DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 13th
AUSTIN DILLON (RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING) CHEVY
2016 FANTASY LIVE POINTS: 1,005 (RANKED 18TH)
2016 YAHOO POINTS: 2,261 (RANKED 14TH)
The 2017 NASCAR season is right around the corner. In order to get fantasy teams ready for the new season I decided to recap the 2016 season for my top 30 drivers and preview how I think they will perform this year. Each day I will post two driver previews until my No. 1 fantasy driver is revealed. I will continue my rankings with Austin Dillon.
2016 RECAP: Austin Dillon had the best season of his three-year career in the Sprint Cup Series. Dillon had four finishes in the top five (Las Vegas, Martinsville, Talladega and Bristol), 13 finishes in the top 10 and finished 14th in the Point Standings. He only led 17 and won two poles. The No. 3 team will have a lot to build upon after a solid run in 2016.
Dillon got off to a hot start last year. He finished five of the first six races in the top 11. It looked like he was on track to win his first race in the Sprint Cup Series. He cooled off as the track started to heat up, but he did finish the season with some good runs in the Chase.
The strength for Dillon was the Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) and the steep ovals (Bristol and Dover). Dillon scored the eighth-most points (166 points) in Fantasy Live at the Superspeedways. His average finishing position at these tracks was a series-best 3.9. Dillon finished fourth in the Bristol Night Race and eighth in the second race at Dover. These tracks, along with Indianapolis have proven to be his best track.
Dillon was much better in Yahoo Fantasy than he was in Fantasy Live in 2016. Dillon was a Group B who could score well if he was used at the right tracks. Fantasy teams who used Dillon early and late in the season reaped the most rewards from the No. 3 car. Dillon did not lead enough laps to be fantasy relevant in Fantasy Live. He was often overpriced and there were better options in his price-range (Kyle Larson).
2017 PREVIEW: Everything will be the same for the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevy. Slugger Labbe will once again serve as the crew chief for the team. Labbe and Dillon seemed to be a good match last year and I would expect them to run even better in 2017. Fantasy teams can expect Dillon to be the leader at RCR in 2017. I predict Dillon will make the Chase and win her first race in the Sprint Cup Series.
Dillon is a good fantasy option if you know what tracks to use him at. Just like the former driver of the No. 3 car, Dillon is very good on the Superspeedways. His best track is Bristol. Fantasy teams need to make sure he is on all teams whenever the series travels to Thunder Valley.
Yahoo Fantasy placed Dillon in Group B. He will be one of the more popular drivers in the group because he is good on most of the oval tracks. He is getting to be so good at tracks like Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Michigan, Charlotte, Kentucky and Bristol that it may be too risky to use an allocation with him at the Superspeedways. Just make sure you avoid him on the road courses, Richmond and Martinsville. He is not very good at these tracks.
I doubt Dillon will have much value in Fantasy Live this season. I do think he will improve, but not enough to lead laps. It is hard to score many points in Fantasy Live unless you have the drivers that lead laps and score bonus points for position differential. Dillon usually qualifies well and finishes in the top 15, so he will not score enough bonus points to be fantasy relevant in Fantasy Live.
BEST TRACKS LAST 3 YEARS: DAYTONA (8.5 AVG Finish), LAS VEGAS (13.6 AVG Finish), NEW HAMPSHIRE (14.0 AVG Finish), INDIANAPOLIS (14.6 AVG Finish), TALLADEGA (14.8 AVG Finish)
*Stats from Driveraverages.com, Racing-Reference.Info and NASCAR Media
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