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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.

11/26 - We are approaching one of the slowest periods of site activity. The Thanksgiving holiday is always quiet, as is Christmas week. Don't expect to get into many active conversations at the forum over the next few days.

I figured I should use the impending break to take care of one outstanding item. And that is the enshrinement of a baseball winner into the RotoGuru Hall of Fame. Congrats to Tosh, who earns his second listing by virtue of leading the 2003 TSN Ultimate Baseball RotoGuru Rankings, with an overall ranking of #6. Tosh was first enshrined for the previous year's Midseason Ultmate Baseball game, so he's on a roll. And he certainly will be one of the invitees for next years first RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge, patterned after the current Hoops Challenge. Congrats, Tosh!

Don't forget the early freezes for the Swirve and PSC football games. Your entire week #13 rosters will be locked tomorrow. More flexible timing applies to TSN and Football Pickoff, as described in Monday's blurb.

Enjoy the extended holiday weekend. Just remember to check on injury updates along the way. Light trading doesn't always mean light price changes, especially if there is an obvious move to be made. (Remember Allen Iverson's 1999 Thanksgiving treat. Ah, those were the wild and woolly days!)

11/25 - I thought this was a difficult weekend for Football Pickoff. Evidently, I was wrong, as 219 entries earned positive scores vs. only 83 negatives. Further, three entrants picks 15/16 correctly. The top two scores of +765 were identical slates submitted by Hogwarts Wizards and TaRhEElKiD.

Yesterday was "Pacer Day" for TSN Hoops trading. The three top Pacers (O'Neal, Artest, and Foster) each had big gains. Of the three, Artest had the most disappointing game result. Jermaine had a strong output, but if you have him, you've gotta keep your fingers crossed that his knee holds up during this heavy schedule period.

I made one adjustment to the sortable stats yesterday. Previously, the column headed "last game" showed the points for the last game that each player appeared in. This meant that Elton Brand's line, for example, showed his big result from October. Now, this shows the result for the most recent game played by a player's team. In Brand's case, this now shows "DNP". In addition, if you want to filter out all players whose last game was a DNP, you now have that option as an inactivity filter option at the bottom.

I'm working an improved system for handling GuruPatron recognition at the forum. The details are in post #9 of this thread. If you are a GuruPatron, please go to the ID management page and have your initial password emailed to you by selecting the "forgot password" option. (If you do not receive the password, then your email address is probably not current, and you should send me an email to update it and request your password.) Once you receive your password, go back and change that password to something more personal, and in the process you will reset your ID if that is needed.

This new system is still in the "beta" stage, so you may encounter some anomalies. If so, please report them, either via email, or in the forum thread linked above.

11/24 - This was a good weekend to illustrate why TSN Hoops plans need to be flexible. For example,.you might have been planning to hold Carlos Arroyo through his 4 consecutive off days. Now it looks like he'll be scoreless for a lot more than four days. Then Shaq was injured. Ditto for Kidd. And of course, Jermaine O'Neal's health has been variable. Keep some trades in reserve, and also have a backup trading plan.

The RotoGuru1 server was AWOL for about 2.5 hours this morning, due to a power outage at the server's location in the Dallas area. During that time, the message forum, the sortable stats, player pages, and Football Pickoff were not available. Fortunately, Monday morning is not a critical time for Football Pickoff. This would have been a bigger issue yesterday.

Which reminds me, there are two NFL games on Thursday this week. For TSN, you only need to make roster moves if you have players to buy or sell on any of the four Thursday teams (Detroit, Green Bay, Dallas, or Miami). For Football Pickoff, the two Thursday games will be locked at the time of the first kickoff on Thursday. Other games will remain open until Sunday. But for Swirve or PSC, you'll need to get your entire week 13 roster submitted by the Thursday freeze. Don't get caught by surprise!

11/21 - A slow day. Only two NBA games. TSN trading was centered on dumping injured players (Jermaine, Boozer, and Iverson) plus Mike Dunleavy, who's simply been sucking lately and has a light schedule coming up. Jeff Foster was the buy-side flavor du jour.

I've been doing some behind the scenes programming work this past week, with a particular focus on stabilizing the forum ID system and GuruPatron tracking/recognition system. Hopefully, these enhancements will be ready to release soon. Nothing earthshattering, but nonetheless worthwhile, I believe. Stay tuned.

11/20 - It was a night for underachievement. Of the 11 mostly heavily owned players, 10 played last night (all but Murray). Of those ten, 8 produced less than their season average. And they underperformed by an average of 13 TSNP per person. The other three who exceeded their averages were Lebron James, Carlos Arroyo, and Udonis Haslem.

The night's biggest overachiever was probably Chauncey Billups, whose 53 TSNP were 20 more than his average going into the game. Billups is creeping up the ownership listing, currently around #20. So if you owned him, it was a nice differentiation pick. But it may not be for long.

And then there were the DNPs, which show no signs of slacking off. Iverson and Boozer were generally expected - I even mentioned them in yesterday's blurb. Jermaine O'Neal did catch some by surprise, however. His knee soreness was public, but after 3 days of rest, it wasn't unrealistic to expect him to play. Evidently, this problem is not going away quickly, and with a heavy Indy schedule on the horizon, a lot of managers may need to rethink their trading plans.

11/19 - He may have a sore ankle and/or wrist, but you wouldn't know it based on the numbers posted by Ben Wallace last night. 51.5 TSNP in 33 minutes. Actually, 33 minutes was his shortest stint of the season. But they were productive minutes.

Wallace may be off the injury radar, at least for now, but there are plenty of others to fill the void. Iverson may be the most problematic, as he is not even traveling with the team today. Carlos Boozer also stayed behind in Cleveland after spraining his ankle, although he could still get to Washington before game time if his condition improves sufficiently. While neither is among the top ten in TSN ownership, they are each on almost 20% of all Ultimate rosters, so there is potential for financial damage.

With the rash of injuries and schedule shifts, trade management will be tricky over the next week or so. You may decide to live with the devil you know, rather than risk the unplanned calamity. Or, you could throw caution to the wind under the guise of "no guts, no glory". I've been conserving trades so far (I have 9 to start this week in TSN Ultimate), and they are going to come in handy.

11/18 - It doesn't happen very often - probably akin to a baseball no-hitter, since it tends to happen once or twice per season (more on that in a moment). We had a perfect slate in Football Pickoff this weekend, as george316 racked up a 16-0 mark. His only "error" was the lack of a double, so we'll simply call it a no-hitter (or a "no-misser"), rather than a "perfect game".

Football Pickoff was introduced in October of 1999, so this is the fifth season. During that span, there have been five previous "no-missers". The top result was a 16-0, 1052 point slate in week 13 last season. That was the only previous 16-0 result, and was also the only weekend total exceeding 1000 points. There have also been two 15-0 slates, two 14-0, and one 13-0-1. So arguably, this weekend's top entry was the second best ever. Had he doubled Oakland this weekend - the best possible double - the total of 1049 would still have fallen short of the all-time best by 3 points.

11/17 - I'm pretty good at TSN Hoops. I'm reasonably proficient at TSN Baseball. But when it comes to TSN Football, well, let's just say I'm an expert at point avoidance. To wit:

  • I've owned Priest Holmes for exactly 3 games this season. In those three games, he has averaged only 200 TSNP. (200.3, actually). If you look at his game-by-game history, those three weeks are easy to pick out. (They are the seven weeks when he wasn't averaging 429 TSNP/G)
  • Yesterday, I needed a cheap player to allow me to make some other moves that I thought were desirable. The two that I considered were Doug Flutie and Rudi Johnson. Of course, you can guess which direction I went.
  • Ah, forget it...
I actually am doing well in some of my other fantasy football ventures this season, so I'm not a total ignoramus. Or maybe the saying about the blind squirrel applies.

In TSN Hoops, the early returns (maybe "refunds" is a better term) on Ronald Murray are interesting. Murray began a light schedule period yesterday (1 game in 5 days), and in spite of his attractive productivity (TSNP/G vs. price), that's often a difficult hurdle for highly owned players to overcome. And Murray is the 2nd highest owned player in TSN Ultimate. (Zach Randolph is tops, on 73% of all rosters. His potential day of reckoning is a week away. Murray is on 62% of rosters, down from about 66% the day before.) That actually shows surprising tenacity by his managers, and could mean that he'll be sticking around on most of those rosters. It also could mean that most of his owners are out of trades (approx 46% of all Ultimate teams are currently tradeless), or that some simply failed to notice the schedule issue, or that some had no web access on the weekend, or.. who knows. I expect it to be a bloody week for Murray, but perhaps not as bloody as it could have been. Time will tell. There are persuasive reasons to sell him, but also persuasive reasons to hold. The best decision depends on many team-specific factors, so what's right for you may not be right for me. (I dumped, by the way - and not for Wade, either.)

11/14 - Ten days ago, an injury to Jamal Crawford would have been a major disruption for many TSN Hoops teams. Today, it's barely a ripple. Many teams have already dumped him, and many of the rest probably already had their finger poised over the sell button.

I watched about one quarter of the Sacramento-Portland game last night before nodding off. I do recall one of the commentators describing the game as a "layup drill" for the Kings. Evidently, the game I didn't see was dramatically different than the one I did.

After 2+ weeks of experience, I'm curious what you TSN Hoops managers think of this season's game-time freeze rule. If you have an opinion you'd care to share, please weigh in here.

11/13 - Those who decided to hold onto Ben Wallace are congratulating themselves for staying the course. Those who dumped Wallace in favor of Tim Duncan are pleased with their extra 25 TSNP this morning. Those who moved into Shaq enjoyed a smaller point advantage, but still figure that a healthy Shaq is a better alternative than a gimpy Wallace. Which decision was right? Maybe all three, as it depends on the individual situation of each team. Or maybe the best choice will become obvious after a few more games. Suffice it to say that at this point, it's too early to tell.

There have been some good discussions at the forum over the last few days. Should Baron Davis be swapped or held? What about Ben Wallace? Ron Murray? What players are going to need to be traded in the next week or so? What is the value of a trade? I think that Basketball, because of the waxing and waning of the various team schedules, creates more opportunities for tactical trading. In football, bye weeks are obvious. In baseball, hitters play almost every day, although efficient pitcher rotating can lead to some interesting approaches. But in TSN Hoops, there are lots of opportunities to pick up games, or capitalize on likely price swings, or to adapt to injuries. And there simply aren't enough trades available to exploit every opportunity, so a manager has to make a lot of choices every week. Some people think that makes the Hoops game too labor intensive. Others think that it makes Hoops the preferred fantasy game. I like both baseball and hoops (football definitely ranks third for me), but I think that hoops forces me to think more about trading opportunities. Overthink, in many instances. It may drive me crazy at times, but at least it keeps the brain cells engaged.

11/12 - Ronald Murray is making a persuasive argument to remain on my roster. Ben Wallace is a bigger conundrum for the time being. And Baron Davis? He didn't do himself any favors last night, producing a paltry 37 TSNP, his second worst game of the year. If you're trying to figure out what to do with him over the next week, there's a good analysis of his situation at the forum.

With 7 weeks left in the year 2003, here's a recap of GuruPatron activity, compared with prior years:

GuruPatron Historical Recap
2001195 $9,675
Totals332 $22,525

It looks like 2003 has a chance to reach the same level as 2002, although there is still almost $500 to go. (Donations during the final 7 weeks last year were $400.) This donation total is sufficient to maintain services and prizes at current levels.

I'm particularly grateful to those who have given repeatedly. 41 GuruPatrons have given something in each of the three calendar years since this program began. Further, those 41 GuruPatrons have accounted for 40% of all donations ($ value) over the 3 years. While the site needs to continue to attract new blood each year - both for financial support and forum vitality - this core of committed GuruPatrons have provided a stability and consistency over the years that make the site what it is.

By the way, advertising revenue for the year has been about $60. Clearly, wihout GuruPatron support, the site would not exist.

11/11 - The top of the Football Pickoff Standings had gotten sludged up, with the former 2-time champ holding the top two spots. This week's top result, however, came from HooeyPooey, who missed only two games, one of them last night's Philly comeback. Overall, this season still looks like a wide open horse race.

In Hoops, Lebron James may have been the early season phenom, but Ronald Murray has been the top TSN price gainer, up $880K in the Ultimate game, and more than a $million in the Basic version. So far, he's only played four games. But tonight, he starts a stint of 4 games in 5 days. This will be a critical time for Murray's longer term price outlook. After this flurry of activity, Seattle plays only 6 games in 17 days, or about once every three days. If Murray can continue to average 35 TSNP/G over the next four games, then many managers may be content to hold him during the light period. But if his average decays notably, watch out.

11/10 - If you hadn't watched last night's Ravens/Rams NFL game, and only heard that the St. Louis won 33-22, you'd probably have expected that Bulger and at least a receiver or two had good games.


In the TSN scoring system, Bulger wasn't even positive. Go figure.

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Rudy Johnson looks like he is going to make it very easy for the Bengals to trade away Corey Dillon this winter. He was one of five players to top 500 TSNP in yesterday's action, and another eight were in the 400s. So there were some decent points available for the taking. A big overall day was certainly possible. Unless, of course, you were Bulgered. Or Bulgered and Holted. Or Bulgered, Holted, and Vikinged. I know at least one team that was. (Sigh.)

11/7 - There may be no moral victories, but you've gotta think that the Spurs feel pretty good about a double-overtime loss to the fully-manned Lakers (OK, Rick Fox doesn't count) when Duncan and Tony Parker were both in street clothes.

I made a few programming tweaks in the last 24 hours.

  • In the Hoops sortable stats, you can now select to see the players from only one team. When you use the first selection menu, you'll now see all 29 teams listed at the bottom. You can only pick one, however.
  • In the football sortable stats, I added prices for the midseason TSN Basic game. I'm still not sure if there is enough interest to add midseason Ultimate prices or not. If you are playing either of the TSN midseason games and would like to make use of the RotoGuru tools for these game version, speak up here.

11/6 - Gilbert Arenas had a strong triple double, good for 69.5 TSNP, more than 10 ahead of anyone else last night. Last season, he was a staple on almost all opening TSN rosters. This year, his $7.6m price tag makes him pretty scarce. And although 69.5 TSNP is good for any price, his previous game produced only 14 TSNP, so consistency certainly isn't there.

This year's leading candidate for "the guard everyone has on their opening roster" was Jamal Crawford. But until last night, he hadn't done anything to promote holding power. Maybe yesterday's 52.5 TSNP will at least stanch the price bleeding, which probably would have been greater yesterday had not there been so many other roster needs to attend to. Like Eddy Curry, who garnered 10 TSNP in only 18 minutes. His last three games have totaled less than 30 TSNP. Look out below!

Carlos Arroyo finally played his second game of the year, getting 22 TSNP in 31 minutes. We haven't seen enough of him to know whether that's a substandard performance or not, but those who chose to hold on through his recent ankle sprain are relieved to see him on the court. Interestingly, his Ultimate price is just about back to where it started. Ownership is probably back in the same ballpark as well, although that's not necessarily the case, given the mechanics of the price change formula.

Speaking of which, thanks to a collaborative effort from several people, we've got a pretty good estimate of the underlying mechanics of the TSN Ultimate Hoops price change formula. Interesting reading for inquiring minds.

11/5 - Four new TSN (Ultimate) trades to work with. The question is, how many casualties do you have to address - either physical casualties, or "stinkin' up the joint" casualties? If you have more than your fair share, then you're probably in for some nice gains over the next few games as you make the logical adjustments. If you have a relatively unspoiled roster, then you have to decide whether to jump on the trading bandwagon to harvest the obvious price gains, or conserve your trades in hopes that the gains will still be available when you really want to make a move?

For example, I didn't have Duncan but I do have Garnett. Duncan clearly needs to be dumped ASAP, and Ben Wallace is one obvious beneficiary of that action. I had been planning to move into Ben later this week (out of Garnett). Over the next 4 days, KG plays 3 times while Ben plays only twice. Unfortunately, the Duncan to Wallace activity will certainly drive up Ben's price for the next few days. Is it worth it to move early from Garnett to capture these extra gains? I don't think so, but I could be wrong - especially if Garnett is only average and Ben is a monster for the next several games.

Shoot, I'm still doggedly hanging on to Carlos Arroyo. The silver lining there is that with so many other trading needs (like Duncan and Curry), Arroyo's remaining losses will be somewhat dampened. But they'll still persist unless he quickly returns to action.

11/4 - Yesterday at this time, many teams were focused on what to do about Carlos Arroyo. Today, there are plenty of other distractions. In addition to Arroyo, last night's casualty list included Duncan (ankle sprain) and Garnett (ejection). Yesterday's most popular Arroyo replacement, Raja Bell, "went off" for 7.5 TSNP. Eddy Curry managed one-third of that output (2.5 TSNP in 28 minutes). The list goes on for many teams, I'm sure. Remember, this is why they pay you the big bucks!

It was also a tough weekend for Football Pickoff, as less than 30% of entries had a positive score. SkySailPats found the magic formula, racking up 854 points while missing only one game. Only two others went 12/14, and only 10 entrants got any bonus points at all this weekend. Tough way to start off the midseason competition!

11/3 - Football points were spread around this week. Although there is still one game to be played, not a single player (or defense) topped 500 TSNP. Only 5 were at 400 TSNP or better, and another 11 were in the 300s. Contrast that to last weekend, when 9 were over the 400 TSNP mark, and 20 were in the 300s. So it would seem that this was a difficult week to post a big score.

In hoops, we're already getting some interesting decisions. Carlos Arroyo was the early price gainer, and now could be the next big price loser. Managers are apparently to be faced with the dreaded "game time decision" today. Meanwhile, Lebron James came back to earth - at least for one game. Tyson Chandler has put up two good games after an initial DNP. Managers of the other popular Bulls are tiptoeing the "good schedule, good value, disappointing results, high ownership" conundrum. There are no easy solutions, and there are not enough trades to play every situation safely. You gots to choose your risks. And this may be a good time to suggest a useful mantra: "When in doubt, do nothing." Today's opportunistic trade often turns into tomorrow's problem. Sometimes you are better off to live with the uncertainty that you've already got, and conserve the trades. But then, what do I know?

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2003: October . . . 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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