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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 - I misread the NBA schedule yesterday. Every NBA team had not yet played a game, as Charlotte and Dallas both had their season openers last night. And the wait didn’t apparently help either team.

Rick Carlisle’s advice in today’s quote (“You got to be careful about overreacting to one game”) is good advice for fantasy hoops as well. But in at least one instance, an early signal in the TSN salary cap game seems clear: dump Matt Barnes! He may turn out to be a useful fantasy player. But after two games, he has amassed only 21.5 TSNP in total, less than ½ TSNP per minute played. And in the Ultimate game, he’s 44% of all rosters. (Note: For those who haven’t yet noticed, TSN is publishing ownership numbers on their site this season. You can find this info under the Analysis menu.) Poor production, high ownership, and only one game in the next four days combine to produce the “perfect storm” - a swift and punishing price drop for any manager who chooses patience over panic. After his disappointing opening game, I had feared that he would post a modest result last night, giving a mixed signal. But 8 TSNP in 26 minutes is about the strongest sell signal he could send. I don’t usually make trade recommendations in this space, but this one is a no brainer (for which some might say I am inherently qualified.)

At the other end of the spectrum, Chris Paul is certainly living up to his status as the consensus #1 pick in the RIHC leagues. In his first two games, he’s averaged 20½ pts, 10½ assts, 6½ rebounds, and 3 steals. Interestingly, Matt Barnes drew the starting assignment to guard Paul last night. Evidently, Paul’s game was a real Barnes-burner.

10/30 - Every NBA team has now played at least one game. Most have played exactly one game. So we have a little bit of information to digest.

And a little bit of misinformation – because stats from the first several games always attain exaggerated relevance. During the season, if a player averages 20 fantasy points per game, he’ll occasionally have a 35 point game. And that game will typically be discounted until there is a discernable trend to suggest that it might persist. But in the first week, we have no trends to evaluate. Some players produced stats in their opener that will be above their longer term production. We just don’t know who they are.

That’s not to say that you should not react to surprising results. Just recognize that today’s diamond in the rough could quickly turn out to be plastic. And one or two of those potential diamonds could turn out to be real after all.

Judge wisely! And remember, that’s why they pay us the big bucks.

And speaking of big bucks, thanks to those of you who generously responded to last week’s pitch for more GuruPatron donations. Almost $500 has come in during the past week, and we have almost reached last year’s total donations of $3,384. Admittedly, last year was the low year, but it’s gratifying to see the trend stabilize – and with two months to go, perhaps we will see a modest bounce.

10/29 - I hope Greg Oden does not turn out to be as injury prone as his college and pro career to-date would suggest. But history shows that some big men just have trouble staying healthy. And thus far, “healthy Greg Oden” is an oxymoron.

No NBA player really lit up the stat sheet last night. LeBron had spurts of stat stuffing, but also missed too many shots, particularly from the foul line, where he was only 4-8, including several critical misses in the 4th quarter. Kobe had similar fantasy point production in a game that was never very close in the second half.

Some of you have noticed that I recently implemented an enhancement to the message forum that should allow lengthy threads to load and display faster. For threads that have more than 70 replies, only the most recent 50 replies will display when you first access the thread. Once the recent posts are displayed, the browser will continue to load the hidden items in the background, so that if you want to unhide all of the earlier posts, you can do that as desired. Let me know if any of you encounter problems or errors with the new routine. I have heard of no glitches so far, but it’s possible that some browsers or some threads will have quirks that I’ll need to compensate for. And if there are threads that you haven’t bothered to investigate solely due to size, you should be able to do so now. – even if you only have dial-up speed.

10/28 - Bud Selig says he would have suspended the game, regardless of the inning or score. But he sure seemed intent on getting through five innings, in spite of increasingly unplayable conditions. It’s understandable that a number of Phillies are angry at the situation – not only for having to play the top of the 6th, when the Rays sloshed out a run to tie the game – but maybe even for starting the game in the first place. And just imagine the angst that would prevail if this were the Cubs in the shoes of the Phillies. Tampa Bay would probably have become a prohibitive favorite overnight!

In Football Pickoff, we had our first perfect slate of the season, as Beerhunters3 posted the maximum possible score (+840) for the weekend, not only picking every winner correctly, but getting the optimum double. And it’s not like this was an easier than average week, as only 52% of entries posted positive scores. Well done!

If you aren’t involved in any fantasy hoops, then you can take it easy for a few days. But if you are, then today is the day to get all of your ducks in order. Tonight features three games to open the NBA regular season, and all of the remaining teams will be in action by tomorrow night. If you’re playing salary cap games, tonight will be full of hope. And by Thursday morning, buyer’s remorse will abound. ‘Twas ever thus.

10/27 - If you had Drew Brees, here’s hoping your weekend game doesn’t go down to the wire. With 14 seconds remaining, rather than risking a blocked punt or a long punt return, Brees took a 4th down snap at the San Diego 26 yard line and proceeded to run backwards to take a safety – and -26 rushing yards! If those lost fantasy points matter, that’s got to sting!

Looking around the TSN football landscape, I found quite a few teams that had Santana Moss, who was the highest scoring WR for the week. But I’ll bet no one had the receivers ranked #2 and #3. Admittedly, Donnie Avery wouldn’t have been a completely looney pick, with reasonable production the last few weeks and a minimum TSN pricetag. But Ted Ginn’s 371 TSNP almost doubled his output for the season. And if you did have that pair, you’re wasting your time on fantasy sports!

The NBA season starts tomorrow night. I know that some of you who play the TSN Ultimate salary cap game have used a “day late” strategy in the past, effectively conceding points for the first several days in order to get jump on the early price gainers. This year, you’ll forfeit your first 4 trades with that approach, so it’s really not a viable tactic any more. So get those lineups set before tomorrow night.

10/24 - I wonder how David Price will be ranked for next spring’s fantasy baseball drafts.

Tonight marks the end of NBA preseason games. Preseason activity can give important insights into how new players and traded players might be used. But preseason action can also provide a fair amount of misinformation, since established players generally sit while others are given a chance to show what they can do. In any event, those stats are available in the sortable stats for the TSN and NBASE games. Caveat emptor. Regular season action starts next Tuesday.

10/23 - The World Series is off and running. If it goes past 5 games, national interest should pick up. Until then, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal outside of Philly and Tampa.

The various RIHC drafts are either complete or in their final stages. Now we hurry up and wait for opening night, which is next Tuesday. For casual NBA fans, the regular season opener is no big deal. For fantasy hoops, though, it’s when the rubber meets the road.

Although fantasy hoops clearly has a smaller national following that baseball or football, it does rank up there in the RotoGuru community, partly due to the strong international interest. I think the Hoops message forum is more active (in season) than either the baseball or football forums, and the various RotoGuru tools for hoops – the color coded schedule, the Sched-O-Matic, the sortable stats with projection capabilities – offer useful and unique capabilities. I’m sure it’s no accident that many of the top participants in the TSN Hoops game, and even in the NBA Stock Exchange game, frequent this site.

Which brings me to my seasonal pitch. This site runs primarily on my passion and commitment. The forum depends on active participation from Gurupies around the world. The financial costs are modest, but not immaterial. And while I’m clearly not doing this for financial reward – if that was my motivation, then I’ve failed – your donations as GuruPatrons are important not only in offsetting the hard costs of hosting and maintaining a web site, but also of showing me that this site still matters to you.

If we get to a point where I perceive that it doesn’t matter, then I can find other ways to kill time. And believe me, this is a big time killer! Aside from a brief one-week hiatus to Sweden in 2003 when the site was pretty much left on autopilot, I’ve spent some time every single day over the past 11 years updating and processing stats, blurbing, deterring troublemakers and spammers at the forum, and administering a variety of game opportunities that don’t attract a large crowd, but hopefully do provide some enjoyment and stimulation for many of you.

I don’t devote much effort to trolling for donations. That’s not my focus, and it’s not my style. But to the extent that the success of this site is measured in the financial support of users, the trend is decidedly negative. The commitment of many of you is remarkable, especially given the limited effort I devote to begging. Still, last year’s tally of 72 donors giving $3,384 was the lowest in the seven years of the GuruPatron program. And this year, we’re still 15% shy of that level. It does, on occasion, make me wonder how closely we’re approaching the time to move on.

Don’t panic – I’m not about to fold the tent yet. I’m not at a critical decision point. But a more widespread show of support would help to keep those “life after RotoGuru” thoughts at bay. If this site still matters to you, GuruPatron donations are an effective way to show me and to show others.

Thanks as always. End of pitch.

10/22 - Maybe if I lived in Cleveland and was closer to the day-to-day situation, I’d understand. But I don’t follow the gist of Kellen Winslow’s complaints. And the Browns’ reaction seems overdone. There must be more to this feud than I’m getting.

The NBA season starts in less than a week, and the preseason must be winding down, because some of the top players are starting to show their stuff. For example, Chris Paul played 35 minutes last night posted a stat line that justifies his consensus #1 pick status in fantasy hoops this season: 23 points, 15 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block. That’s 65 TSNP, if you’re inclined to keep score that way. Lebron and Wade also had strong showings. One of this month’s trendy picks, Danny Granger, put up 43 TSNP in 37 minutes. And Andrew Bynum finally had one of those “pick up where you left off last year” nights, with 46.5 TSNP in just 26 minutes.

10/21 - With seven weeks in the NFL record books, the stats show some surprising names at the top. Using total TSNP as a measuring stick:

  • The top two QBs are Brees and Aaron Rodgers (Brett who?)
  • The top two RBs are Reggie Bush and Clinton Portis. (Of course, some of Bush’s points come from special team returns, which are excluded in many formats.) The third ranked RB is Marion Barber.
  • The top two receivers are Greg Jennings and DeSean Jackson.
Perhaps more surprising is the lack of some names in their position’s top ten (numbers in parentheses show the TSNP/game ranking for that position): Peyton Manning (14), Tomlinson (17), Adrian Peterson (11), Terrell Owens (23), Randy Moss (27 – although that’s obviously not all Moss’ fault), and Braylon Edwards (40). So much for preseason rankings.

Football pickoff results were very balanced this week, with half posting positive scores, and half underwater. Congrats to SkySail, with the week’s high score of +562 on 12 correct picks, including a double of St. Louis.

10/20 - Autumn Monday mornings are usually devoted to digesting football stats from the previous day. But this morning, I’m juggling three Hoops drafts, and my head is spinning. I did manage to get football stats processed, but I haven’t really done much analysis, other than to recognize that my weekend quarterback choices of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees both fizzled. Even if you combine their output, the totals fell short of my expectations for either one.

And following up on my Dallas QB dilemma (see Friday’s blurb), I can’t help but notice that Joe Flacco would have been much better than Brad Johnson after all. Oh well.

I guess I should at least pay some lip service to the AL Championship game. Suffice it to say than whenever it looked like Tampa Bay might come up a “day late and a dollar short,” they found a way to get the job done. Their surprising turnaround season was clearly no fluke. This team has talent and cahones. Quite a story. And it’s still being written.

10/17 - My prediction about the baseballl game was spot on – the game took over 4 hours, and didn’t end until after midnight local time. But the maxim that “momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher” was too shortsighted. It should probably be something like “momentum is the next pitcher.” Scott Kazmir had things well in control, but the normally reliable Rays bullpen imploded – or the Red Sox bats exploded – take your pick. Even the TV announcers had all but conceded this one to the visitors in the 7th inning. Tampa has been good all year at facing down Boston every time the Sox approached them in the standings. But they still have to do it one more time. And history suggests that it’s not a given.

This Tony Romo situation has the potential to mess up my RIFC team. Romo is my QB, but I also drafted Brad Johnson. So when Romo’s injury was first announced, I figured I was well prepared. But now it sounds like Romo might play. Will it be a game time decision? If Romo does play (vs. the Rams), will they sit him if the Cowboys start to pull away? This could turn into a real headache if I end up with two half-QBs. And my only other QB is Flacco – so taking out the uncertainty by starting him instead is not an attractive alternative. Ugh.

10/16 - I’m getting a late start on today’s blurb, which seems odd, given the lack of live action occurring at this time of the week. However, I spent most of my morning on Hoops-related activities – first adding about 100 new player prices to the TSN sortable stats, and then arm wrestling myself over my next pick in the RIHC draft. We’re in the third round, and the current challenge is that there are plenty of highly desirable players still available. In a few more days, we’ll be struggling to find any player that we really want to draft.

Boston rolls the Daisuke tonight, trying to send their series back to Florida. The momentum is certainly against them, although it’s hard to imagine they would get swept in Beantown. Of course, there is a saying that “Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher” (attributed to Earl Weaver). The best prediction that I can make is that the game will probably end very late. Even game #1, when Daisuke flirted with a no hitter and the final score was 2-0, took almost 3½ hours.

10/15 - The fat lady hasn’t yet sung, but it’s looking rather unlikely that Fox TV will get its Sox-Dodgers matchup, although Boston has made a habit on recent years of overcoming deficits like this. Or worse. We’ll know shortly.

It’s been a wild week for the Cowboys, and it’s still only Wednesday. So far, they’ve lost the trio of Romo, Jones, and Jones for at least four games. And with the impending holes at QB, RB, and DB, they traded for a wide receiver. Go figure. They have done a good job of cornering the Roy Williams market, however, as they now sport two of them on their roster.

The RIHC draft has begun, and will continue for the next 7-8 days. Draft rationales for each pick will also be posted, although on a two round lag. We should get those started tomorrow.

10/14 - The NFC East is supposed to be the beast. But this weekend, the Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants lost to the Cardinals, Rams, and Browns. And last night’s capper in Cleveland wasn’t even much of a contest, as the Giants defense failed to get a turnover or a sack. In fact, Cleveland never even had to punt.

As the NFC East went, so went many Football Pickoff slates, as only about one-third of all entries posted positive scores this weekend. Congrats to beejay_100, who managed the top score of 403 in spite of missing last night’s upset.

10/13 - For several teams, this was one of those “any given Sunday”s. Washington found a way to keep the Rams from falling on their own swords – several times. Dallas couldn’t find the consistency needed to avoid reliance on unlikely plays – and then handed the game to Arizona after failing to capitalize on the favorable coin flip. And Detroit almost handed Minnesota an improbable loss. For this Lions team, almost winning may be as good as it gets.

Those who were all set to watch both baseball and football last night quickly found that neither game offered much after the opening minutes. The Dodgers produced all the scoring they needed in the first inning, and the game was never close after that. Meanwhile, the Chargers never let the Patriots into the game, winning 30-10 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. I sat there with the remote control poised to shift back and forth, but eventually decided to watch a rerun of “Hogan’s Heroes” instead (although admittedly, the outcome of that adventure was never in doubt, either. But it was funnier.)

10/10 - I was on the road yesterday, taking my daughter on a college visit. I hadn’t necessarily planned to skip the Thursday blurb, but it was a slow sports day to begin with, and after a few moments pondering what I could talk about, I decided that if I had nothing to say, I shouldn’t bother saying it. So I did. Or didn’t, as the case may be.

Apparently, I’m in the same situation today – having nothing to say, that is. But on a Friday, I figured I should at least pipe up and remind people to make their weekend picks in Football Pickoff. Or to sign up for the RIHC AA fantasy basketball league (5 more managers needed).

While my daughter was sitting in on a class yesterday (at Tufts), I started doing some preliminary research for my own RIHC draft, which will start next Wednesday. Basketball is a difficult sport to get reacclimated in each fall, since so many players change teams in the offseason. (My word processing spellchecker doesn’t like the word “reacclimated”, but it seems like a perfectly good word to me, so I’m going to ignore the red squiggly underline.) That’s one of the benefits of processing preseason NBA stats – it helps to hammer home the idea of some players on teams where I don’t expect them, like Marcus Camby or Baron Davis on the Clippers, or Elton Brand in Philly, or Jermaine O’Neal in Toronto, or T.J. Ford in Indy, or Richard Jefferson in Milwaukee, or Cory Maggette on Golden State, or Ron Artest in Houston, or … yada, yada, yada.

10/8 - This is the time of the week when football is in “hurry up and wait” mode. Baseball playoffs don’t resume until Thursday night. So what to do?

I’ve started posting preseason NBA fantasy stats already. Preseason games started on Sunday, and many teams haven’t played any yet – but if you check the sortable stats and the other related pages, I’ve got those points calculated and posted. All players who have appeared in a game are included, even if they aren’t yet listed in the TSN or NBASE games.

If you want to play in a roto-style hoops league, we are attempting to round up enough interest for a second AA league for the RIHC (RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge). If you’ve been procrastinating, or are simply on the fence about participating, why not give it a try? No cost. Register your interest here.

Thanks to Gurupie Pacers Rule for suggesting today’s quote.

10/7 - From all outward appearances, a lot of TSN football owners moved from Reggie Bush to Matt Forte this past week. That was a decided positive financial move, as Forte was the biggest gainer and Bush the biggest loser. But it cost almost 400 TSNP, as Bush had a Hester-like game, busting two long punt returns for TDs and 627 TSNP. Was the price swing worth the point pickup? Probably not. And certainly not if you picked up Adrian Peterson instead, who barely cracked the top 40 RBs for the weekend.

The two American League playoff series wrapped up last night, leaving TV viewers with no baseball games until Thursday. How much do you suppose Fox wants the World Series to come down to the Dodgers and Red Sox, bringing about Manny’s return to Boston?

10/6 - Not only did Aaron Rodgers play yesterday vs. Atlanta, but he was one of the top QBs in fantasy points. So how did Green Bay manage to lose to Atlanta? I didn’t see any of that game, so I’ll have to leave it as a rhetorical question for now. But after five weeks, Green Bay is 2-3, while Atlanta is 3-2. Like we all saw THAT coming.

After watching the final minutes of the Houston meltdown vs Indy, it seems to me that Sage Rosenfels is misnamed.

You’ve got to feel kind of badly for the Cubs, who never even made it a contest vs. the Dodgers. This time, there was no discernable event (e.g., Bartman) upon which the tide turned. This was just a failure to hit in combination with mediocre pitching. Over three games, they were outscored 20-6.

So Manny advances, to the consternation of Red Sox fans. And Joe Torre advances, to the consternation of Hank Steinbrenner.

10/3 - The Red Sox demonstrated a few years back that even cursed teams can rebound from seemingly insurmountable odds to advance and win a World Series. And that’s about all the Cubs have going for them right now, as they head to L.A., down 2-0. But as Sarah Palin would say to Cubs fans, “doggone it, say it ain’t so … we can’t wave the white flag of surrender!”

Meanwhile, The Phillies had their “nuke-u-ler” moment early, capitalizing on some 2nd inning Sabathia wildness to get all the runs they would need (and get) for Brett Myers, while the Tampa Bay surge kept on working.

10/2 - The Cubs-Dodgers series is going to evoke a lot of emotions, regardless of outcome. Clearly, the Cubs are the sentimental favorites, and they’ve never lost a World Series in a year ending in ’08. But it would be nice to see Joe Torre get to the World Series (if for no other reason than to tweak Hank Steinbrenner), and if it ends up as Boston vs. the Dodgers, that would have an interesting Manny subplot as well.

Of course, it’s way too early to be penciling in the final contenders – even though only 4-of-28 NL teams have come back to win a division series after losing game one. In the A.L., the record of opening losers is 14-14, so my guess is that the league difference is only a statistical anomaly. Then again, the Cubs are probably also a statistical anomaly. And an enduring one, at that (if not also endearing…)

10/1 - The MLB regular season is finally over. The baseball links have dropped to the bottom of the left panel, and the other sports have bubbled up.

I’ve loaded up the preliminary player prices for both the TSN and RotoHog (NBA Stock Exchange, offered at games. Basic functionality of the sortable stats, player pages, and Assimilator all appear to be working properly. I’m sure the team affiliations for some players are still out of date, but those will get updated over the next few weeks. With Seattle moving to Oklahoma City, I had to do some schedule realignment, and I hope that all worked – but please consider any output with a skeptical eye for the next week or so, as I may have missed (or bungled) something somewhere.

As in the past several years, I once again plan to track and report preseason NBA fantasy stats. That not only provides a good shakedown process for my statistical gathering and reporting routines, but also provides a glimpse at how players might be used once the season begins. Of course, it gives a lot of head fakes as well, so user beware. The first preseason games are this coming Sunday, so until then, last season’s totals are still shown.

2008: 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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