This will be my seventh season playing IPL Fantasy, and I've learned a lot from each edition that I have played. But as I look at the sheer number of options available with a limited budget and various other factors to consider at the start of a new season, I can't help but wonder how I'm going to pick just eleven players.
That's a normal feeling you can have at the start of a new season and one that can extend throughout the season at times. I've found that playing the game has enhanced my viewing experience as a fan, but the wrong approach may worsen yours.
In my last article, I dealt with the new rules and some general tips to follow. This time, let's delve deep into some common mistakes to avoid and tips to navigate this season's IPL Fantasy.
#1 Don't burn through your transfers early in the season
There's a reason why there are 110 transfers to use for 55 group-stage games; IPL Fantasy is a season-long game. By going for an early lead and burning through your transfers, you can get to a terrible position by the midway point of the tournament.
It's always better to increase your transfer usage as the season progresses and not the other way round. Despite the various international and domestic competitions in which players play, no one quite knows how a player will perform in a new IPL season.
It's better to make more transfers when you have more information in your hands. So using a bulk of your transfers early in the season could see you fall behind towards the business end of the season.
#2 Don't make your transfers before the toss
Transferring in a player who isn't playing is among the worst feelings you can have while playing IPL Fantasy. By making your transfers after the toss, you can make sure your player will feature in a particular game. Knowing the result of the toss can also help you in your transfer and captaincy strategy for the game.
However, people play the game from different places, and some may find it difficult to change their teams. The best thing to do in such scenarios is to stay safe with your transfer and captaincy decisions and back the players who're in form.
#3 Don't stop watching the match even if your IPL Fantasy team isn't doing well
I've been guilty of switching off the TV when my captain gets out way too many times. However, it's at these times that we need to remember why we started playing the game. While engaging in some spirited rivalry with friends and family is an essential factor, the main reason we play is to give us that extra incentive to watch every match.
We need to recognise that no matter how we approach the game, no matter how many numbers we crunch, cricket is an unpredictable game, and there is always an element of luck involved. It's this uncertainty that makes IPL Fantasy so much fun, and by getting too invested in the game, you will lose that joy of watching a cricket match.
Moreover, there's always the bonus of picking up on some details that might help you field a better team the next time when those two teams play.
#4 Don't focus too much on Mini-leagues
Very often, IPL Fantasy players focus on beating one of the members in their mini-leagues to the detriment of their overall position. Engaging in mini-league rivalries is a lot of fun, but you shouldn't play to beat just those one or two opponents.
Rising up the global leaderboard will automatically see you go higher up your mini-leagues. So don't get differentials or make some risky captaincy decisions to get past that one person in your mini-league, as a consistently good season will eventually see you at the top by the end of the season.
We've seen some common mistakes concerning both the psychological and the logistical aspects of IPL Fantasy. Now, let's take a look at some tips to plan your IPL Fantasy season.
#1 Your opening team for the season doesn't matter
Picking your team for the season opener is one of the hardest things to do in IPL Fantasy. It's almost impossible to predict which team will start strong before the season, and even the best players can get pretty low scores in their opening matches.
However, the great thing about making transfers every game is that you can change your entire team in 3-4 matches. This way, you can get those players who look like they're going to have a great season, without losing out on too many points. So don't fret too much even if you don't get a good start, as it's pretty easy to make up for that lost ground.
Therefore, my advice for your opening teams would be to go with safe and trusted picks and stay away from new signings like Steve Smith, Kane Williamson or Moeen Ali, who may or may not feature in their team's playing XIs.
#2 Capitalise at the business end of the season
A lot of IPL Fantasy players quit midway through the tournament if they're having a bad season. However, it's the business end of the season (the last twenty matches) that is most likely to yield the best hauls.
I once blew a 1000-point mini-league lead over the last ten games of a season. So even if you're having a bad season, you can turn it around in this period. Armed with almost a full season's worth of information and with sufficient transfers in hand, any IPL Fantasy player can claw their way back.
With not much to lose, these players can afford to take some calculated risks, and you'll often be surprised to see the confidence and clarity that one good game can have on your fortunes.