Fantasy Freeride, we’re 1/3 into the season!
Hooray, we're officially 33-percent through the Fantasy Freeride season! With one-third of the season 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. For the updated Power Rankings for Snowbasin, it's over here.
So far, we've seen a perfect season from Tom Wallisch, most recently in his dismantling of the X Games slopestyle. Also, a perfect season from Ms. Turski (albeit one event less than Wallisch). And even with one less event (two in slopestyle's case), we have seven female athletes cracking the top 20 in points earned. We've seen Mr. Brown reclaim X Gold and Nick Goepper make a run of things. Maddie Bowman has been the surprise of the season while Kevin Rolland has been showing some chinks in his armor. And pulling double duty are Joss Christensen, Torin Yater-Wallace and Gus Kenworthy, who are in the top 20 for points earned both as athletes and fantasy players.
The two highest scoring athletes are Gus Kenworthy and Devin Logan. Gus is one of a few guys, and Devin is the only lady, who compete in multiple disciplines. So it's really simple math. More events equals more points. Both Gus and Devin have scored at every event they've entered making them smart buys. 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):
|1_ Tom Wallisch – 300 pts (100 PPE)||6_ Torin Yater-Wallace – 216 pts (72 PPE)|
|2_ Kaya Turski – 200 pts (100 PPE)||7_ Kevin Rolland – 213 pts (71 PPE)|
|3_ Maddie Bowman – 257 pts (85.66 PPE)||8_ Bobby Brown – 266 pts (66.5 PPE)|
|4_ Nick Goepper – 242 pts (80.6 PPE)||9_ Roz Groenewoud – 185 pts (61.66 PPE)|
|5_ Devin Logan – 307 pts (76.75 PPE)||10_ Justin Dorey – 178 pts (59.33 PPE)|
Out of the top 20 scoring athletes, only one—Mr. Joss Christensen—was not an X Games participant. In fact, you have to go to the 37th ranked athlete to get to the next non-X competing athlete. Joss' 125 points may be a far cry from Gus' 343, but considering Gus had three more events than him, he's doing pretty well. Targeted as an early season bargain buy, Joss' stock has surely risen as we move into the meat of the season. A dual threat, Joss is a smart pick up, if you've got the cash to pay his nearly $33,000 bounty.
The other true dual threats, other than the big three, include, well, no one. While Wells has faltered, and Kenworthy and Logan have soared, Joss is right in the middle, poised to explode.
At the beginning of the season, if you were to ask us where Maddie Bowman would rank after one-third of the season, we wouldn't have said fifth with 257 points. But the young Tahoe-native has put on quite the show this year taking the win in Killington and two second places in Whistler and Aspen. No longer under the radar, Bowman shows no signs of slowing up as we move into Dew Tour Stop 3 and the US Grand Prix. She costs a hefty $46,650 now, so chances are if you missed the boat, you'll be looking for sleepers elsewhere. Here are three sleepers that could post some decent numbers in the coming weeks.
1_ James Woods
2_ Noah Bowman
3_ Emilia Wint
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. Elias Ambühl, Phil Casabon and Jossi Wells are at the top of the list. Elias and Phil have yet to register a point, despite having a combined seven chances to do so this year. And Jossi has managed a meager 72 points in seven attempts. Hopefully things turn around for the slumping superstars. If they do, they are all bargain buys, with Jossi Wells commanding the biggest sum—a paltry $22,000.
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 (and have been at three or four events). These guys have a number of X medals, Dew trophies, AFP top finishes and other accolades between them. We should be seeing better performances.
|1_ Elias Ambühl – 0 pts (0 PPE)||6_ Henrik Harlaut – 52 pts (13 PPE)|
|2_ Xavier Bertoni – 0 pts (0 PPE)||7_ PK Hunder – 76 pts (19 PPE)|
|3_ Phil Casabon – 0 pts (0 PPE)||8_ Mike Riddle – 89 pts (22.25 PPE)|
|4_ Peter Olenick – 20 pts (6.66 PPE)||9_ Simon Dumont – 67 pts (22.33 PPE)|
|5_ Jossi Wells – 72 pts (10.3 PPE)||10_ Alex Schlopy – 69 pts (23 PPE)|
This weekend we've got the Winter Dew Tour at Snowbasin, 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 Frostgun Invitational big air in Val Thorens, France. Little is known about this event, but this could be a chance to grab points when no one else is looking.
And coming in after that is the US Grand Prix at Mammoth. Featuring both slopestyle and superpipe, it's still unknown who might attend. This could be a big points grab before more well known events like Euro X arrive. Stay tuned as we get closer to the end of the month for this one.
Can Wallisch keep his perfect season going?
But here is the real breakdown on how to best plan ahead as skiers get more expensive. There are six men's slopestyle events coming up, with men's pipe, women's slope and pipe each having four. Then men's big air follows up with three more events. While your team members may not be doing all the events, you should maximize your potential to earn points. The Dumont Cup and Austrian Open (still tbd) have been male-only slopestyle events in the past, and those ways look to be the same in 2012. Check the FF calendar here.
It's inevitable that during the course of the season, some of the big names will go down, and this year is no different. We've lost Jen Hudak, TJ Schiller and Sammy Carlson to long term injuries, while guys like Alex Schlopy, Justin Dorey and Tai Barrymore have injuries that could keep them out anywhere from a week to a month. 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 an relevant information. With eight more events, there is a lot more 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.