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Fantasy Supercross Preview Week One: Anaheim 1
Welcome back to the first installment of our 2016 coverage of Fantasy Supercross, played on the RMfantasySX format. I’m excited to let you all know that in addition to my weekly preview articles, Eric Harrison, one of my awesome football writers and avid MX rider, will also be writing weekly review articles! We’re expanding our coverage to give you all a better chance to win! This year I’ll be doing something a little different as I’ll be posting my actual picks. Please have some integrity and make your own damn picks though!
As for winning, out of 49,600+ players last year, I managed to pull out 113th place. Not too bad for my first season of playing. This year RMfantasySX has tweaked the scoring a bit by still giving some points for your picks if they finish in the Top-5, regardless of order. This will allow you to still accumulate some points instead of putting up zeros. Speaking of zeros, your two worst weeks will be thrown out again, just like last year. But the most exciting news is the new prize lineup!!! Thanks to Toyota for stepping up, as this year’s Grand Prize will now be a brand new 2016 Toyota Tacoma! Last year’s Grand Prize of a race equipped Suzuki 450r will now go to the 2nd place finisher, and the 250r will go to 3rd place! I can’t wait to beat you all for one of these prizes!
Let’s talk about the season, and some riders now! I’m pumped for Saturday! There are so many story lines for this season, I don’t know where to start; Welcome back Bubba! Who is Chad Reed riding for? How long will Blake Baggett be out? Who will Josh Grant be riding for? Can Ryan Dungey repeat in this crowded field? Can the RCH Racing team take the championship step? Is Marvin Musquin the next great thing?
Let’s start with Bubba. After sitting out last season for a yearlong suspension due to a PED bust, we welcome back multi-time champ James ‘Bubba’ Stewart to the championship race. Can he get back to the elite level that he’s used to riding at? He looked fast at the Monster Energy Cup in Vegas until he crashed.
All we know about Chad Reed is that TwoTwo Motorsports, the race team he owned, closed its doors towards the end of last year and word is Chad will be riding a Yamaha this year, but as of Dec. 22nd, it was a mystery who he would be riding for until it was announced he will be supported by the Factory Yamaha team.
Ryan Dungey is coming off of one of the greatest seasons in Supercross history statistically. He finished his 2nd overall championship with 16 podium finishes in 17 overall starts, his only non-podium being a 4th place finish in A1 last year. He is one of the most consistent riders in history and will be a constant name on my lists this year. Simply put him in the Top-5 and earn points. See, this game isn’t so hard!
I’m intrigued to see how Marvin Musquin does running with the big boys this year. The reigning 250 East champ is now making the full time jump to the 450’s as Ryan Dungey’s KTM Red Bull teammate. He looked great at the Monster Energy Cup, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can stay consistent his entire rookie year. It’s not out of the question for a rookie to be in championship contention, as we only have to look to last year with both Cole Seely of Team Honda and Blake Baggett of Yoshimura Suzuki finishing in the Top-5 in the final standings.
HRC Honda: The Factory Honda race team will return both Trey Canard and Cole Seely for 2016. Canard is one of the most talented riders on the circuit, but he has never finished all 17 races in a season. Injuries seem to derail his hopes each year. If he can stay healthy and work on his gate starts(abysmal), he has all the talent in the world to bring Honda a championship. Seely must be taken seriously also after finishing on the podium(3rd) in the championship standings. He was the only rookie to win a main event, and had 5 podium finishes overall.
Geico Honda: Justin Bogle takes over the seat of last year’s championship runner up, Eli Tomac, who moved to greener pastures. Bogle is another 250 rider making the 450 leap and will battle Musquin for Rookie of the Year.
Yoshimura Suzuki: Bubba makes his return to Supercross following a 16 month suspension for testing positive for PEDs. His teammate, at some point, will be Blake Baggett, who was looking to improve upon his 5th place overall rookie campaign but will miss the start of the season due to a serious injury sustained while practicing in December.
RCH Racing Suzuki: My 7 year old son’s favorite team(he loves Broc Tickle(hehe)) returns both Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle for 2016. Consistency is the theme for this team, and it’s nice to see they kept the team together. Roczen is, in my opinion, the most talented rider on the circuit, but injuries and inconsistency cost him his early hot start last season. He has what it takes to finish on the top of the podium at season’s end though. Tickle(hehe) has quietly become one of the most consistent riders in Supercross. After finishing outside of the Top-10 16 times in 2012-2013, he has only had 3 finishes outside of the Top-10 in the last two seasons. Another year on a really fast bike is only going to help him make a run at the podium.
Red Bull KTM: Ryan Dungey returns as the defending champ to try to improve on one of the best statistical seasons in Supercross history. His 16 podium finishes in 17 starts is a record that I don’t think can be repeated. Marvin Musquin trades his 250 East title for more horses underneath as he makes the switch to the big boy class. Red Bull also expands to three riders this year as Dean Wilson returns to the ride he was supposed to be on last year but suffered a torn ACL and MCL, costing him all of last season.
BTOSports.com KTM: Andrew Short, a long time fan favorite, will miss the start of his final season after suffering an offseason injury. Prior to the injury, Short announced that this will be his final Supercross season. When he does return, place your bets on him winning a bunch of holeshots and having Top-10 finishes. Davi Millsaps moves over to KTM after a disastrous year aboard the Factory Kawasaki team. What started as a promising season, Millsaps won the Monster Energy Cup, turned horrible as Davi was dismissed from the team with three races left in the year. Justin Brayton also will ride orange this year, as he comes back after missing nine rounds last year due to injury.
Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna: ‘El Hefe’ Jason Anderson returns following his rookie season that saw him put the Husky on the podium twice, including a 2nd at A1. He will have a teammate this year in Christophe Pourcel, a French rider who hasn’t raced Supercross since 2010, when he won his 2nd 250 East title.
Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha: Justin ‘Bam Bam’ Barcia had a 2015 to forget. He missed 8 rounds due to an injury and failed to podium for the first time on a 450. Weston Peick, another of my sneak picks, is back also, following 2 podiums in the final 3 races, his first podiums of his career. Phil Nicoletti, who ended up riding in 10 races as a fill in rider due to injuries to Peick and Barcia, will resume that role in 2016.
Factory Yamaha: Still nothing official on if this is a true factory deal, or a disguised deal(factory support while riding for another team), but Chad Reed will be on a Yamaha this season. The Aussie, one of the most popular riders in the sport(and my favorite), will look to add to his 44 career main event wins.
CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha: Tommy Hahn has been brought in to replace Kyle Partridge, who retired following an off season injury.
Monster Energy Factory Kawasaki: Eli Tomac, last year’s runner up and Geico Honda rider, takes over the Factory Kawasaki(get my “greener pastures” joke now?) ride. He will team with the talented Wil Hahn, the younger brother of Tommy Hahn, who missed all of 2015 after sustaining an injury during A1 practice.
Smartop Motoconcepts Racing: Mike Alessi, a popular rider known for winning holeshots then fading, will be a popular choice for the Wild Card picks. He almost always makes the main event, which is half the battle when the Wild Card is a choice in the teens.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Racing Honda: Kyle Chisholm, another rider in the mold of Mike Alessi, will be racing a Honda for the first time in his career for the team that runs our league.
Team Tedder Kawasaki: New dad Jake Weimer, a former Factory Kawasaki rider, will ride for Team Green via the Team Tedder pits.
Unknown: Brett Metcalfe is racing for the OTSFF Yamaha team, but it isn’t known if that will include any Supercross rounds. Nick Wey, another long time vet, has retired from racing. Josh Grant still doesn’t have a known ride for A1.
Week One Picks:
Ryan Dungey: Duh.
Ken Roczen: The winner of the past two A1 rounds, the kid always does great in Anaheim, with 3 wins and 5 total podiums in 6 career Anaheim starts.
Chad Reed: The Kurri Kurri, Australia native has 5 career Anaheim 450 wins.
Trey Canard: Canard has 5 Top-5 finishes in 6 career Anaheim starts.
Eli Tomac: Two 3rd place finishes last year in 3 Anaheim starts.
Davi Millsaps: Six career Top-5 Anaheim finishes.
1st: Ken Roczen
2nd: Ryan Dungey
3rd: Eli Tomac
4th: Trey Canard
5th: Weston Peick
Wild Card(9th place): Broc Tickle