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Fantasy League… last minute dot com

You only have a few hours left to enter a team

That’s right, the clock is definitely ticking, you only have a few hours left to ENTER A TEAM in this year’s Dirt/Trek Downhill Fantasy League. Local MTB freak Tim Wild offers you a few last minute pointers…

Picking your fantasy team can be really easy… until you really start to think about it. Go for a big money rider and put all your eggs in that basket or try and spread it out amongst the team and hope they get more points than one of the big 5 and a solid number 2? No matter what your strategy, with points in qualifying and a long season you’re looking for consistency.

With that in mind we’ve looked at a few riders with a view of what they’ll bring to your team.

The main Male contenders – 350 – 275k

Aaron Gwin
350k 1329 points in 2015

OK, I know what you are thinking. He has changed bikes for the new season and last time that happened it didn’t go too well. The thing is, this isn’t last time. He’ll have learnt from that and will make sure he doesn’t make the same mistakes again.

He has the set–up he wants, he is on a quick bike and he won in Lourdes last year by 4 seconds. The reigning World Cup Champion is looking good for title number 3, and with 4 wins from 7 last season why would you bet against him?

Verdict: It’s Gwin or Bruni for the title in my opinion, and Gwin’s experience will set him apart and that makes him my favorite. He is in my fantasy team because I think he’ll win the series and I want maximum points for my money.

Loic Bruni
350k 1059 points in 2015

Current World Champion, runner up overall last season, no. 1 in the current UCI world rankings. At the tender age of 22 Bruni has a pretty impressive CV and he is now riding what many consider to be the fastest bike (the Specialized Demo).

We know he has the raw talent to win the series but he needs to get that first World Cup win in the bag quickly to show he is a true contender.

Verdict: Top 3 overall for sure, and an obvious choice for the big money signing on your team. I’ve gone for proven consistency with Gwin for now, but Bruni is my no-brainer replacement if Gwin looks off the pace.

Troy Brosnan
325k 1013 points in 2015

Remarkably consistent with the points in 2015, Brosnan’s lowest points in a weekend was 103, while Gwin was 90 and Bruni 55. The 22-year-old Australian is on the same team and bike as last year, so expect some more consistent performances. He is no stranger to the top step having won at Fort William in 2014.

Verdict: A true contender and at £25k less than the above two he’ll give you points and more money to use within your team. Solid.

Greg Minnaar
275k 1006 points in 2015 season

Minnaar is a true veteran and has spent a long time at the top. Not far off the top 3 overall in 2015 where he took 2 wins from 7.

Verdict: He is likely to win a round and if he gets the same points in 2016 as 2015 he’d represent excellent value for your money if you are looking to get points from a few riders rather than risk take the risk on a main player.

Josh Bryceland
275k 836 points in 2015 season

Loose, lairy and hairy, Bryceland is great to watch, there is no doubt about that. If he can get back up to his 2014 title winning speed he’ll be a true force to be reckoned with.

Verdict: Could win the title, and I’ll eat my 5:10’s if he doesn’t get more points than last year. Must be worth a punt in your team?

Gee Atherton
275k 760 points in 2015

On his day Gee is a phenomenal racer. He is a two-time World Champion and World Cup series winner in 2010. The Worlds in 2014 was his last win on the world stage but will a new bike help get him back to the top?

Verdict: At this price I’d go for Josh for the first round, but otherwise a good squad player that’ll bring in podiums and maybe a win if things line up for him.

 

The Outsiders – 250k

Looking to fill a 250k hole in your team? Looking for a lower-cost leader in the hope that they’ll ‘do a Leicester’ and surprise everyone? These guys will bring in the points and could win a round.

Danny Hart 250k, 624 points in 2015
Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas 250k, 604 points in 2015

Verdict: Both solid riders, coming 7th and 8th overall in 2015. Danny missed round 3 (Leogang), so you could expect a fully fit Hart to improve his points total in 2016, whereas I don’t see Gutierrez improving drastically on last seasons haul. Hart, the younger of the two, gets my recommendation at 250k.

Sam Blenkinsop 250k, 546 points in 2015
Brook MacDonald 250k, 542 points in 2015
Brendan Fairclough 250k, 540 points in 2015

With just 6 points separating these three overall in 2015 you’re taking a bit of a risk if you go with one of these guys over Hart or Gutierrez, who were more consistent at the same price. When pushed to pick one I’d go for Blenki; he got the biggest points haul in a weekend of the three and had some results that he could easily improve upon.

Remi Thirion 225k, 456 points in 2015

Thirion missed the last three rounds in 2015 but still came 17th overall. If he got just 300 points over the last three rounds, which I’d have bet my house on him doing if he’d been fit, he’d have got pretty much the same points as Gee while saving you 50k.

Verdict: Looks a great buy, in fact, so good I nearly kept this one to myself. Get him in your team!

 

Women

Rachel Atherton was on fire last season while Manon Carpenter had a pretty torrid time. It’s pretty easy to see Manon improving on her 2015 points tally, while Rachel was only 90 points off a perfect score. With just 25k between the two Rachel is the obvious choice.

Other picks

150k seems to be a tricky price point, so we’ve got some pointers for you.

At 150k Sam Hill looks like a bargain, but with 107 points from 4 rounds last year you’ll be banking on a great improvement and return to form from the fan favourite. He got a win in 2014, so worth a shot if you have 150k to spare. But hold your horses because…

Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years… or something. Marc Beaumont (150k) is making his return to racing, and if he does a full WC season he could get your team some good points. If he got 45 points at every round (the number he got at Fort William last year) you’d get a points return similar to Patrick Thome who’d set you back a further 25k. British Bargain.

Amaury Pierron looks like a good buy at 150k. He was really consistent but missed two rounds in 2015. Had he scored his average points at the rounds he missed he’d have been about 15 places higher overall at the end of the season.

So there you go, some thoughts. You’ll have to work out the other price points on your own.

Disclaimer: Remember, I’m not pressing any buttons for you when it comes to selecting your team. If a tip doesn’t work out, don’t complain to me. Make sure you check the start list to confirm attendance before you run out of time to make changes!

ENTER HERE.

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