This is my first installment of a new series, which will feature fantasy tips and rankings for the new fantasy game Racket Rally created by Jeff Sackmann and Ben Rothenberg. You can find a complete article here explaining what this series will be about, and also includes five crucial tips to having a successful roster.
Tip of the Week: Diversify. The same principle for buying stocks works in buying shares for Racket Rally. There are up to 20 players that can be bought, so it is a good idea to have around 15. You don't want to have all 20, because then you can only add as many players as you drop, which is just one. Still, having a lot is always good. First, it reduces the damage done by one of your players getting upset. In other words, its safer to have many players on your roster, while it is much riskier to have just three players.
The second reason diversifying is a must do is that it dramatically increases your chances of owning an MVP. If you do own the MVP, you get 10 courtcoins, which is a huge advantage. Having more players requires buying cheaper players, which are the ones more likely of being named MVP. Predicting the MVP is nearly impossible, so it's better to cast a large net rather than trying to fish with a sniper.
2015 Australian Open: Top Prospects vs. Drop Prospects
1. Viktor Troicki, 28, Serbia
Price per share: $564
Upcoming Tournaments: Australian Open
The Serb is taking all of the next month off unless he is looking for a wild card, so this is a buy for the long term. Troicki reached the final of Sydney as a qualifier, benefitting from a weak field. However, he has won 50 matches in the six months of his comeback, playing enough tournaments for him to avoid getting protected points. Because of that his price per share is much lower than his actual value. After this week though, his price per share will go up at least $162, so this is the time to buy shares on the Serb. He has nothing to defend for the next six months, so his price per share will only go up. It is now or never with Serbia's No. 3.
2. Jiri Vesely, 21, Czech Republic
Price per share: $743
Upcoming Tournaments: Australian Open, Zagreb, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janiero
Vesely is a good buy on many levels. He just won the Heineken Open in Auckland, so like Troicki, it is now or never with Vesely. His price per share is only $743, and he is just 21, meaning his value will likely go up as the year goes on. The most points he has to defend all year is just 125, so there won't be another chance to buy him at this price. Troicki and Vesely may be playing each other in the first round of the Australian Open, but buying both of these guys now before their value goes up from what they did this week is a good idea. You would be buying them each for the long term - not just what they do in Melbourne.
3. David Goffin, 24, Belgium
Price per share: $1,669
Upcoming Tournaments: Australian Open, Rotterdam, Marseille, Dubai
After the first two players, there are no obvious players that are "must-buy," but Goffin is a safe reliable buy. All his points are back-loaded for the season, so his value can only go up. Meanwhile, he is busy for the next few months, and could have a great spring on clay. He will be seeded higher than anyone else at his price per share in the following months, so he will get some relatively decent draws, which means consistent results. Money spent on Goffin won't go to waste. Just be sure to sell him immediately after Wimbledon, because his value will begin to drop after that.
4. Novak Djokovic, 27, Serbia
Price per share: $11,405
Upcoming Tournaments: Australian Open, Dubai
In general, I think it is a good rule to never spend much more than $2,000 on a single share, and Djokovic costs over $11k, but everything works out perfectly to buy Djokovic just this once. The world No. 1 is the clear favorite in Melbourne, and the draw only strengthened that. Although the Serb has a tough draw, Murray and Federer (the other two favorites) were drawn together, so Djokovic's chances of winning go up by virtue of theirs going down. On top of that, Djokovic is only defending 360 points in Melbourne, so his value is about to go up. Still, it is a huge risk and immediately after the tournament, Djokovic must be sold. He takes three weeks off after the first slam and also has a ton of points to defend for the next four and a half months. He won't be worth owning again at least until the week before Montreal.
5. Vasek Pospisil, 24, Canada
Price per share: $785
Upcoming Tournaments: Australian Open, Zagreb, Rotterdam, Marseille, Dubai
Buying a player, who is under 27-years old and not at their career-high ranking is always a good idea. In theory, players should reach a new career-high ranking every year until they are 27. Pospisil is healthy, so there is every reason to believe this will be a good year for him, and he comes at a steal of a price. On top of that, he is busy. The Australian Open will be the second of eight consecutive tournaments without a break for the young Canadian. That means non-stop points from his shares as long as he wins once per week. And if he goes on a run, which he is capable of doing, you score big time! He has 90 points to defend in Melbourne, so you might want to wait until after the tournament to buy Pospisil, and try to get him at a better price in a couple weeks.
1. Stan Wawrinka: He has 2000 points to defend in Melbourne. Wait a couple weeks and get him at a better price.
2. Rafael Nadal: The No. 3 player in the world will be able to be bought at a much better price following Roland Garros. Wait for that and he will be an absolute steal.
3. Roger Federer: He is only worth buying if he wins the title in Melbourne. That's simply too high of a risk. Federer may never be a good buy in 2015. If you want to win a league easily, join a Fedfan league. His fans are only hurting themselves by buying his shares.
4. Tomas Berdych: Noticing a theme? Another top player, who has a lot to defend at the Australian Open. He could be a good addition right before Monte Carlo, but any sooner than that would be a mistake.
5. Juan Martin del Potro: One of the genius parts of this fantasy game is the addition of protected points. It prevents a player who is very good, but has been injured or suspended from being too valuable. It applies to Del Potro because he hasn't played enough tournaments, but not to Troicki. Therefore, Troicki is a steal and Del Potro is slightly overpriced for someone who still isn't 100%. Wait until the protected points go away for Del Potro, and then he will be right at the top of my list for Top Prospects. It's just a waiting game here.