Daily blurbs from the Guru
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We get one more flurry of activity before Christmas. The NBA is loaded with action tonight and tomorrow. The NFL plays three games on Saturday, and then finishes the weekend on Sunday. Monday is a rare off-day for both sports - which is nice, because that means Tuesday (Christmas Day) can be a rare off-day for me. Yee-haw!
I'll be traveling from tomorrow through the end of the year. As always, I'll have my laptop, and stats should be updated in the normal morning time frames (although afternoon price updates may occasionally be delayed). I may take a blurb bye week, however. Christmas week is one of the lightest periods of site activity, and while you're all spending more time with your families, I will be, too.
Thanks to all Gurupies for making this another memorable year. It was about this time last year that I began to lose advertising commitments, and at times I wondered whether the site would still be active in another year. But so many of you refused to let me seriously consider that option, and I'm very grateful for all of your expressions of support, not only financially, but also your steadfast encouragement. I'm particularly indebted to those of you who contribute so much to the message forum. Obviously, those who regularly maintain the various standings and point tallies are owed a deep debt of gratitude for their tireless efforts. But I also want to convey my appreciation to all of you who do your best to make the forum an enjoyable place to frequent, even if we do have to put up with the occasional irritation. While I am the site's founder and producer, it is clear to me that the ultimate success of RotoGuru.com relies on much more than my efforts alone. And for that I am in your collective debt.
Happy holidays to all!
12/20 - A lot of fantasy teams got a lot of points last night. There were nine games played, and four players exceeded the 60 TSNP mark, three of who were widely held. Leading the way was Kevin Garnett with 75 TSNP, his second monster noght in the last six days. Right behind was Antoine Walker, who missed a tripl-double by just one assist, but still managed 63.5 TSNP. Andre Miller contributed 62.5 from the opposite side of the court. Only Gary Payton's 61 TSNP tally fell on mostly deaf ears, as his relative light schedule has him on the sidelines for most teams.
Four more players were in the TSNP 50s, and fifteen were in the 40s. So I hope you didn't have an invalid roster. I also hope you didn't own both Tracy McGrady and Chris Webber. (But I'll bet some teams did.)
The NBA schedule really goes in fits and starts over the next two weeks. There are only 4 games tonight, but then 21 in the next two days. After that, just six games are slated for the following three days, including zero on December 24. The schedule then picks up again for the next 4-5 days before another light period from Dec. 31-Jan. 1.
So what opportunities does this create? I guess that really depends on your situation. If you are trade-poor, it may give you a chance to conserve a few. Conversely, if you have an abundance of trades, you might be able to squeeze in a few extra games. For example, Toronto plays games on both 12/24 and 12/26, while most teams are off. If you were planning to move from, say, Baron Davis to Jason Kidd, you could squeeze in two Vince Carter games in transition, going from Davis to Carter on 12/24, and then Carter to Kidd on 12/17. Just a thought.
12/19 - The Clippers won their first home game of the year last night. That's remarkable, considering their 13-5 home record. But when you look at the entire NBA, home teams are winning at a .611 clip (212-135), and although I haven't looked up prior seasons, I suspect that's not unusual.
This begs the question as to whether there is any home/away correlation for most players' fantasy points. Do most players produce more points at home vs. on the road? For that matter, do most players produce more points in a win than they do in a loss? There are plenty of ways to rationalize what the answer might be, but I'm curious if anyone has done or seen any statistical analysis on this. I've started a message forum thread on this topic. Please contribute if you have something to add. Maybe I'll take on the analysis myself, although it may have to wait until after the holidays. But since the heaviest schedule periods often coincide with extended road trips, the results could be quite relevant.
Ten NBA games last night. Five players topped 50 TSNP, including 4 forwards. Tim Duncan was the #1 stud, posting 66.5 TSNP. This marks the seventh time in 22 games that he has exceeded 60 TSNP. (Interestingly, six of those seven games were on the road. He's only topped 60 TSNP once at home. )
Two of the top forwards were cheapies. Ruben Patterson posted a 58.5 TSNP monster in Houston, although his steady gravity suggests that he is virtually unowned in the TSN games. Yet. The other was definitely owned, though, as Jumaine Jones picked on the hapless Bulls for 50.5 TSNP.
Perhaps the other most notable performance last night came from Chauncey Billups (37.5 TSNP), who got to play 41 minutes after Terrell Brandon was placed on the injured list. Billups isn't dirt cheap, and Minnesota's upcoming schedule isn't spectacular, but if you're looking for someone who will probably produce decent points for $2.5 million ($3.2 in TSN's free game), you know that Brandon will be out for at least four more games. It's a thought.
12/18 - It had been a weekend when cheap players were the top NFL performers. Kurt Warner broke the trend, though, as his 564 TSNP topped the weekend leaders. Marshall Faulk did his part, though, finishing only seventh among running backs. Even so, I guess 286 TSNP isn't too shabby.
Congrats to Toral, who posted a record breaking 990 points while going 15-0 in Football Pickoff. (My arithmetic in yesterday's blurb was faulty, although he could have broken 1000 if he'd have doubled Jax, or Detroit, or Tennessee.) The 990 point total breaks the previous weekly record by more than 100 points, and I don't believe 15-0 has ever been achieved for a week that counts toward the standings. Toral surged into 5th place overall, but jungleman24 continues to have a stranglehold on the top spot overall. In the midseason contest, dblcork moved into first place in a race that is far from settled.
There are three Saturday NFL games this week (and no Monday game). For Football Pickoff, I'll continue the past practice of freezing only the Saturday games at the first Saturday kickoff, and leaving all of the other games open for changes until 1pm EST Sunday.
In only one NBA game, no one really stood out. Dikembe Mutombo was the top producer, but his total was only 39 TSNP. The schedule turns heavy again tonight, as 8 different teams begin a stretch of 4 games in 5 days. After that, the schedule goes light again, with only four games on Sunday, none on Monday, and just two on Christmas day.
12/17 - Most weeks, by Monday morning you have a reasonably good idea of how your fantasy football team performed. But this morning, I'm still not sure. In tonight's game, my TSN team still has two QBs, Marshall Faulk, and John Carney. I'm sure a lot of other teams have several of them too, plus some of the following: Ricky Williams, Joe Horn, and any of the Ram receivers. So there are plenty of points still available. And even if your roster isn't loaded with Saints & Rams, a lot of your competitors probably have them, so don't read too much into this morning's rankings. Wait until tomorrow.
It was another good weekend to go cheap. Many of the weekend's top performers have bargain prices, including Kordell Stewart, Dominic Rhodes, and the defense of San Francisco, which were the only three to reach the 500 TSNP mark. If you have a lot of players in tonight's game, that's probably an ominous trend.
In Football Pickoff, it's difficult to see much of a trend in the weekend's results so far. Home teams have done better than visitors, but not by a lot. Favorites vs. underdogs are almost a dead heat. I guess they'll have to play tonight's game on the field, rather than relying on the momentum. Perhaps the most notable trend is set of picks by longtime Gurupie Toral, who is 14-0 so far. He's got St. Louis tonight. Only once before has someone gone 15-0 in Pickoff, and that was in week #1 of 2000, which was a practice week. So 15-0 has never been attained in an official week, nor has anyone ever posted a weekly score over 900 before. A St. Louis win would push his score over 1000. And if the Rams lose, I guess I have to consider that I may have jinxed him. Good luck, Toral. (BTW, I have the Saints doubled tonight, which has to be a good omen for you!)
In six NBA games, the lead story is probably the injury to Tracy McGrady. Although there is no definitive word on his prognosis, he's heavily owned, and Orlando's schedule is not as heavy as many other teams, so expect a sell-off in the next several days.
Special thanks to Gurupie Mark Terwilliger for submitting today's featured quote.
12/14 - Who was that masked man?
There's no disputing that Jerry Stackhouse is a prolific scorer. But the rap against him - certainly from a fantasy perspective - is that the rest of his stats are pretty light. But so far this year, although his point scoring is down 8 ppg vs. last year, his TSNP production is virtually unchanged from last year. So perhaps last night wasn't a total fluke. Either way, he was the top producer last night with 51.5 TSNP, edging out Baron Davis by the narrowest of margins. Tracy McGrady and Lamond Murray also cranked out 50 TSNP.
A couple of quick notes on football:
12/13 - No one had a complete bust-out game last night, in spite of the number of studs playing. Tim Duncan led the way with 53.5 TSNP and 60 PSP - which is still pretty solid for only 33 minutes played. Shawn Marion was the only other one to reach 50 TSNP, although Lamar Odom missed by a gnat's eyelash (also playing just 33 minutes). Perhaps the biggest news was Vince Carter's injury, reducing him to only 6.5 TSNP - although he could have done much better with 21 minutes played. He had averaged better than 60 TSNP/G in the past week, and was just starting to get some buying activity yesterday. This should stop that momentum.
Managing the forward position is getting tricky. Some of the best cheap producers have been at that position. It's very efficient to own players like Pau Gasol, or Jumaine Jones, or Andrei Kirilenko. In fact, if you look at all players currently priced under $5m (TSN Ultimate Hoops), and rank them by total TSNP, 16 of the top 25 are forwards. Five are centers, and only 4 are guards. But in spite of the plethora of cheap alternatives at forward, some of that position's studs are heading into decent schedules. Usually, when schedules dictate, you want to find a way to own guys like Garnett, Duncan, Walker, Malone, and Webber. But if you currently own much cheaper players in those slots, it can be difficult to maneuver into significant upgrades, and frankly, the cost benefit often looks unattractive.
As an example, consider the 14 days starting 12/13. Using YTD averages, the top three forwards (Duncan, Garnett, and Walker) will produce a total of 988 TSNP, at an aggregate current cost of just under $32 million. During that same period, three popular cheap forwards - Gasol, Kirilenko, and Jones - will produce 563 TSNP, but at a cost of only a little over $7 mil. Obviously, you'd rather own the studs. But those extra points seem rather expensive. On average, you only get about 2.5 TSNP/G for each extra million that you spend. And frankly, that's not a particularly compelling tradeoff.
Of course, in the Ultimate TSN game, you do get four forwards, so maybe there's a viable way to shoehorn a stud or two into the mix. Good luck trying. That's why they pay you the big bucks.
12/12 - Last night, Antoine Walker and Latrell Sprewell had a highly reported shootout. But while their point scoring was similar (in fact, Spree outgunned Toine by 7), Walker dominated the rest of the stat sheet, including 9 boards and 9 assists, leading to 68.5 TSNP vs. Sprewell's paltry 50. Neither of them led the night, however, as Shaq had 69.5 TSNP in a home loss against Seattle. Three guards also placed in the TSNP 50s.
On my TSN teams (and many others, I'm sure), the subtitle of this week could be "changing of the guards". I've had Brent Barry since opening day on all of my teams, and Gary Payton on 2/3. And I guess it's paid off. Payton has been the top TSNP producer this season with 1025. Barry also ranks in the top 25, and the only player with more points at a lower price is Jamaal Tinsley. This is partly because Seattle has played more games than any other team. After tonight, they'll have played 25 games. No other team will have played more than 23, and five will have played less than 20 games. But Seattle's schedule turns very light for the next few weeks (only 6 games in the next 22 days), so after tonight, it sayonara Sonics.
So who to pick up? For the balance of this calendar year (after tonight), four teams play 10 games - Indiana, Boston, Memphis, and Milwaukee. Fifteen other teams play 9 times, and if I chose a slightly different cutoff date, I could easily sweep many of them in to the list of viable candidates. So there are plenty of alternatives. I'm sure that in a few weeks, the best choice will be obvious. But I need to know now. (let's see, where did I put that crystal ball....)
12/11 - Once again, the MNF game failed to buck the weekend theme, as Miami became the 12th home team and the 12th consensus Pickoff favorite to win. And in this case, "win" is certainly an understatement.
In Football Pickoff, positive scores outnumbered negatives by more than 2:1. Three entrants had 14 games correct, with scotto bagging the best result (800 points) by doubling Dallas over NY. In the YTD standings, jungleman24 put even more distance between himself and the rest of the pack, and has to be considered the odds-on favorite at this point, with a gap of more than 600 points over second. tduncan also remained in the top spot in the midseason standings.
By the way, did you notice which NFL player is now ranked #1 in total TSNP for the season? Aaron Brooks is now on top with 4044 TSNP. His weekly average (337) is still a few behind Marshall Faulk (358), but with two missed games, Faulk just ekes into the top ten in total points.
With only 2 NBA games on tap, Tracy McGrady dominated the output with 60.5 TSNP in a loss to Utah. Perhaps the biggest oddity of the night is that the top center was Jarron Collins with a monster night of 12 TSNP.
12/10 - The NFL stud of the day was Priest Holmes, who rushed and caught passes for more than 100 yards each, and also had a rushing and receiving TD. The Chiefs lost by 2, however. I guess Priest should have kicked a FG as well. As it was, he accumulated 684 TSNP, 2012 Swirve points (SvP), and 39.7 PSC points. Pretty good day to own him.
The surprise bargain of the day was Vikings QB Todd Bouman, who had 577 TSNP, 1449 SvP, and 31.1 PSP. He was available in the Swirve and PSC games at bargain prices. He was not available in the TSN game, however. But Holmes was the only player to post better numbers. And Bouman was 172 TSNP better than the best QB of the day, Steve McNair.
In Football Pickoff, picking home teams seemed to be the trend to play this weekend, as eleven home teams won, producing 379 points so far. Picking consensus favorites would almost have done as well. In either case, the momentum looks good for Miami tonight, which is a home favorite against Indy.
In four NBA games, four players topped 50 TSNP, headed by Vince Carter's 55 TSNP. Only two games are on tonight's docket, as the NBA continues to show deference to Monday Night Football. Once we get into January, the NBA's Sunday/Monday schedule begins to pick up.
In a somber closing note, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the untimely passing of our Gurupie friend Philliephan. Although it has been a full year since the shocking news, he has often been in the thoughts of many Gurupies, particularly in various memorial tributes and fantasy divisions organized in his memory. It seems fitting that we should pause to remember Paul and his family, and to do our best to perpetuate his legacy of helpfulness, competitiveness, and camaraderie. We still miss you, Paul.
12/7 - In just four NBA games last night, no one reached 50 TSNP. Five players were in the upper 40's, though, headed by Vince Carter's 48. Teammate Keon Clark was right behind with a solid 47.5 TSNP in front of a national TV audience. Charlotte's Lee Nailon wasn't quite among the top 5, but his 42 TSNP and his sub-$1m TSN price have to qualify him as the bargain of the night.
If you're playing the TSN Ultimate Hoops game, you've no doubt noticed that price sensitivities are significantly reduced from prior years. The teams with the best roster values seem to be gaining slightly more than $1m per week, with a handful averaging as much as $200K per day. At that peak pace, the wealthiest teams will climb over the $80m mark by the end of the season. By comparison, many teams were valued in the $110m-$125m range by the end of last season.
Is this good? When rosters value reach 9-digit numbers, managers are virtually unconstrained as to which players are affordable, and that makes the game rather uninteresting - simply swapping among studs for the best schedule density. So to that extent, it is helpful to be forced to make some tradeoffs. However, the current dampened price movements do seem to diminish the value management aspects of the game, and while some find that desirable, others think that this undermines one of the game's major distinctions. I feel strongly both ways. To an extent, I was always better at value generation, and by reducing this element, I think I'm probably less competitive. But maybe that's just my convenient excuse for a disappointing first month's performance. Maybe all the rest of you are just getting better. If so, I'd like to think I contributed to my own demise!
12/6 - Three players cracked the 60 TSNP mark, headed by Gary Payton's triple-double boosted 67.5. Shaq was #1 in PSC scoring with 72 PSP (and 60 TSNP), while Dirk Nowitzki contributed 60.5 TSNP and 63 PSP. Eight other players exceeded 40 TSNP.
For the past two weeks, Thursday's have been very busy days, with early football freezes to address. But today, I feel like there's not much happening. No pro football games until Sunday, and not much management activity needed for my Hoops teams. I can't even think of anything interesting to blurb about. I guess I should make use of the lull to get my Christmas shopping wrapped up.
12/5 - I called it yesterday. Well, half of it, at least.
I was hoping the correct half would be "Thomas Tuesday". Instead, it was "Tinsley Tuesday". Thomas had a weak night, as the Rockets got flattened by the Bulls [gulp]. But Tinsley was just 3 points shy of a triple double, and garnered 49.5 TSNP in 38 minutes. And once again, the key seemed to be the disappearance of Travis Best, who sat out with a lower back strain. Look at Tinsley's stat breakdown as a function of Best's availability:
So why do I keep selling him just before Best sits?
Actually, Tinsley wasn't the top guard last night, not by a long shot. That honor belonged to Andre Miller, who put up a monster 74 TSNP game (34 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds). And Kevin Garnett had a 54.5 TSNP outing against Seattle. Garnett's schedule finally starts to intensify pretty soon, and is probably someone who'll start attracting some buying interest.
12/4 - Last week was the time to own cheapies. This week, the rewards were much better for paying up. At QB, RB, and WR, it was rare to find a top performer for under $5m (TSN). It was also a week where the points seemed reasonably uncorrelated with price changes. For example, at quarterback, the top two price gainers (Gannon and Brooks) combined for 848 TSNP, while the top two losers (McNabb and Favre) produced a total of 941 TSNP. I'm sure you'd be happy with any two of those four, as all were above the 400 TSNP mark.
Football Pickoff produced about 50% winners and 50% losers this week. The top picker of the weekend was shanetennyson with 587 points on 13 correct picks. jungleman24 padded his YTD lead somewhat with a strong showing. And tduncan pulled ahead in the midseason standings, after struggling with a negative result over the first eight weeks.
Monday's NBA schedule was light, with only three games competing with Monday Night Football. Shawn Marion was the only player to reach the fifties, producing 57 TSNP and 58 PSP. Three others were in the 40s. All have last names starting with the letter "M" (for Monday, perhaps? If so, maybe this will be "Tinsley Tuesday". Or "(Kenny) Thomas Tuesday"? Those two combined for 100 TSNP last Tuesday. Hmmm....)
12/3 - Marshall Faulk occasionally has those games - like last week's 156 TSNP - that make you wonder whether it's worth tying up $11m to own him. But it's days like yesterday that remind you why. He was the top producer with 588 TSNP, and that marks the third time this season that he's been above 500 TSNP. And only twice has he failed to exceed 300 TSNP (and one of those was the game in which he was injured.)
Second best was Faulk's teammate, Kurt Warner, whose 576 TSNP included the front end of all three of Faulk's TD catches. Warner hasn't been quite the offensive juggernaut that we've come to expect this year. Actually, he seems to be either on or off, as five of his games have been north of 420 TSNP, while the other 6 have been less than 260. No middle ground.
So much for Cleveland's reign at the top of the defensive rankings. Yesterday's -110 TSNP debacle included no turnovers and no sacks, to go with 31 points allowed. And it was even at home. Their previous two results suckered me into keeping them for this week. Oh well.
No early NFL games this week. Plenty of time to pause and digest. I'll wait until tomorrow before dissecting the weekend's Football Pickoff results.
In Hoops, a number of people seemed to be moving into either Allen Iverson or Aaron McKie in advance of Philly's heavy schedule. Iverson's had a nice start, with a 48 and 48.5 TSNP in his first two games. McKie only managed to play one-half before succumbing to a heart-related disorder. But the one to have picked up (so far, at least) was Dikembe Mutombo, who logged a triple-double for 71.5 TSNP on Saturday, and narrowly missed another TD (only 9 blocks) on Sunday for 53.5 TSNP. It seems like every year, Mutombo gets into one of these streaks and looks like the super-stud at center. Then, once everyone has picked him up, he reverts to mediocrity. So, buyer beware.
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
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