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William Byron
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Power Rankings

2019 Season Ending Power Rankings 11-20

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: November 22, 2019, 5:45 pm ET

It is not enough to identify the top-performing drivers each week. Fantasy rosters are made up of mid-cap performers and bargains. Earlier this week, we profiled the drivers with the 10-highest Fantasy Power Rankings numbers. This week, we will look at the next group of 10.

The Fantasy Power Rankings looks at not only how a driver finished in a race, but how he got there. Throughout the season, we ran a script from a database of more than 650,000 records that showed how strong drivers were for the previous 45 days; the 45-day period was chosen in an effort to get rid of peaks and valleys. Now that the season is over, we will look at the year-long numbers that includes a driver’s ultimate finish, how he performed in the stages of the race, his Average Running Position, Driver Rating, and Laps in the Top 15. The lower the number below, the better the performance.

Several of the drivers from 11th through 20th had appearances on the weekly Power Ranking. By watching this list throughout the season, informed players were able to find bargains that others might miss; by noting when they fell from the list, it was apparent when to get off the bandwagon and look for the next bargain.


11. William Byron
Weeks in the top 10: 21
FPR#: 11.31

One never really knows what to expect from sophomores, but the consensus is they will typically hit a slump during the season. That never really happened with Byron. He started the year with a pole at in the Daytona 500 and slipped to 21st at the checkers. He finished 24th at Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway and had a 22nd at Martinsville Speedway, but those are fairly typical results for second-year drivers. Byron’s other three efforts were 17th or better. After he scored his first top-10 of 2019 in March at Texas Motor Speedway, he consistently improved and was part of the Fantasy Power Rankings Top 10 in more than half the weeks.

12. Clint Bowyer
Weeks in the top 10: 12
FPR#: 11.32

Bowyer ended the season on a strong note with 10 top-10s and 12 top-15s in the last 18 races of the year. He was forced to make a concerted effort in the final regular season races in order to qualify for the playoffs – and with finishes of seventh or better at Bristol Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he did just that. While Bowyer made the playoffs, he did not have any bonus points to help get to the Round of 12. Still, during the final 10 races he never went more than two straight races without a result of at least 11th.

13. Aric Almirola
Weeks in the top 10: 14
FPR#: 11.85

Almirola got off to a great start in 2019. He was unable to avoid an accident in the closing laps of the Daytona 500, but he ran well until Lap 190. His next six attempts all netted top-10 finishes, including a fourth at ISM Raceway. Another crash at Bristol in the spring altered his trajectory and from that points on he was not able to earn back-to-back top-10s for the remainder of the season. During the summer, he came close on several occasions. He barely made the playoffs and was quickly eliminated, but he scored two more top-fives at the end of the year: a fourth at Talladega Superspeedway and a second at Texas.

14. Alex Bowman
Weeks in the top 10: 10
FPR#: 12.67

Bowman finished just outside 10th twice, but he failed to earn a top-10 until the spring Talladega race when he was second behind teammate Chase Elliott. That was the break he was looking for and Bowman finished in the runner-up position twice more in the next two races at Dover International Speedway and Kansas Speedway. It seemed like a win was imminent and it finally came five weeks later at Chicagoland Speedway on the heels of consecutive top-15s. After that, Bowman lost his consistency, but he was able to score three more top-fives during the playoffs. If fantasy players caught him on the right weekend, he was a solid value.

15. Erik Jones
Weeks in the top 10: 10
FPR#: 13.25

For a while, it appeared Jones would be a factor in the playoffs. From the May Dover race through the Southern 500 in September, he finished in the top 10 in 10 of 15 races. Five of these were results of second or third, leaving fantasy players to wonder when he would win. That was answered on the toughest track NASCAR visits with his Darlington win that locked him into the playoffs. Along the way he also had some abysmal runs, however, and Jones finished outside the top 25 nine times – including some critical incidents during the playoffs that eliminated him early.

16. Daniel Suarez
Weeks in the top 10: 4
FPR#: 13.69

Suarez could never find his rhythm in 2019. While all of the Stewart-Haas Racing contingent struggled at times – with the possible exception of Kevin Harvick – as the newest and possibly lowliest of the group Suarez was only able to string two or more top-10s together three times during the year. His high point came early in the year with consecutive top-10s at Martinsville, Texas, and Bristol – but it was apparent he was racing with a lot of pressure on his shoulders for most of the season.

17. Jimmie Johnson
Weeks in the top 10: 2
FPR#: 13.96

The past two seasons have been frustrating for Johnson. He was one of the most-feared drivers on the circuit with a top-10 in every seventh start until June 2017 – and then everything started to fade. The team tried swapping crew chiefs in 2019 in the hopes that new chemistry would provide different results. This year Johnson was able to score only three top-fives; all of them came in the first half of the season.

18. Ryan Newman
Weeks in the top 10: 0
FPR#: 16.17

Whether a driver is a good or bad value is often a matter of perspective. Johnson’s ranking of 17th is a disappointment, but Newman’s 18th showed some promise. Roush Fenway Racing has been on a downward slide for a little while. They tried to arrest the skid by bringing Matt Kenseth out of retirement in 2018, but the results were still modest. Once they signed Newman, there was no question of whether the driver was getting everything out of the car it would give and his 14 top-10s for the season predicts even better results next year.

19. Paul Menard
Weeks in the top 10: 0
FPR#: 16.88

One of the problems with affiliate teams is that one never knows what to expect. The Wood Brothers should have had greater resources than many of the other teams at their level and in 2017 Ryan Blaney showed a lot of promise. Once he moved to Team Penske and Menard climbed behind the wheel of this car, the results waned and in 2019 they scored only four top-10s. It will take several races before we know if Matt DiBenedetto can get more out of this Ford next year.

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Weeks in the top 10: 3
FPR#: 17.36

One of the reasons we track strength-based stats like Average Running Position, Laps in the Top 15, and Driver Rating is because raw results can be misleading. There were several times in 2019 that Stenhouse had a good run going only to be sidelined by an accident. That is the result of trying desperately to keep a job that is slipping away, but even though the results didn’t show as much, Stenhouse had a better showing overall in 2019 than Chris Buescher who will replace him in the No. 17. Change is often good for everyone involved and both Stenhouse and Buescher should improve in 2020.

 

Rank

Driver

2019 Power
Average

Final 45
Days

Weeks in
Top-10

1.

Kyle Busch

6.82

1

32

2.

Kevin Harvick

6.83

2

36

3.

Joey Logano

7.69

6

34

4.

Martin Truex Jr.

8.24

4

33

5.

Denny Hamlin

8.40

3

29

6.

Ryan Blaney

9.27

5

28

7.

Brad Keselowski

9.71

12

28

8.

Kurt Busch

10.60

11

17

9.

Chase Elliott

10.63

21

23

10.

Kyle Larson

10.68

7

22

 

 

 

11.

William Byron

11.31

9

21

12.

Clint Bowyer

11.32

8

12

13.

Aric Almirola

11.85

13

14

14.

Alex Bowman

12.67

15

10

15.

Erik Jones

13.25

10

10

16.

Daniel Suarez

13.69

14

4

17.

Jimmie Johnson

13.96

17

2

18.

Ryan Newman

16.17

20

 

19.

Paul Menard

16.88

19

 

20.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17.36

23

3

 

 

 

21.

Austin Dillon

17.43

18

 

22.

Chris Buescher

18.13

22

 

23.

Matt DiBenedetto

18.18

16

2

24.

Daniel Hemric

21.28

24

 

25.

Ty Dillon

23.51

26

 

26.

Michael McDowell

24.97

30

 

27.

Ryan Preece

24.99

25

 

28.

Bubba Wallace

25.19

29

 

29.

David Ragan

26.22

33

 

30.

Matt Tifft

28.82

27

 

 

Power Rankings: 1-10

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.