Brainstorming Fantasy Cross

So a while back, when I pimped Fantasy Nordic on this site, a bunch of the regular clowns said "oh you should do Fantasy Cross," as if all that entailed was changing a line of code or two.

But I have been thinking about it, because I have a programming problem, and also because I'm still trying to become e-famous. It's become apparent to me that I don't really have the writing ability to acquire e-fame through blogging, so I'm just going to keep making websites and see if someday I get something approaching a non-negative return on my investment.

Anyway. Fantasy Cross. The biggest problem, to me, is that there is no single, unified race series that everyone attends. For nordic skiing it was easy -- there's a 4 month long World Cup season with about 30 races per gender. For cross, there's no clear demarcation of what the "season" is. World Cup + World Champs? Superprestige? Every C1 race? Women's World Cups? Where do you draw the line?

Problem #2: Not enough racers. To run a normal fantasy league, you have ~8 teams. A lot of the C1 races only have like 25 racers, 10 of which you've never heard of. So how to you pick teams?

Plus, there is a huge dropoff at the top, which is to say that the guy who gets the #1 pick takes Sven Nys (Boom/Wellens) and the guy with the #8 pick is SCREWED. Nys will get more points than the 8th-20th best guys in the world COMBINED. So a traditional draft doesn't work, because there aren't enough players to go around and the dropoff at the top is too steep.

What's the solution to this? I'm not sure, I think shared ownership might be the only way to go. What if you allowed each racer to be drafted up to 3 times -- would that work? Then your top 20 racers feel like 60 racers in the draft, and a draft might run like this:

1) Nys
2) Nys
3) Boom
4) Nys (no one else can draft Nys)
5) Wellens
6) Boom
7) Wellens
8) Albert
8) Albert (team #8 picks a double share of Albert, aka putting all your eggs in one basket)
7) Boom (Boom is out)
6) Stybar
5) Albert (Albert is out)
4) Wellens (Wellens is out)
3) Stybar
2) Page (obviously Jerry picking for is team 2)
1) Vervecken
1) Stybar
2) Simonek (did I even spell that right??)

Anyway, you get the idea. ~8 teams per league, you could draft 8 "rider shares" and that would be your team. From there everything just works like normal fantasy.

Ok, enough thinking out loud for now. Got any thoughts, cross-osphere? Would you play it? What races should be included? Are 9 World Cups + World Champs enough to keep your interest?


josh said…
why not do it on a salary cap type system. each rider is "worth" a salary....which can change over time if they do well or start sucking. say 5 riders "race" with 2 or 3 subs. you can add/drop riders...if their worth goes up, you get money, if they have a bad run and you drop them, your cap is lowered. brings a whole new element in. when do you buy verveckin if you assume he will have a great late run. do you dump nijs in mid december and buy up a few guys who might be coming on and have outside chances at top 5 or 10. if set up right, you could make it so that buying a top tier rider (nijs) and filling the rest of your team with names we have never heard this side of the pond wouldn't be as good as buying a few solid middle guys....
Alex said…
fantasy cross for the B men of New England. You know what races they go to. You know who they are. People have personal attachments. Honor is on the line. Chaos will ensue. It will be glorious.
Colin R said…
alex: yikes. don't tempt me.
gewilli said…
Cap style is good.

OR set it up similarily to how i did it back in the day (with bikes and stuff).

Take the top 50 Cross Racers off the 2008 UCI list.

Everyone picks one from the top 5, one for the next 5, and the next 5 and the next. Then from then on you pick one of the next ten rounding out the team till you hit the end of the list.

That gives you 7 racers. Yes there is a chance for duplicate teams. But the odds of a dupe are not that great and could easily be solved.

It is sort of like the cap system but not quite. Allows for similar teams to be built, and the beauty of it is one or two little guys might make the points difference.

If me i'd just run it off the UCI ranking. Who's ever team has more combined points at the end of the year wins...

I don't like the head to head elimination kinda wins in fantasy cycling. But giving a winner for each publication of the UCI standings should count for something.

that said.

Alex has a brilliant idea. Freaking brilliant!
Anonymous said…
NE B men would be great.

when you going to Otis next? I want to join.
Not being either a cross rider or especially knowledgeable cross spectator (I've seen a few races live and watched a bunch online), how about determining matchup victories on something deeper than straight finish positions - say, finish positions as well as places at certain other spots, like the ends of certain laps or intermediate sprints (if there are such things) - essentially, split times.

I dunno if information like this is discoverable (or process-able), but it might make it more interesting and fun to have a weak team - maybe you have one guy who always starts races fast, leads early, and then fades on the last lap. Such a person - an Anders Soedergren of cyclocross - would be consistently good for some points, if not as many as a Nys.
gewilli said…
we/you gonna do this or not...
Colin R said…
dunno yet, G. it will depend on how much time I have in the summer, if I have a format I'm happy with, and if I feel like there's a lot of interest in it.

I guess the mid-to-late winter isn't the best time to try to gauge interest. I'm sure in August everyone will be raring to do anything cross-related.
G-ride said…
i like the way CN did their fantasy bike racing several years ago, not the TDF silliness. You pick your fantasy team from all available riders. Teams will have massive overlap. The winner will have the most skill in picking the riders who place, not win (ie everyone will have SN). But you have to pick say 10 riders. Then go off placings in C1 and C2 races. World Cups are tricky if you just use UCI points, cause they are stacked. But, you have to know who will get that coveted 6th pick for the Belgian squad too, so maybe its fine.

Oh, and Page is gonna kill it next year. He has a nice setup TBA.

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