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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.

12/23 - Finally, a weekend in Football Pickoff when you couldn't get rich by simply picking all favorites. While favorites won 10 of 16 games, the resulting point total was -91. And only one entrant got as many as 14 correct - Rookie - with 700 points (and perhaps only a missed extra point away from 15 wins).

This week's football timing needs are the same as last week, with three NFL games on Saturday. For a review, see the 12/19 blurb.

This will probably be my last blurb for the year. I'll be away visiting family for the holidays. Stats will continue to be updated as usual, but I'll dispense with blurbs. Overall site activity will be light as well, I'm sure. In fact, yesterday was the lightest Monday (in terms of site traffic) since October 13, during the lull between baseball and hoops. And that's as it should be.

Before closing out the year, let me again thank all of you for your support during the past year, not only financially, but also in the many other ways that helped to attract and encourage the broadening Gurupie community. I continue to believe that we've got something unique here, and I appreciate all that you do to make the whole more than simply the sum of its parts.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

12/22 - This was a weekend for running backs. Four of them reached 500 TSNP, and the quartet was very affordable - only $18.88m (TSN $Ultimate), with no sales tax and free shipping. Two defenses also topped half a grand, but that was it. Only 3 QB's reached the 400s, and the top WR was 354. Of course, there's still one game to go.

It's going to be a slow week for the NBA. There are only 3 games tonight. Tomorrow brings a relatively full slate of 12 games. And then Christmas eve is completely vacant. Nothing... Zero... Zip... Nada... On Christmas Day, action returns with 3 games. And then the schedule resumes a normal pace thereafter.

12/19 - There were only 3 NBA games last night, but each game produced one player with more than 50 TSNP. And all three were reasonably popular. Congrats if you had the three headed monster of Garnett (80.5 TSNP, triple double), Brad Miller (63 TSNP, one assist shy of a triple double), and Zach Randolph (57.5 TSNP, 29 pts & 20 boards). The threesome combined for 201 TSNP. Garnett has the lightest TSN Ultimate ownership of the trio (14.6%), but I'll bet a lot of Garnett owners had the other two as well. Randolph has retaken the lead as the most widely owned player, now on 69% of all Ultimate rosters, while Miller appears on 45.5%.

There are 3 Saturday NFL games, and that necessitates some acceleration of your weekend roster moves. For TSN, you need to consider the implications of game time freezes, as usual. But for Swirve and PSC, your entire rosters will be frozen on Saturday. And in Football Pickoff, picks for the three Saturday games will be frozen at 1:30 pm EST Saturday. The remaining games will lock at the usual time of 1pm Sunday.

12/18 - It has been a season of extremes for Carlos Arroyo. He was a big gainer the first few days of the year, then an ankle sprain sidelined him for a couple games, then he played well for a couple of weeks until another ankle sprain knocked him out for almost 3 weeks. The last few days he's been the biggest TSN Ultimate price gainer, with back-to-back games of 41.5 and 36 TSNP going into last night. So it's not surprising that almost 900 Ultimate teams picked him up yesterday. Their reward? A -8.5 TSNP, which is the lowest single game of the season for any player. The stat line: 0-5 FG, 0-2 FT, 4 TO, and zeros everywhere else. He has certainly not been Mr. Consistency this year. He has played in 15 games, of which four resulted in less than 15 TSNP, and four were in the 40s.

Tracy McGrady has not yet returned to last year's form (or at least TSNP averages), but Orlando is certainly doing better of late. They've now won 4 of their last 6. Last night's win in Indianapolis is the most impressive, although 3 of those 4 wins have been on the road. McGrady seems to averaging in the mid-to-low 40s this year, while last year he was close to 50, and 50+ games were often strung together. Last year, when his schedule was hot, he was the one player that you almost had to have. This year, that honor seems to belong to Garnett. Of course, for the time being, Garnett's schedule is only lukewarm, and he's on only 14% of Ultimate rosters for the moment. But that's still more than McGrady, who is on less than half that many teams, in spite of a very dense Orlando schedule.

Day Top 5 Top 3 Top
Tues 77 96 123
Wed 76 88 109
Sun 75 90 111
Fri 73 88 108
Avg 72 87 113
Thu 71 83 110
Sat 67 81 114
Mon 65 80 114
12/17 - If it seems like the most volatile days for TSN Ultimate price changes have been Tuesdays, the facts support it. This table shows the average absolute value of the top price changes by day of the week. For example, if we consider the top 5 gains and top 5 losses each day, the Tuesday average is $77K (per player). Considering only the top 3 gains and top 3 losses raises the Tuesday average to $96K. And the max gain and max loss on Tuesday average $123K. All three Tuesday measures are higher than for any other day, and roughly 10% higher than corresponding averages. An aberration? An impact of light trade volume just before trade capacity is refreshed? Who knows? But Tuesday seems to be a good day to pick up winners and dump losers.

Yesterday was no exception, as Arroyo and Randolph combined for +$260K, while Duncan and Welsch dropped $240K. Some days we don't have anyone whose price moves by $100K or more. Yesterday we had four. If you had used two trades to swap those four players, you'd be $500K richer today. That's a pretty good payoff. And you'd have also picked up 97 TSNP.

Of course, a lot of this can even out over longer stretches, and I'm not suggesting that you manage your team differently based on day of the week. But those who continually burn their trades early each week are putting themselves in considerable jeopardy as the week winds down.

But you already knew that.

12/16 - Entrant wolfer led the scoring onslaught in Football Pickoff this week. His was one of two slates with 15/16 games correct. All told, 32 entries had at least 14 games correct, and 34 scored 500 points or better. If you had a bad week, you lost a lot of ground on the competition.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of this web site. The first blurb was posted on Dec. 16, 1997. (It dealt with the extreme price swings of Brevin Knight.) For old-timers who'd like a trip down memory lane, check this link out. From there, if you scroll to the bottom, there is a link to the initial blurbs. (Some of the statistical links no longer work, but the blurbs are still there.) Obviously, the site has grown significantly in many ways. Thanks for the role that all of you have played in providing ideas, producing statistical support, moderating and contributing to the forum, and generally keeping me motivated. And of course, thanks also for the financial support from so many generous GuruPatrons.

12/15 - Yesterday's defensive stats for the Jets are rather unusual: no interceptions, no fumble recoveries, no sacks, no points allowed. I don't ever recall seeing a stat line like that. When a team gets shut out, there is usually at least one turnover or one sack. I guess playing in a snowstorm had something to do with it.

If you think you're having a good week in Football Pickoff, you have plenty of company. With one game remaining, the average slate this week has produced 171 points, which is the high for this season. And it will be better after tonight. Because the MNF game is picked pretty evenly, and so many teams are in bonus territory, a Miami win will push the average result up to 188 points, and a Philly win will get it to 195 points. Simply picking all favorites would have netted you 13 winners and 407 points so far.

I don't ever recall a season when picking favorites has turned out so well. For the whole season, consensus favorites have racked up 1539 points. Last season, favorites produced -302 points for the entire season. The three previous seasons (working backwards) produced +993, -213, and 405 respectively. So favorite picking hasn't ever been so successful - although this season isn't over yet, either.

12/12 - Have you seen the new ESPN commercial with the guy cruising around the office with his fantasy football trophy, in full gloat? A classic. In many fantasy football leagues, the playoffs start this weekend or next. Just like in real life, a season of excellence can be squashed with one bad week. Or a season of mediocrity can suddenly turn to gold.

I'm currently collaborating with PSC to develop a means to directly import rosters from their game into the Hoops Assmilator as well. (TSN import capability was added earlier this week.) Hopefully, I'll have something available in the next day or so.

Only 12 more shopping days left before Christmas. Got your shopping done? If not, a RotoGuru teddy bear or travel mug might be just the ticket. Check out the RotoGuru Store to see the current selection of available products.

12/11 - I guess this is Memphis week for TSN trading. The Grizzlies play five during the trade week, and also have 13 games over a three week period, which is two more games than any other team over that span (starting yesterday). It was enough to lift Pao Gasol comfortably out of gravity, and he responded with a 36 TSNP game, which is right on his average for the past month. If he can maintain that pace, he's decent value. In fact, starting today for 20 days, he projects to have the second best TSNP total among all players based on this projection. Curiously, none of his teammates even appear in the top 25 on that list. So maybe it isn't "Memphis week"; it's just "Pao week".

Before you get too caught up in that projection, there are plenty of other ways to look at comparable projections. For example, suppose I simply chop off the last two days, running for 18 days rather than 20. Now Pao ranks only 9th, and there are two slightly cheaper options ranked higher. I can get somewhat different outlooks by changing the basis of the point averages as well.

So what is the best approach? First, start date and end date are important criteria when evaluating projections. It doesn't hurt to consider your exit options around the end date. You also need to consider your other roster needs, and how a move will integrate with the rest of your squad. It can be rather complex, and I'm sure there is no single best answer - not even for a given team, let alone across different teams. You've simply got to think through a variety of alternatives.

Obviously, provides useful tools to do a lot of the ciphering. But there's no magic black box. You've got to exercise the gray matter between your ears to figure out what makes sense. And that's not so bad, is it? We all need exercise!

By the way, don't interpret this blurb as a Gasol endorsement. In fact, I don't have him, and my current plans don't anticipate it either - although that can always change at any moment. I simply wanted to illustrate that some could see Gasol as a slam dunk at this point, while others - using slightly different assumptions - might have a completely different (and just as legitimate) viewpoint.

12/10 - Some of the best ideas for site tools are suggested by Gurupies. And penngray came up with a killer idea this week.

He suggested that I provide an option in the Hoops Assimilator to load a roster directly from the TSN site. This would avoid the extra work of having to manually synchronize Assimilator rosters with real rosters, and would also facilitate analysis of the rosters of your competitors. It could also greatly simplify your Assimilator activity if you use multiple computers.

My initial reaction was "nice idea, but complicated to implement. I'll think about it." But after a little more reflection, I decided that this was worthy of immediate attention.

So, it's now in there. There is a new button titled "Copy from TSN site". All you need to know is the team_id number for each team you want to load. Instructions for finding this id number are available in the Assimilator, but if you need more assistance, check out this thread. Yesterday afternoon, I implemented the capability, and this morning, I just added a memory feature, so that once you've copied and saved a roster from TSN, the system will remember that id number the next time you want to update it.

Currently, this is only available for the TSN Hoops games. Next, I'm going to look into the possibility of extending this option to the PSC Hoops games as well. Assuming all goes well, I'll plan to add similar capabilities in the baseball and football Assimilators for the upcoming seasons. (Sorry, it's a little late to add this to the current Football Assimilator.)

As always, let me know if you experience problems. I did this rather quickly, and while it seems to work for variety of examples that I've tested, I may have missed something. Please use the linked thread to report issues or make suggestions.

12/9 - Football Pickoff can be a humbling game. And a volatile one.

Last year's winner, PGunn, had been struggling with a negative performance through 13 weeks this year. But he generated the top result in week 14, with 14 correct picks and 837 points, which at least gets him in black numbers for the year. Still, he's got 2000 points to make up, so it's unlikely we'll see a repeat.

But repeats have happened, and this year's current leader, Sludge 1, is the one who's done it. His current lead of 258 is certainly precarious, but you've got to admire his consistency this year, with only 3 negative weeks all season, the worst of which was only -101 (last week). With three more weeks of full 16 game slates plus playoffs, the race is still wide open, but if there is a betting favorite, I know who it should be.

12/8 - In football, all you needed was Clinton Portis, Jeff Garcia, and LaDainian Tomlinson. Those three combined for almost 2100 TSNP. Simply overlay any combination of schleps on that roster, and you have a great week. Simple, eh?

In Hoops, Brad Miller was the ticket, with his second triple double of the season. Several others were in the 50s, but Miller's 70.5 made him the clear value pick last night. Sacramento's schedule hasn't been great, and it's pretty average for the balance of the month as well. Chris Webber's eventual return will also probably interfere with Miller's stat production. But for now, he's a monster. And he's currently on only 20% of Ultimate teams.

12/5 - If the top TSN Ultimate divisions are a good indication, last night was about as much of a non-event as we can have. The top four divisions (all Gurupie divisions, by the way) combined for 58 TSNP. Among those 40 representing teams (only ten teams count for division rankings), there were 2 sightings of Jamal Crawford and one of Kenny Thomas. No one had Shaq's 59 pointer (TSNP). No one had Iverson's 48. Neither Philly nor the Lakers have an impending schedule that makes one want to invest in one of their studs.

Tonight will be different. Only 5 NBA teams are not scheduled tonight.

12/4 - With 11 NBA games last night, there are plenty of stats to look over today. Several stand out for me.

One is Zach Randolph. He's currently a classic "high risk, high reward" option. Absent his arrest on Tuesday, most teams would probably have him again, and he'd be not much of a differentiator. But with a possible team suspension looming, it's a tough call. He's now on 38.6% of all teams, but that's down from 70+% before last week's schedule-related selloff. Those who owned him last night got a nice payoff, with a $90K gain and 41 TSNP in an overtime game. But the jury is still out - literally and figuratively.

Then there is Ronald Murray, who had his fourth consecutive game under 20 TSNP. He's still on 58% of rosters, and there is no reason to suspect that any of the other 42% are likely to be buyers. Which means only one thing, from a price standpoint. Good schedules are irrelevant when production is light and price is in decline.

And there is also Andrei Kirilenko, who is really looking Garnett-ish of late. Of his last 8 games, only one was under 40 TSNP, and that was a 38.5. He's on about 31% of rosters now, but I expect that to balloon quickly. Sort of like Baron Davis production at Baron Davis prices. And Baron is now on 66% of all rosters.

I recently noticed that NBA player pages at show the number of TSN Ultimate teams that own the player, as well as the percent. For example, here is the page for Baron Davis. The "Total Leagues Owned" number is actually the total number of teams that own him, so that is mislabeled. TSN and FoxSports have some sort of business affiliation now, so it makes sense that they would offer a fantasy tie-in. But it is odd that the FoxSports page provides data that isn't even available at the TSN game site.

While the forum has provided similar data all season (thanks to tireless efforts fo Gurupie RecycledSpinalFluid) - and in a more useful format - I added the FoxSports link to each RotoGuru player page.

12/3 - It will be interesting to see how TSN Hoops managers use their new trades today. Several Phoenix players should fare well, as will Tracy McGrady, Baron Davis, and Andrei Kirilenko.

But how about Zach Randolph? Portland's schedule returns to average, and Zach's price is less than half of most of those with comparable production. But will yesterday's legal problems, with potential suspension ramifications, cause some to defer? It seems unlikely that he'd suffer any immediate playing consequences, but this surely creates uncertainty.

And then there is Ronald Murray. Several weeks ago, there was a case to be made for keeping him through a light schedule. Now, it's unclear whether he still offers top value even with a strong schedule. His playing time is shrinking, and Ray Allen's impending return will probably cut into it even further. Meanwhile, there are other similarly priced alternatives with comparable projected production. Murray is already on more than half of all Ultimate teams, so he doesn't have much upside. The question is whether he'll simply be held, or whether the flight will begin. My guess is that most teams will have bigger fish to fry today, but you need to keep a close eye on this situation. Ultimately, the return of Carlos Arroyo may precipitate Murray's death blow. That doesn't sound imminent, however, and maybe Murray owners won't have enough patience to wait.

12/2 - One Football Pickoff entrant got 15 games correct this week - bbut missed the opening game last Thursday, and then ran the table for a total for 974 points. It's all the more impressive when your consider that only two other pickers got more than 12 games right, and the second best result was almost 150 points behind. Also, less than 44% of the weekend slates ended up with a positive outcome.

It was also a tough night in the NBA. Duncan sat out a one game suspension. Artest sat out with a bad back. Among popular players, Jermaine O'Neal had a banner night with 67 TSNP. But the only other player to top 50 was Jamal Crawford - who almost reached 60. That would have been big news a month ago. But by now, Crawford is a non factor. Of course, that will change if he does this with regularity during the new Skiles era.

And in TSN football, my point avoidance schemes continue to reap dividends. I decided that I needed a major roster shakeup this week, so I swapped 6 out of 11 slots. The good news is that the end result of 2683 TSNP was one of my better outcomes this season. The bad news is that if I'd have made no trades at all, I'd have gotten 3069. Dohhhh!

12/1 - December! Shopping season. Gearing up for the end-game in football. But just getting started in Hoops.

In fact, if you want to gauge your current TSN progress against prior years, I have month-end standings archived for the past several years. Here are links to the Dec. 1 Gurupie standings for last year, 2 years ago, and even 3 years ago (before the split into Basic and Ultimate versions). Last year at this time I was more than 500 TSNP back, with only 2 trades remaining, a WWR of 330, and a franchise value in the mid 55s. I'm not saying that that's where you should strive to be. But it does indicate that there is still plenty of time to make up ground. And you don't need a fast start to be competitive at the end.. So keep plugging away. I'm certainly encouraged to see that I'm in better competitive shape this year than I usually have been.

This was not the best week to pay up for quality at either quarterback or defense. The top QB was Kordell Stewart, followed closely by Jay Fiedler. In TSN Ultimate, you could have gotten those two for a combined cost of $9.5m, less than either Cullpepper or Manning individually. And the top defense so far is St. Louis, at just under $3m. I guess the place to spend was at RB, with the top performing trio of Holmes, Portis, and Faulk accumulating almost 1500 TSNP, but at the luxury price of $34m.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2003: November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2002: December. . . November. . . October. . . September. . . August. . . July. . . June. . . May. . . April. . . March . . . February . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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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