so many minutes in a preseason game, but I guess the Bulls want him to get as much experience as possible.

10/14 - Watch out, but my Smart Dart is now beating 450 out of 451 entrants in Football Pickoff. However, the best slate of the weekend belonged to yesno, who missed only the Jax/Miami game. Two others managed to get 13 games correct as well.

Curiously, it's been a year when simply picking Consensus Favorites is a very productive strategy. Consistently adhering to that approach would put you in the top 20 so far, with remarkable weekly consistency. Every week, that would have netted either 10 or 11 correct picks. Yet, had you stuck with that approach last season, you'd have ended the year with -302 points. So it certainly doesn't seem like the sure thing that it's started out to be. We'll see.

10/13 - My point avoidance strategy for TSN football seems to be finely honed. Thank goodness preseason hoops is giving me a distraction this month. I'd hate to have to dwell on the football carnage all week long.

I moved the logo for the RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge to a prominent position in the left menu panel. If you click on it, you'll be taken to a recap of the ongoing draft, which is currently in the fourth round. This has been a very alert draft so far, by which I mean that I haven't yet been able to snag any player that I feel has slipped through the cracks. In some of the "expert" leagues that I've participated in during the past several years, I've always felt like I was picking up players who I had ranked much higher than the number at which I selected them. But not so far in this league, which attests either to the expertise of the field, or to the inability of my rankings to ferret out the bargains. (Or both.)

By the way, thanks to Gurupie chuckball for designing the logo. Very cool!

10/10 - I did eventually find the two missing boxscores from Wednesday night. The Memphis/Spurs boxscore (played in Paris) turned up in a San Antonio newspaper. The Magic/Hornets game was even more secluded, showing up on MSNBC, of all places. Thanks to Google for sniffing that one out.

So, preseason NBA stats are now complete and up to date, at least for the moment.

Among the interesting stat lines from last night was T.J. Ford, who managed only 16.5 TSNP in 18 minutes. At first blush, that's a pretty reasonable ratio of TSNP per minute. But if you dig a little deeper, you see that one reason he played only 18 minutes was probably because he committed 5 fouls. He also made only 1 of 7 FG attempts. Ford will reportedly get plenty of playing time in Milwaukee, given their lack of point guard alternatives. Whether that can turn into worthwhile fantasy points remains to be seen.

Of course, he matched the fantasy point production of Lebron James' second preseason game, as James managed only 16.5 TSNP in 30 minutes (Wednesday). James will probably have some big games this year. But he'll also get a fair share of stinkers. Buyer beware.

Incidently, I should point out that the sortable stats do offer average minutes played as an option for "Column B". Especially during preseason, this can help you assess a player's productivity.

10/9 - As I've mentioned, I am producing stats for the NBA preseason. But sometimes it is difficult, if not impossible, to find complete boxscores for preseason games. This is particularly true for games played in unusual places, like Paris, or (evidently) Baton Rouge. The only boxscore I can find for the Memphis/San Antonio game played yesterday in Paris is at Yahoo!, and it are still missing either some players or some playing time (or both) - although most of the game is there, so I've included what they have. The Orlando/New Orleans game in Baton Rouge is nowhere to be found. Neither Yahoo, nor ESPN, nor has a boxscore. Perhaps one of these sites will have it eventually. But last year, there were several preseason games that I could never locate boxscores for. If anyone locates a complete boxscore for either of those two games, please let me know.

The draft for the RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge has begun. While the formal start date is October 11, we started the draft several days ago without a clock, just to see whether we could get some first round picks out of the way. So far, the most notable development is the absence of Kobe in the first eight picks. (Note: he was subsequently picked 9th.) Clearly, the uncertainty of his situation makes him a high risk choice. But at some point, the reward potential compensates for the risk. ESPN posts the average draft picks for their fantasy leagues, and so far, Kobe's average pick is 8.4. While all accounts suggest that Kobe should be able to spend more time on the court than in one, his current mental/emotional posture sure sounds uninspiring.

10/8 - Last night's NLCS opener had a little bit of everything - seven homers, four triples and six doubles, a game-tying 2-run HR with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth, an extra inning pinch hit HR, and for about 5 innings in the middle, a pitching duel even broke out.

The NHL season opens tonight with three games. Long-time Gurupies know that I don't really follow hockey, and don't provide any direct statistical support for fantasy hockey games. However, if you are a hockey fan, you're not left totally high and dry. The message forum has an active hockey area, and statistical support for TSN hockey is available at There is also a linked icon on the left (grey) panel of this page, currently sandwiched between the football and hoops menu items, so you can easily access all of that site's hockey tools and features.

In the NBA, Lebron James made his much ballyhooed preseason debut last night, racking up 27 TSNP in 26 minutes at Detroit. His effort was eclipsed by that of Dwyane Wade, who tallied 50 TSNP in 35 minutes for Miami. Preseason points can be very volatile (notice Drew Gooden's preseason results from last year) and misleading, but this certainly should put Wade on everyone's radar, especially with his sub-$2m TSN price.

10/7 - I don't often stay awake to see the end of Monday Night Football games. But last night, I stayed up to see the Red Sox game, and then switched over to the MNF rout in progress. I was all set to post the results for Football Pickoff - the files were all cued up. Needless to say, I had to rerun them before I could upload. Quite a finish!

With the Indy comeback, the top weekly result in Football Pickoff belonged to Smart Dart. For those who may not know, "Smart Dart" is a computer generated entry which uses random numbers and the final pick percentages for the week (from real people only). If a team has been picked by 75% of all entrants, then there is a 75% chance that Smart Dart will pick it as well. So, while it does not always pick favorites, the consensus favorite is more likely to be picked in any specific game. This week, 4 underdogs won, and the Smart Dart got all of them except for New England, resulting in 13 correct picks out of 14. The top slate from a real person was from johnglad, who got 12 games correct, but fell more than 100 short of Smart Dart's 708 point total.

10/6 - I certainly understand the Cubs' jubilation at knocking off Atlanta. But I was surprised that they all seemed so intent on celebrating now. The standard cliché at this point of the postseason is, "We still haven't finished what we set out to do in spring training, so there's no reason to celebrate yet." Perhaps when you have the Cubs' heritage, a little premature celebration is excusable.

In TSN football, this may have been a good week to eschew the easy value gains. The top gainers are likely to come from the ranks of teams that are returning from byes, like Matt Hasselbeck, Ricky Williams, and Chris Chambers. But none of the three lived up to their historical point norms. Instead, picking up guys who were coming back from injuries or suspensions turned out to be the better point plays. Clinton Portis led all producers with 510 TSNP. Travis Henry was a game time decision, yet managed 322 TSNP. And David Boston led all receivers with 491 TSNP.

In Hoops, we had the first preseason action of the NBA season, with Dallas and Utah playing in Mexico City. Here's a look at the fantasy points. The sortable stats will start to track these later today, although you'll continue to be able to evaluate the standard historical splits from last season if you wish. Individual player pages will also now reflect preseason schedules and points.

10/3 - Other than my coffee, there really doesn't seem to be much percolating this morning, so in the words of humorist Robert Benchley, "Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing."

10/2 - With no teams to command my managerial time this week, I've been able to get started on some preseason hoops work. The Assimilator has now been released, with prices and roster configurations for both the Ultimate and Basic TSN games. PSC will also be incorporated once that game is launched.

I also spent some time updating team affiliations for NBA players. As of this morning, I think I have up-to-date affiliations for all players, at least as reported by

Although I do not provide fantasy stats for preseason games in other sports, I do for Hoops. This is mostly because October is otherwise a fairly light month, at least insofar as daily statistical updating is concerned. The first preseason games are on Sunday, October 5th, so I hope to start posting TSNP and PSP next week, not only in the sortable stats, but also the player pages and the Assimilator.

10/1 - I added a new feature to the Football Pickoff site yesterday. This was prompted by a suggestion from one of the entrants. A risk factor is calculated, which is simply the sum of the pick percentages for each of your picks (adjusted for the double). It can be interpreted in several ways:

  • If every pick is incorrect, your final score will be the negative of your risk factor.
  • A high factor indicates that you have picked a lot of favorites; a low factor suggests a preponderance of underdogs.
  • You can quickly calculate your developing score on Sunday by starting with the negative of your risk factor, and then adding 100 points for each win (200 for a doubled win), plus bonus points for 10+ wins.
  • It can therefore provide a quick idea of how many correct picks you will need to break even. For example, if your risk factor is 800, then you need 8 correct picks (or 7, incl. a correct double) to achieve a score of zero. 9 or more correct picks will produce a positive score.
I realize that this isn't earth shaking technology, but it does provide a simple, intuitive measure of the degree to which you are relying on favorites vs. underdogs. For more details on how to find risk factors for your current and past picks, or for others' past picks, see the news page at the Pickoff site.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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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