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Betting on the ultimate Classic repeat

7/26/2005

While past performances can help a fantasy bass fishing owner fill out a contending roster, it is possible to have four of the top-eight finishers from the 1999 and 2001 CITGO Bassmaster Classic on your fantasy roster for this year's Classic on the Louisiana Delta.

Betting that these four anglers will finish in the top five on the Delta after such strong showings is akin to picking a straight-up superfecta in horse racing — possible, but a longshot. However, this is fishing and these four anglers could all easily cast their way to the top of the leaderboard in New Orleans.

From the 2001 Classic

Kevin VanDam, 15 salary — The Michael Jordan of bass fishing, VanDam won the '01 Classic and has placed in the top ten in three other tournaments on the Delta — you definitely want him casting a plug for your team.

Harold Allen, 10.4 salary — The Shelbyville, Texas, native took fourth in the last Classic on the Delta, and has a fifth-place finish in a tournament this year (Alabama Showdown).

Todd Faircloth, 12.3 salary — Making the last three Classics — including a fifth-place finish in '01 and twelfth in '02 — Faircloth is poised to capitalize on his seven money-winning tournaments in '03.

Gerald Swindle, 9 salary — By tying for fifth place with Faircloth, Swindle broke into the top five at the '01 Classic — he also has a 39th-place finish in '99 and a 12th-place finish in the '98 Classic.

Skeet Reese, 9.3 salary — With an eighth-place finish in the '01 Classic on the Delta and seven money finishes in '03 tournaments, Reese could easily make a strong showing on the Delta again this year.

Because of the 50-point salary cap, fantasy team owners can't have all five of these 2001 top finishers on their team — the classic question is, which one gets left at the dock?

Despite the highest salary of the bunch, VanDam must be selected because of his unprecedented success on the Delta. That narrows your choice to the remaining four anglers.

By leaving Allen out off the team, a fantasy owner would be left with 4.4 salary points to spend on their last angler. The only anglers with such low salaries are untested Federation anglers or guys who didn't cut the mustard throughout the year.

If you take this approach and these anglers, Randall Romig (4.3 salary) is your best bet. Romig finished 102nd in the fantasy game this year and accumulated 94 points — highest among the lowest-salaried anglers.

The other move a fantasy owner can make, which would clear more cap space than eliminating Allen, is to leave Todd Faircloth off the team.

Leaving Faircloth out would give fantasy owners 6.3 salary points to play with when selecting their final angler — and there are 20 anglers available that will fit under the 50-point cap.

The best, statistically speaking, is Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill. Morgenthaler finished the season ranked 32nd in the fantasy standings with 369 points — a bargain at 5.7 salary points, especially when added to the formidable lineup of repeating Classic contenders.

From the 1999 Classic

Davy Hite, 15.8 salary — The South Carolina angler won the '99 Classic on the Delta, and he's fishing the Classic this year. However, with a disappointing season and a 15.8 salary, Hite's upside is too small when compared to the investment required, leave him off your roster and take the next four anglers.

Gary Klein, 13 salary — Finished fourth, second-best out of this year's group of anglers heading back to the Delta.

Ron Shuffield, 7.1 salary — Was poised to win the Classic before ultimately finishing in fifth place directly behind Klein.

Michael Iaconelli, 8.6 salary — Finishes the trifecta-run by taking sixth in the '99 Classic.

Kevin VanDam, 15 salary — Finished in eighth place on the Delta in '99.

As with the 2001 Classic, selecting these four anglers to a fantasy roster will cost owners only 43.7 points — and once again leave owners with 6.3 points to round out their roster, the best of which is, again, Morgenthaler.