This is the seventh installment of the series, which features fantasy tips and rankings for Racket Rally. You can find a more detailed explanation of the series here.
Tip of the Week: We are at the halfway point in the season, so it is time to really start taking advantage of the court coins and make some big moves that will last for the rest of the year. For the rest of the season, one of the best ways to measure a value of a player is to compare their YTD ranking to their 52-week ranking. If their YTD ranking is much better, that is probably the kind of player you want, because that means they are playing well and have little to defend. Those with little to defend are going to be under-priced, so be sure to take advantage of that as soon as possible.
Top Prospects vs. Drop Prospects
1. Rafael Nadal, 29, ESP
Price per share: $3,135
The big question this week is whether to buy Nadal before Wimbledon or after Wimbledon. He is defending round of 16 points at Wimbledon this year, which means that if he doesn't reach the second week this year, you can buy him at a cheaper price afterwards. However, if does reach the quarterfinals, you will be missing a chance to get him at an unfairly cheap price. There are a few other things to keep in mind when making the decision. First, he is currently No. 8 in the world in the Race to London rankings with a lead of over 1000 over No. 9, meaning he is close to a lock to make it to London. Having players that make it to London in your profile will be important when that part of the season rolls around. The other thing to keep in mind is that Nadal usually doesn't play any events between Wimbledon and Canada. That means a couple things. First, if you buy him and he does well at Wimbledon, it would probably be smart to keep him, but all he will do is sit in your profile doing nothing for about a month. Also, if you buy him and he doesn't reach the quarterfinals, you can sell the shares and wait until right before Canada to buy him back at a cheaper or equal price. Basically, it is a low risk move that could have some huge paybacks, but you have to be patient. If you have the money, I say go for it.
2. Katerina Stewart, 17, USA
Price per share: $325
This ranking isn't heavy on the Americans by accident. Right after Wimbledon, both tours shift over to the United States, where the Americans typically do very well with or without the help of wildcards. However, even if Stewart weren't American, she would still make this list. She is having a breakthrough season at just 17-years old, leaving Cici Bellis in the dust. She comes at an incredibly cheap price. Predicting her upcoming schedule is hard to do at this point, since she was just eliminated from Wimbledon qualifying, but she is certainly a top wildcard candidate for the USTA in the upcoming tournaments.
3. Denis Kudla, 22, USA
Price per share: $496
In tennis today, there really is no such thing as a grass specialist since the season is so short. However, if there were as many grass tournaments on tour as there are hard court tournaments, Kudla would be a top 50 player in the world. He has a wildcard into Wimbledon and then will play Winnetka if he doesn't reach the second week of Wimbledon. It also seems like a safe bet that he will get a wildcard into Newport. That's three tournaments of three very different levels in three weeks. This is a perfect short-term addition to your profile. If you can make this move, there's a chance for some big payoffs over the next month.
4. Jared Donaldson, 18, USA
Price per share: $3,135
The American teen should have been on this list a long time ago. He has been tearing it up this year on the Challenger Tour. I've generally tried to stay away from teenagers because of how unpredictable they are. However, it is not to late to jump on the Donaldson bandwagon. His price has not raised a ton since the start of the season. Most importantly, however, is the fact that the in the two months after Wimbledon there are six events in the United States, and Donaldson is sure to get a few wildcards into those events, likely including the US Open. With Donaldson, you can get a player who has the potential to earn Tour-level points at a Challenger-level price. He has already been eliminated from Wimbledon, so it might be a good idea to wait until after the tournament is over to buy shares of the American. Based on the how lopsided his result in Wimbledon was, I wouldn't expect him to get a wildcard into Newport and if he does, his success is not a guarantee. His peak value might be the week before Atlanta, but wait to make sure he gets a wildcard into the tournament.
5. Daria Gavrilova, 21, RUS
Price per share: $1,168
Gavrilova isn't the season MVP by accident. She has been having a great season, and she is only half way through. If we had a crystal ball at the start of the season, everyone would have bought 50 shares of the Russian. That alone would put anyone in a great position at this point in the season. There is nothing to suggest that she is going to slow down. Her price has gone up considerably already, but $1,168 is still a great price.
Other than perhaps Nadal, depending on how he does in Wimbledon, this is the season to drop every player in the top 21 of the ATP. Most players take the time between Wimbledon and Canada as a mid-season off-season. In the top 12, only David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka are planning on playing tournaments in the next five weeks other than Wimbledon. Even those two should be dropped though. The price that they cost is not worth it, considering how low the maximum value they could produce would be. Of course, if you bought Wawrinka before he won Roland Garros, you actually have him at a really good price, so in that case, I would hold onto him.
David Goffin is one in particular that must be dropped right now. He is defending a ton of points for the rest of the season. The chances of him being worth his price is almost impossible. Sell your shares of him to open up room for one of the previous five players that were mentioned.