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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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Go forward to more recent blurbs.

12/29 - Six players posted SWPs in the 50s last night, headed by Antoine Walker's 59.5. Kevin Garnett topped the SvP list with 215. The other leaders were all guards: Baron Davis, Darrell Armstrong, Mark Jackson, and Kobe Bryant.

If you're still playing any fantasy football games, don't forget to get your picks and/or rosters in by tomorrow morning.

12/28 - Two guards topped the 50 SWP mark last night, Mookie Blaylock with 53 SWP and Eddie Jones with 51. Nobody reached 200 SvP, although Jones was close with 191. The top forward was Antawn Jamison (48 SWP), and the top center, Jermaine O'Neal, managed only 30.5 SWP. That wasn't a bad outing for O'Neal, but it doesn't bode well for the rest of the centers last night.

The big story of the night was the quick return of Allen Iverson, who played less than one week after dislocating his shoulder. The original reports had suggested he would miss 6-8 weeks.

12/27 - After a couple of light days, there were ten games on last night's NBA docket. Michael Finley was the top producer, with 65 SWP and 233 SvP, falling only 1 rebound and 2 assists short of a triple double. Dikembe Mutombo was close behind with 64 & 226, largely on the strength of 28 boards.

Football Pickoff is now open for business for this week's picks. All picks for the first round of the playoffs will be frozen on Saturday (12/30) at 12:30pm EST.

I rearranged the left menu today to bring the basket ball links to the top... just in case you noticed something looked different, but you couldn't quite figure out what.

12/26 - If you've been away for a few days, there are a lot of stats to catch up on. I've got everything posted now, so go for it.

A few brief notes:

  • This is cut day for SW Hoops Survival. If you made the cut, don't forget to have your next roster selections in by noon EST today.

  • Football Pickoff continues through the playoffs. I'll have the first round playoff games set up for selections by sometime this evening. The freeze for all picks this week will be at the time of Saturday's first kickoff. All Saturday and Sunday picks will be locked in at that time. Don't wait until Sunday to register your picks for the Sunday games!

  • SW will be offering a free Football Playoffs game, using the Three-For-All scoring framework. This is in addition to the Survival Playoffs game which I mentioned last Thursday, which costs $10.

12/22 - Kobe led all SWP producers with 53.5. In the Swirve scoring system, where shooting percentage doesn't factor in, Antoine Walker led with 197 SvP.

Don't forget the early football roster freeze tomorrow (Saturday). Also, the three Saturday games must be locked in by 12:30pm on Saturday.

I'm getting ready to hit the road for holiday vacation travel. Stats will continue to be posted, but blurb activity may be more sporadic.

On Christmas day, there will be no NBA stats to produce (since no teams play on the 24th). There will be a weekend's worth of football stats to process, however. Frankly, I don't know whether I will update the football points that day or not. They certainly won't be done in the morning, and I may even wait until Tuesday. Since there are no more trading implications, the timing of the final week's point postings is not very critical - and Christmas Day is not the ideal time for me to be hunkered over my laptop processing football stats. So just stay offline on Monday, and spend more time with your families instead. Do it in memory of philliephan.

Here's wishing each and every one of you a happy holiday season! Thanks for all of your support throughout the past year.

12/21 - Was there a full moon last night?

  • Charlotte beat Miami 65-56 in a game that "featured" 90 missed shots.
  • Across 10 games, players were assessed 25 technical fouls. (For comparison, 25 technicals were assessed in the previous 6 days combined.)
  • Four players were ejected, including 2 in the Portland/Dallas game - and Rasheed Wallace wasn't one of them!
  • Four different players scored more than 40 points (real points, not fantasy points).
The concerns about whether Gary Payton would play turned out to be much ado about nothing. Payton had a triple-double. But he didn't top the list of fantasy point producers. That honor belonged to Karl Malone, who parlayed 41 points into 71 SWP and 259 SvP. That was a nice recovery from the previous night when he produced about one-third of that.

Small World has launched a Survivor game for the NFL Playoffs. I don't think I'll bother providing any statistical support for the Playoff game, for a couple or reasons: (1) I didn't maintain stats under this scoring system during the regular season, so I have no historical stats to refer to, and (2) the game is simple enough that high-powered statistical analysis really isn't warranted. I may play, though, just to see how it goes. I suspect the winners will ultimately be decided by the tiebreaker rules, since it is likely that many teams will have the top lineup in the final week - unless some really unexpected player comes up big (a backup QB perhaps?). The first tiebreaker is the highest single day score during the entire playoffs, so it could be that the first week's result actually determines the ultimate winner. Grand prize is $1000, with each division winner getting $100. It'll cost you $10 to play.

12/20 - Last season, success in SW Hoops pretty much required that you had Shaq on your roster, almost regardless of his price. He was the premiere producer, and there wasn't anyone else at center that approached his consistency. Occasionally, Mourning and Mutombo would string together a run of good games. But invariably, Shaq was the man for all seasons. I even wrote an article in early January called Shaq - a $14 Million Bargain.

So far this year, that doesn't seem to be the case. While the pickin's at center are still rather slim, there are some viable options, particularly Jermaine O'Neal (who may be the most widely owned player in this year's game) and Antonio Davis. Add Marc Jackson's recent surge, coupled with Shaq's upcoming schedule lightness, and Shaq looks to be a financial accident waiting to happen. If he could consistently post SWP totals in the 50s and 60s, he might have some staying power. But when he shoots free throws at less than a 40% clip, it's hard to keep the SWP up. Every missed FT has a marginal cost of 2 SWP, since the result of a free throw is either a +1 or a -1.

Speaking of Marc Jackson, he was last night's top producer with 61 SWP and 225 SvP. Even with only 2-games in the next 7 days, he'll be a big gainer this week. And if you sell Shaq to get him, you have almost $12 million left to work with.

This is an interesting week from a schedule standpoint. Almost half of the teams have 4 games. But there are no games on Sunday (12/24), and only two on Christmas Day. So if you're looking to bulk up your games during the second half of the trade week, there's only one team that plays twice from Sunday-Tuesday, and that's Orlando. Bodes well for Tracy McGrady, I suspect.

12/19 - It wasn't very long ago that some were wondering whether St. Louis could go undefeated this season. Now they need a Chicago win over Detroit just to have a chance at making the playoffs.

I hope you east coast viewers were able to stay awake for the end of the Rams/Bucs game last night, because it was a thriller. It was certainly past my bedtime, but I managed to hang in there - and it was worth it.

So we're left with one game to go in the regular season. This can be a tricky week, as you never know what to expect from teams that have nothing to play for. Also, remember that there are three games on Saturday, so the freeze is early this week.

Only one NBA game last night. Steve Nash was the big kahuna with 65.5 SWP and 225 SvP.

Finally, we now have more complete information on memorial gift alternatives for Paul Scheirer. Check out this thread for complete information.

12/18 - It would have been a good week to ignore the injury reports. Admittedly, Eddie George and Fred Taylor were both listed as probable. But in spite of their attractive matchups, there were plenty of other good options at running back, and many of us (including me) took the "safer" options of Robert Smith and Mike Anderson. It turned out to be rather expensive safety. Oh well...

Actually, Terrell Owens had the most monstrous day, with 676 SWP and 2369 Swirve points.

In Football Pickoff, blind weeks continued to be very generous to the underdogs. For the four blind weeks combined, consensus underdogs have produced 936 points. In the other 11 weeks, they have scored a grand total of -93. On possible interpretation is that when the odds are visible, the selection percentages tend to gravitate toward the "fair" levels, but when the odds are invisible, favorites get disproportionately selected. In addition, underdogs have fared slightly better on the field during blind weeks, as we've had an average of 6 underdog wins on blind weeks, while only 5 underdogs have won on an average non-blind week.

All of this suggests that favoring the underdogs is the best strategy to use for the blind weeks. But not many of the Football Pickoff contenders figured that out. One who did, however, was frontrunner Sludge 2, who put some serious distance (1200+ points) between himself and everyone else. And to be fair, he didn't just take the simple route and pick all underdogs. A straight underdog slate netted 284 points yesterday; he actually earned more than twice that amount (+592). Hats off! With 95% of the eligible games now completed, the battle may turn out to be for second place, where there are still plenty of contenders all bunched up.

By the way, there is only one more blind week - the Super Bowl. And since that game can be doubled as well, it could turn out to be a big swing game. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

In Hoops, those who opted to pick up Antonio Davis in exchange for Shaq during "Commencement Week" are getting an added bonus, as Davis even outpointed Shaq in a face-to-face matchup yesterday. The top player for the weekend had to be Kevin Garnett, though, who averaged 71 SWP and 237 SvP in a pair of games.

If you just clicked on any of the Hoops player links, you may have noticed that I added some averages to the display. On a regular page, you can now see the average minutes and points/game for the last 7, 15, and 30 days. And if you choose to see the entire season history, you'll get the YTD averages as well. This added info may help you recognize recent trends in production and/or playing time.

12/15 - With only 3 NBA games last night, there isn't much to evaluate this morning. The biggest story of the night was Raef LaFrentz, who should at least get the "Comeback Player of the Week" award. After shooting 0-11 in his previous two games, he scored 28 points last night, good for 62 SWP and 217 SvP. Maybe Dan Issel should chew him out more often.

Today's Hoops Assimilator introduces a new feature. Previously, the only point/game average listed (and used in the projections) was each player's YTD average. Now, you can choose to use either the YTD, 30-day, 15-day, or 7-day averages, and you can also elect to override any specific player's average and substitute one of your own choosing. For more details, or to report any bugs, please see this thread at the message forum. And if you like what you see, please support a sponsor.

Don't forget that the football freeze is on Saturday this weekend, not Sunday.

Paul Scheirer's memorial service is this afternoon at 3pm EST, at which time the message forum will observe a 15 minute moment of silence in his memory. If you would like to consider a memorial donation in Paul's name, see this thread for more information.

12/14 - Ron Mercer returned to Boston last night and led the Bulls to their biggest winning margin since the days of Michael Jordan. Mercer had 56 SWP and 208 Swirve points. Four other players had at least 50 SWP, but none of them were Shaq, who now heads back to LSU to get his degree on Friday.

Paul Scheirer's memorial service will be held at 3pm on Friday (in Virginia). In memory of Paul, the message forum will observe a moment of silence from 3:00-3:15pm EST on Friday afternoon. If anyone has personal stories or anecdotes about Paul ("philliephan"), please consider sharing them in this thread.

12/13 - The top fantasy hoops producer at each position came from the same game last night. Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson, and Shaq each topped 50 SWP.

I forgot to mention that last Friday, December 8, was this site's third anniversary. The first version of sortable stats was produced on 12/8/97, with the first daily blurb following about a week later. For those old timers who want to take a trip down memory lane, the predecessor site is still alive, even though it's dormant (and not all of the links are working). You can even get irritated by the pop-up ad from Tripod! As you can see, a lot has happened in the past three years.

While poking around, I noticed that the top SWP game that season ('97-98) was by Shawn Bradley, who had 108.5 SWP in a game that included 13 blocks, 22 points, and 22 rebounds. That SWP total is a bit deceptive, since it includes a 25 SWP bonus for a triple-double. This year's SWP formula would produce a paltry 93.5 SWP.

12/12 - A lot of fantasy points were produced this weekend. And your relative success was probably defined mostly by who you didn't have.

For example, four quarterbacks topped 500 SWP. The key was avoiding guys like Peyton Manning, who only had 106 SWP. Or, at running back, 8 players had 360 SWP or more. It was certainly helpful to own Marshall Faulk, who topped all players with 608 SWP. But it was just as important to avoid popular backs like Charlie Garner, Robert Smith, Stephen Davis, and Curtis Martin, none who topped the 200 SWP mark.

Football Pickoff saw a dramatic swing at the top, as last year's champ, Sludge 2, vaulted into a 400+ point lead over a cluster of challengers. That's certainly not an insurmountable lead, though, as last week aptly demonstrates.

By the way, this is another blind week in Pickoff. There are also two Saturday games, which must be selected by 12:30 pm on Saturday.

Kevin Garnett was the only NBA player to top 50 SWP last night. Lamar Odom followed up two weak outings with a nice 48.5 SWP performance, rewarding those managers who held him throughout his recent turbulence.

And Shawn Marion had his second consecutive sub-20 SWP night... now that practically everyone owns him. A number of teams avoided him while he was playing only 3 games per week. As it turns out, in each of those 3-game weeks he produced about 50% more than he did in this 4-game week. I guess schedule isn't everything.

12/11 - This is the most difficult blurb I have had to write.

Paul Scheirer, also known to many forum users as "philliephan", passed away of a sudden heart attack yesterday. He was only in his mid-40s, and leaves a wife and two children, a daughter (13) and a son (11).

In additional to being an active, competitive, and helpful fantasy sports enthusiast, Paul produced the companion hockey stats site which provided fantasy hockey stats in RotoGuru-similar formats. In fact, some of the RotoGuru features were inspired by similar features at Paul's hockey site, including the Sched-O-Matic. Paul was also instrumental in providing me with some early assistance in fully automating the sortable stats. And he has been an active contributor to the message forum since its inception, where he has many, many friends who will sorely miss him. Most of us only knew him though the internet, but at times like this, we all understand how personal those relationships can become.

I am awaiting word from one of his work associates as to whether there is a designated charity for memorial contributions, and I will post that information when I receive it. Meanwhile, I'm sure all of our prayers go out for Paul's family.

In light of this troubling news, I'm not going to comment on yesterday's games. It just doesn't seem that important right now.

We'll all miss you, Paul.

12/8 - Terrell Brandon led the way last night with 57 SWP, while Tracy McGrady led in Swirve points with 212. Shawn Marion ranked third... among Phoenix forwards!. And Bryant Reeves more than tripled his average, with 48.5 SWP. What's up with that?

I added a new feature to the Hoops Assimilator today, which allows you to export roster data to a file for easy importing on another computer. Since rosters are stored in cookie files on your local computer, there was no simple way to transfer roster data from one machine to another (or from one browser to another). While the new process isn't particularly elegant, it seems to be effective, and I hope it is understandable. If you have questions or want to provide feedback, use this thread at the message forum.

Don't forget your picks for Football Pickoff. Selections are coming in slowly this week, although I'm sure part of that is because there are no early games this week.

12/7 - Sometimes you have to laugh to avoid crying.

On December 1, I sold Antawn Jamison to pick up Shawn Marion, whom I had so far managed to avoid owning. I normally would have planned the move for today, since Jamison had three games from Dec. 1-6, while Marion had only two. But, I barely had enough cash to make the trade then, and Marion had not suffered a daily price loss yet this season. Also, during the prior two weeks, two games from Marion generally beat three Jamison games. So at worst, it seemed like I might break even on points, while still coming out ahead on dollars - and I wouln't have to make any other trades in the meantime, injuries permitting.

Boy, did that decision backfire! Marion scored 80 SWP in his two games, while Jamison managed a paltry 187 SWP. And Marion lost $310K, while Jamison gained $120K. Looks like it's time to fire the GM!

I had a similar month in baseball last July, consistently dropping players just before a monster, and adding players just in time for slumps. Fortunately, I had a strong September finish, and was able to recover reasonably well. But if December continues the way it has started, I'll be anxiously looking forward to baseball season by New Year's Day.

There are going to be some interesting schedule-management opportunities over the next few weeks. If you use the 4 week schedule generator, be looking ahead at some of the concentrations of red. Given Marion's recent decline (during his three day schedule break), it may be that trading patterns are starting to reflect scheduling issues. And if so, there are some heavily owned players with some weak periods on the horizon. To get you started thinking, consider some of the following:

  • Baron Davis plays only 3 games during the 10 day period from 12/10-19.
  • Shawn Marion plays only once during the 6 days from 12/17-23 (or only twice during the 9 days from 12/17-25).
  • Seattle and Portland both have four consecutive off-days from 12/16-19, during which time most other teams play twice.
What makes these periods more problematic is that they all begin midway through a trade week, when even light selling activity can provoke magnified results (e.g., witness Marion at the end of last week). This could be a stretch during which astute schedule management really pays off. Forewarned is forearmed.

12/6 - This morning's list of top players looks like the way it's supposed to look. Top dog: Shaq, with 73 SWP and 279 SvP. Top 5 forwards: Duncan , Webber , Malone , Garnett , and Walker. At guard, Steve Francis led the list with a career scoring night, but the traditionally studliest guards (Payton, Kidd) weren't playing last night. So for at least one night, the points aligned with the biggest bucks.

Speaking of big bucks, with all the money floating around the NBA, wouldn't you think that teams would have their players get flu shots?

Let me turn to football for a moment. Several weeks ago, it looked like everyone would be flocking back to Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk as soon as they returned, and this week's game vs. the Vikings would see rosters loaded with Rams (and Vikings, too). But with the recent glut of stellar rushing performances from other backs, and the disappointing recent results from Warner, Faulk, and the Rams in general, these "automatic" choices no longer seem very automatic. That's good if you are still trying to move up on the competition, because you need some roster differentiation. Even so, I suspect many managers will be giving Warner and Faulk one more week to return to form. But if you want to consider some of the leading alternatives to Rams and Vikings, there are a few good threads at the football message forum.

12/5 - If you managed to stay awake until the bitter end, last night's MNF game had an exciting conclusion. Good results were put up by both QBs (but with Grbac coming off an injury and Bledsoe just generally sucking this year, I doubt if many teams had either one), and by receivers Troy Brown, Derrick Alexander, and Tony Gonzalez. With 376 SWP and 1256 SvP, Gonzalez essentially lapped the field at tight end, rewarding those who stuck with him after last week's goose egg.

Last night's game tightened up the Football Pickoff race a bit. Less than 250 points separate the top 5 teams, and that's not much. The midseason race is even tighter, with the top 5 separated by just 125.

There are no early games this week - the last time that will happen this season. For the final two weeks, there are Saturday games - which is certainly less troublesome than those Thursday freezes. Thank goodness they are now behind us.

Just a reminder - Pickoff continues throughout the playoffs. So even after week 17, there are still 11 games remaining. Bonus points do not apply during the playoffs, but doubling is still available, which could be critical, since four of those final 11 games could be doubled.

Only two NBA games last night. Raef LaFrentz was the big kahuna, with 55.5 SWP and 187 SvP. The combo of LaFrentz and McDyess turned out to be a real bonanza in Three For All. McDyess was the top producer for the week, with 258 points, a full 58 ahead of Garnett (the 2nd best forward). LaFrentz was the third best center, 88 behind Shaq, but only 5 behind the other O'Neal. Too bad I didn't also have Van Exel. While he only ranked 6th among guards (Payton was tops), the Denver triumvirate would have been a very strong entry for the week.

Chicago has a five game week (for Three For All) this time around. That would have made Elton Brand a solid choice. But he may not play tonight, depending on the condition of his knee. If you have him, you may want to make a last second adjustment. He'll have another 5-game week later in the season.

12/4 - In both football and hoops yesterday, there were plenty of points available for the taking. You just had to know where to look for them. And where not to look.

In football, 3 running backs exceeded 500 SWP, and 2 others were only 4 yards short. However, none of the 500+ backs were even among the top ten in year-to-date SWP going into this week. And the biggest game - Mike Anderson 's 754 SWP monster - came against a New Orleans defense that had been one of the best against the run. Some of the other big rushing games were not as surprising given the matchups, as Warrick Dunn (vs. Dallas), Fred Taylor (vs. Cleveland), and Corey Dillon (vs. Arizona) were all facing notoriously porous rushing defenses.

Perhaps the weekend was just as notable for some of the weak totals posted by top players. Kurt Warner's negative SWP debacle was certainly surprising, even with his recent layoff. Edgerrin James had been a model of consistency over the past seven weeks, but he only garnered about half of his usual total. And there certainly aren't the usual "household names" among the top receivers for the weekend.

If you managed to find the jewels, and (perhaps more importantly) avoid the duds, you undoubtedly made a nice move on your competition. And if you had a disappointing total, you have lots of company.

In Hoops, the big gun was Antawn Jamison, parlaying 51 real points into 80 SWP and 281 SvP (which was more SWP than he produced in his last three games combined). Meanwhile, the guy who is supposed to have that type of game every few weeks - Shaq - was in the "off-again" part of his cycle, producing only 34 SWP.

Football Pickoff results for the weekend were rather typical, with the average score slightly positive, and the median score slightly negative.

12/1 - If you held the Viking triumvirate of Culpepper, Smith, and Moss, you may not be hurt too badly, as I see them on a lot of rosters. But if you didn't have either Culpepper or Moss, you could be helped a lot - depending on your alternate choice. My wife dropped Smith, but held the other two, so she's bummed.

Even Antonio McDyess outpointed Randy Moss last night, with an overtime-assisted 77 SWP, on the strength of 40 points and 20 boards. McDyess hasn't attracted much interest in SW Hoops yet, judging from the look of his price progression. That may change with 5 games during the next trade week. He is, however, a popular pick in the Three For All (and Survivor) game this week, where he already has 133 points (after 2 games), with 2 games remaining. They're both home games, and also spaced a day apart, which I thought made him a particularly attractive pick for that game this week.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2000: 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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