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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.

11/30 - It seems as though the football talking heads have changed the dominant question over the past couple of days. The question used to be, "Can Indy go undefeated?" Now, it's goes more like "Will Indy try to stay undefeated, or will they rest their regulars in the final game?" It's actually quite possible that Indy will have home field advantage locked up with at least two games remaining, and maybe sooner. If you have relied on some of their studs for your fantasy team, you could be in trouble if you survive to your league's final playoff game in week 16 or 17. Many fantasy leagues don't even use week 17, for just that reason.

There appears to be a disturbance in the fantasy basketball force this morning. The TSN game has yet to be updated. The Yahoo game seems to be missing its entire fantasy hoops database - although it was updated earlier this morning. I do have all of my stats available, so if you're looking for stats for the games I cover, they are all up to date.

11/29 - In Football Pickoff, I know that some people like to pick home underdogs. That strategy backfired mightily this week, as home dogs were 0-6. That was no problem for Scarecrow71, this weeks top scorer with 15 correct picks.

Peyton Manning had a decent game last night, but was not even close to David Carr's high water mark for the week. In fact, he only ranked 13th among all QBs in TSNP for the week. If you watched the game, you might have thought he was doing better. He certainly kept his team in control throughout. This season, he seems to be more dominant than his stats would suggest - although he is ranked #2 in QB rating, so his stats are not so bad. Just a far cry from last year's.

11/28 - It was not a good weekend to be from the NFC East. Dallas, Washington, and the Giants all let games get away from them and lost in overtime. Philly did win on the field and in the arbitration hearing, but they lost Donovan McNabb for the season, and only managed to squeak by Green Bay at home.

Although Peyton Manning has yet to play, the QB leader in the clubhouse is none other than David Carr, at least in TSNP terms. Overall, the big kahuna was once again LaDainian Tomlinson, who pretty much lapped the field with 616 TSNP, garnering 213 total yards and 3 TDs. It was Tomlinson's 4th game over 500 TSNP this year, and his second over 600.

In the NBA, we got the highly anticipated DNP from Marcus Camby, who lost his lead in total TSNP to Allen Iverson. This particular injury seems pretty light, but then, that's all it takes with Camby.

11/23 - If you drafted LeBron James #1 in your roto league, you must be breathing easier now. After a sluggish start (for LeBron, of course), he's now producing like a #1 pick. Not only is his scoring average now up to 28.4, but his FG% is a ridiculous 52.6%. That's not quite a Shaq-like FG%, but it is about 7-8 percentage points higher than anyone else who is scoring in the same neighborhood.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., which means there are two NFL games. Make sure you are prepared for all of the freeze implications in whatever game(s) you are playing. In particular, your Swirve and PSC lineups will each be completely frozen for week #12 by tomorrow's first kickoff.

Enjoy your long weekend (if you have one). There will be no blurb on Thursday, and probably none on Friday as well.

11/22 - Earlier this season, the common thinking was that an 8-8 record could be sufficient to win the NFC North division. But Minnesota has climbed to a .500 record at 5-5, and they are still 2 games behind Chicago. With a collective record of 6 games under .500, the NFC North is currently 4 games better than the AFC East.

Can the Bears keep it up? Their weekend win over Carolina was their first win over a team that is better than .500. They play three more teams with winning records: Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta. But they also play the Packers twice, and they close the season at Minnesota. So it's not a stretch to assume that they can finish the year above .500. It's also not a given.

In Football Pickoff, only one slate had 14 correct picks, as thundering herd turned in a score of 529. Consensus favorites won only 10 of 16 games, and a slate of favorites would have netted a -156 score this week. Home teams were only 8-8, for -110. So to score well this weekend, you had to take the road less traveled.

In the NBA, Tim Duncan had the big game of the night, with 63.5 TSNP at Sacramento. Duncan has been pretty steady all season with only one game under 30 TSNP, and six games of 50 or better. His average after 11 games is 47.1, although he has yet to have a game in the TSNP 40s. But if you want to see scoring volatility, look across the court at Bonzi Wells. Last night's 48.5 was his fourth game in the 40s. He also has four games under 20 TSNP, including one in red numbers. His season average is 28.7, but only once has he scored within 8 TSNP of that average.

11/21 - Lots of points were put up in yesterday's NFL games. In TSNP terms, 12 players or defenses racked up at least 400 TSNP, with three of them exceeding 500. And then there were some virtual no shows from guys like Stephen Jackson, Curtis Martin, Portis, McGahee, and a surprising goose egg from Joey Galloway. Feast or famine, for sure.

In the NBA, LeBron James seems to be waking up, notching a 75.5 TSNP triple double on Saturday. Even so, his season average is just a tad over 40 TSNP/G, and half of his ten games have resulted in 35 TSNP or less. By comparison, for the entire 2004-05 season, LeBron produced 35 TSNP or less only 8 times, and those included one game in which he was injured in the first half. Of course, the Cavs are currently 8-2, so I don't think they are particularly worried about LeBron's slower start.

11/18 - I was just glancing down the pick percentages for this week's slate of games at Football Pickoff, and was struck by how many extremely lopsided games there are. As of 11:00 am this morning, there are 6 games with the favorite picked at 80% or higher (and another that is borderline at 79%). For the first ten weeks of the season, only 12 games ended up that unbalanced, and of those 12, the underdogs won twice. Last season, there were 25 games over the entire season that were at least 80-20, and the underdogs won 5 of those 25.

Maybe this week's odds will shift prior to the freeze. But last week, we had 4 games in that category. Picking favorites has worked out to be a pretty successful strategy this year (although it was a net loser last week), and the overall results for those lopsided games seem to be roughly in line with the implicit odds, so maybe there have simply been a lot of unbalanced matchups in the past couple of weeks.

11/17 - Four players topped 50 TSNP last night, and all four were guards. Two were no surprise - Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. The other two were teases. Mike James has had two nice games in his last three, but in his eight games so far this season, he's been under 20 TSNP four times. And Raymond Felton took advantage of a late scratch by Brevin Knight, logging 35 minutes (vs. his season average of under 20). Still, 51 TSNP is a superb total for any number of minutes.

It's interesting to look at the strength of schedule in the NFL Standings. Indy has had the easiest schedule by a wide margin. Of course, they've been helped by not having to face themselves. And they've played Houston twice. Houston has had the toughest schedule. Of course, they've been hurt by not being able to face themselves. And they've played Indy twice. Several teams stand out as having rather tough schedules and faring reasonably well, including Denver, New England, and Washington.

Through 9 games, Indy's opponents have a total record of 26-55. For their next 7 games, their opponents have a combined record of 36-27. Only two of their remaining opponents have losing records, and one of those is Arizona on the final week. It will be interesting to see how they fare against much stronger competition.

11/16 - So who is the real Charlie Villanueva? In his first 5 games, he failed to top 20 TSNP. In each of his last two, he was in the 40s. Your guess is as good as mine. His average over seven games is a little over 22 TSNP, but given that he has yet to post any game between 20 and 40 TSNP, perhaps you should never expect him to hit his average.

Villanueva's 45.5 TSNP last night was certainly noteworthy, but the largest disparity in production vs. price was from DeSagana Diop, with a 48.5 TSNP effort on a sub-$1m price tag. His minutes were mostly a result of foul trouble for Erick Dampier, who managed an impressive -4 TSNP for himself. It's not often that the backup outscores the associated starter by more than 50 TSNP.

11/15 - If you stayed up for the end of the MNF game last night, you got to see a remarkable finish - assuming you really were watching with your eyes open. It was one of those games when the last 4 minutes were completely different that the first 56 minutes - and different enough to change the outcome.

In Football Pickoff, three slates tied for the best record of the week with identical picks: Dilligad1, beerrun3, and Jaydoghall, each with 12 correct picks and 370 points. It was a week that required some discernment, as picking a straight slate of favorites would have netted -90 points.

If you weren't paying any attention to the NBA last night, you didn't miss much. There were only 3 games, and no player reached 40 TSNP. (yawn...)

11/14 - We've now passed the bye week segment of the NFL schedule, and in the battle for player supremacy, Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson are running neck and neck. In TSNP terms, they are separated at the top by only 10 TSNP, which is the equivalent of 5 rushing yards in total. In the RIFC, they were first two drafted. The next two taken were Priest Holmes and Deuce McAllister, who managed only 12 games played between them.

The Hoops season is nowhere close to maturity yet, but the early results are less correlated with the top two draft picks. Again using total TSNP as the yardstick, the leader after 7 games is Marcus Camby, who has averaged more than 48 TSNP/G, including last night's 70 TSNP outburst. In the four RIHC-related leagues that I tracked, Camby was a 4th round pick on average. Now, based on history, you'd expect Camby's health to be more similar to Holmes or McAllister, so I wouldn't extrapolate that performance over the remaining 75 games. But so far, his average is virtually the same as that of Kevin Garnett (who has played one less game), and he's 10 TSNP/G better than LeBron James. You never know how long Camby will hold up, but if you drafted him in your roto league, enjoy the ride while he's healthy.

11/11 - Before I forget, special props to all veterans today. I'm not going to get all gushy, but it's appropriate that we all respect and revere their incredible sacrifices of life, health, and convenience.

I noted a few days ago that last week was an unusual one in the NFL in that all 14 Vegas favorites won. I heard this morning that favorites were also 11-2-1 vs. the spread, which I guess is similarly unusual. I've been asked on occasion to develop a version of Football Pickoff in which we pick winners vs. the spread. After giving it some thought, I've decided against that. It would impose an extra administrative burden on me, and would probably distract attention away from the basic game, which I think is fine as is.

Yao Ming was the big gainer in TSN price action last night, and also looked pretty good on the court. On second thought, let me restate that. His game looked pretty good. But that black fuzzy scuz that extends from his chin to his neck is not flattering, especially when you consider that when almost anyone in the world stands in front of him, that's the dominant view.

11/10 - Wow. It's a Thursday morning, and I have NO production duties for GuruGolf this morning. For the past 40 weeks, I've had a GuruGolf-related routine to go through on Thursday. (Well, OK, one tournament did start on a Friday.) I feel so useless!.

Well, not really. It is kind of nice to have a break.

The NBA was pretty active last night, and there were some big fantasy results. Paul Pierce had 60.5 TSNP. Zack Randolph and Elton Brand were in the 50s. Eight players were in the 40s. ANd none of them was named LeBron James.

11/9 - Terrell Owens sounded deflated. Drew Rosenhaus sounded defiant. The Eagles sounded determined. And it's sounding more and more likely that T.O.'s chances of getting a contract befitting a premiere player have been destroyed. On the other hand, he doesn't have to sign with the average NFL GM. He only has to sign with the most gullible of them. So who knows?

After 8 days of NBA play, the top fantasy player so far has been Tim Duncan. In TSNP terms, 3 of his 4 games have been over 50 TSNP, and his average is 53.1. In roto terms, he's ranked #1 in the ESPN player rater, which measures a player's overall impact in a standard 8-category league. Certainly, Duncan is one of the elite players in the league. But most would not expect him to be atop the heap in fantasy value. Of course, the season is only 4 games old (for most teams). If he can keep shooting 88% from the free throw line (where he is 14/16 so far), he can be a beast. But that's almost 20 points over his career FT% average, so don't count on it.

11/8 - NFL Week #9 was remarkable because there really weren't any particularly strong QB performances - until last night. In TSNP terms, no QB topped 350 TSNP on Sunday. But Peyton Manning (486) and Tom Brady (421) changed all that last night.

In Football Pickoff, all you had to do this week was pick the betting favorites. That would have gotten you a 14-0 week. And two entrants did just that. Ramblin Wreck and Slowhand's gut each picked up a cool 690 points, although neither doubled a game. And any game would have worked out just fine. Another 17 slates had 13 games right, and 100 entries got into bonus point territory. An unusual week, to be sure.

The mystery of TSN Ultimate Hoops prices was solved yesterday. TSN posted a message at their own forum which I would paraphrase as, "Oops!". We should expect price changes to return to the norms of the past few years, and the evidence of the last two changes looks familiar. If you got whipsawed by the unusual volatility on Friday and Saturday, then you're just going to have to get over it and move on. Fortunately, the Hoops season is a marathon, and there is plenty of time to recover from a bad opening week, pointwise or pricewise. Believe me, I'm living proof of that, year after year. And I'll get another chance this year.

11/7 - Other than Terrell Owens and his agent, was there anyone else in the country that wasn't smiling about T.O.'s suspension?

It's still a bit early to be able to figure out the underlying details, but it is certainly evident that the price change formula in TSN Hoops has been altered from that of the past few years. Saturday night's Ultimate Hoops $720K price drop for Baron Davis is Exhibit A. James Singleton's successive daily gains of $290K and $540K is Exhibit B. I have an idea as to how the formula may have been changed, but we simply don't have enough data to be able to confirm it. My biggest concern is that these types of gains might allow for rosters to inflate much faster, with the counterintuitive result that the magnified price changes might be trivialized as teams bulk up enough to be able to afford All-Star rosters. But again, it's too early to diagnose the cause or the effect, so as long as we're all playing from the same deck, we might as well see how the cards continue to be dealt before passing judgment.

GuruGolf finally wound up yesterday, after a long season of 38 weekly tournaments. Congratulation to Liters, who won the best ball competition by 40 strokes, leading for each of the last 31 consecutive weeks. The worst ball competition ended up in a tie, as jedman3 and gurudan shared the top spot. For the final five week Autumn Anticlimax contest, the best and worst ball prizes were won by Liters4 and takeda. All prize winners will be contacted later this week to make arrangements. Thanks to everyone for a great season!

11/4 - A couple early observations:

Steve Nash had 17 assists last night, none of which were to Amare Stoudemire for an easy dunk. In his first game, he scored 30, while dishing out "only" 9. The Suns will certainly miss Stoudemire, but Nash seems to found ways to prosper without him.

It took Shaq less than two full games to go down with his first injury. From a fantasy hoops perspective, when we think about Chris Webber or Marcus Camby, our first thought is often about their propensity to miss games with injuries. When we think of Shaq, his free-throw shooting prowess is often the top consideration. But it seems like he definitely should be included in the same sentence with Camby and Webber.

In fact, now that I think of it, I'd probably rather have either Webber or Camby on my team, as opposed to Shaq. I suppose that's where fantasy hoops and the real NBA part company.

11/3 - This is the morning when we are again reminded that preseason NBA games are simply a tease. If you get enticed into some rookie players based upon promising preseason results, more than likely you are disappointed this morning.

There are a few exceptions, of course. Andrew Bogut looked good. And then there's, ... well, I'm not sure there is any other rookie who has exceeded expectations after the first two days.

If you are playing the TSN game, you're probably fighting a strong temptation to start trading right away. You probably have "buyers remorse" for at least a few roster spots, and maybe more than a few. My only caution is that all sorts of crazy things happen on any given night. They seem magnified at the start of the season. And all players - even great ones - have off nights. Those also seem magnified at the start of the season. You don't have enough trades to react to every blip. Sometimes, it's best to wait for a few days to get a better sense of which blips are most likely to recur.

11/2 - One day and four NBA games are in the books. Only 169 and 1226 to go.

Chris Webber was the surprise point winner on opening night, scoring 32 points with 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. Warning! This fits the "same old Chris Webber" pattern. You can't stand it when he's not on your roster. And you can't stand it when he is. Pick him up at your own risk.

I think I have all stats updated correctly this morning, although you should always view any apparent anomaly with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially at the beginning of the season. The sortable stats reflect only regular season points in "full season" mode, but if you select 7, 15, or 30 day periods, you'll pick up preseason games as well. For those lookback periods, Oct. 29-31 are ignored, since there were no games on those days. The Assimilator now allows you to copy in rosters from the TSN or PSC games. For TSN rosters, only your most recent frozen roster is accessible, and if you have made some roster moves since the last freeze, your cash balance probably won't synch up with your values. (This is all the same as in prior years, but it never hurts to remind you how things work.)

The final GuruGolf roster freeze is at 10:50am EST tomorrow. If you haven't set your lineup yet, don't get so caught up in Hoops analysis that you forget! A GuruGolf tournament is a terrible thing to waste - especially when there is no cut.

11/1 - I thought this was a difficult weekend for Football Pickoff, but eight different slates went 12-2. Favorites were 10-4, but simply picking favorites wasn't particularly rewarding, as that only netted 54 points. Top honors go to mbk with 528 points, missing only Houston and Carolina.

This week starts the midseason competition at Football Pickoff. If you got off to a bad start - and about half of all entrants are in red numbers so far - here's your chance for a fresh start. You don't need to enter again. All teams will be scored starting with week #9 for the midseason contest, but will continue to be tallied for the full season as well.

Today's big event, of course, is the opening of the NBA season. Soon we'll know which preseason flashes turn out to be only "in the pan." If you are playing the PSC game, you must have your opening roster submitted by 7pm EST tonight. TSN rosters have game time freezes, but after tonight's 11pm freeze, trades are limited. There are only four games on tonight's docket, and if you have any players in those games, you'll need a full roster by tonight's 11pm freeze if you want to get those points.

2005: October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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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