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Joey Logano
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Fantasy Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Daytona 1

by Dan Beaver

That’s Daytona.

Unless a new rules package scheduled to debut at Talladega Superspeedway this spring eliminates massive drafting packs, the type of 'Big One' crashes that marred the Daytona 500 will continue to play havoc with fantasy players’ lineups on NASCAR’s superspeedways.

It’s impossible to predict who will survive a race like the Daytona 500 and who won’t. To a lesser degree, the same is often true on other courses. Engine failures, mistakes in the pits, penalties, and just plain bad luck can cause a driver to finish worse than he ran and impact his final result. Finishing position might pay the majority of points, but it is not always the most accurate reflection of a driver’s strength in the upcoming weeks.


The Fantasy Power Rankings analyzes several key components including a driver’s Average Running Position, Driver Rating, Laps in the Top 15, and Running Order at the end of Segments, and the Fantasy Points earned in major games. The driver who finishes best in each of those categories is ranked #1. Average everything together and that gives us the Fantasy Power Rankings.

Once we get a little deeper in the season, we will look back at only the last 60 days to find the drivers with the most current momentum.

1. Joey Logano
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 4.38

Logano was a little annoyed with Michael McDowell at the end of the Daytona 500. One reason for that was because he had one of the two best cars all weekend and was one of only eight drivers who stayed completely out of trouble. He could not find enough energy in the draft to push past the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas and still has to wait for at least another week to lock into the playoffs.

2. Kyle Busch
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 5.57

A 14th-place finish in the Clash and 18th in his Duel hurt Busch’s numbers last week, but that was his only weakness. He finished second in the Daytona 500 and then was either first or second in every other category tracked for the Fantasy Power Rankings. That is a far cry from how he started last season with an early wreck in the big show.

3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 6.33

Stenhouse had a great weekend going until he tried to squeeze into a hole that did not exist. The only reason he did not trigger a bigger crash and finish below 13th was because Paul Menard had already thinned the field a few laps earlier with a 20-car pileup of his own.

4. William Byron
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 7.50

It’s too soon to know if Byron will continue to be a front runner with the addition of Chad Knaus as his crew chief. He probably will not be able to stay in the top 10 for very long, but he is virtually guaranteed to stay above 22nd, which was his preseason number based on last year’s performance.

5. Kevin Harvick
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 8.13

There is a reason we track strength-based statistics to go along with a driver’s finishing position. Harvick had a strong run going before he was eliminated by an accident and credited with 26th. He posted the third-best Average Running Position, fifth-best Driver Rating, and spent the second-most laps inside the top 15. He simply could not completely escape the carnage that defines Daytona.

6. Alex Bowman
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 8.29

It is always difficult to make any sweeping judgements based on Daytona. That race is so dissimilar to anything else faced (other than the next race on this track or at Talladega), but drivers can get confidence from that run to last for several weeks. The new rules package could level the playing field between Chevrolet and Fords – and if that happens, Hendrick Motorsports should be resurgent.

7. Matt DiBenedetto
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 8.67

DiBenedetto picked up where Kasey Kahne and McDowell left off during the past two seasons. The No. 95 Leavine Family Toyota is on the verge of breaking out like Furniture Row did a few seasons ago. We are not suggesting the DiBenedetto is going to be as strong as Martin Truex Jr., but he could easily contend for top-10s in at least one-third of the races this year.

8. Denny Hamlin
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 8.71

Winning the Daytona 500 is often a double-edged sword.  Secure in the knowledge they will make the playoffs, the team often gambles for much of the remainder of the season and can lose focus. One thing that may keep that from happening this week is that Hamlin went a long time between wins and was completely shut out of Victory Lane last year, so he is hungry to stay with the leaders.

9. Chase Elliott
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 9.28

Elliott has suffered crash damage in all but one of his Daytona attempts, so no one was surprised to see his Chevrolet being pushed behind the wall last week. At least he survived long enough to land in the Fantasy Power Rankings top 10. He earned points in Segment 1, had the ninth-most laps inside the top 15 and finished in the top 10 in both the Clash and the Duel.

10. Erik Jones
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 10.14

Jones was battered about several times in last week’s Daytona 500 and yet somehow survived to finish third. Last year he was one of the strongest drivers most weeks, but he suffered through inconsistency that limited his value to fantasy players. Sometime surviving things like the Daytona carnage galvanizes a driver and team and Jones could benefit from a boost in confidence. 

 

This Week

Driver

Power Avg.

1.

Joey Logano

4.38

2.

Kyle Busch

5.57

3.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

6.33

4.

William Byron

7.50

5.

Kevin Harvick

8.13

6.

Alex Bowman

8.29

7.

Matt DiBenedetto

8.67

8.

Denny Hamlin

8.71

9.

Chase Elliott

9.28

10.

Erik Jones

10.14

 

11.

Ryan Blaney

10.38

12.

Jimmie Johnson

10.39

13.

Aric Almirola

10.43

14.

Clint Bowyer

11.17

15.

Daniel Suarez

13.63

16.

Kyle Larson

14.29

17.

Brad Keselowski

14.57

18.

Michael McDowell

15.20

19.

Ryan Newman

15.33

20.

Ryan Preece

16.80

20.

Ty Dillon

16.80

22.

Paul Menard

16.83

23.

Jamie McMurray

18.00

24.

Austin Dillon

19.50

25.

Kurt Busch

19.67

26.

David Ragan

22.00

27.

Martin Truex Jr.

22.83

28.

Parker Kligerman

23.00

29.

Tyler Reddick

24.40

30.

Ross Chastain

25.20

31.

Daniel Hemric

25.80

32.

Landon Cassill

26.40

33.

Brendan Gaughan

26.60

34.

Chris Buescher

27.00

34.

Bubba Wallace

27.00

36.

Corey LaJoie

28.50

37.

BJ McLeod

28.75

38.

Matt Tifft

30.00

39.

Casey Mears

33.00

40.

Cody Ware

34.50

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.