Fantasy Freeride: A preview heading in to JOI and AFP World Champs
Hooray, we're officially 83-percent through the Fantasy Freeride season! With more than four-fifths of the competitions in the rear view mirror, we can reflect on how we've gotten to where we are, and where we go from here. For full rankings and athlete standings, visit the Fantasy Freeride League home page.
So far, we've seen Tom Wallisch's perfect season degenerate into an almost-perfect season, including his dismantling of the slopestyle competition for the Dew Cup. We've also seen a perfect season from Ms. Turski, culminating in her sixth X Games gold in France. Devin Logan has wrestled away the top points-scoring-athlete title from Tom Wallisch due to her unending consistency in both superpipe and slopestyle. We've seen Mr. Brown reclaim X Gold (again) and Joss Christensen make a a late season run of things with a pair of thirds at US Grand Prix at Mammoth and the Dumont Cup. Maddie Bowman was the early season surprise of the season, only to see it fade of late. Injuries have plagued everyone this year, with Kevin Rolland, Simon Dumont, Duncan Adams, Brita Sigourney, Chris Laker and more going down. And continuing to pull double duty are Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy, who are in the top 20 for points earned both as athletes and fantasy players.
The two highest scoring athletes are (still) Devin Logan and Gus Kenworthy. Gus is one of a few guys, and Devin is the only lady, who compete in multiple disciplines regularly. So it's really simple math. More events equals more points. Both Devin has scored at every event she's entered making her a smart buy, whereas Gus hasn't scored at every event. However, at this point in the game they both cost $50,000. So if they aren't on your team, you're looking at some tough choices ahead, but here are the top 10 athletes based on points per event (not total points), with a minimum of five events entered.
|1_ Kaya Turski – 500 pts (100 PPE)||6_ David Wise – 416 pts (69.3 PPE)|
|2_ Tom Wallisch – 570 pts (95 PPE)||7_ Nick Goepper – 471 pts (67.3 PPE)|
|3_ Devin Logan – 771 pts (77.1 PPE)||8_ Bobby Brown – 465 pts (66 PPE)|
|4_ Roz Groenewoud – 455 pts (75.8 PPE)||9_ Anais Caradeux – 298 pts (59.6 PPE)|
|5_ Maddie Bowman – 445 pts (74.2 PPE)||10_ Torin Yater Wallace – 501 pts (55.7 PPE)|
Out of the top 20 scoring athletes, only one—Mr. Joss Christensen—was not an X Games participant (he did Euro X, though). In fact you have to go to the 22nd ranked athlete to get to the next non-X (not including Euro X) competing athlete. His 338 points may be a far cry from Devin's 771, but considering Joss faces stiffer competition, he's doing pretty well. Targeted as an early season bargain buy, Joss's stock has risen to the top as we move into the end of the season. A dual threat, Joss was a smart pick up, but now he carries a $50,000 ransom. In fact, the first non-X or Euro X athlete that isn't injured you'd come to is Charles Gagnier, at 38th with 81 points.
The other true dual threats, other than the big three, include only Torin Yater-Wallace. He put together a good performance at the Grand Prix at Mammoth, but faltered at the Dumont Cup. While Jossi Wells has faltered, yet managed a couple of solid results this year, and Kenworthy and Logan have soared, Joss is right in the middle.
At the beginning of the season, Jossi Wells would have been pegged as one of the top buys. With his competition history coupled with the fact he competes in all three disciplines, he's a no brainer. But with a bad start to the season, not making one finals, he was shut out of FF points until his bronze at X big air.
But since then, Jossi has been in the midst of a turnaround with a fourth place at the Dumont Cup slopestyle and a couple bubble bumps. With JOI, and three events at WSI on the line for Wells, expect him to grab you more points. And at a $25,000 bargain, why not put him on your team? Believe in Wells, he may have stumbled out of the gate, but he should be rounding back into form nicely. Here are three others who have a rough start, but have been turning the corner and might be worth a look.
1_ James Woods
2_ PK Hunder
3_ Alex Schlopy
As there have been a number of happy surprises in FF thus far—Maddie Bowman, Joss Christensen, Nick Goepper—there have been an equal number of disappointments. Colby West, Phil Casabon and Ian Cosco are at the top of the list. Phil, Colby and Cosco have yet to register a point, despite having a combined thirteen chances to do so this year. And Elias has managed a meager 20 points in eight attempts. Hopefully things turn around for the slumping superstars. If they do, they are all bargain buys, with Alexis Godbout commanding the biggest sum, a paltry $20,000. And with only a few contests left, points and dollars are at a premium.
The following list is the top 10 under-performers, based on points per event. While a number of competitors have zero points, these guys are known to perform. These guys have a number of X medals, Dew trophies, AFP top finishes and other accolades between them. We should be seeing better performances. This list doesn't count athletes who are injured currently.
|1_ Colby West – 0 pts (0 PPE, 6 events)||6_ Xavier Bertoni – 44 pts (7.3 PPE)|
|2_ Phil Casabon – 0 pts (0 PPE, 5 events)||7_ Fridtjof Fredricsson – 23 pts (7.6 PPE)|
|3_ Ian Cosco – 0 pts (0 PPE, 3 events)||8_ AJ Kemppainen – 44 pts (8.8 PPE)|
|4_ Jacob Wester – 0 pts (0 PPE, 3 events)||9_ Nils Lauper – 27 pts (9 PPE)|
|5_ Elias Ambuhl – 20 pts (2.5 PPE)||10_ Alexis Godbout – 72 pts (12 PPE)|
This weekend we've got the Jon Olsson Invitational Big Air, which features both men's and women's slopestyle and superpipe. It's really no different than the other Dew Tour stops, except that there is no open qualifier or last chance qualifier. Following that is the AFP World Championships in Whistler, BC. Thus, we go from a big air to an event with all five disciplines. And just before these two was the Dumont Cup in Sunday River, ME, a slopestyle-only contest with a varied field.
By now, everyone doing well is expensive. Everyone not expensive is a gamble. Do you blow up your whole team in the hopes of grabbing points where you can? Do you ride your team that has gotten you this far? Do you focus on a couple events? Do you blow off JOI completely? With the top three places only 80 points apart, these are questions that have to be answered.
It's inevitable that during the course of the season, some of the big names will go down, and this year is no different—especially as of late. We've lost Jen Hudak, TJ Schiller and Sammy Carlson to long term injuries earlier in the year. We've added names like Dumont, Rolland, Laker, Barrymore and Sigourney to that list, plus many more. Duncan Adams could be back soon, but who knows? Keep up to date with the latest Fantasy Freeride Injury Report. You don't want a busted member or two on your team moving forward.
Stay tuned to the Fantasy Freeride homepage for all the scoring and relevant information. With only two more events, there isn't a lot of FF to be played. May the best player win.
About the author:
Shay Williams is the Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He loves cheeseburgers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sweden. He's likely on a plane right now—first class only.