Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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New Sensation: Update on the Pop Chart Fantasy League

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 25, 2010

It was brought to my attention recently that although at the beginning of the year, I promised sporadic updates on the Pop Chart Fantasy League on this blog, I’ve actually failed to do so. (In my defense, I haven’t been updating much of anything, and I don’t want all the other projects I’ve neglected to feel bad.) Yet the league is indeed alive and well, about to entire the 36th week of its 52-week season. So lest it fade from the public consciousness entirely, I suppose this is as good a time as any to delve back into all the gory details.

For those of you who have forgotten and/or never knew in the first place, the Pop Chart Fantasy League is basically what it sounds like–a sports-style fantasy league for pop music, where teams draft popular artists and score points based on how high their singles reach on the charts. (A more in-depth explanation can be found here.) This being a fairly unprecedented venture (and no I still don’t want to know if someone else has done this before shut up shut up shut up), there was much about the PCFL that was up in the air at the beginning, but I’m proud to say that so far it’s gone pretty smoothly and enjoyably for all involved, and even prouder to say my team is fucking steamrolling through our inaugural season.

To be fair, it’s not really fair. I had the first pick in the draft this year, and I essentially won the league on that pick alone–the infamous Glee Cast, pop powerhouse that they are, single-handedly responsible for charting 39 separate singles, worth a combined 1465 points. (No other artist has scored half that much yet.) Next year, we’re going to have to either significantly handicap Glee Cast’s scoring, enforce some sort of forfeiture of future draft picks to select them, or just eliminate them from contention entirely–like Fantasy Golf leagues had to do with Tiger Woods at the beginning of the decade, assuming those actually existed.

Don’t feel too bad for the other PCFL teams, however, because Team Utz’s supporting cast is also more than carrying their weight. In fact, thanks to some good early-round picks and a couple key waiver wire pickups, I’d still be killing even if I’d never drafted Glee Cast. Here’s how my original 12-artist roster breaks down, in the order they were drafted:

#1: Glee Cast (1465 Points, 39 Charting Singles)
#2: Eminem (704.5 Points, 10 Charting Singles)
#3: T-Pain (64.5 Points, 2 Charting Singles)
#4: Justin Bieber (559 Points, 8 Charting Singles)
#5: Linkin Park (116 Points, 1 Charting Single)
#6: Jay Sean (183 Points, 3 Charting Singles)
#7: Soulja Boy (94.5 Points, 2 Charting Singles)
#8: Carrie Underwood (238 Points, 2 Charting Singles)
#9: Trey Songz (247 Points, 4 Charting Singles)
#10: 50 Cent (No Charting Singles)
#11: Maroon 5 (84 Points, 1 Charting Single)
#12: No Doubt (No Charting Singles)

So aside from the super-disappointing performance of T-Pain (dude keeps pushing his album release later and later, lame), all my big guns have done a pretty good job of coming through, and I got some nice late-round value from Carrie Underwood and Trey Songz. (50 Cent and No Doubt have yet to come through at all, and likely won’t, but no one in the league has had every one of their artists score yet.) But the real damage I’ve done has been on the waiver wire. We’re allowed six claims each throughout the season of artists not taken in the original draft, of which I’ve used three:

#1. B.o.B. (503 Points, 5 Charting Singles)
#2. Nicki Minaj (316 Points, 10 Charting Singles)
#3. Taio Cruz (355 Points, 3 Charting Singles)

The B.o.B. one I got lucky on, and the Taio Cruz one was just me being the first to read about him getting ready to jump to #1 with “Break Your Heart” and claiming him instantly (setting off a league-wide debate about adjusting the waiver-wire practice in the process.)

Of course, I haven’t been the only one to take advantage of the waiver wire over the course of the year. Other savvy mid-season pickups have included Iyaz (306.5 Points, 5 Charting Singles), Bruno Mars (245 Points, 3 Charting Singles), and much to my surprise and displeasure, 3OH!3 (267 Points, 8 Charting Singles). And part of the fun of the whole league has been watching singles by unclaimed artists slowly creeping up the charts and sweating one another over who is going to grab that artist, risking a potential one-single wonder in the process. Train was one such artist, as “Hey Soul Sister” scored 130 points all on its own, but follow-up “If It’s Love” has managed just 52 as a follow-up, making it a borderline (though arguably still successful) pickup. Recently we’ve all been eyeing each other over who’s going to make the leap of faith with Mike Posner, whose “Cooler Than Me” would be worth 106 points so far, but whose career longevity is still unproven. (I’m skeptical, personally.)

We’ve also seen our fair share of relative busts. T-Pain was my worst, and others include Jamie Foxx (73 points on one single), Kelly Clarkson (5 points on one single), Alicia Keys (150 points on two singles–not terrible, but underwhelming for a first-round pick), and the consecutively-drafted Chamillionaire, Britney Spears, 2Pac and Dr. Dre, all of whom have yet to score a single point. Kanye West (79 points on one single) and Chris Brown (110 points on two singles) have also been underperformers thusfar, but with “Power” and “Deuces” still climbing the charts, and more singles presumably on the way, I don’t expect that to be the case much longer.

And of course, I would be remiss to not dedicate at least a little bit of time and space here to friend of the blog and PCFL team owner Victor, whose ill-conceived methods of preparation and general inattentiveness regarding current trends in pop music resulted in him fielding the pop music nerd equivalent to the ’09-’10 New Jersey Nets. We’ve all given him his fair share of crap for his unconscionably awful draft in real life, but it seems only right that it be properly documented on the internet as well. A stunning seven of Victor’s original twelve picks–Chamillionaire, Vampire Weekend, R. Kelly, Busta Rhymes, Toni Braxton, Wyclef Jean and Jason Mraz–have all put up a big fat zero in the scoring column so far this year. Victor’s actually done a fairly commendable job with mid-season pickups, thus saving his season from reaching its historic potential, but he’s still dead last in the league, over 500 points below his nearest competitor. Kudos once again, Big V.

Up next for the PCFL: The much-anticipated Winter Meetings, where we will discuss possible rule changes for the next year. Items on the docket will no doubt include fixing the waiver-wire process, changing the sizes of the rosters, eliminating retroactive scoring (meaning claimed artists can only score points for chart peaks they will reach, not ones they already have reached) and of course, figuring out what to do about Glee Cast. I’m excited.

In case you’re interested, here’s a list of the top 25 most valuable artists in the league so far this year. And if you live in the New York area, and you’re sufficiently nauseated by what is surely the smuggest article I’ve ever written for IITS…feel free to join up and teach me a thing or two next year:

1. Glee Cast (1465 Points, 39 Charting Singles)
2. Eminem (704.5 Points, 10 Charting Singles)
3. Rihanna (689 Points, 7 Charting Singles)
4. Usher (587 Points, 7 Charting Singles)
5. Justin Bieber (559 Points, 8 Charting Singles)
6. B.o.B. (503 Points, 5 Charting Singles)
7. Drake (492.5 Points, 9 Charting Singles)
8. Katy Perry (485 Points, 5 Charting Singles)
9. Ludacris (452 Points, 7 Charting Singles)
10. Ke$ha (394.5 Points, 5 Charting Singles)
11. Lady GaGa (361 Points, 3 Charting Singles)
12. Taio Cruz (355 Points, 3 Charting Singles)
13. Taylor Swift (350.5 Points, 4 Charting Singles)
14. David Guetta (348.5 Points, 5 Charting Singles)
15. Lady Antebellum (346 Points, 4 Charting Singles)
16. Black Eyed Peas (344 Points, 2 Charting Singles)
17. Lil’ Wayne (326 Points, 9 Charting Singles)
18. Nicki Minaj (316 Points, 10 Charting Singles)
19. Iyaz (306.5 Points, 5 Charting Singles)
20. Timbaland (282 Points, 3 Charting Singles)
21. T.I. (273 Points, 7 Charting Singles)
22. 3OH!3 (267 Points, 8 Charting Singles)
23. Trey Songz (247 Points, 4 Charting Singles)
24. Bruno Mars (245 Points, 3 Charting Singles)
25. Jay-Z (241 Points, 3 Charting Singles)

One Response to “New Sensation: Update on the Pop Chart Fantasy League”

  1. Collin said

    Holy shit Utz– Your team is the Miami Heat of the PCFL. Kudos.

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