Falreon's uselessness really is exaggerated. 95 Special Attack isn't bad at all, and it has surprisingly good Special Defense. Unfortunately, the poor guy has still built up a big hateful bandwagon that even Chuggaaconroy jumped on. I've used Flareon in multiple playthroughs and it served me well.
I'm not sure about competitive battling, but I don't care. It's run by obnoxious Nazis that won't tolerate you if you don't play the game the way they do. I hate using the same boring strong Pokémon everyone uses.