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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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11/26 - LeBron didn’t have an outsized game in Madison Square Garden last night, partly because the score was a rout and he only played 30 minutes, about 20% less than his season average. But everything else about his visit to New York was outsized, notably the hype. Is this what we have to look forward to for the next two seasons?
There are three NFL games tomorrow, and you need to make your Football Pickoff selections for all three before the kickoff time of the first game, 12:30pm EST. With six teams involved, you’ll want to ensure you have all of your various football rosters properly configured as well.
And once that’s all done, sit back and enjoy the day. I’ll be visiting with family this weekend, so don’t expect any blurbs for the rest of the week. Stats will continue to be updated as normal, of course.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
11/25 - Both Drew Brees and Michael Turner posted significant price losses in the TSN Ultimate game last night – so I imagine a fair number of teams dropped the duo. If so, that was more than 1000 TSNP to replace this weekend. Unfortunately (for them), there was no other QB-RB duo that amassed more than 1000 TSNP. A couple QB’s slightly outpaced Brees (Cassel and Edwards), but no RB was within 100 TSNP of Turner. Classic execution of the point avoidance strategy!
In Hoops, Chris Paul notched his second straight triple double, and now sports a TSNP/game average almost 10% higher than his closest competition. Paul plays only four times in the next 15 days, which is an extraordinarily light schedule. Once that stretch ends on December 9th, the Hornets will have played only 17 games, two less than the next closest team, and six less than a few teams. From that point forward, expect Paul to be a staple on just about every team, barring injury.
11/24 - Last night, I heard someone mention the possibility of a Giants-Jets Super Bowl. I hadn’t really thought of that before, but the momentum certainly makes it plausible. Aside from the obvious NY2 issue, can you imagine the hype if Brett Favre makes it to the Super Bowl this season?
By the way, I thought of referring to such a series as a “subway series”, but that description makes no sense for football, as the two teams share the same stadium – which isn’t even on the subway line. And of course, Super Bowls are played at neutral sites, so even if the subway did extend to the Meadowlands, it would have no use for that game. But I digress…
When did Tom Brady assume control of Matt Cassell’s body? Back-to-back weeks of 400+ passing yards, and 600+ TSNP? Can he three-peat - against the Steelers this week? Seems unlikely, but there been nothing likely about his recent prowess.
I know at least one TSN manager who dropped Michael Turner this week. Oops. (No, it wasn’t me – I didn’t have him last week, and didn’t pick him up this week.)
For TSN scoring (which includes special team yardage and scores), the top WR this week was Harry Douglas. Without looking him up, does anyone know what team Harry Douglas plays for? I had never heard of Harry Douglas until yesterday.
After Douglas, however, we had three marquis names atop the list of receivers: Owens, Moss, and Steve Smith. It’s been quite awhile since the leaderboard has been dominated by three names of that caliber. And although Douglas has a nice game even without his punt return points, he would have only ranked around #10 with only his rushing and receiving contributions.
11/21 - No surprises in last night’s NFL game, although those who had the Pittsburgh defense were probably disappointed, even though Cincinnati was held to 10 points. They only managed one sack and one turnover, and that interception didn’t occur until Cincy’s final drive. Maybe fantasy defenses should be rewarded for every time the opposing team punts. The Bengals punted 8 times last night.
There are reports this morning that a trade between the Knicks and Warriors (and maybe also the Clippers) is in the works. Names mentioned include Al Harrington, Jamal Crawford, and Zach Randolph. Nothing has yet been officially announced that I know of, so this may all fall through. But it certainly would have fantasy implications. Keep your antennae up!
11/20 - OK, so maybe my quote of the day is neither comical nor insightful today. But it’s unusual to see the word “discombobulated” in print. Some words are just naturally funny – and that’s one of them.
There was nothing discombobulated about Dwyane Wade last night (other than the spelling of his first name.) He went off for 40 points, 11 assists, 5 blocks, and 70 TSNP. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other NBA player ever had a 40-10-5 game (since blocks have been counted as an official stat) – Alvan Adams of the Phoenix Suns in 1977. I’ll bet Dwyane Wade never dreamed he would be mentioned in the same company as Alvan Adams!
There are only two NBA games on tap tonight, but both may be more competitive than the competing NFL game, where Cincy visits Pittsburgh. Then again, Cincy played Philly to a draw last week, so anything is possible.
11/19 - I got sidetracked on a number of issues this morning, some related to fantasy sports, some not. So I’m drafting this blurb later than usual. And probably also with less awareness of what’s going on.
Chris Bosh was the big kanhuna last night, by a long shot: 40 points, 18 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals, a block, and 75 TSNP. So far this year, he’s been pretty consistent, with 8 of his 10 games in the 30-55 TSNP range. He’s had only one stinker (16.5 TSNP @ Boston), and then this overachieving effort.
You didn’t need to have Bosh to do well last night, though, as 21 players reached 40 TSNP or better. Most had TSN prices on the higher side, so it wasn’t necessarily a good night for cheapies – although Rasho Nesterovic put up 48.5 TSNP. I figured I might have to go back several years to find a better effort from him, but he actually had a 50 TSNP game last April 5th, so I guess this doesn’t qualify as a true out-of-body experience for him. Last April he followed up that big game with back to back numbers in the teens – so there’s no reason to expect that this might be the start of a hot streak. But you never know.
11/18 - Cleveland needs to get more Monday night games on its schedule. This year, they are 2-0 on Mondays, and 2-6 on other days.
In Football Pickoff, favorites fared relatively well this week in spite of losing the Sunday and Monday night games. As a consequence, 63% of slates scored in the black. Kudos to WorldB, who got 14/15 games correct for the top score of 631. (Note that because the Philly/Cincy game ended in a tie, that game results in no points.)
11/17 - The leading football TSNP producer yesterday was T.J. Houshmanzadeh, with 436. What makes that somewhat surprising is that not only did Cincy not win, they scored only 13 points total. But across the board, there just weren’t that many monster games yesterday.
Perhaps the most interesting play of the day was the final play of the Pittsburgh-San Diego game. Troy Polamalu apparently scooped up a fumbled lateral and returned it for a touchdown. The TD was allowed at first, but then disallowed on review as an illegal forward pass. But after the game, officials realized that the score should have counted after all. However, NFL will not make an adjustment.
Certainly, if you had the Pittsburgh defense, or even Polamalu in an IDP league, the blown call hurts. But the broader issue is that the proper call would have allowed Pittsburgh to cover the point spread. Anyone who bet on the Steelers to cover has to be seething today. And anyone who bet on the Chargers got an early Christmas present.
The other interesting aspect of the score is that it is the first time in history that an NFL game has ended 11-10.
Thanks to Gurupie Premium Lumber for suggesting today’s quote.
11/14 - Matt Cassell put up Brady-esque numbers; his 682 TSNP topped the output for all but one of Brady’s games last season. But he didn’t accomplish the one thing that Brady was the master at: winning. Still, if you had Cassell in your fantasy lineup this week, I’m sure you couldn’t care less about that!
In the NBA, no one posted a triple double, the first time in three nights. But Lebron made it interesting, falling short by only two boards. And Andris Biedrins continued his studly year, with 17 points, 19 rebounds, and 48.5 TSNP. Biedrins currently ranks 5th overall in total TSNP this season. (Like we all saw that coming!) I did manage to draft him on my RIBC team in round 6 (pick 64). So far that’s looking pretty good. Fortunately, Dalembert was taken two picks earlier, or I’d probably have taken him instead. Dalembert ranks #118 so far. But of course, the season is only about 10% complete. Too early to jump to any conclusions.
11/13 - A few years ago, the 2004 NBA draft debate came down to Dwight Howard vs. Emeka Okafor for the first pick. Orlando clearly got it right. If he could only shoot free throws, he could be fantasy hoops’ most dominant player. Regardless, using TSNP as a yardstick, he’s more than doubling Okafor this year.
I decided to pull up that year’s draft class, just to see how some of the other early picks have progressed. After Howard and Okafor, the list continues with
Not exactly a ”Who’s Who” list of current NBA stars, is it? There are some more notable names further down the list, however:
Meanwhile, other first rounders included Robert Swift, Kris Humphries, Kirk Snyder, Pavel Podkolzin, Viktor Khryapa, Sergei Monia, and David Harrison. Just goes to show that the draft is far from a science.
The Jets and Pats play in tonight’s NFL game. Make sure your rosters and/or picks aren’t caught off guard by the early action.
11/12 - We had the first triple double of the NBA season last night, and it came from the most likely source. Jason Kidd logged his 101st career TD, and no other active player is anywhere close. Kidd ranks 3rd all time, but still needs 37 more to catch Magic Johnson at #2. That seems unlikely, although he has produced a total of 25 over the last two seasons – which were his two most productive years for turning the feat. Even at that pace, he’d need three full seasons to get there, at which point he’d be 39 years old. (The all time leader, Oscar Robertson, is out of reach with 181.)
Yesterday I noted that O.J. Mayo had been trending up nicely over his first eight NBA games. But he’s not the most productive rookie so far. That honor belongs to Chicago’s Derrick Rose, who has averaged better than 31 TSNP/game on 18.8 points, 5.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and a steal per game. His shooting percentages of 46.8%/84.2% are also quite good.
11/11 - We’ve now passed the bye week portion of the NFL schedule. In salary cap games, there’s no more easy money to be made by simply picking up players coming off of byes. With seven weeks left in the season, it’s time to find the best matchups and race to the finish line by accumulating points, without regard to expected price movements. In fact, some of the best pickups now will be the unpopular picks who score well, since they’ll differentiate you from the masses.
In Football Pickoff, it was the best weekend of the season so far for picking favorites. As a consequence, about 2/3rds of all slates posted positive scores this weekend. Two teams tied for the top score of 604 with identical picks, getting 13/14 correct.
In the NBA, O.J. Mayo had his best outing of the season, with 33 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals, and 47.5 TSNP. He’s shown steady and rapid improvement in the early going, and if the trend continues, he’ll be a monster. A pending lull in the Grizzlies schedule makes him an unattractive pickup in the TSN game right now (only 3 games in the next 10 days), but at some point he could be a great bargain. Or, he could revert to typical rookie volatility. Worth keeping an eye on, regardless.
11/10 - How sorry is Oakland? Raider DB Rashad Baker was the second leading receiver for the Panthers yesterday, with two of Oakland’s four interceptions. Only Muhsin Muhammad hauled in more throws (3) from Jake Delhomme. And yet the Raiders still lost convincingly. And according to NFL.com, Delhomme became just the second quarterback since 1970 to complete fewer than 30 percent of his passes and throw four interceptions in a victory.
The Vikings scored 7 points in the second quarter yesterday. Nothing unusual about that. But they did it as a field goal and two safeties. Nothing usual about that.
And while on the topic of uncommon combinations, the Jets scored 47 points, and Brett Favre threw for only 167 yards and one TD.
And staying on topic, while switching sports: The Knicks are now 4-2, after handing Utah its first defeat of the season. This marks the first time the Knicks have been 2 games over .500 since 2005. Last year, they didn’t win their 4th game until they had notched 9 in the loss column. By the way, that 4th win came again Utah as well.
11/7 - If you were planning to dump Jay Cutler, I hope you forgot to pull the trigger before last night’s Elway-esque performance. Sadly, I remembered. And my point avoidance strategy continues to be executed with near military precision.
In a typical light-schedule Thursday, TMac had the only 50+ TSNP outing. And with only 4 teams playing, Dwight Howard and Yao Ming weren’t even above the median for starting center production, getting bested by Aldridge and Dalembert. Go figure.
11/6 - Wow! I point out that Amare Stoudemire has had a bit of a disappointing start in yesterday’s blurb, and he responds by scoring 49 and producing 89 TSNP. I never realized I had such a strong motivational influence. Anyone else you want me to disparage in this space?
The other surprising output last night was from Tony Parker, who scored 55 points in Minnesota. I know the game had two overtime periods, but 55 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 74 TSNP is a monster night, regardless of game length. Parker’s 4-game average of 33 points scored is more than double his career average, and there’s no reason to expect it to continue. But he hasn’t scored less than 22 points in any of the four games. If you got him as a mid-round guard in your draft, you have to be pretty excited so far.
One final reminder about football. Denver plays at Cleveland tonight. If you need to make roster adjustments, tomorrow may be too late.
11/5 - The NBA season is young, but one of the early disappointments has to be Amare Stoudemire. Admittedly, his numbers don’t stink: 21 points and 9 rebounds per game aren’t chopped liver. But he was a consensus top 5 pick in fantasy drafts this year, even going as high as #1 in some. And those expectations were based on something more like 25 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, and high shooting percentages (like 60%/80%). He’s short of all of those standards so far. And last night’s 14 point, 5 rebound effort didn’t help. Of course, at this stage of the season, those averages could be repaired in a matter of a few weeks. But if you drafted him early, you’d probably like to see some upward momentum. Soon.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the NFL starts playing a Thursday night game this week, and that means you can’t necessarily wait until Saturday to make your roster adjustments. Denver plays in Cleveland this week. If you do or don’t plan to use any players from those teams, make sure you get them into or out of your lineup before tomorrow night. And for Football Pickoff, you’ll need to make your pick for that game by 8:15pm (scheduled kickoff). You can wait until the weekend to make your other picks, but that pick’s for that game will freeze tomorrow night.
11/4 - If you needed some Monday night points to make your fantasy football weekend, you probably came up short – unless you had the Pittsburgh defense, or perhaps some individual defensive players.
Football Pickoff results ended the weekend in balance once again, with 52% of slates posting positive scores. Kudos to Bob, who managed the top weekly score of 531 in spite of getting last night’s game wrong. Note also that Midseason scoring began this week. There is a separate competition which excludes all scoring from the first 8 weeks. You can see those standings by selecting “Midseason total” in the sort order menu. Obviously, Bob has the early lead.
The NBA offered a moderate schedule last night, with 6 games on tap. Centers dominated the production, with the only three TSNP totals above 50: Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Andris Biedrins. The night was probably more notable for the disappointing performances from several players whose initial hot starts are now looking like a bait-and-switch, including Tyrus Thomas with his third consecutive sub-20 TSNP game, Kelenna Azubuike with his second straight 11 TSNP outing, and Darrell Arthur, whose 13.5 TSNP followed up a 5.5 stinker on Saturday. The good news is that I didn’t use any trades to pick up these players. The bad news is that two of them were on my roster to begin with – and will probably have to be exchanged for the next future disappointments. Oh well.
11/3 - In many respects, this appears to have been a good week to have taken the “road less traveled.” To wit:
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