Set your team for the first Elite event!
BAINBRIDGE, Ga. — It’s that time! The 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series kicks off March 13 at Lake Seminole. And you can compete for prizes right alongside the pros — without even having to pay an entry fee!
For a total sum of zero dollars, you can play Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing with the possibility of winning a shopping spree at Bass Pro Shops or even a boat. That’s right. You could win a boat just for playing Fantasy Fishing.
Whether or not you played it during the Classic doesn’t matter. If you did well, it was good for bragging rights, and if you were the top player overall, you won a prize. But your Classic scores do not count toward your overall score for the season. So if you experienced an epic fail during the Classic (or didn’t play at all), you’re still in the running for a boat at the end of the year.
If you pick the top anglers in the Dick Cepek Tires Bassmaster Elite Series event at Lake Seminole, you could win! The overall best Fantasy Fishing player from each Elite Series event wins a $2,500 Bass Pro Shops gift card.
If you pick the top anglers consistently and have the best points total at the end of the season, you’ll win a Triton 18XS boat with a Mercury 150 Pro XS motor, Lowrance Mark 5X Fishfinder, MotorGuide FW 75 24V trolling motor and a single-axle trailer. The total value of the prize is $32,232.
(Residents of Canada may play but are not eligible to win a prize.)
How did you do in the Classic?
We bet a lot of you are wishing you had picked Randy Howell in Bucket B!
Enjoy checking to see how you stacked up against other players.
The 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series season begins soon! Your Classic score will not count toward the overall prize or in your points total. That will be good for those of you who didn’t do so well in the Classic!
So get ready for Elite Series season play! We’ll let you know when you can select your players. We wish you the best in your league!
Fantasy Fishing begins now!
By Tyler Reed
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro is upon us. And just because you can’t stand on the big stage yourself doesn’t mean you can’t compete for prizes right alongside the pros!
Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing is now open, and you can set your team for the Classic.
To enter, fill out the free registration form at the top of this page. After registering, click on the “Create Entry” button on the game’s front page to participate in the game. After registering, you are ready for Fantasy Fishing Challenge. A valid username and password will be used as an identifier to log in to game play and to keep track of your team’s score and standing. You will be able to see your team’s score any time you return to the game with your username and password.
Assembling your Team
To assemble your team, first select an angler slot from the roster area at the left side of the screen. Then, in the table to the right, select an individual angler from the free agent list by clicking the green ADD button icon next to his name. Repeat the process until you have selected five anglers (one from each group) and then complete the transaction by pressing the “Save Roster” button in the top left corner above your roster.
Note: In order to receive points, your roster must contain five anglers.
Creating or Joining a Group (Optional)
You have the option to group yourself with friends, co-workers or random fans by joining or creating a group. Within each group, your entry will be automatically ranked. Most of the groups in the game are public and can be joined at any time. If you want to play with a specific group of people you know, create a private group and make it only accessible to those whom you have given the group password. The creator of a group sets the group’s name, motto, image, message and password (only if private). More information is in the Group Directory page. There is no prize awarded for being the top entrant in your group.
Name Your Entry
After you have signed in, you will be prompted with a red “Create Entry” button. After you click on the button you will be automatically redirected to the “Entry Settings” page where you will be asked to name your entry and decide whether you would like to receive email reminders.
- Name your entry: Use the text box to determine how your entry will be displayed in the game.
- Email Reminders: Use the radio buttons to select whether or not you’d like to receive email reminders pertaining to game locks and game rules.
Once you have completed your game settings, click on the “Save Settings” button.
The number of points a Fantasy Fishing player earns is based on a scoring system similar to the Bassmaster Elite Series’ Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, in which an angler is awarded points based on his final standing in the Classic.
If you pick the top anglers in the Classic, you could win! The overall best Fantasy Fishing player from the Classic wins a $2,500 Bass Pro Shops gift card! (Residents of Canada may play but are not eligible to win a prize.)
Get ready, get set, go set your teams!
Choose wisely in buckets B and D
By Greg Huff
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — With Kevin VanDam and Aaron Martens sharing half the Fantasy ownership in Bucket A, and Randall Tharp and Brandon Palaniuk splitting 60-some percent in Bucket C, your buckets B and D picks could be more likely to help you win this year’s Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing contest for the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.
I researched each competitor’s February history on both Guntersville and comparable riverine reservoirs (Red River, Lay Lake and Wheeler Lake) and reviewed February Guntersville tournament results — best baits, cover and structure — at BassGold.com. I also interviewed several competitors — including three mentioned here — for my Fantasy Fishing Insider podcast (listen here or on iTunes.) Following are the best bets in each bucket, based on the data.
Bucket A: VanDam, Martens or Iaconelli
I think this Classic will be won by ripping a lipless crankbait over submerged grass, pretty much how Kevin VanDam (who has 30% ownership in Fantasy Fishing’s Bucket A as of Feb. 2) won the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Lay Lake. So, picking against him is a hard sell, despite a 74th-place Guntersville flop in February 2005.
VanDam placed third here in February 2004 and won or finished in the Top 15 in three Classics on comparable reservoirs — first and third on Lay Lake and 11th on the Red River. His non-February finishes here include a win, fourth, 20th and ninth.
Still considering someone other than KVD? If you insist …
The defending Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Martens (27%) is a California native who moved a few years ago to Leeds, Ala., which is about an hour and a half from Guntersville, where he’s won once in eight tournaments.
In February tournaments here, he’s placed 14th twice. In four of five February tournaments on comparable reservoirs, he was impressive too, with Top 12 finishes on Wheeler Lake, Lay Lake and the Red River.
Statistics indicate Mike Iaconelli (5%) is the best-of the-rest pick in Bucket A. In two February tournaments here, he placed fifth and 19th. In two of four spring events here, he won one and placed fourth in another. In February Classics on comparable riverine reservoirs, he finished in the Top 10 twice.
Bucket B: DeFoe, Vinson or Walker
Ott DeFoe’s (20%) best finish here in four tournaments — 18th place — came in February. A fifth-place Classic finish in February on the Red River makes him worth considering.
Alabamian Greg Vinson (10%) might live 2 1/2 hours from Guntersville, but his history in five tournaments here is uneven, bookended by a runner-up and a 155th-place bomb. His only February finish here was a Top 20. Add a Classic runner-up finish on Red River in February 2012, and Vinson looks like the home-state angler to go with in Bucket B.
As much as I admire Alabamian Randy Howell, his February history on Guntersville is not nearly as sharp as his haircut – 129th and 47th. And his average finish here in six other tournaments is 56th.
If David Walker (5%) didn’t jump out at you as the top pick in Bucket B, you’re probably not alone. He’s not a former Classic winner, like Alton Jones and Mark Davis. He’s not a former Angler of the Year, like Brent Chapman and, again, Davis. He’s not Bass Fishing’s Most Interesting Man, like Tommy Biffle. And heck, he’s not even from Alabama, like Randy Howell.
But data indicate Walker’s the best pick. He finished sixth and ninth here in two February tournaments, and fourth and 13th on two comparable riverine reservoirs in a similar time period. He also placed fourth here in a summer tournament.
Bucket C: Tharp, Palaniuk or Omori
In several ways, Tharp (32%) is the “Jason Christie” of this year’s Classic — an FLW-crossover fishing on essentially his home lake. In one important way, however, he’s not: This ain’t his first rodeo. He competed in the 2011 Classic on the Louisiana Delta, finishing 35th.
Tharp is a favorite to win. He’s won three tournaments here, including a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open presented by Allstate, and notched two Top 10s in late-February FLW BFLs. Last year, he won the FLW’s season-champion tournament, the Forrest Wood Cup. So, yeah, he’s a Prime Time gamer.
Palaniuk (33%) is again a popular Fantasy Fishing pick, perhaps because he appears to fish best when the stakes are the highest. In his three consecutive Classic appearances, Palaniuk finished fourth, 48th and second.
But Palaniuk has never competed on Guntersville. Nor has he competed on any comparable reservoirs in February. This makes for an intriguing Tharp vs. Palaniuk match-up. Will experience pay off better than seeing the lake with fresh eyes?
Think neither Tharp nor Palaniuk will overcome the hype? Pick Takahiro Omori (2%), who finished 27th in his one February tournament here. His best finish in six tournaments here is sixth. His February Classic history on comparable riverine reservoirs includes two Top 15s.
Bucket D: Lee or Miyazaki
Should you pick a veteran with Classic and Guntersville experience, or a youngster with no Classic experience but lots of lower-tier success here (both in general and in February)? Your answer will likely determine your Fantasy Fishing fate.
Jordan Lee (41%), Carhartt Bassmaster College Series champion, has placed sixth and ninth in two February tournaments here, and he won an early March tournament here last year. He can catch coldwater bass. But is he better than Classic veterans who have faced tougher competition here? It will be fun to find out.
Data indicate the best veteran pick is Yusuke Miyazaki (4%), who placed 18th on Guntersville in February 2005. While he bombed here (97th) in February 2004, he notched Top 15 finishes in two April tournaments (2006 and 2007). He fished his first Classic last year, so he’s less likely to be negatively affected this year by the hype and extra schedule demands.
Bucket E: Carden
So few of these guys have any history on Guntersville or a comparable riverine reservoir — in February or otherwise. So play it safe and take Alabamian Coby Carden (64%), who placed 32nd here in a February 2004 Bassmaster tournament. He placed fourth in an early March tournament on Lay Lake, and he’s also won a Southern Open.
Pick big names in Fantasy
By Cody Hanley
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro will be held on one of the best lakes in North America, Lake Guntersville. You can bet these guys will be battling it out BIG time for a shot at the title. Will the “sleepers” be a factor? Will Kevin VanDam win another Classic? So many questions to be answered, and they will be — after the final day weigh in!
It will be a fight to the end, but here are my thoughts on who will take home that HUGE trophy, and who are the best picks for your Basmaster Fantasy Fishing team.
Bucket A: VanDam
Kevin VanDam is arguably the best bass angler who will ever live; you can never count out KVD, especially in a Classic. The man is very versatile and can catch bass every way known to man. Plus, he won a Bassmaster Elite Series event on Guntersville back in 2007 and also has several Top 10 finishes throughout his career, so he can catch ’em there.
Bucket B: Walker
David Walker can catch bass on Guntersville! The Tennessee native is another versatile angler. He can fish deep with a jig or a crankbait, or he can go flip a grass mat — either way works for this guy! Before Walker came to the Elite Series scene, he fished the FLW Tour, and his track record on Guntersville is very good. So, this guy will be on my Fantasy team for sure!
Bucket C: Tharp
Randall Tharp, the “Honey Badger,” is a Guntersville legend. Before moving to Florida last year, Tharp was a native of Alabama and fished Guntersville a lot. I know Randall, and the man is a flipping master. Combine that with his history of the lake, and boom you’ve got yourself a great Fantasy pick. In fact, he’s who I am predicting to win the Classic!
If you check his track record, you can see in every B.A.S.S. event he fished, he has done well, including a win in 2008. On the FLW side, he has won three tournaments at Guntersville and more than 10 other Top 10 finishes. You want this guy!
Bucket D: VanDam
Another VanDam, Jonathan VanDam, will place well at the Classic. With his knowledge of deep fishing, I think VanDam will do well at the Classic, not to mention he’s Kevin VanDam’s nephew and practice partner! Add that the only B.A.S.S. event he fished on Guntersville landed him a 45th-place finish, and there ya go — a terrific pick!
Bucket E: Carden
I am not very familiar with these guys, but I took a look at their angler profiles, and Coby Carden seemed to be what Guntersville is all about. He has fished the lake several times in B.A.S.S. events and did pretty well. On top of that, he is experienced in shallow and deep fishing, plus he has a lot of experience fishing in Alabama. Add that together and you got a heck of a good sleeper pick for the Classic!
Registration is now open!
Set your teams now! Pick your favorites for the Bassmaster Classic and get ready to play!
Fantasy Fishing launches Feb. 1
Are you ready to compete against your friends for bragging rights — as well as prizes? Then get ready for the 2014 season of Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing.
You can sign up and set your teams beginning Saturday, Feb. 1. In the meantime, think about who you want to play against, what your league name will be and which anglers you think will perform best at the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro!
Fantasy win upgrades New Hampshire angler from canoe to bass boat
By Cara Clark
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jason Hill has never owned a bass boat, but he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his favorite hobby of bass fishing. Instead, he strapped his canoe to the top of whatever vehicle he owned at the time — from an old sedan to an SUV — and fished the ponds and smaller bodies of water near his home in Holderness, N.H.
Now, the situation has changed. By winning Fantasy Fishing presented by Toyota on Bassmaster.com, Hill now has a fully rigged Triton bass boat, and the canoe, a gift from his grandparents long ago, will be sidelined — at least for bass fishing purposes. His new Triton 18XS boat is equipped with a Mercury 150 Pro XS motor and comes with a Triton single axle trailer, a MotorGuide trolling motor, a Lowrance HDS-5 Gen 2, a Tempest Prop and 8-foot Talon shallow water anchors. His prize also includes a $2,500 Bass Pro Shops gift card and a B.A.S.S. branded jersey, bringing the total prize package to $45,318.
“I’ve been telling myself I would buy a bass boat for years,” Hill said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted. Being a teacher, you don’t make a whole lot of money for extra things, and to win a boat, especially one that is so awesome and more than I ever would have been able to buy myself, is incredible.”
Hill, a middle school English teacher and high school soccer coach, grew up on Squam Lake (No. 76 on Bassmaster’s “100 Best Bass Lakes” list) where his grandparents and parents had pontoon boats he could fish from. Hill still lives near Squam, the place he’ll debut his shiny new boat. Lake Winnipesaukee, a fishery he doesn’t venture onto often with the canoe, probably will be his second stop.
“I really cannot believe this has happened to me,” Hill said. “I’ve never really won anything before. During the last few weeks of Fantasy Fishing, I went with a gut feeling of the guys I thought would do well. The last couple of tournaments were smallmouth events, and I leaned toward anglers who were good on smallmouth.”
Hill first started playing Fantasy Fishing a few years ago when his childhood pal and fishing buddy Joe Vanasse started a group. This year’s game on Bassmaster.com began in early 2013 and lasted until the Bassmaster Elite Series ended with the Aug. 22-25 Plano Championship Chase. To enter before each of the eight regular season tournaments, contestants choose five anglers from five different categories into which the Elite field of 99 anglers was sorted. Each angler was worth a number of points based on his performance during the Elite season.
Hill and his buddy had a friendly rivalry to see who had better picks, but neither excelled with their choices.
“This year was pretty much the same until there were about three tournaments left in the season,” Hill said. “I realized I had gone up in the rankings to the Top 30, so each tournament I focused a little more on my picks and tried to keep in mind the percentages of ownership of each of the anglers. I figured if I made smart picks, I might have a chance to win. I really didn’t think I would until the last tournament when I was in second place. I was fortunate I picked Mark Davis, an angler not many picked, and he finished second in the last tournament. I couldn’t believe it.”
As Hill’s opportunity to win grew, so did the encouragement of Vanesse, who lives in Minneapolis, Minn. After the Plano Championship Chase, Vanesse was confident his buddy was the winner.
“He kept leaving me messages saying that I won,” Hill said. “We were waiting for the points to be updated, and I honestly thought I hadn’t won. One of my anglers (Aaron Martens) missed the weigh-in and dropped from third to 12th place. I still had three anglers in the Top 12. I kept saying no way, but he was so excited for me. He said, ‘Now you’re not going to be able to carry your boat on top of the car.’”
Hill is eager to take his best friend out on a bass fishing outing in the spring, and he has others clamoring to go out on the boat.
“We have several avid fishermen on the soccer team, and the state of New Hampshire recently adopted high school bass fishing as a sport,” Hill said. “(When the soccer team heard), they said, ‘Coach, now that you have a boat, you can be our fishing coach, too.’”
Hill, who had Aaron Martens as one of his top picks, said the Alabama pro is one of his favorite anglers.
“He’s fantastic, and he had a fantastic season,” Hill said. “I’m surprised more people weren’t picking him. Mark Davis is one of my new favorites. I don’t know a lot about him, but I plan to learn more and follow him more closely. His performance in that last tournament is part of the reason I won.”
Big Bass catchers will earn you bonus Fantasy Fishing points
By Greg Huff
Need big finishes in the next two tournaments to save your Fantasy Fishing season? You’ll earn big bonus points by picking an angler likely to catch a Carhartt Big Bass.
“The bonus points are where you really make up ground,” advises Brett Baker, president and owner of Big Game Software, the company that manages the program that runs Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing. “If someone places 10 points better than someone else in the standings, it may not equate to huge number of points more for that one tournament. But if they’re also getting bonus points for having gotten big fish … that can really make up points faster. And in that scenario, very few other people are getting those points.”
Anglers who catch the Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament score 40 bonus points for the Fantasy Fishing players that picked them.
Great, you may be thinking, not only do I have to guess the anglers who will finish highest in their buckets, I also have to guess who will catch the biggest fish? That’s impossible!
Not necessarily. Some anglers consistently catch more big fish and weigh heavier stringers than others. And they may not be the ones you think.
“Not to put these guys down because I love ’em and they’re great sticks, but Ish Monroe and Bobby Lane have bigger reputations for catching big fish than the numbers would support,” said Ken Duke, Senior Editor of B.A.S.S. Publications and chronicler of even the most esoteric Elite Series competition stats. “So, don’t buy into the hype, folks!”
“But wait,” I implored Duke in a recent phone conversation, “isn’t Bobby Lane’s nickname Big Fish Bobby Lane? Doesn’t Bassmaster Elite Series emcee Dave Mercer call Ish Monroe the BBS — Big Bass Specialist?”
“Those guys do catch some big fish,” said Duke, “but as far as catching big fish in Elite Series events goes, those guys are good, but they’re not as good as some of the other guys out there.”
Guys like Todd Faircloth, Kelly Jordon, Greg Hackney, Dean Rojas, Randy Howell and Brent Chapman lead the Elite Series in daily Big Bass catches (as Duke documented in this Bassmaster.com column).
“Those guys are really good at it,” Duke told me, explaining that each excels also at catching big numbers of bass. And from there, the law of averages is a factor. “These are the guys that. Day in, day out, they’ve got a limit in the boat by 10 o’clock, so they’ve got an opportunity to go out and look for that kicker.”
But catching a daily Big Bass doesn’t earn Fantasy Fishing bonus points unless it holds up as Big Bass of the tournament. For that, Jordon, Greg Hackney and Takahiro Omori are tops, each having won a tournament Big Bass award three times, according to Duke’s research. Fourteen others have caught the tournament big bass twice. Faircloth is one of them.
Faircloth has a system to catch big kicker fish, Duke said. “He’s got a plan for how many pounds of fish he thinks it’s going to take to be competitive, and he doesn’t stop fishing in that basic pattern until he gets to that number. And then he immediately starts pulling out all the stops, going for broke. Maybe making a long run, looking for a big fish; working isolated cover, looking for that big bite; things like that.”
So now that we’ve identified the Kings of Lunker Mountain, as Duke would say, how do we spin that info in Fantasy Fishing gold?
You shouldn’t pick Faircloth, Jordon, Hackney and Omori week in and week out (assuming you even could, based on which bucket they are in). You should, however, give the nod to one of those guys if and when he’s among a handful of anglers in one bucket who seem equally capable of finishing highest in that bucket (after comparing standard Fantasy Fishing metrics such as Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year momentum, performance history and skills-vs.-conditions.)
It’s like splitting eights in Blackjack: You don’t always win with the strategy, but a pair of eights does afford you an opportunity to score bonus points. So, attempt to capitalize on the opportunity whenever you can.
Let’s say you’re on the fence between picking Takahiro Omori, Stephen Browning and Kevin Short in a bucket in a river tournament. And let’s say Omori’s ownership is 2.5 percent, Browning’s is 5 percent and Short’s is 2 percent. (If you missed my column explaining how to use ownership percentage to your advantage in Fantasy Fishing, read it here.)
Short and Browning are self-styled river rats. Omori is a statistical river rat because he consistently makes Top 20s on rivers. So we’ll say that in their bucket, these three are the clear favorites but seem pretty equally matched when compared side by side. Seems like a classic “Pick’em” bet right?
Not so fast. This is when you split your eights and pick Omori, playing the odds to win a Big Bass bonus.
“In the case where the angler has [low] ownership,” says Baker, “if that angler does particularly well — especially if the angler qualifies for bonus points — then only [a small] percent of how ever many tens of thousands of entries that exist are going to get [the bonus. That’s why those bonus points are so important.”
An angler who places 12th will earn you 254 Fantasy points. The angler who places 20th earns you 235. That’s a difference of eight places and 19 points. But if Omori places 20th and Short places 12th, but Omori catches the tournament’s Big Bass, Omori would score you 275 to Short’s 254, a difference in your favor of 21 points. And if Short finishes 20th and Omori finishes 12th, also along with Big Bass, you’d outscore by 59 points in one bucket the guy who picked Short (294 to 235). That’s a huge payoff, especially considering Omori and Short initially seemed fairly evenly matched.
You also get 40 bonus points if your angler wins the Berkley Heavyweight Award for weighing in the heaviest five-fish limit of the tournament. You get five bonus points when an angler on your roster ends the day with the tournament lead (including on Day 4).
How picking underdogs can help or hurt in Fantasy FishingBy Greg Huff
Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing player David Beaver is one of several people who e-mailed Bassmaster.com requesting advice on how to analyze anglers’ ownership percentages in order to draft a better Fantasy roster:
“I get that the more people own an angler — and if you need to make up ground — the points aren’t going to help you a lot, so you’re better off picking an angler that, if he does well, can maybe jump you up in the points,” Beaver wrote. “But I’m unsure about these guys that are for example, 2.9 percent. Should that angler do well, is that going to be better for me in points, or just screw me up worse?”
Comparing anglers’ ownership percentages to their past history on the tournament venue (and/or comparable fisheries) is key to determining the best value Fantasy picks. You’ll win neither prizes nor braggin’ rights by playing it safe and picking highly owned anglers — the “favorites,” to borrow a term from horse racing.
To separate yourself from the pack, you must draft to your roster several lesser-owned anglers — and then those guys must finish higher than the heavily owned guys. That, of course, is easier said than done. You won’t win by picking the wrong long-odds horses either.
In my podcast, Fantasy Fishing Insider, I describe anglers as “undervalued” or “overvalued.” Undervalued anglers are those who appear to be in too low a bucket or those whose ownership percentages seem too low, based on several factors:
- Momentum: Have they been making cuts and cashing checks? Have they been consistently finishing higher than their bucket suggests they will?
- History: How have they performed on the tournament venue and/or on fisheries similar to it and the present season/spawn period?
- Gut feeling: Never underestimate your Spidey Sense when it tingles.
Recognizing and selecting undervalued anglers is the best — but most difficult — key to picking successful Fantasy Fishing rosters. Familiarizing yourself with the résumés of anglers who don’t routinely appear on TV and magazine covers will help a lot.
To help explain the finer points of Fantasy Fishing strategy, I spoke with Brett Baker, president and owner of Big Game Software, the company that manages the program that runs Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing. He confirmed that assessing anglers’ ownership percentages is a key to determining value.
“That’s where you get your advantage,” Baker explained. “The person who doesn’t really know thinks, ‘I’m going to go with the one the rest of the crowd is going with.’ The person who’s done a little more research may say, ‘I don’t care that everyone else is going with this guy, I know better. I know this other guy performs particularly well on this kind of river,’ and they go against the grain. That’s really where the ownership percentage would come into play.”
Tens of thousands of people compete in Fantasy Fishing, according to Baker — more at the beginning of the season and fewer toward the end of the season as some players fall out of contention. For the purposes of this analysis, we’ll say 25,000 people are playing. That’s the field you are competing against.
If 6,250 out of 25,000 players picked a given angler, his ownership percentage would be 10 percent. If only 250 people put him on their roster, his ownership percentage would be 1 percent. Those numbers are important to consider when setting your roster, because anglers with greater ownership percentages offer lesser returns.
Let’s say you pick Kevin VanDam in Bucket A at 35 percent ownership and I pick Steven Kennedy at 1 percent ownership. And let’s say VanDam finishes 10th and Kennedy finishes fifth. In that scenario, VanDam would earn 260 Fantasy points for you and Kennedy would earn 280 points for me — 20 points more than you.
But the real value Kennedy would offer in that scenario is the gain he would provide against the field. The player that picked KVD would be one of 8,750 people who scored 260 points, but the player who picked Kennedy would be one of only 250 people who scored 280 points. That’s what we mean when we say an angler offers a chance to “gain ground on the field” or “make a move against the field.”
“If I’m trying to make up ground on the guy ahead of me … and I see that a few anglers have an overwhelming ownership percentage, I’m probably going to go against the grain, hoping that the guy ahead of me is with the masses,” Baker explained. “Because I have to do something different than him to catch up.”
Beware, however, that this strategy is what we call a “high risk, high reward” strategy. Because if Kennedy finishes behind KVD, based on the scenario described earlier, the numbers turn tables on you — now 8,750 people jump in front of you.
So, how do you determine when to pick a 1-percenter over a 35-percenter? Or a 5-percenter over a 10-percenter? How do you determine which anglers are undervalued and which are overvalued?
Do some research, listen to your gut and keep reading the Fantasy Fishing columns here on Bassmaster.com. And listen to the Fantasy Fishing Insider podcast. My cohosts and I are nerds for this stuff and explain in detail which anglers we deem the best values and why. We also do impressions, quote Ron Burgundy and Ron Swanson a lot and sing PG-13 songs about Yum Dingers.