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Fantasy Supercross 2017 Season Preview
The Fantasy Supercross season was great in 2016. Ryan Dungey dominated nearly the entire year to wrap up another championship. Ken Roczen had a good final season on a Suzuki with a runner up finish, and El Hombre Jason Anderson followed up his impressive rookie campaign with a 3rd place overall finish in the points. The gate drop for Anaheim 1 is a week away and the picks have opened for this year’s RMFantasySX season! There has been quite a bit of movement of riders switching teams this offseason. Let’s look at how the teams currently look.
Red Bull KTM:
Ryan Dungey – Dungey had a dominant season to earn his second consecutive championship and third overall. There have been rumors that this will be his final season, but nobody knows for sure. He will be the odds on favorite to win again this year and until I say otherwise, will be a lock for a Top-3 spot in my lineup recommendations each week.
Marvin Musquin – Marvin had an up and down rookie season in the 450 class. He finished 7th overall in the standings, had five podium finishes, and was named Rookie of the Year, but he couldn’t break through for a win.
Trey Canard – The first listed of many rider changes, Canard leaves Team Honda for the first time in his career to ride the orange of KTM. Trey has always been on my list of “potential” contenders, but can’t seem to get over that hump. If he can stay healthy and learn how to jump off the starting gate, he’ll be a contender on this team.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM:
Davi Millsaps – Millsaps had a disastrous 2016, only finishing 10 races and failing to make the podium in any of them.
Blake Baggett – Baggett leaves Suzuki to join the #2 KTM team, and form a veteran duo with Millsaps. Injuries completely derailed him in 2016 after a very promising rookie season in 2015.
Monster Energy Kawasaki:
Eli Tomac – Tomac enters 2017 in the final year of his Kawasaki contract. Can he get over the hump and prove he belongs in the championship discussion?
Josh Grant – His time as a fill in rider has earned him a full season ride this year.
Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral Yamaha Factory:
Chad Reed – Reed enters 2017 as the oldest rider on the circuit at 34. Although his days of challenging for a title are likely over, he will still battle for podium finishes(3 podiums last year), be a solid Top-5 pick(5th overall in points last year), and be one hell of a role model for his new teammate.
Cooper Webb – The two-time 250 West champion heads to the big boys for 2017. Yamaha brought back the Factory team with Webb’s promotion in mind. He’s the early favorite for Rookie of the Year and a sure podium contender. I’m interested in how his aggressive style will rub on the veteran riders(Weston Peick beatdown anyone?).
Dean Wilson – Will ride at A1 on a privateer Yamaha with Factory backing.
Autotrader.com/Monster Energy/Toyota/JGR Suzuki:
Justin Barcia – Joe Gibbs Racing is bringing both of its riders back, although they ditched Yamaha to become on of two(with RCH Racing) Factory backed Suzuki teams. Bam Bam Barcia returns from injury to reclaim his contender status.
Weston Peick – After a nice run in 2015, Peick had a disappointing 2016, failing to podium in any of the 14 main events he raced in. I look for one of my personal favorite riders to sneak in a few podiums this year.
RCH Yoshimura Suzuki:
Justin Bogle – Massive changes in riders, personnel, and management hit the RCH team this offseason. Championship contender Ken Roczen signed a 3 year deal with Honda, leaving the team to replace him with Bogle. Bogle comes to a team that knows how to make fast bikes and win. If he can stay consistent, he’s my sleeper pick this year.
Broc Tickle – My son’s favorite rider, Tickle is consistent, if not spectacular. He had a rash of injuries last season, but can be counted on to finish usually in that 4-10 range in nearly every race.
Ken Roczen – Last year’s runner up joins Honda in 2017, his third team in four years. Roczen has all the ability in the world to win the championship, but inconsistency and an unwillingness to race with “minor” injuries haunt him. He is one of two riders I give the best chance of dethroning Ryan Dungey, and he is the best chance of giving Honda its first Supercross champion since Ricky Carmichael in 2003.
Cole Seely – Seely finished 2016 with four podium finishes, but couldn’t get that win. Poised to improve on his 6th place overall finish in the standings last year, he should benefit from increased team competition with Roczen there.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna:
Jason Anderson – How do you improve on an already impressive rookie season? You go out on A1 and get your first career win, then finish on the podium five more times, with another win, to put yourself in third on the championship podium. El Hombre has continued to impress since he broke into the 450 class in 2015, and there’s no stopping now. He’s my top choice to knock Ryan Dungey from the championship spot this year.
Christophe Pourcel – Pourcel had a relatively disappointing 2016 rookie year, only finishing in the Top-10 four times, with no Top-5 showings. Now that he has a year of American racing under his belt, expect that to change.
Smartop MotoConcepts Racing:
Justin Brayton – The veteran racer joins the Smartop MotoConcepts Racing team with Factory Honda backing for 2017, coming off an 8th overall finish last season. Like Broc Tickle, Brayton is a gimmee for that 5-11 range each week.
Vince Friese – Friese is known more for getting beat up on the track by Weston Peick last year than anything he did on the track. He is more a Wild Card type pick, failing to crack the Top-10 last year but consistently making the main.
Mike Alessi – Alessi is one of my and most fans favorite riders. This guy is good for atleast 4 holeshots per season, but can’t ever hang on! He is a consistent 10-18th place finisher and a favorite Wild Card pick throughout the season.
James “Bubba” Stewart – The veteran and multi-time champ is still without a ride for 2017 as of this writing, although he has said he isn’t ready to retire yet.
Malcolm Stewart – The 2016 250 East champion, and younger brother of Bubba, was supposed to be the first 450 rider for Geico Honda but it has since fell through. He is holding out hope of joining a 450 team for this season and may start the year at A1 as a privateer.