Margaret River hosts three contestable breaks under the location umbrella: Main Break (a left and The Right), The Box and North Point. While each offers unique conditions, they are all reef/rock-bottom and heavy when conditions are in the overhead range. With a solid swell in the forecast, we may see any combination of these breaks play out; experience and strong performance in reef conditions will best suit your fantasy team.
Adriano de Souza (Projected 14.28 AHS / 115.04 FP) - Margaret River was the one of the two events Adriano de Souza won in 2015, the other was Pipe. As a competitor, De Souza is solid in heavy reef breaks, proving that he's extremely well-rounded. Over the last two years, Adriano has put together a 12.78 Average Heat Score (AHS) for 169 Fantasy Points (FP) at Margies. While neither of these stats are ranked first overall, they both lead Tier A and he has the cushiest Round 1 draw on paper.
Odds - 8:1
Jordy Smith (Projected 14.09 AHS / 84.9 FP) - Jordy Smith seems to have found his form in 2016 with a tremendous performance at Bells Beach. Smith lost the event, but he won fantasy with 123.5 Fantasy Points (FP). He's now ranked second behind Matt Wilkinson's 190.83 FP with 148.93 for 2016. This is the event that started Jordy's injury string last year, but the forecast looks solid and Smith is suited for all Margaret's locations. His best finish was the 2014 QF, but he'll still hold value in Tier A this time around.
Odds - 12:1
Matt Wilkinson (Projected 13.09 AHS / 65.1 FP) - Matt Wilkinson only accumulated 16.41 FP at Margaret River in 2015, but this is 2016. With two events in the books so far, Wilko leads the CT in Fantasy Points with 190.83 and is fifth-ranked in AHS (14.68). While the Wilkinaissance has been outrageously impressive, there will be some regression toward the mean as the season progresses. Matt didn't have a high draft percentage at Gold Coast or Bells Beach (13.92% and 13.29% respectively), so it would be surprising to see a spike at a location where he's struggled in the past. History is not on Wilkinson's side either; only Tom Curren in 1990 has won the first three events in a season and no one has ever won three consecutive AUS contests.
Odds - 30:1
John John Florence (Projected 14.7 AHS / 118.16 FP) - With breaks like The Box potentially on deck, John John Florence certainly makes an appealing fantasy candidate. Not just because he freesurfs these conditions among the best in the world, but he crushed the field in fantasy last year. Adriano de Souza won the event in 2015, but John John outscored him 130.3 to 111.05. Florence also posted the highest AHS of the event at 15.74, the only surfer north of 15. Will he win the event this year? Who cares - he's going to put up a ton of points. Get on it.
Odds - 8:1
Michel Bourez (Projected 13.17 AHS / 39.36 FP) - Margaret River was reintroduced as an event in 2014 after a long hiatus, so the maximum data sample for any surfer is two contests. During that time, Michel Bourez has been the most successful. QSFW is a metric that measures surfer performance for any location or time period based on advancement through the QF-F. It's calculated with exponential weight for each progressive round as: QF Appearances + (SF Appearances x2) + (F Appearances x4) + (Wins x8). Michel's 16 QSFW is +1 over defending Margaret Champion Adriano de Souza (since Bourez won in 2014 and made a QF last year). He also put up 79.52 FP with a 12.54 AHS and while his ceiling may not be a W, he's been the most successful athlete here on the men's side.
Odds - 46:1
Kelly Slater (Projected 13.25 AHS / 65.9 FP) - Kelly Slater has seen better days on the CT. Heading into Margaret River he only has 60.14 total FP and 12.03 AHS. This certainly doesn't bode well for the season and we're not used to the Round 2 floor for Slater. That's alright, because Margies has potential to be a solid bounce-back point. Since 2014, Kelly's put up a 4 QSFW (2 QFA, 1 SFA), 13.17 AHS and leads the CT in Margaret River FP with 185.11 (and that's without reaching a Final). If there's one location to get Slater back on your radar, it should be here. This will also set the tone for the rest of 2016, so hopefully there's some competitive fire left in the tank.
Odds - 32:1
Jay Davies (Projected 12.9 AHS / 36 FP) and Miguel Pupo (Projected 12.13 AHS / 36.01 FP) - These two have the best projections in Tier C and should be able to make the most of their situations. If you don't want to go with both, consider their Round 1 heat draws: Davies is up against Wiggolly Dantas (Projected 12.47 AHS / 37.05 FP) and Josh Kerr (Projected 11.4 AHS / 33.6 FP) while Miguel faces Kolohe Andino (Projected 12.97 AHS / 38.7 FP) and Kelly Slater. There are pros and cons to each matchup and their projected FP are close. The rest of Tier C doesn't look great on paper, so if you want a solid contrarian pick, Davies might be your man. The big fella rode his Wildcard horse into the QF last year and local knowledge gives him an edge if they move to The Box.
Odds - Davies - 75:1 / Pupo - 185:1
Stay tuned for fantasy insights from Ross Williams, who always provides great pointers from experience on the front lines.