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Rio Fantasy Outlook

Rio Fantasy Outlook

Last updated May 6, 2015 by Surf-Stats

We talk strategy and numbers for Mens’/Women’s Fantasy Surfer and WSL Fantasy Surfing (see tabs)

Also, don’t forget to reference our Points Per Dollar and Conditions AHS sortable tables! If you love Surf-Stats give us a shout on Twitter or Instagram @surfstats.  Enjoy, and happy researching![xt_tab style=”xa-default” ][xt_item title=”Fantasy Surfer Outlook” icon=””]Men’s Fantasy Surfer Outlook

Lets get this out of the way early – Filipe Toledo is going to win this one.  Our projection system spit that out long before we saw his Lowers Pro QS performance in person last weekend, and let us tell you – the kid is on fire.  In the water and out.  He’s getting cocky, and while we may not like it, Toledo is putting his money where his mouth is.  As one of the most energetic surfers on tour already, his high-octane approach will be even further fed by the support of a nation.  Gabriel who?  Filipe will likely put up better than our PAHS of 13.76 and will be a very tough guy to beat in Rio.  A $7 million price tag is ludicrous for all the upside in the world and the best Pts/$ value at 3.57 – make sure you’re all over the Torpedo (new nickname we’re trying out for Filipe.  One of them will work sooner or later, suggestions welcome).


It’s finally time to snatch up as many Brazilian surfers as you can – for the most part they are priced way below what they’re projected to put up in points.  We already addressed the top Points Per Dollar #Torpedo at 3.7, but Wiggolly Dantas is third overall at 2.38, Italo Ferreira chimes in just below the 2.0 marker at 1.91, and Jadson Andre and Miguel Pupo nearly tied at 1.56 and 1.55.  The highest priced of these BRA understudies is $5M.  You really can’t lose with any of them, but we suggest Wiggolly Dantas – the man most likely to stick around heading into FJI.  These guys are all sporting big value for their cost.  But there are some higher risk exceptions…

Gabriel Medina and Adriano De Souza – We gave Gabby a 13.9 PAHS for a pretty good 150 FS Pts, so that will be a judgement and budget call on your part.  We expected him to have a lackluster Australian Leg and we were right, we also expect him to outperform that leg for the remainder of the season – specifically starting in Rio.  As for Adriano De Souza, there’s seemingly a lot of risk for that chunk of your salary cap.  With a PAHS of only 12.94, our system thinks he’ll have a tough time keeping up with the young guns’ energy and ferocity in the air.  But we’re not 100% perfect, and we missed De Souza at Margaret River – this could be no different.  We’ll stand by the model since it will self-correct over time, but for now we have to wonder if Mineirinho will pull another rabbit out of the hat.

Look for the BRA contingency to raise their cumulative AHS in the Rio office.  the Brazilian Storm bandwagon is leaving the station, and it’s time to get on it – if you want to be relevant heading into Fiji.

Risks of the Storm

Aside from Gabriel Medina and Wiggolly Dantas (OK, and Adriano De Souza), many of the Brazilians might not be very valuable in Fiji.  Don’t let that stop you from spot picking them for Rio;  essential surfers for your Fiji lineup will likely decrease in value after CT #4, and it would be a bad strategy to keep them here given that circumstance.  Likewise, after guys like Miguel Pupo and Jadson Andre increase in value following Rio, you’ll have to face the music and drop them anyway.  Play with your head, not your heart.  By the way, not all of those surfers essential to Fiji should be kept out of BRA – one of them should put up a very good fight…

John John Florence – He’s gone up $750,000 since Margaret River and is projected for a 15.2 AHS in Rio.  While we don’t think he’ll win the event, he should be able to get close enough to payoff – even with his new price tag.  If he does, he won’t go below $10M afterward and you’ll save at least $500,000 if you kept him from Margies through Fiji.  If you don’t already have JJF on your team, you’ll have to make the call on risk vs. reward to draft.  Florence looks good and has the tools to compete in the Rio conditions, but the momentum the Brazilians are taking into Rio can’t be ignored.  Don’t force him into your team if he doesn’t make financial sense.

Nat Young – We have loved Nat since the beginning of the season, calling for a big-time breakout this year.  He hasn’t disappointed and everyone who doesn’t read Surf-Stats seems to be shocked.  He’s gone up $1.5M since Margaret River, but Brazil might be the first time this season that he doesn’t surpass valuation.  Our advice is this: If you have Nat already, chances are he won’t regress to as low a price as when you got him – maybe not for the rest of the year.  Rio may be a low point.  Ride it out and stick with him for Fiji; he still has a tremendous upside for Rio, but there are risks given the potential conditions.  If you don’t have Nat yet (you should have been checking us out sooner! But…), don’t pick him up for Brazil.  Even if he has a solid event his price won’t likely change, but there’s too much risk in Nat having a bad one – which we see as more probable – and you will be kicking yourself when his pre-Fiji price drops anyway.

Dark Horse/Sleeper/Milk-the-Goat Pick – Dusty Payne.  At the bottom of the price barrel, just breaking into R3 is a payoff.  The Rio conditions may be similar to what we saw in Gold Coast R1 and he absolutely torched everyone – unexpectedly so.  Don’t let him catch you by surprise this time, and at such a low cost there’s barely any risk.

Women’s Fantasy Surfer Outlook

Again we find ourselves with tough choices, but at least with Gilmore out for the event, we’ve narrowed the field a bit. We’ll work from the lower price-range up to the top dogs for Brazil.

One name stands to give you the most upside for your dollar, and that’s Sage Erickson.  She’s been a beast in Rio so far in her young career and the spot tends to serve up suitable conditions.   With a PAHS of 12.88 (13.69 Rio Career AHS) for 190 Projected FS Points, $3 million is a very safe bet and that will give you valuable salary flexibility down the line.

Silvana Lima – We don’t recommend her for WSL Fantasy Surfing, but in Fantasy Surfer, a $5 million price tag is impossible to pass up.  Everyone is going to have Lima on their team for Brazil, and while we preach swimming against the tide, there’s simply no equal value potential in the $5 million price range.  While our model doesn’t think Lima will be great at Rio this year – only an 11.04 PAHS – she will still be able to cash in on her low cost.  Just like Sage Erickson, she’s a low risk play simply due to economy percentage.  Your other options at $5 mil include Johanne DeFay, Coco Ho, and a very tempting Tatiana Weston-Webb (we say “tempting” as for the general public, but you’re much smarter than that).

Drop Tatiana Weston-Webb – If you were smart enough to pick her up for Margaret River like we suggested, then you’re happy as a clam with her performance.  You might be thinking “but her price went up, and I need to keep her for Fiji after Brazil” and that’s a valid point to the blind drafter.  Even though her FS price increased $500k, it might just as easily drop back down – and possibly further – after the Rio Pro.  She’s not going to have a great event here, and there’s no point in sticking it out if she may actually fall below $4,500,000 prior to Fiji.  Put her on the shelf, but know we’re coming back to her for CT #5.

Carissa Moore or Tyler Wright – Once again, you can’t have both – and that is because you’re going to have Sally Fitzgibbons on your team.  More on that after, though.  Wright is projected to be neck and neck with Moore in AHS (Wright – 13.23 vs. Moore – 13.74) and Proj FS Pts (Wright – 200 vs. Moore –  225) but the numbers give the edge to Carissa.  It isn’t hard to see why, though, she’s won 2/3 events so far this year and appeared in 100% of the Finals.  Tyler has yet to experience a pre-QF exit in 2015, but she only has one SF berth this season – a Gold Coast loss to none other than Carissa Moore.  The two are definitely close (remember that Gold Coast SF where Moore beat Wright?  It was decided by only .8 points) so the decision will be ultimately up to you.  Yes, most teams will have Carissa Moore, but we think there’s too much risk in not drafting her.

Sally Fitzgibbons – Lock it in, folks. She’s got a 13.91 career AHS in Rio, and our projections are giving her more than that with a PAHS of 14.12 for all the beans – 250 FS Points.  Sally also has the best Beach Break AHS on tour at 14.28 (with Carissa Moore in 2nd with a 14.02 – they’re the only two over 14). She’s going to increase her value, even if slightly, heading into Fiji where you’ll be glad you still have her on board.  Fitz can easily win this event and even if she doesn’t, she’ll be among the SF lineup.

Honorable Mention – Laura Enever.  If for some reason you need another high upside value pick, Enever has the highest PAHS of all the $3M gals (besides Sage Erickson) at 11.23 – modest, but it’ll work in a pinch. 

Steer clear of Dimity Stoyle and Johanne DeFay, they both have an extremely difficult R1 Heat Draw and are projected bottom two in AHS and Points.  DeFay is priced at a colossal $5,500,000 and is far too risky with very, very limited potential (10.1 career Beach Break AHS).

[/xt_item][xt_item title=”WSL Fantasy Outlook” icon=””]Men’s WSL Fantasy Outlook

We feel very confident about Filipe Toledo winning the event – along with almost everyone else on the planet.  But we find these picks every stop, the picks that you know everyone will be making but you’ve got to make them as well.  So sack up and ride the #ToledoTrain (still looking for one of these nicknames to stick).  He was electric at the Oakley Lowers Pro QS last weekend and has more tenacity than a badger.  If you think the Rio is going to inhibit his performance, head to the mental hospital immediately.  We wouldn’t be surprised if he hit the 15-wave max more than once (just joking of course, but very half-serious).  There isn’t a surfer on tour who can match Filipe’s pure panache right now and it will be very difficult to stand in the way of the juggernaut he’s becoming.  We preached against him for Bells Beach and Margaret River – and we were right.  But now? Now it’s time to snatch him up for your Rio squad and beyond, because he’s not looking back.

Lock In – Filipe Toledo – Coming in with a PAHS of 13.76 for 118.82 Fantasy Points, he should be locked in for Tier A.

Tier A #2 – Your second Tier A spot won’t be as simple – if you’re a smart player.  Don’t be surprised if you feel the urge to pick up Adriano De Souza, who could blame you?  He just won CT #3 and is heading home in the Gold.  Look for everyone and their mother’s to be snatching him up for Rio.  Sure, there’s safety here – but there’s also a teeny tiny little bit of risk.  Our projections don’t favor his AHS and though he’s been very good at Rio in the past, he hasn’t been elite by any means.  The momentum behind De Souza makes it hard to leave him out, but a vast majority of teams will have Toledo and De Souza for Tier A.  To have a shot at beating them, you’ve got to make a more courageous pick.  Here’s our choices for your best bet…

John John Florence – Top ranked 15.2 PAHS for 2nd ranked 115.22 Projected Fantasy Points.  He’s a monster in small conditions when his game is on, and after an agonizing loss to none other than Adriano De Souza at Margaret River, Florence will come out swinging.  This is a make-or-break event for JJF; his World Title bid could be swayed definitively in one direction and affect the outcome of the entire 2015 season.  He plays the non-competitive card publicly, but we trust there is a World Title fire burning within.  Florence should be motivated more than ever to come out on top and don’t think he can’t do his thing in small surf.  John John has a career 14.1 AHS in 1-4′ waves and a CT leading 15.51 AHS in Rio.   HEAT DRAW:  Extremely Favorable – He’s got Wiggolly Dantas (whom he beat in R1 Margaret River) and a woeful C.J. Hobgood.


Julian Wilson – Thought we were going to say Mick Fanning? Here’s the thing about Fanning – he’s likely to be just as common as De Souza, and you want a dark horse (if you can power through your gut instincts – there’s been upsets at every event so far this year, remember?).  We have Wilson projected for a lower AHS than Mick at 13.18, but with a more dynamic above-the-lip arsenal, Julian is more likely to crunch through the smaller days.  These will be riskier for Fanning, who has no trouble getting every drop of power from any wave, but ultimately, a few good air reverses could doom him.  There will be plenty of those in Rio, and Julian Wilson has the weapons for combat in such an arena.  Medium/high risk, but potential for a very high reward when you’re one of the few teams with him.  HEAT DRAW:  Medium-High Favorability – Julian’s going to go straight into the #storm by trying to force Miguel Pupo into an elimination Heat and Matt Banting shares some similar air weapons.  Julian is head and shoulders above both of them, though, and barring a bad day at the office, he should fast-track to R3.

Tier B – Once again, your most important picks lay here in B.  It always bears repeating:  You’ll make or break your team in Tier B, there’s four surfers here that you need to navigate in order to find two top scorers (even if popular picks) and two standout picks – ones with big upside value.  We’ll start with the two top scorers you can’t live without…

Jordy Smith – Plan on Jordy surfing the Rio Pro (if he’s drops prior due to injury, our replacement pick is Miguel Pupo) and plan on him surfing with passion.  This is supposed to be Smith’s breakout year according to himself and his supporters, one in which he emerges as a more mature surfer both mentally and physically.  This is a year in which he plans a serious bid for the World Title.  After an injury-induced exit from Margaret River, Jordy sits in a similar position to John John Florence – they both need Rio to turn the tide of their Title aspirations.  Combine that motivation with a PAHS of 13.96 for 102.49 Projected Fantasy Points and you’ve got a very good chance at payoff.  With all the Brazilian talent floating in the Tier B pool, picks will be split among them.  Smith has a risky R1 Heat Draw, but R2 and beyond won’t phase him should he find his way there.    HEAT DRAW: Medium Favorability – Jordy will be up against a potential problem in Sebastian Zietz.  Even though he’ll be able to handle whatever R2 throws his way, that’s not a place you want to see a draft pick.  We don’t think he’ll lose to Seabass, but we’ll wear our lucky underpants just in case.

Gabriel Medina – One of those picks that everyone is going to jump on, but like we said – you simply have to.  We project him going for 109.92 Fantasy Points as he looks to keep his chance at a Title afloat as well.  We don’t know if this will truly be a resurgence for the rest of the season, but it might easily be his best event of the year.   HEAT DRAW:  Favorable – Gabby’s drawn Fredrick Patacchia, Jr. who won’t be winning R1, and an eyebrow raiser in Alejo Muniz.  Muniz might be able to sucker-punch Medina here, but that would be against the odds, especially considering his Margaret River flop (< 15 Fantasy Pts).

Wiggolly Dantas OR Owen Wright – You want a goofy-footer on your squad at Rio as a safety net in case conditions swing left.  Here are your two best bets.  Dantas has an obvious advantage as a Brazilian – he’ll be feeling the love and surfing for his country.  He’s got a soft (limited data) PAHS of 13.82 for 93.64 Fantasy Points, compared to Wright’s 12.55 for 87.64.  The only advantage Owen has over Wiggolly is a better aerial attack.  He’s shown he can be versatile in smaller, choppy conditions (Dantas 1-4′ AHS = 12.1 vs. Wright = 12.75) but if the waves stand up a bit and give them a forehand face, one of these two will be an immediate boost for your fantasy team.  Who will be better?  In Rio it could easily be Wiggolly.

Miguel Pupo OR Joel Parkinson – They couldn’t be further apart in many ways (other than they’re both among the top .0001% of surfers in the world, of course) and that is why we think only one of them needs to be on your fantasy team.  Parko has that classic smooth style that plays best in head-high+ long right walls, which he won’t likely find in Rio.  Pair that with the worst Australian Leg of his career fresh in his mind and many people might stay away.  But let’s look at Joel’s stats in small waves: 14.82 AHS in 1-4′ and a #1 ranked 15.56 AHS in Cross Winds.  Didn’t expect that did you?  Parkinson was unseated in his Gold Coast home break by Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas this year, and whether or not it was as controversial as he lamented, it still jostled him.  Does seething revenge live deep in Parko’s heart?  We’ll bet on it.  As for Pupo, he’s proven that he’s a different surfer this year and being at home never hurts.  We’re only giving him a 10.55 AHS and 88.35 Fantasy Points, and we would love to adjust that to pass the eyeball-test because it seems so off.  But he really does only have a 9.44 AHS in Brazil.  That’s in the past though, and we expect he’ll surpass that mark and continue to surf better throughout 2015.

Tier B   NO-GO – Kelly Slater.  Sounds crazy even saying it, but it’s true. Some die-hards are going to go for him, but even our model is slowly revealing what we’ve seen so far this year – a slight bit of age and heaps of distraction.  Take for example this past weekend, Slater exited the QS at Lowers and headed to New York.  To train for Brazil, you ask?  No, Kelly has been furthering post-career business relationships during downtime this season.  He’s definitely got retirement on the brain and it’s safe to say he’s losing motivation.  Slater will be a long way from our Projected Fantasy Points of 97.77, but our model is catching on.  He’s been great at Rio in the past (14.28 AHS) but might be mentally checked out of the tour for any location that’s not world class.  Let everyone else keep testing the water until they figure it out, too.

Tier C – Last but not least, we give you Dusty Payne. He has the highest potential of the Tier C surfers when the surf chops up or flattens out and if he gets our Projected Fantasy Points of 60.81, that should lead the C’s.  HEAT DRAW:  Extremely Favorable (for a Tier C guy) – Dusty has Josh Kerr and Jadson Andre, and while they both bring a bit of their own advantages to the table, Payne is right there with them.  Remember what he did in R1 of the Gold Coast?  I’d bet on him to pull an upset here.

Honorable Mention – Kolohe Andino.  He’s got what it takes to have a big impact on a small day, and if it starts shaping up that way give Andino a look.  He’s right behind Dusty Payne in Proj. Pts with 59.08, and way better looking than Ricardo Christie or Keanu Asing at this point. 


Women’s WSL Fantasy Outlook

The WSL Women’s Fantasy tiers have not quite equalized as much as the Men’s, but only because Courtney Conlogue is in Tier A and Sally Fitzgibbons has yet to bust out of Tier B.  Everything else looks square in the absence of Stephanie Gilmore, however, and for the first time we’ll be able to dissect the B and C floors for upside performances.

Top Locks – The locks for Rio aren’t in Tier A – that’s where you won’t have such an easy choice (obviously between Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright), but we’ll get to that.  Two surfers who will be on all the top placing teams for Rio are Sally Fitzgibbons and Sage Erickson.

Tier B Lock – Sally Fitzgibbons – Still in Tier B, Sally has been surfing at a Tier A level all year, and has always been one of the best in the middle pack.  In Rio, expect much of the same with our highest ranked PAHS of 14.12 for 103.6 Fantasy Points.  She has a chance to win the event, but even if she doesn’t, she’ll get you the best value out of Tier B.

Tier C Lock – Sage Erickson – This is an easy pick if you look at stats.  It might be harder when you consider Erickson’s performance lately, but she’s got a career Rio AHS of 13.69 – that’s second best to Sally Fitz.  We may not know why Sage has been dominant in the past at Rio, but the numbers don’t lie – and no one else in Tier C is breaking into the 12.00’s.  Again, even she makes it to R3, she will still pay off as a Tier C surfer.

The rest of Tier B creates a tougher choice, but it’s a choice that will separate you from the pack.  “The pack” is the thousands of teams that will draft Silvana Lima.  While she may do very well with the home field advantage, this is a key spot where you can pick up a dark horse.  Our advice for that is Lakey Peterson.  With a PAHS of 13.24 and a fairly easy R1 Heat Draw, she might find herself on the fast path to the QF.

Tier B Honorable Mention – Malia Manuel, based solely on her recent Margaret River performance.  But the waves will look very different in Rio and she’s got a tough enough time producing spray in overhead surf.

Carissa Moore or Tyler Wright – Let’s face it, you’re choosing between Moore and  Wright for Tier A.  Courtney Conlogue had a great event at Margaret River and we don’t want to take away from that (a 16.05 event AHS is a pretty wild feat), but she’s simply not as versatile as Wright, and Moore has an even greater advantage.  There’s too much risk in letting Moore slide this time, she’ll have to consistently not make the Finals for a few events before we start considering another Tier A surfer.  Wright’s no slouch, but her 13.23 AHS for 92.37 Proj. Fantasy Points are just slightly less than Moore with a 13.74 for 94.06.

[/xt_item][/xt_tab]Men’s and Women’s Fantasy Outlook

Thanks for reading, and good luck at Rio!

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