Daily Fantasy Cricket Masterclass - Part II

2023-01-19 20:50:04

Rahul Dravid has a great quote about how you fail more often than you succeed in cricket. And that is also why former cricketers place such a big emphasis on why when you are set, you need to make it really big to get your average and impact up. Dravid uses his own professional experience as an example. 

Dravid: "In cricket you fail a lot more than you succeed. In batting, in general, you fail a lot more. If you consider a fifty as a success point, you don't cross fifty in the majority of your innings, so you do learn to fail a lot in cricket, and a guy who has an average of 50 in international cricket has failed a lot more times than he has succeeded."

But let us take the case of Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest player of all time and apply an even more relaxed definition of success. Let's make reaching 35 runs a success for this exercise, which is the bare minimum in ODIs. And if you go by that, even Tendulkar has failed more than he has succeeded in his career.  He has a score of 35 or less in 52% (176/340) of his matches as an opener. 

How does he, then, manage to average 48 runs per wicket as an opener? It's because he made it really big when he was in. This is precisely how daily fantasy sports work.

Measuring success in daily fantasy - The right way 

If you expect to make a profit by winning 65% of the games you play (that is a strategy you use in sports betting), you will either not win anything considerable, or worse, go bankrupt. In daily fantasy sports, you should aim to clean sweep (not just win) at least 30% of the contests you enter. In the DFC circles, a clean sweep can mean a variety of things, but we define it as making at least three times your investment.

If your daily investment is INR 1,000, you should aim to win INR 3000 in at least 30% of your contests. This allows you to accept failures as normal. Covers Off has delivered at least 20 clean sweeps in the 40 matches it has covered, with people posting screenshots worth 15-20 lakhs so far. So, by any meaningful definition, our subscribers win 40 out of the 60 attempts they take. Even if this is only 30, you should still be in great condition because cleansweeps frequently see you go on a complete rampage, winning 4X-5X your investment.

Only by changing your perspective on daily fantasy to fit this can you begin to become a successful fantasy player.

Daily Fantasy - Aim to play daily; not win daily 

Daily fantasy does not imply that you win every day; it simply means that you have the opportunity to play every day. And in doing so, you must ensure that your good days become absolutely fantastic, while your bad days are just average or barely noticeable (investment returned). This way, a day where you only get your investment back or lose your investment becomes normal because you win at least three times on your good days, which account for at least one-third of the contest you enter.

There is also a second goal, which is trying to finish as one of the day's better players rather than the day's best player.

In areas where you don't have complete control over your success, aiming to be the best is a foolish thing to do. For example, you often hear cricket coaches say they feel powerless sitting on the sidelines, or captains say all they can do is tell a batter/bowler what to do, but the execution is out of their hands. 

Daily Fantasy - Aim to be one of the best; not the best 

And you're just a daily (not even season) fantasy team manager, picking a group of players you think will perform well on a given day. You have no say in how the coaches and captains use them, how they execute their skills, and, worst of all, how they feel mentally and physically on game day. Then there's the mostly terrible daily fantasy scoring systems that don't reward strike rate or economy rate, which you're up against (don't worry, Covers Off is working on a fix for this).

For example, if you chose Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest player of all time, to cross the 35-run mark and aim for a high success percentage, you would fail the challenge.

Daily Fantasy for beginners - what works 

Trying to be one of the day's best players

What these people do is participate in leagues that do not rely solely on finishing first to be profitable. And this is where playing 3-member and 4-member leagues day in and day out, where you only get a return on investment if you finish first, is a less-than-ideal strategy.

Change your league joining strategy: 

  • 590 Entry, 10 Spots, 5000 Prize Pool, Top 5 get 1000
  • 3999 Entry, 30 Spots, 1 Lakh Prize Pool, Top 10 get 10000
  • 119 Entry, 10 Spots, 1000 Prize Pool, Top 5 get 200
  • 2875 Entry, 127 Spots, 3 Lakh Prize Pool, Top 30 get 6000; 31-70 get 3000
  • 5750 Entry, 106 spots, 5 lakhs Prize Pool, Top 50 get 10000

A good day is rewarded in all of these leagues. For example, when MICT played SEC at home yesterday, the majority of Covers Off subscribers had a good day, but some of those who played only 3-member and 4-member leagues hoping to win big fell short of those who had Jansen as captain or the same XI with Odean Smith over Sam Curran. Jansen's case was an outlier; the teams that had capped him were doomed to failure as a result of their decision to captain him before he played one of the craziest innings of all time, and you can't lose to that. Instead, you should be rewarded for selecting him over volatile and/or mediocre decisions like Odean Smith and Ottniel Baartman.

If this happens too frequently to you, you are not playing DFC the way it should be played.

3-member and 4-member leagues - Fundamentally flawed for beginners

Here's what's fundamentally wrong with 3- and 4-member leagues: you're exposing your team to a variety of team-building ideas, and all it takes is a stroke of luck for one of your competitors for you to end up in second place by, say, 5 or 6 points to return with empty hands, even if you had a much better day than an average player in that game. 

The other part of the strategy involves participating in 6 to 500 member contests with low entry fees and aim for 5 to 10X returns on a good day. Among these leagues are:

  • 52 Spots, 244 entry, 10000 Prize Pool
  • 59 Spots, 222 entry, 10000 Prize Pool 
  • 39 Spots, 339 entry, 10000 Prize Pool
  • 20 spots, 599 entry, 10000 Prize Pool
  • 25 spots, 1390 entry, 30000 Prize Pool

These are some examples of low entry points where you can target 3-4X on a good day and 5-10X on a great day.

Daily Fantasy for beginners - What doesn't work 

Aiming to be the best player of the day and participating in leagues that only reward the top spot.

Once you have made enough profit (read: become a pro), you can pick games where you believe you have an advantage and selectively go on a 3-member and 4-member league rampage. Covers Off subscribers, for example, will always have an advantage in the first week of the tournament due to the incredible depth to which we go in our pre-season research.

For beginners, this is where a lot of learning needs to take place. There is a reason why 90% of our monthly subscribers have become yearly subscribers. This means that anyone who has seen our product wants more of it (because there is nothing comparable in the market right now, and there will be nothing for the next 5 years because the vast majority doesn't know how to combine cricket tactics, data, and fantasy).

And, if you consider how YouTube works, showing a video to a subset of viewers first and then expanding the reach based on the response, Covers Off is a classic example of a viral concept waiting to explode when we decide it is ready for it. A lot of what you see now is contained growth based on people's trust in our team, as well as organic growth as a result of the hundreds of winning screenshots people have posted (if you count the winning figures on them, it actually gets to 20 lakhs). We delivered so many major league teams that we received free viral marketing.

More to come...

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