Early in the season, it was apparent that Stewart-Haas Racing was going to be one of the strongest organizations. Kevin Harvick garnered everyone’s attention with several victories in the first third of the season, but Clint Bowyer’s success in the first nine weeks was probably more meaningful to fantasy owners.
It had been quite some time since Bowyer was fantasy relevant on a weekly basis, but he came out of the gates strong with seven top-15s before May. His victory at Martinsville Speedway snapped a 191-race winless streak and put him on the radar. While he was not able to live up to that potential, his value became apparent and Bowyer helped players win several contests.
Bowyer won again in June. His Michigan International Speedway victory came in a weather-shortened race, but it was meaningful nonetheless. On a track that was getting slicker by the minute because of rain, Bowyer held off teammate Harvick on old tires until the checkers waved. Rest assure, Harvick did not lay over and allow Bowyer to win and if one needs proof, roll back the tape to Chicagoland Speedway when Harvick raced Kurt Busch hard for the Stage 2 victory.
At the halfway mark, things changed for Bowyer, however. To that point in the season, he had earned 10 top-10s. A pair of accidents at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400 started a downhill slide for the Kansas native. He would not return to the top 10 until late summer with a sixth at Bristol – and after that, he recorded back-to-back top-10s only once more before the season was concluded.
In the second half of the year, Bowyer got only six more top-10s. His production of top-15s also fell off substantially.
He went deep into the playoffs largely by consistency. Back-to-back accidents at Texas Motor Speedway and Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway eliminated him from championship contention, but fantasy owners had turned on him before then.
Bowyer’s best value to fantasy owners might well be on road courses. Despite winning at Sonoma Raceway, he often gets overlooked on the twisty tracks. Bowyer advanced to the third round in no small part because of a third-place finish on the Charlotte Roval.
One difficulty in starting Bowyer is that he has a tendency to get behind on adjustments in the middle of races.
Three Best Tracks
Sonoma (10.1 in 13 attempts)
Richmond (13.0 in 26)
Dover (13.3 in 26)
Three Worst Tracks
Darlington (22.8 in 13)
Atlanta (20.4 in 18)
Phoenix (19.0 in 27)
Victories:  Martinsville I and Michigan I
Top-fives: 9 (.250)
Top-10s: 16 (.444)
Top-15s: 25 (.694)
2018 Finishes at or above their rank? = 20 (44.4%)