Fantasy Pinburgh 2019 Analysis
By Greg Poverelli
It’s almost that time, Replay FX is around the corner and this year’s Pinburgh is bigger and better than ever, clocking in at a whopping 1000 players! Pinball is on the rise folks, and we are all part of it. What better way to celebrate an American pastime then to play some fantasy and root for your favorite players for some wholesome fun throughout the competition? I know my team was hard to finalize, with a lot of different combinations I considered. I know that if I’m primed to BEEF, I will have a strong team battling it out for the BOOMs I sought after, keeping me excited into the waning hours of finals Saturday! I want to thank Timmy, who did some amazing work on the scoring and player value metrics for fantasy this year. As a reminder, this is for fun and pride only; there are no wagers, so this is within IFPA rules for anyone to enjoy. I’ve always been an avid fantasy player who enjoys analytics, so I’m going to give you a brief breakdown of how scoring and drafting works, with the appropriate links to participate and share some of my favorites and sleepers for Pinburgh. Fantasy Pinburgh tips, WPPRelli approved.
Tim’s google doc is very detailed, use each tab to move from instructions, player value, scoring metric and prior year’s examples for reference. A quick explanation for how this works: you have a budget of $400 to draft your 5 player team. Players are valued by a formula considering ranking and prior Pinburgh performances, then adjusted for some that might have less experience in the event but are star studded, like Daniele Acciari. You can’t go over your budget, and the minimum player value is a base $20, that $20-35 range is where you can find some big time value sleepers who might win you the draft. Once you have your team send in your submission at the link, only one submission per player. The team with the most points wins. Remember fantasy is all about depth, you want consistency and are looking for 5 players that qualify for A finals.
Lost tiebreaker 50
Below tiebreaker subtract 1 per each loss under 50-n (if they make A Division but not finals 31-49 points)
B division 30
C division 20
D division 10
E division 0
Here is the google doc:
Here is the submission page:
Feel free to share with friends!
Now keeping in mind your goal is to pick players who will make a run deep into A finals, you want to find value by picking sure things at the top end and strength at low cost after that. One thing to consider is anyone who is A restricted is guaranteed to score 31 points or more, with the potential to qualify for finals and BOOM it for you. If you can construct a team of only A restricted players you know your starting point will be over 150 points. That won’t be enough though, you’re going to have to draft well. So let’s move on to the notable players at each price tier, and my favorite choice amongst them. Please note, there are so many strong players in this elite tournament, these opinions are just my favorite picks. Not mentioning anyone is not by any means meant as a criticism or knock. I know this idea isn’t for everyone but hopefully you enjoy this content and we all have some fun. I think fantasy has helped secure the popularity of so many sports, and can be a part of pinball’s future. I had almost 20 teams constructed last year, and 10 this year before settling on my final submitted roster. The beauty of the biggest pinball tournament of all time is how many amazing players there are!
As a note: my picks from each tier are not my advice for a 5 player team persay, just my favorite selection in each tier I’ve designated. It also is not an indication that I think that player will finish highest, but rather they have the best value and are my tip for optimal team building.
Tier 1: The GOATS $175+
Keith Elwin $223.05
The best player of all time, with a staggering 17 major final 4s, a dominant 4 Pinburgh victories - the reigning champ in this event, he’s undoubtably the safest choice in fantasy this year and any to come. That being said he comes at a high cost and you’ll need to find the sleepers to pair with him. KME is the only player I’d say is a sure thing to make the final 4 at any given Pinburgh. The data agrees.
Raymond Davidson $205.21
Our current number 1 ranked player in the world, multiple time world champ and the hottest player in all of pinball right now; you can’t go wrong with RayDay. He’s finished second in this event before and he could easily collect 999 bones and win this thing. High cost with a sure thing reward if you feel the titles going home to Seattle, feel safe taking Ray.
Daniele Acciari $186.99
Daniele is coming all the way from Italy to grace us with his presence this year in Pittsburgh. Fresh off the most epic IFPA WC finals of all time, finishing second for the second year in a row; no stranger to valor, Daniele is a 4 time world champion and a match play machine. While he often can’t make Pinburgh for work reasons, I predict a big time finish for him in 2019. Comfortable on machines of all eras as he has displayed throughout his career, I think Daniele is a slam dunk at Pinburgh.
My pick: Daniele
You can only afford one player at this tier and Daniele being the most cost efficient. I think it could be his year to win it. Keith and Ray are favored ahead of him, but that extra budget space is my reasoning. You can’t go wrong one of these three, one of them is very likely to be the winner: however, in any auction or budget style fantasy draft, the top picks come with risk.
Tier 2 $100-175
Eric Stone $151.36
Stone has pseudo retired from his circuit dominance because of his full time gig as a weatherman, but rest assured he’s a tidal wave anywhere he plays. He crushes every event he attends. Chicken not BEEF.
Jim Belsito $145.99
One of the past winners of this event, a model of consistency coming off another final 4 last year, Jim is a safe option. He’s calm and clutch, I drafted him last year and reaped the benefits. Belsito 2019!
Cayle George $137.75
One of the best players of all time, he has won PAPA and EPC but hasn’t solved the Pinburgh puzzle just yet. I think he’s by far one of the best values of the draft and will definitely benefit your team. I suggest Cayle at this price highly.
Escher Lefkoff $114.15
One of the many young superstars of pinball, it’s hard to even imagine how good Escher will get. He’s the reigning PAPA world champion and at this entry cost might be one of the safest plays.
Jorian Engelbrektsson $111.11
Jorian is a major tournament wrecking machine, with 12 final 4s and 7 victories, he is second only to Keith Elwin in both elite categories. He is a top 5 pro and his rank only slipped due to taking time off for family, his Pinburgh results are an anomaly and this formula has him as the absolute best value in the entire pool. I had him on almost every single roster I made. Draft him confidently. Value for days.
My pick: Jorian
There were countless players in this tier that are worth mentioning as it likely the most important price range, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Jorian is just the best bang for your buck. Expect big things from many of these players. I suggest structuring your team to have at least 2, that’s what I did! Honorable mentions and smart plays go to both Sharpe’s, Adam Becker, Colin MacAlpine and Cryss Stephens.
Tier 3 $60-100
Karl DeAngelo $95.56
The man who brings us the beloved neverdrains software and iepinball - he’s no stranger to Pinburgh success having finished second a few years ago. He’s a consistency machine and a great value.
Andy Rosa $86.82
The reigning Stern Pro Circuit champion, will Andy be wearing the belt with his famous gloves this Pinburgh? Probably the best nudger in the game, he’s great at all eras but his strength on classics make him a very smart choice.
Aleksander Kaczmarczyk $81.01
This local Pittsburgh youth is as dominant in the area as it comes. He’s been on fire on the circuit for seasons and he knows these games better than anyone after playing Fight Clubs this season. Almost a sure thing to do well at this tier.
Sean “The Storm” Grant $76.62
A player I need to battle locally in NYC, Sean doesn’t play much on the road and his rank is not an indication of his skill. He used to be front page top 25 ifpa and has made the final 4 of Pinburgh as well as several other top 16s. He’s one of the best value picks and that’s what fantasy is all about. Heed the Storm warning!
My pick: Aleksander
This was a tight one between Aleks and Karl for me, most of my rosters had one or the other and it’s another tier you can’t go wrong in. I’m going with the local powerhouse. I think home field is big in all competitions and last year almost all my rosters had either Aleks, Cryss Stephens, or both. I feel the same way this year. In fact, I convinced myself while writing this that I made a mistake not drafting Aleks this season. Do it!
Tier 4 $20.01-60
Keri Wing $54.38
Keri is the reigning Women’s World Champion, and is destroying events in the past few years. She won a new in box stern in Vegas and I predict she will make A finals and make a big run in 2019. She qualified last year and is A restricted. Safe play with upside.
Joe Lemire $49.35
Joe is having the best season of his career and has been placing almost every place he travels. The NEPL is a good match play preparation and I feel he’s likely to succeed at the big show. A restriction means another safe play with upside.
Tim Sexton $48.00
The man who brought us Fantasy Pinburgh, Stern’s newest hot shot and no stranger to pinball success, I love Timmy at this part of the budget range. He qualified last season in A finals, he qualified in Toronto at his first IFPA, just placed in the top 8 at his last SPC event at Pintastic. Expect big things from Tim.
Brian O’Neill $47.59
Another player having their best season to date, this San Francisco player just won his home town circuit at City Champ and followed it up with a 2nd at Pintastic. Can’t possible go wrong as he is A restricted and a top 100 player at low cost.
Lyman Sheats $31.07
Lyman is one of the all time greats. He is right up there with any other GOAT level, multiple time major world champion. I’m saying it right here, right now: the best pick of fantasy Pinburgh 2019. He’s busy making some amazing pinball machines and his low cost is only due to his rank slipping from lack of play, he could win the whole thing anywhere he plays. Thanks Lyman!
Aaron Grabowski $24.04
Aaron is a dominant player out of Michigan who rarely travels to play. You’ll see scores he puts up that display his rank is not indicative of his elite skill. A bit of a modern dominant player, but has had success at pinburgh and on the circuit. I love Grabowksi at this value. Good 5th spot to any roster.
My pick: Lyman
Silky Sheats at that price?! All day every day. He’s a world champion and I’m unable to make a roster without him on it this year. Lyman might be the nicest guy in pinball and the best pick in the pool. Lots of good options at this level, and picking the right two is likely to make you the fantasy champ. Value picks make teams win. Honorable mentions and smart plays goes to Chris Basler for the best upside, and Jeff Teolis who is great value for an A restricted player.
Tier 5: $20
All of the follow are my top sleeper options (in alphabetical order) who can bring you great value for $20:
Christopher CJ Smith
Gene X Huang
Ron Hallet Jr.
My pick: Helena
Helena is my favorite player from this group but you can’t go wrong as I think they all are great choices. She has the most upside in my opinion. The $20 cost is the perfect way to solve the puzzle of how to finish a team with when you draft one of the top 3 picks this year. Honorable mentions are Zoe, Jack and I. I don’t often feel too comfortable at Pinburgh, but as the only top 100 A restricted player in this budget range, I can’t score less than 31 points. Plenty of good options at the $20-35 range that I think can really make a team push over the top.
Alright folks, I hope you enjoyed this type of fantasy analysis and strategy write up! I love this hobby and can’t wait to see you all at pinburgh! Come say hello and tell me what you thought, I want to make more content like this in the future. I suggest when you plan out your fantasy team you get pen and paper, you can weigh all the options by looking at the cap space with different combinations of players. Thanks to Timmy for the great work he did and make sure to have fun, and share this with friends. Good luck!
Please note: full results are opt in, use the submission form to provide your email to get them. If you already submitted a team, submit another form with just your email to get the detailed results. Anyone who doesn’t want to be part of Fantasy Pinburgh, for whatever reason, only needs to ask and can be removed. If you draft a player who doesn’t show up, submit a $20 option by round 3.