Forget the title bout; the best action is in the undercard match-ups.
What I mean by that – as Zona would say – is, picking tournament winners is not as key to winning in Fantasy Fishing as is picking anglers who are likely to overachieve in the lower buckets.
Picking Toledo Bend winner Brent Chapman, for example, was not the key to a Fantasy Fishing win last week. Rather, it was picking Scott Ashmore and Timmy Horton, undervalued, overachieving anglers in Buckets E and D, respectively.
Of last week's Top 10 B.A.S.S. Fantasy Fishing Challenge players, seven picked Ashmore, who placed 13th (worth 251 fantasy points), and seven picked Horton, who placed sixth (272 points). Of that group, four players picked both. Only three of the Top 10 picked Chapman in Bucket A.
When I filed my pre-tournament roster-picks column, Ashmore was the second-most popular pick in Bucket E, at 15.2 percent ownership. Prior to the Toledo Bend tournament, Ashmore had scored 580 points (145 points-per-tournament average). Ashmore's 13th-place finish was second-best in the bucket, following only Chris Zaldain (0.9 percent ownership), who placed 10th. Overwhelming Bucket E favorite Fletcher Shryock (39.9 percent ownership), placed 49th (177 points), which was seventh-best (of 19) in that group.
Timmy Horton, at the time I filed my tournament preview column, was the fourth-most popular pick (of 26) in Bucket D, at 7.3 percent, having scored 852 points for fantasy players (213-point average). His third-place finish on the Bend (290 points), was best in his bucket. The most-picked angler in Bucket D, Keith Poche (29.2 percent ownership), placed 23rd on Toledo Bend (229 points), sixth-best in the group.
Pick up the Pace
The other productive combo this week was picking Ashmore in Bucket E and runner-up Cliff Pace in Bucket C. Five of the Top 10 players picked both Pace and Ashmore. Of that group, two players picked Pace, Horton and Ashmore.
At the time I filed my preview column, Pace was the seventh-most picked angler in Bucket C (of 19), at 4 percent ownership. He had accounted for 765 fantasy points (191.5-point average). His fourth-place finish on Toledo Bend (285 points) was best in a bucket that advanced four anglers to Sunday's championship round.
The most-owned anglers in Bucket C, Greg Vinson (21.4 percent), Ish Monroe (20.6 percent) and Steve Kennedy (9.3 percent), finished 59th (157 points), 50th (175 points) and 71st (133 points), respectively.
Buckets A and B were less key to fantasy success last week. Only three of the Top 10 players picked Chapman in Bucket A. Three picked fourth-place Hackney, and one each picked Todd Faircloth (15th), Edwin Evers (17th), Bill Lowen (36th) and Dean Rojas (38th).
In Bucket B, three of the Top 10 picked Terry Scroggins, who placed 20th; two picked Jeff Kriet (18th); two picked Aaron Martens (25th); and one each picked Britt Myers (31st), Chris Lane (32nd) and Mike Iaconelli (42nd).
Coming up next ...
In my next column, I'll expose the roster-pick trends shared by the Top 10 players leading in the season standings. In an ensuing column, I'll handicap the field for the June 21-24 Mississippi River Rumble and suggest the best picks.