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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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11/30 - Many fantasy football leagues are approaching their playoff rounds. For example, week #13 is the final regular season week for the RIFC and related qualifying leagues. The playoffs are held during weeks 14-16, using a simple 8-team single elimination tournament. For teams that are still fighting to advance, it’s make or break time. For better or worse, my RIFC team has already locked up a berth, although I could still be seeded anywhere from 1-8. I wish there was a way I could rest my players this week!
NBA trade and free agent talk has begun in earnest. With less than four weeks until opening day, a lot of pent up player movement, and a very limited preseason schedule, it’s going to be very tricky to evaluate player performance in advance. Glad I’m not in the business of projecting player stats based on the fundamentals!
11/29 - If your fantasy football fates for the weekend depended on Drew Brees, or Victor Cruz, or Jimmy Graham, then you probably had a good finish. Those three were the top options for the weekend at their respective positions in just about any scoring format.
Two-thirds of all active Football Pickoff slates posted positive scores for week #12. Two entries went 15-1, with the top score of 732 posted by paulerma, missing only the Oakland win over Chicago.
Early sign-ups for the RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge qualifying leagues started out well, but we still have at least 14 open spots in three leagues, so if you have not yet responded, please sign up now.
11/28 - Surprisingly, the NBA labor lockout appears to be resolved, with a 66-game season starting on Christmas Day. For fantasy hoops fans, that’s just in time to bridge the gap from football to baseball. And for RotoGuru.net, that sets up a lot of work to get done in the next few weeks.
First, I’ll need to get the schedule loaded and posted. So far, the final schedule is not out yet, although indications are that it will run through late April, and each team will be scheduled for at least one back-to-back-to-back. When the actual schedule is released, I’ll do my best to post it quickly (in the usual color-coded format, which will undoubtedly have more green and less red this year.)
It’s also time to start organizing the RIHC (RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge) leagues. The 12 teams for the RIHC have already been selected, invited, and all 12 managers have accepted. The Qualifying Leagues are now being formed at the forum. Initially, I need to gauge the overall level of interest. Last year, we had two AAA leagues (24 managers) and one AA league (12), but – Michael Wilbon notwithstanding – I want to get an early sense as to whether we can fill 36 manager spots in qualifying leagues. If not, I’ll have to figure out some way to downsize (aka “contraction”, I suppose). So if you are interested in joining a league, please sign up in that thread pronto.
11/22 - Football Pickoff was kinder and gentler this weekend, with 60% of slates generating positive scores. Even I had a positive score, and I’m ranked next to last this year. (No, I’m not trying to finish last.) Congrats to bison67, who rode 13 correct picks to the top score of the weekend (+659), missing only the Seattle win in St. Louis.
We’re past the bye weeks now, so roster management is somewhat less complex for the remainder of the football season. Of course, that’s not always a good thing. When you have bye players on your bench, you can be pretty sure you’ve made the correct starting decisions. When all players are active, you can be pretty sure that it will turn out that someone on your bench should have been starting. That’s just the nature of the beast.
This week is further complicated by the three early games. For example, Michael Vick is my regular starting QB on my RIFC team. The Eagles play on Sunday, and I’m unlikely to know his status until late in the week. My preferred backup QB is Alex Smith, who plays at Baltimore on Thursday night (in the Harbaugh Bowl). I’ll probably have to pull the trigger early and start Smith, even though Baltimore is a tough matchup for opposing QBs. My only other option is to wait until Sunday, and hope Vick can play. My backup QB would then have to be Sam Bradford, who has averaged 5 pts/game less than Smith (and 9 less than Vick). Ah well, I guess that’s why they pay me the big bucks.
11/21 - It was only three weeks ago that Buffalo was looked like a playoff contender at 5-2, and Miami looked like a team that could go winless. Since then, the Bills have only scored 26 points in three games combined, while the Fins have won three straight by a combined score of 86-20. Go figure.
With one game remaining this weekend, two of the top three running backs this week have been Kevin Smith and Chris Ogbonnaya. And here’s the list of the top six receivers of the week: Vincent Jackson, Torrey Smith, Jordy Nelson, Nate Washington, Victor Cruz, Jerome Simpson. Of that group of receivers, only Jackson was taken in the first 12 rounds of the RIFC draft (Jackson in round #2), and three of them weren’t even drafted. Go figure2.
In college football, not only are the top three teams in the BCS standings from the same conference, they’re from the same division. And if Arkansas can upset LSU this weekend, they’ll all have one loss, and the potential BCS pairings will be thrown into a virtual blender. I’m actually hoping for that. Chaos is good.
11/18 - It was an ugly win, one that should probably be credited to the defense. But the final 95-yard TD drive, led by Tim Tebow (who rushed for 57 of the yards in that drive), is what the game will be remembered for. The result was very Elway-like, even if the mechanics were anything but. Will the league eventually figure out how to stop him? Frankly, the league already has, except for those late 4th quarter heroics. And that’s where the Denver defense should be getting props, because without holding the score down (and even scoring the first Denver TD last night), Tebow wouldn’t even have his late-game opportunities. Regardless, Denver is 4-1 since Tebow took the helm.
Yesterday, I mentioned that some of the daily contest sites have started offering college basketball contests. FanDuel has taken a different approach to this, as compared to Daily Joust (see yesterday’s blurb). The FanDuel scoring formula is the same as the one they would be using for NBA games. And FanDuel is only including games in which both teams are from one of the six power conferences. For example, today’s contests include only these three games: Texas A&M vs. St. Johns, Colorado vs. Maryland, and Arizona vs Miss. State. No Lipscomb University. For more details on the Fanduel approach, click here.
FanDuel has also been offering a weekly football freeroll. For details, see see this thread. A description appears in the opening message, and the link for week 11 is in post #2.
11/17 - I’ve gotta confess, with no daily NBA action and only sporadic football activity, I’m not quite sure what my blurb strategy should be for the next few months. For now, I’ve decided that I’ll post a blurb if I have something to say, but I’m not going to force it.
The various daily contest sites are also struggling with the lack of daily NBA activity. Both FanDuel and Daily Joust have begun offering college basketball contests. For example, at Daily Joust, the scoring formula is simply “1 point=1 point”.
Here is the slate of games in today’s contest at Daily Joust:
How can you not get excited about that?
Serious, I’m not poking fun at the concept – and perhaps the contests will be more interesting when the matchups become less arcane. But I’m having difficulty promoting a contest format the features Lipscomb University as a suitable substitute for NBA contests.
11/15 - Even though the favorite won handily last night, this was a tough weekend for Football Pickoff, as only 37% of slates produced positive scores. That didn’t seem to apply to YTD front-runner blondiescookies2 though, with 13 correct picks and a weekly top score of +621.
The NBA situation sounds pretty bleak. Without being a fly on the wall of the negotiations, it’s impossible to assess “blame” from the rhetoric being spouted from each side. But it’s hard to imagine that any of the current players will eventually benefit from a protracted stalemate. They would seem to have the much greater financial stake (and loss) from this, as they are forfeiting their entire 50%-ish share of the basketball related revenues. If this season does get washed out, it’s hard for me to imagine any current player will look back on this and think it was worth it.
11/14 - I can relate to Tom Brady’s comment about 14 days of feeling crappy. We lost power for 9 full days following the winter snowstorm that decimated central Connecticut in late October. And then it took four more days before cable TV and internet service were restored. Lack of power and then TV/internet for a total of 13 days satisfies my definition of “crappy.” I’m sure hoping that the recent weather patterns in New England (hurricane, then October snow) aren’t becoming the “new normal.” Time to shop for a generator, I guess.
The Lions started out the season strongly, and in early October it looked like this year’s Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay could be a clash of the undefeateds. It still could be a good game – much better than those of recent years – but after dropping three of their last four (including yesterday’s drubbing by da Bears), they are starting to resemble turkeys again. The rest of their schedule is no cakewalk, either. Two games vs. the Packers, plus games at New Orleans and at Oakland. Home games vs. Carolina, Minnesota, and San Diego are no lock to produce 3-0. A playoff berth is not yet in the bag.
Meanwhile, the NBA situation seems to he steamrolling toward a stalemate. There is certainly nothing in the recent news that causes any optimism – although perhaps there is a “silent majority” of less vocal players that really need to start drawing paychecks again. A thumbs-down vote on the current proposal would seem to put paychecks for the rest of the season at substantial risk.
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
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