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NASCAR Fantasy: Kenseth a value pick, Stewart not in higher price range

By admin | February 8, 2009

By Richard Allen


It’s less than a week from the time cars will roll off the line for the 2009 Daytona 500 which means it’s also time for NASCAR fantasy players to start thinking about their lineups.

As I stated in a previous column, I have created a fantasy league for the readers of at the ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge site(see below). Because of that, the advice I am offering in this column applies specifically to that particular game but can be considered for just about any type of league.

The ESPN game calls for players to choose five drivers while staying within a prescribed budget.

Many players have a tendency to go after the big name drivers first when they are choosing their lineups. And further, many allow their emotions to take control and go after their favorite drivers.

There is nothing wrong with loading a team up with favorites if your main objective is to have fun and root for your favorites. However, if your objective is to win then those emotions need to be left aside. If you want to win, the deciding factor for putting a driver on your team should not be whether your like him or not.

If it happens to be that the statistical information supports putting a favorite on your team, then by all means, go ahead.

Keep in mind the ESPN game allows for trading, as do many other fantasy games. With high priced drivers ,as well as all drivers, this can be taken advantage of, especially when going into a specialty situation like restrictor plate tracks.

The ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge provides a budget of $100 to be used in selecting five drivers. Simple math tells us that averages out to $20 per driver. There are currently 13 drivers valued at $20 or more. Players are limited in the number of super stars they can select.

Here are some suggestions in regard to high priced drivers that could make for good selections:

Matt Kenseth- He is priced at $20 which could make him a very good value. He was unable to win a race last year but his consistency still allowed him to make the Chase for the Championship. New crew chief Drew Blickensderfer could provide the impetus to put him back in the winner’s circle.

Jeff Burton- Like Kenseth, Burton is the type driver who will deliver consistency. Priced at $20.40 he offers a value even though he is priced over the $20 average. Unlike Kenseth, he was able to win last year on two occasions. If a fantasy player is looking to have two of the higher priced drivers on a team, Burton would be an excellent choice as the second driver.

Kyle Busch- The teams who dominated last year will dominate again this year. Busch’s Chase run was a disaster but the first 2/3 of his season were dominate. As the third highest priced driver in the ESPN game, he offers an advantage over the two(Johnson and Edwards) valued higher than his price. That is, he has shown the ability to win on every type of track.

Jimmie Johnson & Carl Edwards- These two drivers are the highest priced competitors in almost every league going. It is a good bet choosing either one will produce wins and points. The question with each one, as in any fantasy league for any sport, is whether or not the rest of the team will be hurt by spending so much money on one driver.

Here are some high priced drivers to be considered with a bit of caution:

Tony Stewart- He is one of the few drivers who can win on any type of track. His driving talent is certainly not in question. However, this is essentially a new team which sprang out of a team that was not particularly competitive last season. Even though his team is a satellite of the Hendrick organization, it is still not the Hendrick organization.

David Ragan- Priced at $21.60, it would seem as though he is a bit pricy for a driver who has never won a Sprint Cup race. He does drive for powerful Roush Fenway Racing and he does appear to be on his way to a breakout season. But, he is still too much of an unproven commodity at this price.

Jamie McMurray- He finished the 2008 season with three consecutive 3rd place finishes. However, like his teammate, Ragan, he has not shown himself to be worth the $21.20 asking price. He has been reunited with old crew chief Donnie Wingo, but he needs to prove he is worth his price tag.

These are only suggestions. Do your own research and join the league by following the instructions below to have some fun.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

* I have established a fantasy league for the readers of Go to the ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge site by clicking the link below. If you do not already have one, you will have to set up an ESPN username. Everything is completely free.

Follow these insrtuctions to join:

Click on the link below:

Establish an ESPN username if you do not already have one. Then, click on ‘join a league’ and enter the following information:

League name:

League password: fantasy2009

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