Category Archives: Tips, Tactics & Tools

Fantasy NASCAR Alert: Jeff Gordon Hits Group C

Don't miss out on Jeff Gordon running in Yahoo's Group C on Sunday at Indy. (photo courtesy nascar)

Don’t miss out on Jeff Gordon running in Yahoo’s Group C on Sunday at Indy. (photo courtesy nascar)

If you play Yahoo’s fantasy NASCAR game, you’ll like this: Jeff Gordon now appears in Group C and will apparently be available when he drives the 88 car at Indianapolis this week and Pocono next week. Grab him while you can!

Note: If you don’t see him listed, make sure you have “Show Only Entered Drivers” un-checked.

Thanks to PJ at Fantasy NASCAR Preview for the tip.

Fantasy NASCAR 101: Handicapping Comes First

Fantasy racing trophies screenshot.

If you want to bring home a fantasy racing trophy, you must handicap, handicap, handicap.

Fantasy NASCAR success requires sound tactics and strategy regardless of the game, no doubt about it. But for each race, before you even think about saving starts, running off sequence, finding value, etc., you must know each driver’s predicted finish. If you don’t, you risk missing out on driver value. That may not kill you for a race or two, but consistently missing value over the course of a season will sink your ship.

So, either you must handicap the field each week, or you must rely on an outside handicapper. I certainly understand the allure of home-spun handicapping—I do it myself. Before you commit to that endeavor, however, know that successful handicapping takes a lot of time and significant knowledge and skills.

If you don’t want to commit to the weekly handicapping grind and/or question your handicapping skills, you have options. At the very least, you can check the betting lines at online sportsbooks such as Las Vegas Sports Betting or 5Dimes. I don’t know who’s creating those lines or how they’re doing it, but because they’re playing for money, I figure they’re motivated to do a decent job. And when I check sportsbook lines, they do generally seem to be in the ballpark. Bottom line: Sportsbook lines can give you a solid starting point each week. Oh, and they’re free.

Non-sportsbook handicappers can provide good driver rankings each week as well. I provide rankings for free, of course, as does TimersSports. If you don’t mind paying a little, you can also find weekly rankings by the guys at FantasyNASCARPreview.com, Cliff Dejong’s Accupredict at FantasyRacingCheatsheet.com, the guys at ifantasyrace.com and others.

Some handicappers are better than others, so you should probably spend some time figuring out who you prefer by comparing different driver rankings, evaluating their methods, etc.

Whichever way you go, consistently start each race week with a solid set of driver rankings, week in and week out. Because if you begin making moves without first handicapping the field, you’re throwing darts in the dark.

Fantasy NASCAR Alert: No Ryan Blaney at Daytona II

I play Yahoo’s fantasy NASCAR game, and earlier this week I was stoked to see Ryan Blaney listed on the Daytona II entry list. I rate Blaney relatively high at the plate races (so far), so he would’ve made an excellent start saver in Group C.

Alas, rain washed out qualifying yesterday, and that bumped Blaney out of the race because as a part-timer, he lacks owner points and race attempts. Which is how NASCAR sets the field when rain washes out qualifying.

Bottom line: If you’ve tabbed Blaney this week in your fantasy game(s), make sure you swap him out before the green flag waves.

Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR Alert: Atlanta, 2015

David Ragan will sub for Kyle Busch--run him while you can. (photo courtesy nascar)

David Ragan will sub for Kyle Busch–run him while you can. (photo courtesy nascar)

David Ragan will reportedly drive the 18 car for injured Kyle Busch at Atlanta this week, and for the foreseeable future while KyBu heals. If you play the Yahoo fantasy game, I recommend rostering Ragan in C group this week alongside Regan Smith (who pilots the 41 car for suspended Kurt Busch, also for the foreseeable future). Smith and Ragan are decent drivers at the Sprint Cup level, and now they’re in really good equipment—ride these horses while you have the chance.

Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR Alert: Bristol II, 2014

Jeff Burton will reportedly drive the 14 car for Tony Stewart at Bristol this week. If you play the Yahoo fantasy game, I recommend rostering Burton in C group this week. And barring some sort of craziness in practice and qualifying, you should probably start him, too, in order to save precious Kyle Larson and/or Austin Dillon starts. Unless you’re awash in Larson/Dillon starts, of course.

Reminder: Counting this week’s race, there are 12 non-plate/non-road course races left this season.

Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR Alert: Michigan I, 2014

I play Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR, and I just noticed that as of noon on Thursday (EST), only 9% of the game’s players have Juan Pablo Montoya on their C group roster. Which is insane! Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon are obviously the cream of C group this year, but of course we can run them only 18 times in 36 races. So, any time we get a chance to save a Larson/Dillon start with somebody decent, we gotta jump on it.

And Montoya is more than decent. Montoya is in a Penske car, and he likely won’t be testing because fellow Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are already locked into the Chase. Translation: He offers very strong C group value this week. In fact, I currently rank him above Larson and Dillon!

One more thing: Trevor Bayne runs in C group this week, too, yet only 12% have him on their roster. He’s not as strong as Montoya, but if we didn’t have Montoya this week, I’d likely save a Larson/Dillon start with Bayne.

2014 Sprint Cup Start & Park Tracker

This year I’m attempting to keep track of which cars do the start-and-park thing in Sprint Cup. I figure it might prove helpful to fantasy NASCAR players who need to use a bottom-shelf driver but want to ensure they don’t get shafted by a start-and-park. Plus, I think it might prove interesting in a morbid sort of way, which is why I’ve included the accumulated prize winnings.

Note: The following start-and-park info isn’t official. It’s my best guesses based on what I pick up each week during NASCAR telecasts and see in the official race-results document NASCAR posts following each race. If, for example, I see Morgan Shepard finished 43rd and lists “brakes” as the reason he quit after only 28 laps (see Phoenix I), I figure it’s safe to assume he was start-parking. But, such assumptions could be wrong! So, take this list with a grain of salt.

OK, here’s what I’ve got through the first Phoenix race:

Cars Drivers # of Start & Parks Accumulated Prize Winnings
87 Morgan Shepard 1 $48,000