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

10/29 - I've started working on my opening roster for TSN Ultimate Salary Cap Hoops. Already, the list of injuries (and suspensions) is having a notable influence. And I doubt if this year is much different than any in the past. I started an injury thread at the Hoops Forum, just to try to consolidate this information in one place. I suspect it will lengthen quickly, as I seeded it with only a fraction of the names that I'm aware of - and I'm sure there are many that I haven't yet stumbled across as well.

Tonight is the last night of preseason NBA games. Opening night is next Tuesday, although only three games are scheduled that night. Things really get going on Wednesday, with 13 games. And four teams play both nights - Dallas, Houston, the Lakers, and Sacramento. The Bulls probably have the lightest schedule to open, with only 4 games in the first 14 days. Charlotte and Milwaukee are almost as bad, with only 2 games in the first 8 days. Just remember that light schedules don't necessarily signify lack of trading activity. Remember Flip Murray last season? Seattle started out with only 2 games in the first 10 days, including six consecutive off days. During that 6 day period, Murray gained $440K in TSN Ultimate, and $680K in the Basic game.

10/28 - It's been quite a year for New England sports. The Patriots won the Super Bowl. UConn won both NCAA basketball championships. And now the Red Sox. I'm not a Red Sox fan or a Red Sox hater. Just a nearby observer. It's been a good position to be in for the first 28 years that I've lived in Connecticut, since I was always spared the angst that inevitably enveloped a Red Sox fan's psyche. But today, I also don't have that feeling of exhilaration that comes with a championship. I can remember how good it felt when the Indians made it to the World Series in 1995, though, and it is a special feeling. Maybe even worth all the years of disappointment.

So baseball is done for 2004. But the NBA regular season is only 5 days away. There is no offseason in fantasy sports.

10/27 - According to

"On Wednesday evening, October 27th, the full Moon will pass through the Earth's shadow for skywatchers all across the Americas. The total phase of the eclipse will last 1 hour and 22 minutes, and the Moon will be conveniently high in the eastern sky after dark while most people are still awake and about.

In fact, the eclipse occurs during Game 4 of baseball's World Series, which the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play that evening in Missouri. According to astronomer and meteorologist Joe Rao, this is the first time a total eclipse of the Moon will be visible from a major league ballpark during a World Series game, and such a coincidence is not likely to happen again until the second half of this century. "

Is this eerie or what? Further, it's likely that the moon will appear to be red during the eclipse. It would almost be a shame if the Red Sox weren't celebrating on the field by 11:45 tonight. But, as we all know, baseball scripts are generally not as controlled as, say, wrestling scripts - so maybe the moon will turn out to be Cardinal red, instead. We shall see. It's a near certainty that the moon will be eclipsed. Maybe a curse will be simultaneously eclipsed. Maybe not.

Meanwhile, there are only 3 days (and 22 games) left in the NBA preseason, and only 6 days remain before the regular season begins. Fantasy draft activity is starting to wind down. The RIHC draft was completed yesterday. The time has come to begin working on my TSN Hoops team. And although PSC launched its Hoops game yesterday, they also announced in an email that their season will not begin play until Monday, November 29, which is the start of week #5 of the NBA season. Updated rules have yet to be posted, and player prices are not yet released. So there really is no analysis required for that game during the next week.

10/26 - If the weather forecast is accurate, tonight's World Series game could have a very late ending, even if it isn't a particularly long game. Rain is forecast for most of the day and into the early evening, although the current expectation is that the game will be played. I may end up "watching" the last few innings in hibernate mode.

In Pickoff, it was a good week to side with the Vegas underdogs. You'd have gotten half of the games right, and you'd have earned 257 points. But only 13 of you managed to beat that result, headed by azdbacker, who missed the Monday night upset, but still managed a Ruthian score of 714, a full 328 ahead of the second best result. I don't ever remember such a wide margin between the top two weekly scores.

10/25 - The Red Sox may be up 2-0, but it's obviously far from over. Consider that the Cardinals have yet to lose a post-season game at home this year. Consider the legacy of the Red Sox. And even if Boston wins game 3, consider last week.

In football, it's quite unusual for the weekend's top two running backs to both come from the same team. But Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock combined for 1079 TSNP, split pretty evenly. Blaylock's total was just 300 TSNP shy of his total for the entire 2003 season. I can't imagine that any team - in any format - owned him, unless it was as a handcuff in an incredibly deep league. And even then, he'd have probably been on the bench.

10/22 - A Boston-Houston World Series seemed to offer more subplots, but that script will have to be shelved for another day. Instead, we get a reprise of the 1967 World Serires, which is one of the first series that I closely followed in my formative years. I can still remember my 8th grade mechanical drawing teacher, Mr. Hauserman, updating the inning by inning scores on the classroom blackboard. (Back then, World Series games were played during the day!) I took my transistor radio to school every day, so that I could listen to the game during my walk home. Ah, those really were the good old days.

Just a heads up for those of you playing PSC Football. All players have been repriced this week, and you must reset your entire lineup prior to Sunday's freeze, because right now, your roster is totally empty. The sortable stats have all of the new prices, so get to it. Some of the obvious cheapies are no longer cheap - and therefore, no longer obvious!

10/21 - When the Red Sox jumped out to an eary 2-0 lead, I thought the script was being followed to perfection. When Damon's grand slam made it 6-0, though, it become much more improbable that the Yankees would get back in the game. Without that slam, Pedro's entry in to the game in the 7th inning could have been the turning point. But instead, the Sahx found a way to step on the Yankees' necks and never let them get up.

This has to be very good news for the NL winner. Boston got past the Yankees, but the curse applies to the World Series. Just ask Bill Buckner.

I found the following baseball forum post to be quite thought provoking:

"Babe, Bucky, Buckner, Boone...
Those Astros have a bunch of Killer B's..."
Seems to me that Bagwell would be a particularly appropriate "B" to inflict the next wound, given his already infamous place in Red Sox lore. While Clemens pitching against the Sox would also be an interesting story line, neither "Roger" nor "Clemens" - nor even "Rocket" - starts with "B". But, of course, the Astros have to advance first. Stay tuned....

10/20 - This is what many baseball fans love to see: a 7th game between the Red Sox and the Yankees. (By the way, Tony Kornheiser is wrong when he calls them the "Sawx". They are the "Sahx". As in "pahk the cah".) If the game goes true to form (and so far, my prediction yesterday is working out), Boston will take the lead tonight and then somehow find a way to snatch defeat from the jahs of victory. Every season, and every post-season, has the same pattern. Give 'em hope, take it away, give it back, make 'em believe, and then thrust the knife into the gut and turn. So far, I've seen no deviation from the standard script. When the Yankees took a 3-0 series lead, it seemed totally out of character with history. But I just failed to see the bigger picture. Now it all seems so clear.

But it will still be interesting to see the final details of this particular drama. Who will add their name(s) to the list of Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, Grady Little, and Aaron Boone?

By the way, I'd love it if I were wrong. I'm not a Sahx fan (thankfully), but it's hard not to root for them in this situation.

10/19 - Nine favorites won in the 14 games of NFL week #6. But picking all favorites this week in Football Pickoff earned -11 points. 60% of all entries this week produced positive points, so there must have been a lot of good underdog picks. The best result belonged to trrams, who missed only the Green Bay win in Detroit, nailing the other 13 games correctly, and producing the top weekly result by more than 100 points over the second best.

Thank goodness the Yankees-Red Sox game started early yesterday. I was able to hang in for all 14 innings, since it ended around 11pm ET. Had it been an 8pm start, I'd have been long gone, as I was the night before. If this series goes true to typical Red Sox form, the Sox will win tonight, and then the Yanks will snatch it back tomorrow - probably due to some late game heroics from someone like Miguel F. Cairo. But maybe that's too predictable.

Thanks to Gurupie wolfer for suggesting today's quote.

10/18 - For the second straight week (pending tonight's results), the top running back was Reuben Droughns. Over the past 2 games, he amassed 913 TSNP. Over the same two weeks, the second best at RB was Mewelde Moore, with 888 TSNP. If you had those two on your TSN roster, that's a nice way to rack up points without spending much of anything. And if you drafted them on your fantasy team - in any format - you're probably lying.

Of course, there is a player who's even hotter. Daunte Culpepper has accumulated no less than 1367 TSNP over the past two weekends. That's a huge total for anyone, although in Culpepper's case, it's not nearly as out of scale as the two running backs mentioned above. So far this season, his worst outing was 375 TSNP at Philly in week 2. As was the case with John Santana in baseball, it's looking like you should just own the ace from Minnesota every week, regardless of price or opponent. If you need a way to conserve some funds so that you can afford him, see paragraph 1.

10/15 - At this juncture, it's looking like the teams with the best record in each league will be facing off in the World Series. It will be interesting to see if it still looks that way on Monday morning.

The RIHC draft is now in round 4, and rationales have been posted for the first round and a half. Hope they are helpful in steering your draft plans.

10/14 - At one point last night, I switched from the Boston/New York game on Fox to check on the NL game on Fox Sports. Instead, I got to see the end of the Celtics-Pistons preseason game. I couldn't find the Astros or Cardinals anywhere. What's up with that? I guess they figured that in New England, who would be interested in any baseball game other than the obvious one.

If you would like to use the message forum for your preseason Hoops draft, feel free to do so. Please use the designated forum for Basketball Leagues, so that the regular Basketball Forum doesn't get overwhelmed with league-specific draft activity. I do have the RIHC Draft take place at the regular Hoops forum because it is more widely followed (especially the draft rationales), but I ask that other leagues use the other forum. Thanks for your cooperation.

10/13 - If you live in the eastern U.S., you had to stay up late before the Redsox/Yankees game got interesting. Through six innings, the only issues were whether Mussina could finish his perfect game, and whether Schilling would be able to return to pitch on Saturday, on Sunday, or at all. But when an 8-0 game became an 8-7 game, it was worth staying up for the bitter end, even though the Yankees' two insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th dissipated some of the 9th inning tension.

NBA preseason stats are now up to date through last night. Steve Francis has the best single game effort so far, with 42 TSNP in 35 minutes in his Orlando debut.

10/12 - The ease with which Houston dispatched Atlanta last night was surprising. The ease with which Tennessee dispatched Green Bay last night was surprising. I guess it was a night for surprises.

But not for Gurupie WiddleAvi, who got 11 out of 14 picks correct this weekend, including last night's game. His 525 score topped the eight others who also picked 11 correctly in a week where underdogs dominated.

Speaking of surprises, the top running back in TSNP this season is Tiki Barber. Don't jump on him just yet, as the Giants have their bye this week. But if you got stuck with Tiki and Curtis Martin in your fantasy draft this year, you must be doing quite well! Of course, the weekly trend for Martin doesn't look very appealing.

The draft for the RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge started yesterday. Pick rationales will be posted two rounds in arrears, so those should start appearing in a few days.

On to the Red Sox-Yankees series. Football will have to take a back seat in New England this week.

10/11 - There was certainly plenty to watch over the weekend: baseball playoffs, college football, NFL week #5, a golf tournament, and the start of the NBA preseason. And that leaves plenty to digest this morning.

Perhaps in reverse order of long-term consequences, the NBA opened its preseason with two games last night. As I have done in past years, I will produce fantasy stats for NBA preseason games. I haven't processed those from last night yet, but hope to have them by the end of the day. The results will be in the sortable stats, the player pages, and the Hoops Assimilator, which was also released over the weekend. While I'm the first to admit that preseason stats are often of little predictive value for the regular season, they are still better than nothing - and with player movement so rampart during every NBA offseason, it does provide a glimpse at how the new rotations might operate. Use them or ignore them as you wish.

I haven't checked the Minneapolis newspapers to see how they are treating Ron Gardenhire's decision to lift Johan Santana after only 87 pitches and 5 innings. I do know what the Boston papers would be saying if he was the Red Sox manager. That decision may very well have had no impact on the game 4 result, since the Yankees didn't come back until the 8th, when Santana would probably have been gone anyway. But it still seemed like a curious decision.

In baseball, it's unusual to want to own two opposing starting pitchers. But in football, the two opposing QBs can be a good combo, especially if a game develops into a shootout. And that's what happened in Houston, as overtime was needed to settle the Vikings-Texans game which featured 8 TD passes, no picks, and more than 800 total yards from from Culpepper and Carr. I suspect Culpepper was a popular player on TSN rosters yesterday, as he was an easy replacement for McNabb (who had a bye). Kudos if you had Carr as well. I had Bulger as my second QB, which turned out very well, but as of the beginning of the 4th quarter, that was looking like a pretty disappointing pick. Nothing like a big deficit and a prevent defense to turn around a QB's fantasy stats!

10/8 - Most days I can come up with something on which to ruminate. But today, I've got nothing. It's not always easy, that's for sure.

10/7 - This week's GuruGolf tournament, the Michelin Championship at Las Vegas, offers an unusual scoring twist. The first three rounds are simultaneously played at three different courses, with different players on each course each day. It would not be appropriate to aggregate best ball scores by round, since the players in each GuruGolf foursome would be playing different courses. Most fantasy golf games simply ignore those rounds. But not this game.

I'll be consolidating the scorecards for the first three round by course. After the first three rounds are played, each GuruGolf team should have a complete best ball scorecard for each of the three courses. But until then, the scoring will be incomplete, as the various course rounds will have each have some vacancies until all three rounds are completed. So it may be tough to get a good handle on your relative standing until after the third round. The final round will be played and scored as usual, all on one course, and after the cut.

I tested the programming for this during the preseason, but today is the first time it's been used live, so bear with me if there are any glitches or delays. I think I'll have it all worked out shortly after today's rounds begin.

10/6 - Basketball drafting is on the horizon. One of the aspects I like about fantasy basketball drafting is that I seem to have more time to devote to pre-draft research. Fantasy baseball is over, and fantasy football maintenance is not as labor intensive. Baseball drafting occurs in the midst of the NBA season and Market Madness. Football drafting occurs during baseball season - and summer vacations. But with Hoops, I generally have a chance to do more thorough homework. I can't say that the results are any better, but at least I feel like I can enter a Hoops draft with a better attention span - and with fewer excuses.

The RotoGuru Invitational Hoops League will begin its draft next week. You can follow the draft at the RotoGuru Hoops forum. In addition to posting the picks, each manager is expected to provide a short rationale for each pick. Many of you have said that this is a valuable resource as you prepare for your own drafting. Be sure to tune in next week to see all of the picks that we boldly justify now - and moan about next April.

10/5 - The dogs days struck the NFL this weekend, as underdogs posted a 7-7 W/L record, not against the spread, but in absolute wins. So if you went mostly with favorites in Football Pickoff, you probably lost some ground. Only three slates had as many as 12 correct picks, headed by SkySailPats, with 659 points. Less than 40% of all slates had a positive score this week. It may have been a good week to sleep through the freeze.

The baseball playoffs start today. For many of you, this will provide the first opportunity of the year to watch a baseball game without any concern for the fantasy implications. For the few of you who may be playing TSN's playoff baseball game, you're on your own. I won't be providing any statistical support for the playoffs. There simply isn't enough demand to make it worth my while.

Once again, let me suggest that if you're looking for something besides football to bridge the gap from fantasy baseball to fantasy hoops, you might try out GuruGolf. It's free, and with only 5 tournaments remaining, you can make your final roster moves before the first regular season NBA game tips off. You can even track your results in the standings starting with this week (i.e., excluding all prior weeks). If you decide you like it, you can start off at the beginning of next season (probably January or February) with a little experience under your belt. And for those of you who have been playing all along, please weigh in with your thoughts on possible rules changes for next year in this thread.

10/4 - The critical moment of baseball's final weekend was the bottom of the 9th inning in Dodger stadium on Saturday. The Giants took a 3-0 lead into the inning, but gave up 7. They never had a second chance, after the Astros won on Sunday. Robb Nen, where were you?

So, we have no extra games to play, and the playoffs start tomorrow. Congrats to everyone who finished well this year. Special kudos to Peter N., who withstood a late charge to win the first RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge.

It was an usual football weekend in at least one respect. Look at the list of yesterday's top quarterbacks: Brady, Volek, Brees, Leftwich, Carr, Rattay. Other than Brady, you wouldn't expect to find those names listed above names like Manning, McNabb, Bulger, Pennington, Favre, etc. I guess it was a good week not to overspend on QB.

10/1 - If you're working out the possibilities for an extra MLB game on Monday, you need only look at the NL Wild Card race (barring a weekend Dodger meltdown). Oakland and Anaheim essentially play a best of 3 series this weekend for the AL West crown. Only a rainout could push them to Monday. But in the NL, there are still a lot of possibilities for extra play. And any extra games which are needed to settle the NL Wild Card team are considered regular season games, so they should count in your fantasy results.

Should be fun!

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2004: 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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