Now that the BASS Elite Series is about upon us, I thought I would fill some blog space by doing a breakdown on how I see the top anglers in the Elite Series fitting into a Fantasy Bass Fishing plan. Basically what I am doing is not rocket science and I am guessing that a casual BassFan will reach most of the same conclusions that I do.
The Game Basic's:
This year as in years past the ESPN/BASS Elite Series Fantasy Fishing game asigns each angler with a point value based on the anglers perceived worth and places a limit on the total number of angler value points you can have on your 5 angler roster. In the past several years the team limit on angler value was set somewhat low which forced a great deal of creativity in crafting a fantasy line up. This year the anglers are given a monetary value and the new team limit on angler value ($100.00) is quite a bit more liberal than in years past. The upshot is that it is much easier to stock a roster with high priced anglers than it has been in the past.
So who should a fantasy player be looking at?
Your #1 pick should absolutely be Kevin Van Dam ($24.5). He is the #1 Angler in the BassFan World Rankings. He was the 2008 BASS Angler of the year, was 2nd in 2007 AOY race, was 3rd in the 2006 AOY race and he did that with a disqualification that really cost him the AOY title which he would have won going away, and he was 7th in the AOY race in 2005. 2004 was the last year Kevin was not a major player in the AOY race. Kevin seems to be in his prime and anyone who does not anchor their team with him is a fool.
The Elite of the Elites:
Skeet ($23.70) BassFan World Rank: #4 How will Classic Championship effect his fishing???
Faircloth ($21.20) BWR: #2 Has been very consistant but might be cooling off.
McClelland ($20.80) BWR: #5 Tied with Van Dam for most Elite Series wins.
Martens ($20.70) BWR: #9 2005 AOY, #4 2006 AOY #3 2007 AOY
As you can see, all of these anglers ended 2008 in the BassFan World Ranking Top 10. If you are not familiar with the BassFan World Ranking they are rankings of angler performance over the previous 2 years. As of the writing of this analysis they do not have updated rankings to reflect angler finishes in the 2009 Bassmasters Classic. If you followed the Classic you know that the only one that really stumbled in this group at the Classic was Todd Faircloth. I think in addition to Van Dam you should have at least 1 and yes you can even get away with 2 out of this elite group on your fantasy team.
3rd Tier Elite of the Elites
Evers ($21.90) BWR: #8 I feel he is coming on and will contend for AOY.
Rojas ($21.80) BWR #13 Stepped it up in 2008, very talented.
Ike ($21.60) BWR #18 Can Ike get back to top form?
Alton ($21.10) BWR #15 Had a very good 2008.
Scroggins ($20.20) BWR #12 Always Dangerous
Davis ($19.50) BWR #19 IMO a great one.
Once again my analysis has almost a direct correlation to the BassFan World Ranking; All of these anglers are in the Top 20 of those rankings. The only Elite Angler in the BWR top 20 not included in this tier is Fred Roumbanis.
4th Tier Elite of the Elites
Steve Kennedy ($20.50) BWR #21 Has cooled off significantly since early 2007.
Rook ($20.00) BWR #26 Good 2007, Ok 2008
Roumbanis ($16.30) BWR #16
I think these guys are good, but have a lot of question marks.
The worst deals among the top priced Elite Anglers
Kelly Jordan ($21.00) BWR #42 Home Run Hitter, Stike's Out a lot.
Klien ($20.30) BWR #35 Consistantly good, but not great.
Howell ($20.20) BWR #45 Was good in 2008 not so good 2007
Jordan and Klien could be players at Amistad.
Reminder: Roster locks at March 12, 9:00am ET and BE SURE TO HIT THAT SAVE ROSTER BUTTON AFTER YOU CHOOSE YOUR LINE UP!!!