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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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10/28 - Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, last night’s game must have been compelling. From the 1st inning until the 11th, there were a variety of twists and turns – good pitching, good hitting, bad pitching, bad hitting, (bad bunting), good fielding, bad fielding, good drama. It’ll be hard for tonight’s game to maintain the pace, but you never know…
Today could be the day that the NBA situation gets resolved. If not, it may be the day that foists this back into a long staredown. If there is a resolution, we’ll need to get moving on the formation of the RIHC (RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge) leagues next week. If not,… well, college basketball will be starting shortly.
10/27 - Some of the talking heads are now suggesting that the NBA lockout may be nearing a resolution. My intuition is that this is wishful thinking, but since I don’t have a seat at the table and don’t know what pressures are being brought to bear on either side of the standoff, I can’t say for sure. The fact that yesterday’s session didn’t break up until after 3am is probably a favorable sign, however.
The World Series resumes – and maybe concludes – tonight, under benign weather conditions. The same holds true if a Friday night game is warranted. MLB makes a lot of really bone-headed decisions, but I think they were right to postpone last night’s game.
10/26 - There are three possible outcomes of tonight’s Game-6 of the World Series. Texas could win, St. Louis could win, or the weather could win. At of this morning, I’m favoring the weather.
After the NBA threatened to cancel another 2 weeks of NBA games, the announcement never came and more talks are now scheduled. I don’t hold out much hope that these talks will bear more fruit, but it is a good sign that they are at least meeting. Given that the reported gap in basketball-related revenues still amounts to $100 million – which equates to about $200,000 per year per active player – that sounds like quite a gap. And they haven’t even started earnest negotiations over the salary cap/luxury tax issue, which sounds like an even bigger nut to crack. But, they can’t begin to crack anyone’s nuts if they aren’t talking – so that’s a necessary development – but probably insufficient for the time being.
10/25 - Was that good defensive football, or bad offensive football? Some of each, I guess. Mostly, it was a good excuse to keep the TV remote parked on the World Series game.
Only 43% of Football Pickoff slates managed to post positive scores this week. Kudos to youngroman, who was the only one to get 11 games correct, posting the top weekly score of 483.
10/24 - Before the start of the season, last night’s Super Bowl XLIV rematch must have looked like a pretty good one from NBC’s perspective. Oops. I wonder how the Colts would be doing this year if Peyton Manning were playing? Is he the whole difference? Or was the team on the downslope anyway, and his absence is just one of several problems? Regardless, last night’s effort was a fumbler, a bumbler, and a humbler.
If you are going to give up 16 runs in a pair of World Series games, the Rangers did it the best way – losing 16-7, then winning 4-0. Tonight’s game-5 seems like it could be the ultimate decider, but historical records suggest that MLB game-5 winners (taking a 3-2 lead) only win the series 70% of the time, so while a win would certainly be helpful, it’s not critical. Based on historical results, the Rangers would have a 62.5% chance of winning the series if they win tonight. A Cardinal win would propel them to a 77% chance of winning (since the last two games will be in St. Louis). But neither of those suggests that tonight’s loser is necessarily toast.
10/21 - A well played, compelling, NL-style baseball game that took only 3 hours to complete. I even stayed awake through the 9th inning – which is a rarity for night baseball games.
We’ve already got 12 people signed up for the RotoGuru $2M League at the FireLeague Salary Cap Football site. See yesterday’s blurb for more details. League play starts this Sunday. Come on down!
The NBA talks have once again deadlocked, and more cancelations are likely. I’m not sure who blinks first, although it would seem that the owners are very willing to wait this one out. And in that case, I’d guess the players will eventually cave. But that probably won’t happen for quite awhile.
10/20 - If past is prologue, then the World Series is almost done. According to ESPN, ”Game 1 has been an indicator of success in recent decades: The winner has captured seven of the last eight titles, 12 of the last 14 and 19 of the last 23. In addition, the team hosting Game 1 has won 20 of the last 25 World Series.”
Tough luck, Ranger fans.
On to football. In spite of limited responses, I decided to go ahead and set up a cheap player league on FireLeague Football. Here are the parameters:
Register at FireLeague.com, and then sign up for a free team for the “Salary Cap Football Standard” game.That’s it. Because trades are limited (you get 3 upon registration, and one more is added each week), you’ll have to find players you can live with for multiple weeks. For teams starting this week, you’ll have to manage your roster for 11 week with only 13 trades. So buy wisely, grasshoppers. If you have questions, post them this thread. Sortable stats are available here: Sortable stats for players costing $2M and less. The Assimilator is also available to help you manage your roster.
10/19 - The Rangers are the betting favorites to win the World Series, but this one really looks too close to call. Chris Carpenter is probably the best pitcher in the Series, but he’s certainly not unbeatable. Both bullpens have been solid. St. Louis may have the hotter hitters, although Nelson Cruz has been hot enough to carry the team. And neither team has had any trouble scoring runs. The Cards get the home field advantage, which means that Texas will lose the DH for 4 out of 7 games. But Texas doesn’t have the quintessential DH who can’t play the field, so this just means they’ll have one more decent hitter available on the bench. This one could easily go either way.
Carson Palmer got his wish, and should probably add Jason Campbell to his Christmas list. While Palmer certainly has marquis name recognition, he really hasn’t performed that well in the last few years, so it remains to be seen whether this week’s hot pickup on the fantasy waiver wire will really be an impact player. Last season, his QB rating ranked 19th in the NFL – immediately behind Jason Campbell. Two years ago, he ranked #16 – again, right behind Jason Campbell. If nothing else, this is starting to look like a seamless transition!
10/18 - The NFL trade deadline is today. Brandon Lloyd was moved from Denver to St. Louis yesterday. Reportedly, Carson Palmer has just been traded to Oakland. The NFL trade deadline doesn’t often yield as many impact trades as in MLB, but these two moves will certainly have fantasy implications.
Old-time Gurupies will remember past seasons of the TSN salary cap games with alternative formats such as “$500k” (where purchased players must cost less than a certain amount) and “LRV” (low roster value), where the object is to lose as much value as possible via trading. If anyone is interested in joining free leagues at the FireLeague site for either of these two alternatives, please indicate your interest in this thread. If we get at least a handful of interested managers, I can set something up this week.
10/17 - It’s an odd day in the NFL when worst injury is to a head coach (Sean Payton – broken leg and torn MCL), and the most-hyped dust-up was between two head coaches (Harbaugh v. Schwartz).
Green Bay is now the only team with an unblemished record. Three teams are still lacking a win, although Miami has a shot to get it tonight against the Jets in New
Among yesterday’s starting QBs, Rex Grossman was the worst, with 4 picks, no TDs, and a benching. Jason Campbell was second worst, but we should give him a “pass” because he was knocked out of the game (and the season) in the 1st half with a broken collarbone. After those two, do you know who was the worst ranking starting QB of the day? Hint: His team won a big game, and he ranks in the top 10 in QB rating for the season. Second hint: His stats were 125 passing yards, 5 rushing yards, 1 TD, 1 interception, 1 fumble.
Answer (highlight with your cursor): Alex Smith, SF I’d have never guessed that.
I guess I should make some comment about baseball, but since we have until Wednesday before the World Series starts, I have plenty of time.
10/13 - Twice, Justin Verlander has been snakebit by rain. His only postseason win this year was the one when he was able to go 8 innings. Admittedly, his postseason ERA stands at 6.75, so weather isn’t the only thing inhibiting his results, but with Detroit now down 3-1, he’s simply got to get it done. The weather forecast currently calls for a 30% chance of rain at gametime. If I were going to the game, I think I’d pack a poncho.
Yesterday, Fastpoint games – the successor company to RotoHog – abruptly folded its salary cap fantasy games offered through the Facebook portal. No explanation was offered, although a midseason cancelation suggests that the underlying financial situation was pretty severe. The FireLeague site, which offers effectively the same salary cap football game with RotoHog running the software under contract, is apparently unaffected. So if you are playing FireLeague salary cap football (for which RotoGuru provides sortable stats, etc.) you should still be good to go. What this portends for the future of the old Smallworld/TSN salary cap format is anyone’s guess. It’s quite possible that RotoHog will continue to be a service provider to other fantasy sports producers (like FireLeague), and has simply decided to stop taking the financial risks associated with marketing, enrollment, and prizes. But if the NBA season does ever start this year, I’d bet against there being a salary cap offering for that. But I’m strictly speculating now.
I’m scheduled for jury duty tomorrow, so in all likelihood, there will be no blurb. Enjoy the weekend!
10/12 - I’ve gotta confess, I’m not quite sure what I should be doing in this blurb-space now. Typically, October is a month of preseason NBA activity and fantasy hoops drafts, with NFL action overlaid on the weekends. But with the NBA out of commission, finding something relevant to comment on during the mid-week is proving difficult. I guess we have post-season baseball, but that so heavily covered elsewhere that I don’t find it to be particularly blurbworthy unless something unusual happens.
The most interesting activity in baseball may be the apparent movement of Theo Epstein from Boston to the Cubs. If that happens (and the rumors are now pretty strong), it will be interesting to see if Theo tries to bring in Terry Francona as the manager. It’s not clear what their relationship was as things fell apart in Boston last month, but if they could take the Cubs to the promised land, their curse-breaking prowess would be cemented and celebrated forever in baseball lore.
10/11 - I’m back from my road trip (with a group of 8 friends) to West Virginia. UConn played well for about 32 minutes, but then things all went horribly wrong – somewhat as expected. Having said that, the weather was great, and I found the West Virginia fans to be very friendly and welcoming. A good weekend with good friends.
This was a moderately difficult week for Football Pickoff, with only 45% of all slates posting positive scores. Oddly enough, Consensus Favorites fared well, winning 10 of 13 games, and posting a +216. Normally, I associate negative weeks with upsets. In any event, the top score was +594 from Mr.RightMr.PartyAllNight, missing only the Oakland upset over Houston. At the other extreme, we had a perfect slate from Knucklenate who went 0-13, posting a -604. I don’t know if that’s happened before (it probably has), but it certainly has to be rare.
10/5 - Tampa Bay comes from 9 games back to make an incredible recovery in September, and then is dead again just a week later. The other baseball series are still alive, although every game is now a potential elimination game. The Yankees reclaimed the edge, getting a solid performance from A.J. Burnett, and now puts the ball in the hands of Ivan Nova, who pitched well in the completion of the suspended game #1. The Tigers counter with Doug Fister, who was roughed up in that same game. But we have to wait a day for that game to happen. After all, it takes a full day to travel from Detroit to New York!
In the NFL, we begin the bye week period of the season. For many fantasy formats, this puts bench management at a premium, as six teams are off each week for the next four weeks. Oddly, that is followed by a full schedule in week #10, and then four more teams have their byes in week #11. I suspect that unusual schedule pattern had something to do with contingency planning in the event of a labor-induced delay of the season. Regardless, plan accordingly!
The NBA situation sounds like a stalemate, as both sides are seemingly content to wait for the other side to blink first. A cancelation of the start of the season seemed to be the consensus forecast in the summer, and that still looks like the path they’re on. Hurry up and wait.
GuruGolf prize notifications were emailed this morning. If you think you should have received one and don’t find it, perhaps your GuruGolf email address is out of date. If so, send me an email.
I’ll be traveling for the next few days (road trip to West Virginia for UConn football), so I’ll dispense with blurbs until next week.
10/4 - Not exactly vintage Verlander, but good enough. With A.J. Burnett pitching for the Yankees tonight in an elimination game in Detroit, the Tigers have to feel pretty good about their situation. But postseason series often take funny turns, so I’m assuming nothing.
All four baseball series are in action today, and three could end. Only the Phillies and Cardinals are assured of continuing tomorrow. Not quite the scenario we had last Wednesday when four teams were all playing for their own survival, but it could still turn out to offer some drama. And with no football, what else are you gonna watch?
10/3 - After yesterday, only two NFL teams remain undefeated: Green Bay and Detroit. Even though they are division rivals, they won’t have their first meeting until week #12 – on Thanksgiving Day, no less. Imagine the hype for that game if both continue their winning ways until then. The Detroit opener on Thanksgiving is generally a “who cares” game. Looks like this year will be different, regardless of whether either team is still undefeated at the time.
At the other extreme, there are now only four winless teams: St. Louis, Minnesota, Miami, and Indy. The Colts still play tonight, so they could still get off the schneid. Miami and St. Louis have byes next week, so they’ll have a long layover. The Vikings get a home game against Arizona, so they have a chance to plug the hole.
If you had Aaron Rodgers and the Baltimore defense yesterday, you probably could have prevailed with just about any other roster fillers. Rodgers found the end zone six times (4 passing, 2 rushing), and the Ravens D got 3 TDs, two more than the Ravens O.
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
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 toGuru<firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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