BBL is back for another year, providing us with that lovely (nearly) nightly sports fix through the Christmas period, with 43 games scheduled to be played this 2017/18 season, between Dec 19th & Feb 4th.
There is no denying that BBL DFS can have a ton of variance, but it's also a lot of fun to play and watch - plus, what else are you going to do - watch Christmas movie re-runs? ;)
Last season was my first playing BBL DFS and I learnt a lot, along my way to collecting $2,500 in feature GPP prizes (inc a 1st & a handful of top 10 finishes). I'd like to share with you some of the tips and strategies I've found successful - so you too can enjoy this time of the DFS calendar.
General Strategy & Food for Thought
The name of the game in BBL DFS is choosing the 1 or 2 batsmen who hit a ton of runs, and the 1 or 2 bowlers who grab a bag of wickets - and deliver game winning 70-100+fpt scores.
Like any DFS game, try to build your lineups to match your predicted game & player outcomes. Most BBL games finish with close results, so full team stacking isn't usually a good idea.
Generally, I like to play a very balanced lineup - aiming to have someone in my lineup "in play" at all times. Part of the reasoning is that only 1 (maybe 2) batsmen and probably only 1 bowler from each team can possibly hit a mega 70-100 fpt score (plus it's more fun to watch when you've got guys adding to your score right through the game).
Ideally build your lineups so your opposing players don't face each other, eg it's better to play opening bowlers from team A with mid-order batsman from team B. Put another way, if you've got an opening batsman in your lineup facing your opening bowler, the success of one will likely mean the failure of the other.
Confirming final XI's & batting orders is critical to DFS success. Last season we were forced to scramble when teams were announced sometimes only 30mins before the first ball. Hopefully the BBL do a better job of it this season, so follow them on Twitter @BBL, and get ready to scramble if you've built a bunch of lineups before final teams.
Finally, remember that as with all DFS games, the value of doing some research and watching the games cannot be overstated.
BAT: The most brutal position IMO - a duck or a DNB can instantly kill your lineup. Paying attention to final batting orders is the key to success - favour top order guys (I prefer to avoid openers when playing against the top BBL opening bowlers), and exercise caution playing middle order batsmen who follow a strong top order, or when chasing a small target.
Always be on the lookout for cheap players batting high in the order, while non-AR batsmen who may get to bowl a few overs have increased appeal.
A case can be made for stacking batsmen from the team batting first because they tend to bat deeper, trying to set the highest target possible, while chasing teams tend to bat at a target rate rather than their maximum ability (especially if the target score isn't huge).
BWL: To state the obvious, target bowlers who consistently bowl all 4 of their overs, taking a wicket or two in most games - and favour bowlers who bat high in the order and are known to throw the willow with success.
Try to note when each team uses their bowlers, so you can favour the guys who are called on in the final overs - which is when a ton of wickets can be picked up (but also when a bowlers economy rate can be destroyed).
It can be worthwhile looking at recent games at the venue to see if the wicket favours fast or spin bowlers - or more specifically, look whether opposing top order batsmen were previously dismissed by fast or spin bowling.
AR: The hardest to pick position because it requires a good batting AND a good bowling effort for your all-rounder to be the best of the plays. Heavily favour guys who bat high in the order and focus on all-rounders who consistently get to bowl 3+ overs.
Given the choice, a bowling AR who bats a little has a much higher ceiling than a batting AR who doesn't always bowl.
WK: With only 2 options, choosing your keeper is the easiest of the positions. Often you'll need to eat a little chalk at WK and just make the high ownership play, but do look out for opportunities to save salary when both options are middle order, ordinary scoring batsmen. WK is the one position where it's reasonably safe to have high ownership amongst your multi-lineups.
FLEX: The flex position is usually the forced value play. If you have spent well elsewhere, adding another AR to your lineup is generally the best play. If you think the game will be high scoring, use Flex to stack another batsmen - otherwise fill that spot will a bowler if you anticipate plenty of wickets.
I like to use the flex position as a final check of team exposures and player match-ups (eg generally avoiding playing 3 bowlers or batsmen from the same team on Draftstars, or playing guys who'll hurt my other players scores if they do well).
The "Luck" Factor
The constant & high scoring nature of BBL DFS makes it super exciting to watch, but delivers brutal swings on the leaderboard - often right up to the last ball.
We can use skill to identify the group of players most likely to have huge games, but choosing exactly which couple of players will go for 70+ fpts in each game . . . . does require a little luck.
For that reason, if you're playing single lineups I'd recommend focusing more on the fun side of playing BBL DFS, rather than setting your profit expectations too high.
Multi-entry Lineup Strategy
The best defense against high variance DFS games is entering multiple lineups with managed player exposures, giving you the best chance of "getting lucky" and finishing near the big prize money.
The Fantasy Insider Lineup Cruncher allows premium subscribers to set team and player exposure levels. Check out dpwoodford's How to build BBL lineups video to learn more about the Lineup Cruncher advanced settings.
You don't have to go crazy with multiple lineups to give yourself a good chance of a live lineup come the final few balls. The example below provides 4 lineups, covering 3 game outcomes, with max 25%-50% player exposure.
In this basic Draftstars example you'd choose your favourite 2 batsmen & 2 bowlers from each team, play both wicketkeepers and 4 different all-rounders, then choose your Flex player based on available salary and desired team exposure.
|Home Stack||Balanced||Balanced||Away Stack|
|BAT||Hm Bat A||Hm Bat A||Awy Bat A||Awy Bat A|
|BAT||Hm Bat B||Awy Bat B||Hm Bat B||Awy Bat B|
|BWL||Hm Bwl A||Hm Bwl A||Awy Bwl A||Awy Bwl A|
|BWL||Hm Bwl B||Awy Bwl B||Hm Bwl B||Awy Bwl B|
|AR||Awy AR A||Awy AR B||Hm AR A||Hm AR B|
|WK||Awy WK||Awy WK||Hm WK||Hm WK|
|FLEX||Awy Bwl||Awy Bat||Hm Bat||Hm Bwl|
You'll notice that even in the stack lineups above I've included players from the opposing team. Remember, only 1-2 batsmen and usually only 1 bowler from each team can possibly score those mega 70-100 fpts you're chasing.
Of course there are a ton of variations to the basic example above. Personally I don't mind locking in one keeper and having reasonable exposure to a couple of the strike bowlers, but I really try to spread my ownership of batsmen and all-rounders - the positions with the highest variance.
I hope you've found this strategy post helpful. Good luck with your BBL lineups this season. Remember to always check final teams - and that it's all just a bit of fun!