ERIK JONES (JOE GIBBS RACING) TOYOTA
2018 DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 10TH
2017 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 13TH
2017 RECAP: How good is Erik Jones going to be in his career? If his rookie season was an indication of what we will see in the future, Jones will be a great fantasy pick for a long time. Jones had 14 finishes in the top 10 and five finishes in the top five (Pocono, Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and Phoenix). Jones ranked 13th in fantasy value and he just missed out at making the playoffs. Jones was at his best at the Flat tracks and Steep tracks in 2017. I expect the same in 2018.
2018 Preview: Erik Jones will leave Furniture Row Racing and drive the No. 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018. Jones was essentially a teammate of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in 2017 so the switch to a new organization should not have an impact on his fantasy value in 2018. Jones will bring Chris Gayle with him from Furniture Row Racing to crew chief the No. 20 car. The two have a lot of experience together so I expect Jones to be a top 10 fantasy choice for your team this season.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK VALUE
Erik Jones ran well on the Intermediate tracks (1.5-mile and 2-mile ovals) in 2017 but he will have to make improvements at these tracks if he wants to be an elite driver in the sport. He only finished four of the 14 races in the top 10. His average finishing position at these tracks was 16.4. Jones should improve in his second year at these tracks. Make sure he is on your team when the series visits his home track in Michigan.
SUPERSPEEDWAY TRACK VALUE
Erik Jones did not have a lot of success on the Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) in 2017. He finished outside the top 30 in both races at Talladega and he had a 24th place average finishing position at Daytona. Jones ranked 27th in fantasy value at these tracks last year. There are better races to use Jones at.
FLAT TRACK VALUE
Erik Jones had some success at the Flat tracks (Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and Loudon) in 2017. Jones ranked 15th in fantasy value at these tracks last year. He finished four of the eight races in the top 10, including both races at Phoenix. I expect Jones to run well at Phoenix again this season and he can be considered at Richmond as well. There are better choices for your team at Martinsville and Loudon.
STEEP TRACK VALUE
Erik Jones was at his best on the Steep tracks (Bristol, Dover and Darlington). Jones ranked 6th in fantasy value at these tracks last year. Bristol and Darlington rank as his two best tracks. I predict he will win his first race at Bristol this spring. He is that good in Thunder Valley. Jones finished 12th and 15th in the two races at Dover so his success at Bristol has not translated into the same success at the Monster Mile.
ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE
Erik Jones ran well at Watkins Glen and was horrible at Sonoma. That is not surprising because Sonoma is more of a technical race track. Jones qualified 6th and finished 10th at Watkins Glen. He can be used at Watkins Glen but I would fade him at Sonoma. He will have a good future on the Road Courses soon but I do not believe it will be in 2018.
Best Tracks to for Erik Jones: 1) Bristol, 2) Darlington, 3) Michigan, 4) Pocono, 5) Kentucky
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