DETROIT, Mich. — Todd Faircloth may have won the tournament on Lake St. Clair, but runner-up Brandon Palaniuk did the most damage in Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing.
Palaniuk was the best overall pick for Fantasy Fishing players, with a 69-plus-point lead over everyone in his bucket.
Here’s the perfect team:
Bucket A: Brandon Palaniuk, 345 points
B: Chris Lane, 330
C: Todd Faircloth, 345
D: Keith Poche, 257
E: Dave Smith, 248
No one achieved a score that high.
Bucket A: Palaniuk
Brandon Palaniuk’s second-place finish and bonus points put him at the top of the leaderboard in Bucket A.
He ended with 345 points — 295 for finishing as runner-up, 10 for leading for two days, and 40 for tying for biggest bass of the tournament with winner Todd Faircloth.
Believe it or not, only 5.1 percent of Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing players picked him. Those who did ended up with a 69-point gain over all the Aaron Martens pickers, and much more than that over everyone else.
Martens was the favorite of the bucket, and he delivered a stout 276 points to his 31.1 percent of owners. Too bad he doesn’t get a bonus for winning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, an honor he earned at St. Clair, even with one tournament left to go.
The other favorite of bucket at 22.9 percent was Kevin VanDam. But VanDam didn’t make the first cut and ended with only 149 points — 200 points behind Palaniuk.
The worst pick of the bucket was Clifford Pirch. He earned only 73 points for his 1 percent of owners.
Bucket B: Lane
If you chose Chris Lane, you did good work. He was the favorite of the bucket at 24.5 percent, and his big bag on Day 3 earned him a hefty bonus and pushed him up to 330 points.
The next-best pick was Greg Vinson at only 0.2 percent with 280 points.
The second-favorite of the bucket was Ott DeFoe, who did not make the cut and ended with 91 points for his 15.7 percent of players.
The worst pick of the bucket was Tim Horton, who delivered only 65 points to his 2.3 percent of owners.
Bucket C: Faircloth
Todd Faircloth has had a group of people who has stuck with him in Fantasy Fishing throughout the season, even though his points have hurt them time and time again.
But this week was a different story. Faircloth paid good dividends to his faithful with 345 points. He won, got 5 points for leading on the last day and also got the 40-point bonus for biggest bass (tied with Palaniuk).
For the 4.8 percent of people who picked him, Faircloth’s owners got a 60-point boost over his next-closest competitor, Chad Pipkens.
Pipkens ended in fourth place with 285 points for his 24.1 percent of players. Right behind him was Jonathon VanDam, 16.7 percent, 268 points.
Mike Iaconelli was the favorite of the bucket, but a tiebreaker in the 50 spot left him on the shore on Day 3. His 29.9 percent of players got only 173 points, a huge drop from the other favorties, Pipkens and VanDam.
The worst pick of the bucket was Ken Iyobe with 67 points for his 0.6 percent of owners.
Bucket D: Poche
Although almost no one owned him — at 0.7 percent — Keith Poche busted out 257 points for his players.
Right behind him was Fletcher Shryock at 4.9 percent and 254 points. And then right behind him was Casey Ashley, 12.3 percent, 251 points.
Takahiro Omori and Nate Wellman were the favorites of the bucket, at 16.8 and 16.7 percent respectively. Omori’s owners earned a 207-point finish, and Wellman’s got 243 points.
The worst pick of the bucket was Paul Mueller, who only got 61 points for his 13.8 percent of fans.
Bucket E: Smith
Dave Smith has a faithful few followers — usually 0.1 percent — who pick him every time. And almost every time, that gamble is a loss.
But this time, those Fantasy Fishing players reaped their reward.
Smith earned 248 points, the best performance in Bucket E.
Just behind him, with 229 points, was Charlie Hartley, who owned 5.8 percent of the vote.
The favorites didn’t do anything for their owners. Cliff Pace, who was owned by 26.9 percent of players, only turned in 105 points, and Kotaro Kiriyama, with 19.6 percent, delivered a meager 99.
The worst pick of the bucket was Cliff Crochet, with 63 points. He was owned by 3.2 percent. But, hey, the guy wanted to see his first baby born, so don’t be too hard on him.
Get ready to set your teams for the AOY Championship! Be sure to set a solid tiebreaker because, with only 10 anglers in each bucket, the likelihood for a tie is higher than usual.