Pinkbike's DH Fantasy League Staff Picks - Volume 1

Apr 5, 2024
by Sarah Moore  

The competition for Pinkbike's DH Fantasy League bragging rights at the office is fierce, especially after a year's hiatus. Of course, with all of us being so-called "experts" on racing, winning the office league isn't easy... Ed Spratt writes the analysis pieces, so the rest of us are over here over-analyzing and editing our team rosters a couple of times a day.

Here's how some of us are choosing to spend our $1.5 million heading into round 1 in Fort William in a month's time. At least, these are our teams this week. As we get closer to Fort William, we'll have more race results to base our picks on and there will undoubtedly be some changes to these rosters. I'm also suspicious that some of these picks could just be placeholders until the day before qualifying starts when the real rosters get chosen...

If you haven't already, make sure to get your team on the line and let the games begin! With dynamic pricing, there's guaranteed puzzling ahead of each round.

Sarah Moore's Picks

bigquotesI interviewed Ronan Dunne for the Pinkbike Podcastwhen he signed for Mondraker and he’s a great dude, plus he won Red Bull Hardline so he’s obviously getting to terms with the new bike just fine. He missed Fort William last year due to an injury, but finished the season on a high in Snowshoe last year with a second place so I’m betting on him for a strong start to the season.

Gracey Hemstreet also had a great start to the season at Hardline, plus she’s another person I interviewed earlier this year, and a fellow Canadian, so I had to put her on my team.

That left me with not a ton of money, so I went with Luke Meier-Smith who finished a respectable 18th at World Champs last year in Fort William, Lachlan Stevens-McNab who had a top ten last year at the Pal Arinsal World Cup and had a great race at the Australian DH Champs last month, Ryan Pinkerton who is moving up to Elites after a strong Junior career, and Sian A’Hern who is now Vali Holl’s teammate on the YT Mob.
Sarah Moore, Content Manager

Mike Kazimer's Picks

bigquotesThis is my roster so far, but I'll probably tinker with it a few more times before racing begins. Realistically, I should just copy Ed Spratt's team - all that data analysis has made him a fierce fantasy league competitor.

Vali Holl won World Champs at Fort William last year, so hopefully she can repeat that feat again and bring in some valuable points. This will be Jenna Hastings' second year in the elite women's category, and after finishing the 2023 season with a 6th place at Mont Sainte-Anne, she'll be hoping to keep the upward trend going in 2024.

On the men's side, I've selected two fast Canadian young guns, Jakob Jewett and Bodhi Kuhn. Jakob placed second at the Crankworx Rotorua downhill, just behind Lachlan Stevens-McNab, who also happens to be on my team. This will be Bodhi's first year in elites, and if he can maintain the speed he showed as a junior he should a solid contender. Rounding out my picks is Amaury Pierron. Amaury's struggled with injuries the last few seasons, but I'm betting he still has the pace required for a win - if he's strong and healthy he'll be right up there at the top of the results sheet.
Mike Kazimer

Christina Chappetta's Picks

bigquotesThis is my roster for now, but depending on pre-season injuries and who's looking strong come opening weekend, I'll likely make some changes before racing begins.

I went all in on Vali Holl as that seemed like a no-brainer but if Myriam Nicole returns to the start she mayyyyy replace Rachel Atherton on my list. Only time will tell. On the men's side, if Amaury lines up I think he only goes for wins so hoping that choice pays off. Lucas Cruz, local boy to me, had some great results last year so I'm hoping he can build on those and learn a lot from his new teammate, Greg Minnaar. Bodhi Kuhn will be moving to elite this year and he killed it in juniors so I expect him to rise to the occasion...and the price was right. Ryan Pinkerton was a bit more of a wildcard for myself but let's see what this guy can do in 2024!
Christina Chappetta

Ed Spratt's Picks

bigquotesI haven't looked too deeply into the stats yet, so my team is mostly based on who I remember doing well last year and some early-season results so far in 2024. My overall strategy for this year's league with adaptive rider pricing and a closer fantasy points spread is to pick riders who will pick up consistent good results with the chance of taking race victories.

With that in mind, my most expensive pick is Camille Balanche, who was never lower than 2nd place before her crash at the Andorra World Cup. Camille's overall results sheet remains incredibly impressive, with no race finish outside the top five (ignoring DNS/DNFs) since Lousã in 2020.

My next pick is the 2023 World Champ, Charlie Hatton, who was starting to find great results in 2023 after being a regular top 20 performer. With the rainbow stripes for the 2024 season, he could be a contender for a first World Cup win. One racer that is no stranger to wins is Amaury Pierron and alongside 42% of current fantasy league players, he is on my team for at least the first round. Amaury is currently a very low price after being injured last year, I don't expect him to stay this cheap for long. Amaury has strong past results in Fort William, so he is a no-brainer as a round-one pick.

Filling out the rest of my roster is last year's Junior overall champ Ryan Pinkerton, who may be untested in Elites, but if he can perform as well as in 2023 he could be in for some strong results. A rider who is coming into the 2024 season with a rapid pace is Lachlan Stevens-Mcnab. Lachlan has picked up a string of victories in New Zealand, both in the national series and at Crankworx, and will be one to watch next month in Scotland. My final pick is Louise Ferguson, who is coming off completing the Hardline Tasmania course and secured some great results last year. Louise placed fourth at the World Champs in Fort William last year, so she could be a very valuable rider to have on your team.
Ed Spratt, Senior News Writer

Matt Beer's Picks

bigquotesLike many premier league sports, when an athlete gets into a winning groove they tend to keep delivering, so heading into the first World Cup of the season I’ve taken two young guns who clinched the top two spots at the downhill race from the recent Crankworx Rotorua, Lachlan Stevens-McNab, and Jacob Jewett.

Fort William is a classic race so I’ve also chosen Amaury Pierron and Camille Balanche, who are no strangers to World Cup wins and overall championships. Those two superstars are coming back from big injuries. Due to their time off their overall UCI point standings have dropped, making them more affordable than ever before in the Pinkbike Fantasy League, however, they should never be counted out of a podium finish.

Lastly, I’ve gone with Luke Meier-Smith, who, when healthy, has been absolutely flying in both DH and Enduro disciplines, as well as Scottish and Red Bull Hard Line sender, Louise Ferguson.
Matt Beer, Tech Editor

Ben Cathro's Picks

bigquotesI decided to try and pick the winners then fill the rest of the slots with undervalued top 30 capable riders or local heroes. Hard to bet against Vali for the win and I think Ronan wants to come out swinging so will either explode or win. Jack and Mikayla both went well out in Portugal last month and know the Fort Bill track really well. Jamie is a big local lad who can plow the Bill like the best of them. Taylor as he’s on a belt bike and will be chasing that $100k prize purse. Probably will change everyone after the first day of practice!Ben Cathro, Senior Presenter & World Cup Correspondent

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Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,390 articles

  • 33 0
 A. Pierron is a no brainer if he's at full health, cheapest you will see him this year.
  • 9 0
 didn't I read that prices are going up upon good results?
  • 3 1
 @naptime: you are correct. So cheap for 1 race if results follow.
  • 19 0
 I was really hoping for my picks to be validated...
  • 13 0
 These are all terrible picks. With love from the reigning fantasy champ.
  • 10 0
 Amaury Pierron and Reece Wilson have to be no brainers. Easy points. Both rapid and bound to be motivated. Rest of the field thinking about the season.
  • 3 0
 Amaury is the highest value pick on the list. He's also a big risk for a DNF given the last couple seasons.
  • 31 5
 Reece is focusing on edits at his home these days. Can't see him board his plane to hop over the pond for the season opener.
  • 2 0
 According to the rules, Amaury Pierron shouldn't be on the pick list as he did not do 2 WC races last year, and wasn't on the juniors. He obviously belongs there of course.
  • 4 0
 @mi-bike: Nearly got me there
  • 9 0
 I think Gracey is going to have a breakout season and be easy money!
  • 3 0
 It's kind of crazy how she's already priced for that though. She certainly has the capability, but she isn't there yet, so it's a bit of a gamble.
  • 9 0
 Bens pick of Tibault Laly is underrated. Loyalty to the core.
  • 7 1
 They’re nice picks, but unfortunately wrong
  • 7 0
 Isn’t Jenna hurt?
  • 1 0
 Yep, supposed to be back in time though I believe...
  • 5 0
 This would be great if I actually knew how to watch the World Cups this year in Australia
  • 1 0
 Agreed. Who's got the details on the monopoly sports streaming service?
Can't wait to give my money to those a*sholes.
  • 6 0
 We need 500000 more dollars
  • 5 0
 Is Rachel racing?
  • 1 0
 @SarahMoore, pretty sure Ronan Dunne was made to ride the old bike at Hardline and said after winning it that the new bike is noticably faster - even more reason to take a punt on him
  • 2 0
 I meant he switched from Nukeproof to Mondraker just fine, but that's a good point!
  • 2 0
 Phew! I have 2 matches with Ed and 1 with Ben. So I feel like I'm on the right track
  • 3 0
 Louise Ferguson is a bargain at $25k.
  • 2 0
 All of these picks are both correct and incorrect.
  • 4 0
 I'm on the fence about this.
  • 2 0
 No one betting on Myriam healing in time?
  • 2 0
 Still not clear why the women get points for semis and men are the finals
  • 1 0
 They are? Where do you see that? I only see they award points based on final placing. If they don't make the finals, I'm assuming the final placing is based on semis, so for positions 11-15. Or am I missing something? I'm not sure what that would mean for someone who DNS or DNF in the finals. I guess they just move to 10th? Maybe higher if there are multiple DNS or DNF in the finals, based on semi positions.
  • 1 0
 @Fill-Freakin: I’m talking just for fantasy. It’s in the race round scoring section
  • 2 1
 So Charlie Hatton is worth twice as much as Pierron?
I think I’ll pass this one man’s fantasy fantasy….
  • 5 0
 The current pricing is all based on last year’s results. As Amaury was injured and scored no points he is priced lower than Charlie who scored points and is the World Champ. Once the season starts the rider pricing will increase or decrease based on their results.
  • 3 0
 @edspratt: ps fantasy doesn’t seem to appear in the header links on mobile (next to buysell, forum etc), it’s not under the ‘more’ drop down either.
  • 3 0
 @edspratt: ^ came here to ask this same thing.... if not for these fantasy league stories on front page I wouldn't know where to access my team. Also viewing pb on mobile.
  • 1 0
 @edspratt: Yeah, I think it makes this first round the most fun. Value plays such a large part and keeping up with the pre-season news and races makes you feel like you can get a potential winner for half price Smile
  • 1 0
 There's a fantasy tab in the 'more' drop down now. Yay.
  • 1 0
 Danny Hart is there training. He's looking fast and will have a lot of time on the track before the race.
  • 2 1
 quick PB quants set up some arbitrage scheme to exploit the anglophone bias
  • 1 0
 Hasn't jack reading retired?
  • 5 1
 Hmmm is @ben-cathro playing the long game to keep people from choosing his real picks? Scandal!

(for real Jack is "retired" but on Raaw and I could see him racing Fort William this year—though probably not the whole season)
  • 1 0
 I like my team better but we shall see!
  • 1 0
 Pierron is onbviously not expensive enough!
  • 1 0
 Jackson Goldstone is definitely overpriced right now. Unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 My friend looked over at my team and said I needed ryan williams
  • 1 0
 ....Yur Dreaming

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