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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 - Tomorrow starts a 4 consecutive day NFL blitz. It's a particularly notable stretch for me, as my RIFC football team is in the league Super Bowl this weekend. (We opted to finish on week #16, rather than risk the inevitable DNPs in week #17). After lackluster results in the inaugural Invitational leagues for Hoops and Baseball, it's nice to be respectable in football. Also surprising, as I consider football to be my weakest fantasy sport. I may have to reconsider that, especially with a mediocre start in Hoops again this year. Anyway, I have Culpepper, so the final matchup gets off to a critical start tomorrow. My opponent, Motley Crue, hasn't lost since NFL Week #9, and has been piling on the points in many of those weeks. But as the saying goes, "on any given Sunday..." Or, in this case, "on any given Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday..."

While the NFL will seem rather pervasive over the next few days, twenty-one NBA teams are now off for three days. Seven of those are actually off for four days. And I'm off for the rest of the year, as I'll be visiting family. So this is the final blurb of 2004.

Happy Holidays! And as always, thanks for all of your support! While the site may not be financially lucrative, most of you provide sufficient encouragement, expressed appreciation, and emotional capital to make it all worthwhile. So I'll be back in 2005.

12/22 - Today is moving day. Over the past several weeks, many teams have been accumulating various Wizards, based on an attractive combination of performance and scheduling. Today, the scheduling benefit is gone. The Wizards have 4 off days, and while their longer term schedule is still average (6 games in the next 14 days), they have plenty of sellers and no logical buyers today. The team with the best schedule is San Antonio, who plays 8 times in the next two weeks. Guess who today's top gainer is likely to be?

Today is also the last active day in the NBA until after Christmas. Twelve games will be played tonight, and then only five are scheduled over the next three days combined, including none on Friday. Miami is the only team to play twice over those three days, and with Shaq missing last night's game and Dwyane Wade already on a lot of rosters (although last night's 62.5 TSNP outing might induce some of the holdouts to jump on board), it doesn't seem that Miami will induce a lot of trading heat. Of course, trading will be light to begin with, so it won't take much action to get some magnified price results.

Thanks to those of you who have sent in GuruPatron contributions this month. I've got a shot at reaching the $6,000 mark for the year, which would still be the lowest tally ever ($1,000 below last year, with 40 fewer donors), but still a remarkable turnout considering the voluntary nature of the program. I'm continually blown away by the generosity of some of you. I owe all of you GuruPatrons my sincere gratitude, as do those others who use the site heavily but have chosen to leave the financial support to you.

12/21 - New England QB Tom Brady has never been one to put up gaudy numbers, but you usually figure him to play a smart, controlled game. So it was quite surprising when he threw two late interceptions to allow Miami to win a game that seemingly should have been iced. For the Pats, I guess that's a good one to get out of their system.

With 83-17 odds, that game also torched a lot of Football Pickoff scoresheets. Not for HooeyPooeyHoopla, though, who not only picked the Fins, but doubled them. He got only 12 games correct, but that was still good enough for the top weekly score of 556. Including the bonus points, that last game was worth 216 of his total score.

This week, NFL games start on Friday, so set your lineups and make your picks accordingly.

12/20 - Who needs Steve McNair? For the second week in a row, backup Billy Volek lit up the scoreboard for a monster game, this time passing for almost 500 yards while throwing for 4 TDs and rushing for another en route to 664 TSNP. Of course, Tennessee lost both weeks, but from a fantasy perspective, if you have Volek, you love those shootouts. I did have the McNair/Volek combo on one of my fantasy teams, but I managed to miss the playoffs with that team, so I'm not able to enjoy Volek's prowess. Unfortunately, I was up against the Volek-Bennett combo in my RIFC playoff game yesterday, which is now in a virtual dead heat going into tonight, with my Deion Branch up against Goatlocker's Teddy Bruschi. Guess I'll have top stay awake for this one.

In Hoops, we're coming up on a tricky schedule period for the TSN games. Not only does the entire NBA schedule lighten over the holidays, but stretches of 3-4 off days are not unusual. Normally, those down times would be almost automatic sell signals. But with so many occurring at once, some players will probably be held throughout, losses or not. You simply don't have enough trades to duck every single schedule hole, and - especially for cheaper players - it's probably more economical to hold, especially if there's a good chance that the player will be bought once again after the holidays, thereby restoring most or all of the intervening price losses. That doesn't mean, however, that price losses will be avoided, or even dampened. Price losses are based on the relative percentage of sells for a given player, not the relative percentage of holds. So, when trading is light to begin with, expect some carnage, and rely on your long term perspective, rather than dwelling on short term losses. Or else don't look at your roster value at all. For the next week or so, ignorance may be bliss.

12/17 - To hear the TV announcers describe it, LeBron James laid a complete egg last night. He barely reached double digits in scoring, shooting only 4-21. Yet, when you look at the full boxscore, you also notice that he was only 3 assists and 1 rebound short of a triple double, with 4 steals and a block, good for 37.5 TSNP. That's certainly not what LeBron's fantasy owners are expecting from him, but it's not so bad for a night when Detroit supposedly put the clamps on him.

NFL Alert: There are three games tomorrow (Saturday): Steelers/Giants, Redskins/49ers, and Panthers/Falcons. This means that you have to make some fantasy lineup decisions a day early (or maybe all lineup decisions, depending on the rules of the game you play). For Football Pickoff, all three Saturday games will be locked at 1:30pm ET on Saturday. Don't get caught by surprise!

12/16 - Dwyane Wade not only played last night, he played well (45.5 TSNP). Those who made the quick switch into Jason Richardson on Tuesday must be feeling a bit more concerned today, as Richardson came up with only 20.5 TSNP and marginal gains as well. Those who moved into Speedy Claxton still have a bounce in their step this morning, however, as Claxton came up with 56.5 TSNP and a $100K gain in TSN Ultimate (although for some reason, his gain was much smaller in the TSN Basic game.)

TSN released a bunch of new players yesterday. None were valued above $1000K, so if you're looking for a cheapie, there are some new options. There aren't many you'd find attractive, but there's at least one who is currently starting.

I became aware yesterday of a January schedule change for the NBA. In order to avoid a potential overlap with the NFC Conference Championship game, the Miami at Philly game on Jan. 23rd was pushed back a day until Jan. 24th. To compensate, the Heat's Jan. 24th game with New Orleans was moved up to Sunday, Jan. 23rd. I think I have adjusted all of the various schedule functions on this site, but I must confess that, due to the rarity of NBA schedule changes, I don't have a very organized process (as I must have for baseball), so it's possible that some piece may have slipped through the cracks. Caveat emptor.

12/15 - The big TSN trade yesterday was Dwyane Wade to Jason Richardson. So far, it's worked pretty well from both a financial and point perspective. Of course, it's a long season, and Wade is expected to play tonight (although that's not a certainty), so by tomorrow, or perhaps a week from now, that trade may look better or worse. But I'm sure those who made it (or the comparable trade into Speedy Claxton) are smiling this morning.

Today is farewell day for Dirk Nowitzki. I've held him for most of the season, and he's been a very solid contributor. I wish his parting gifts had been more magnanimous, as back-to-back 26 TSNP games isn't quite what I had in mind, but the Dallas schedule is such that I've been planning to move Dirk today for some time. And with Dallas playing only 8 games in the next 4 weeks, this will be a long term separation.

Dallas isn't the only team to take a breather. Charlotte plays only once in the next 6 days. But their schedule picks up immediately thereafter, with 10 games in 18 days. So it's not automatic that Charlotte players must be dumped today. In fact, I'm holding Brevin Knight. I know I'll take some price hits, but I fully expect his value to come back, and I don't think it's worth 2 trades to move out and back in. I'm sure others will disagree. But trades are the most precious commodity we have in the TSN game, and I'd prefer to use mine on bigger game. For bigger games.

12/14 - After yesterday's comments about the paucity of offensive producers in Sunday's NFL games, I should have figured that Monday night would be point-filled. So, after Sunday's top 3 TSNP producers (on offense) failed to top 500 TSNP, we had two guys in the upper 600s last night - who else but the dynamic duo of Billy Volek and Drew Bennett? We all saw that coming, right?

Speaking of "seeing it coming", we had our first perfect slate of the year in Football Pickoff. And not only did clank pick all 16 games correctly, he also doubled the optimum game, thereby getting the best possible score for the week. This was only the 7th time in six Football Pickoff seasons that we've had a perfect slate, and only the third time it has happened on a 16 game week. Two other entrants went 15-1 this weekend, so there was some high caliber pickin' going on out there!

In TSN Ultimate Hoops, there are only two players who appear on more than half of all rosters. One is Grant Hill, whose 80% ownership still tops all players, although that percentage is down from the low 90s as of a few days ago. The other is Dwyane Wade (71%), who sat out the second half last night with a mild ankle sprain. Early indications are that Wade will play tomorrow, but neither Hill nor Wade have histories that suggest the adjective "durable" should ever precede their names. I'm pretty sure most teams will hold him today, but on a light trading day, he'll still take a noticeable price hit. If you've got both of these guys on your roster - any many do - set aside a couple of trades for the inevitable rainy day. Or you could alternatively load up your roster with guys like Chris Webber, Marcus Camby, Baron Davis, and Derrick Coleman, and really throw caution to the wind! Maybe you can even entice Robert Pack to come out of retirement.

12/13 - It looks like this was a tough week to find the offensive firepower. Using TSN scoring, only 2 "entities" topped 500 TSNP, and both were team defenses. The top two QBs were Hasselbeck and Boller. The top RB was Domanick Davis. And those were the only three offensive players to top 400 TSNP.

As such, it was probably also a maddening week if you were fighting for a playoff spot in your roto league. Ditto if you were starting your playoffs this week. A lot of stud players failed to live up to their averages. That's fantasy football. If you can survive to the playoffs, just about anything can happen. Of course, that's also true of the real NFL playoffs, but I think the volatility of fantasy playoff results is even greater than in real life. If nothing else, there is no such thing as home field advantage in fantasy playoffs (unless you have a very clever system).

In the NBA, Grant Hill touched off a crazy trading weekend in the TSN game when he sat out Friday's game. Those who reacted quickly and moved to Lee Nailon got doubly burned when Nailon failed to play in both weekend games, and then when Hill reappeared Sunday night. In my opinion, selling Hill quickly was neither right or wrong. It all depends on your team situation - your trade availability, cash on hand, other trading needs, and your emotional ability to handle a few big price hits and DNPs. I held - and I'm happy with that decision. But this is one of those situations that can work out OK for many those who "came to the fork in the road and took it". Time will tell. But it probably won't give you a straight answer, either.

12/10 - I was flipping back and forth between various basketball games on TV last night. At one point, I saw that the Houston-San Antonio game had the Spurs up by 8 points with about 44 seconds to go, and I figured it was effectively over, so I never returned. Oops.

In spite of McGrady's late game heroics, Tim Duncan was still the big kahuna, at least statistically. His 64 TSNP provided a lovely parting gift for those who still held him, some who have had him for quite awhile. With San Antonio now playing only twice in the next 7 days, look for his selloff (which started a few days ago) to continue. Amazingly, he sustained some losses yesterday in TSN Ultimate, suggesting that some were moving to either Nowitzki or Zach Randolph. If so, I guess the favorable price swing will partially soothe the negative point swing.

12/9 - So far this season, there are 5 triple doubles in the NBA. Kobe Bryant has three of them, including his second consecutive one last night. They haven't been pretty, as each of the most recent pair featured 8 turnovers, with aggregate shooting of 29% FG and 60% FT. In fact, without the 10 TSNP bonus for triple doubles, Kobe would have averaged only 44 TSNP in the two games, which hardly conjures up 3D production. But, he's tied for 3rd overall in TSNP/G (with LeBron), only a skosh behind Dirk Nowitzki. Garnett, of course, if way out in front, averaging over 57 TSNP/G.

A few cheapies also had nice nights. Udonis Haslem put up 51 TSNP, while Eddie Griffin had 49.5. Perhaps Haslem's TSN pricetag of $3.7m doesn't quite qualify him as a cheapie, but 51 TSNP is good at any price. Griffin is just barely over $1m, and that certainly fits the definition. Over the past 15 days, Griffin has averaged almost 30 TSNP per game, which puts him ahead of even Grant Hill over that same period.

12/8 - Fortune can be so fickle, and so fleeting.

For a day, I managed to stand atop the standings in the PSC free Hoops game. I'm used to doing reasonably well in that game, but not used to finding no teams above mine. And then, in one evening, I lost Kelvin Cato to a shoulder injury, Marquis Daniels to a sprained ankle, and Mickael Pietrus to an as-yet unexplained DNP-coach's decision. Cato's loss is neutralized by the fact that most of the top teams seem to have him, too. Pietrus is on some of the teams that I looked at, but not all. But Daniels seems to have been one of my secret weapons. With no roster moves until next Monday, it looks like there's plenty of opportunity to head south. Oh well...

Speaking of roster moves, it's moving day again in the TSN games. I've got nothing planned, but it's typically the day when most trading is done. For example, last Wednesday, almost 4200 trades were made in the Ultimate game. The next day, the total was about 2000, followed by 1200, 1000, 1000, 480, and I'm still awaiting yesterday totals. But that doesn't mean that the TSN price changes are bigger on Wednesday's. The price change formula is adjusted to compensate for total trading volume, so it simply requires a lot more buys on a Wednesday to produce the same price gain that a much lower number would produce on a light trading day. For example, last Wednesday, Grant Hill's price increased $10K on 43 net buys. On Monday, he gained $10K as well, but this time it took only 4 net buys. Last Wednesdays' top gainer was Nazr Mohammed, who gained $150K with 819 net buys. Monday's top gainer was Brevin Knight, with a $180K gain on just 151 bet buys. Sometimes, it's the light trading days that can really make or break your roster value generation.

12/7 - If you're an east coaster like me, you probably have trouble staying awake (and alert) to the end of most Monday Night football games. But last night's game was worth the effort, as Dallas scored 2 TDs in the final 2 minutes to overtake Seattle. I've only seen two Seahawk games this year, and both ended similarly (the first was against St. Louis).

In Football Pickoff, five slates had 13 correct picks. The top score went to deepsnapper, who vaulted into the top spot with his doubled pick of Dallas. In the overall standings, competition is still wide open, with no one taking charge and pulling out to a "catch me if you can" type of lead.

Incidentally, I noticed an error in the Home Team scoring for weeks 11 and 12. It has no impact on the Football Pickoff standings, but is provided purely as a point of reference. I'll correct that later today.

12/6 - Donovan McNabb's quote of the day might have been "Statistically, it felt like I was Peyton Manning." Manning's weekend output of 448 TSNP was certainly solid, even for Manning, but McNabb lapped him by about 250 TSNP.

This might have been a weekend when quarterbacks made or killed your fantasy team. In addition to McNabb and Manning, several others had notably above-average results. And then there was the flip side, with Bulger, Favre, Brees, Plummer, and Vick falling way short of expectations. It seemed like one of those feast or famine weekends. If you were on the famine side, and your opponent was feasting, then it was probably "game, set, match" without regard to the rest of your lineups. And vice versa.

My RIFC team managed to stumble into our league playoffs, in spite of going 1-5 in the last three weeks. Fortunately, Culpepper was one of those QBs who missed the famine, even though his game was hardly feast-like. But on most of my salary cap teams, I got Bulgered this weekend. It especially hurts because in several cases I chose Bulger over McNabb. Dohhh!

12/3 - Dirk Nowitzki and Tracy McGrady had a monster shootout last night, combining for 166.5 TSNP. LeBron's 44 TSNP seems rather pale by comparision, especially since it's even below his season average.

But this morning, the sports world is more preoccupied with the leaked grand jury testimony of Giambi, Bonds, and others. I really don't have anything to add to the discussion, but there is an active discussion taking place at the baseball forum, if you want to participate or just "listen in".

12/2 - If you're looking for a cheap center in the TSN games, it may be time to reconsider Primo Brezec. Admittedly, he hasn't been "on top of his game" lately (or maybe he has), but he's on the verge of bottoming out in price, now at $770K in Ultimate and $870K in Basic. If you're not one of the many who opted to stick with him, he does provide a possible place to conserve some cash. Of course, he may also be very appropriately priced at his current level.

Those who opted to ride with Luke Ridnour until the bitter end got a lovely parting gift with back-to-back games totaling almost 80 TSNP. Those who opt to continue to stick with him shouldn't' get treated quite as harshly as those who retained Primo, but at a price just under $3m, and with only 7 games in the next 26 days, it's hard to imagine why holding him would be a sensible option.

12/1 - I spent a good bit of time yesterday looking at the December schedule implications for my TSN Ultimate team. Some players seem to have a good schedule throughout. Several have obvious sell dates. Some NBA teams have opportunistic buy periods. While a long range plan never plays out exactly as initially envisioned, I think it's always a helpful exercise to see when you will have some concentrated needs or opportunities, and when you can try to conserve some trade capacity. As the saying goes, those who fail to plan should plan to fail.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2004: November. . . October. . . September. . . August. . . July. . . June. . . May. . . April. . . March . . . February . . . January

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

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

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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