Fantasy NASCAR Preview #12: Aric Almirola

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ARIC ALMIROLA (STEWART-HAAS RACING) FORD

2019 DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 12TH   

2018 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 24TH      

 

2018 RECAP: Aric Almirola was the biggest surprise in Fantasy NASCAR in 2018. He took a car that Danica Patrick could not finish in the top 15 with and drove it all the way to a 5th-place finish in the point standings. To say 2018 was a career year for Almirola is an understatement. He won a race (Talladega), had a career-high four top-five finishes (Loudon, Richmond, Talladega and Phoenix), a career-high 17 finishes in the top 10 (47% of the races) and led a career-high 181 laps. Almirola really heated up in the playoffs. He finished the season with six consecutive finishes in the top 11. It will be interesting to see if he can improve upon his 2018 success. (Aric Almirola ranked 12th in fantasy points scored in 2018)

Year in Review: Aric Almirola Video

 

2019 Preview: Fantasy players will need to pay attention to how the Stewart-Haas Racing cars perform at Atlanta. This is the best track for the organization, but the team is switching to the new Ford Mustang chassis in 2019. If Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola fail to finish in the top 10 at Atlanta, the SHR cars may start off the season slow until they figure out the aero-dynamics of the new car. I doubt it will happen, but it is something to watch in 2019.

Everything outside the car will be the same for the No. 10 team. Why would you change anything when the team had so much success last year? Johnny Klausmeier will once again serve as the crew chief and Smithfield will be the primary sponsor (yum… bacon!!!). I expect Almirola to pick up where he left off the 2018 season. He will be one of the best picks at the Superspeedways and a very good pick at the flat tracks.

 

INTERMEDIATE TRACK VALUE

Aric Almirola was not the first driver fantasy players considered for their teams in 2018 at the intermediate tracks, but the people who figured out how good the No. 10 car was were rewarded. Almirola finished seven of the 11 races on the 1.5-mile tracks in the top 10. That is outstanding for a driver who was mid-tier priced in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Almirola will once again have value at these tracks in 2019. Kentucky, Michigan and Las Vegas are three of his best tracks. (Aric Almirola ranked 9th in fantasy points scored on the intermediate tracks in 2018)

 

SUPERSPEEDWAY TRACK VALUE

Aric Almirola must be on all fantasy teams at Talladega and he can be considered for Daytona as well. Almirola is the safest pick in the field at Talladega. He has finished his last five races at the track in the top eight, including a trip to Victory Lane last October. He does have a win at Daytona on his resume but the results at the track are good but not great. Last year he finished 11th and 27th in the two races at Daytona. I would wait to see how Almirola performs in the Advanced Auto Parts Clash race, the Cam-Am Duel Races and where he qualifies before selecting him for the Daytona 500.  (Aric Almirola ranked 3rd in fantasy points scored on the Superspeedways in 2018)

 

FLAT TRACK VALUE

Aric Almirola had a lot of success at the flat tracks (Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and Loudon) in 2018 and he should have some success this season. Almirola finished 4th and 7th in the two races at Phoenix, 5th at Richmond and 3rd at Loudon. Martinsville was the only flat track he failed to finish in the top 10 on. Almirola will be one of the best picks for the Driver Group Game at Phoenix. He will also have value in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) if his price is right. I would also take a chance with him at Richmond and Loudon. I cannot recommend Almirola for Martinsville until he has better results at the track. (Aric Almirola ranked 8th in fantasy points scored on the flat tracks in 2018)

 

STEEP TRACK VALUE

Aric Almirola was only able to finish one of the five races on the steep tracks (Bristol, Dover and Darlington) in the top 10 last year. He finished 6th and 31st at Bristol, 14th and 20th at Dover and 14th at Darlington. Almrila is a lot better fantasy pick at the flat tracks then he is at the steep tracks. I would use other drivers in your fantasy lineups at these three tracks in 2019. (Aric Almirola ranked 14th in fantasy points scored on the steep tracks in 2018)

 

ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE

There is something special about the Stewart-Haas Racing cars at Sonoma. No matter who they put into the car, they seem to finish in the top 10. Almrola entered the 2018 with a 23.3 average finishing position at Sonoma. He climbed into his Stewart-Haas Racing car for the first time at the track and finished 8th. Almirola did not have the same success at Watkins Glen (finished 22nd) or the Charlotte Roval (finished 19th). Almirola will be a good sleeper pick at Sonoma but I would avoid him at Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. (Aric Almirla ranked 15th in fantasy points scored on the road courses in 2018)

 

Best Tracks to for Aric Almirola: 1) Talladega, 2) Kentucky, 3) Phoenix, 4) Michigan, 5) Atlanta

 

 

*Stats from FantasyRacingCheatSheet.com,  Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

* Team Information from Jaysky.com

 

If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR

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