DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 17th
JAMIE MCMURRAY (CHIP GANASSI RACING) CHEVY
2016 FANTASY LIVE POINTS: 1059.5 (RANKED 15TH)
2016 YAHOO POINTS: 2,169 (RANKED 17TH)
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 a driver who has looked great at times and looked mediocre in other races, Jamie McMurray.
2016 RECAP: For the second straight season Jamie McMurray finished 13th in the Point Standings. He usually does just enough to get into the Chase on points but has a hard time making it pass the first round. The main reason for this is that McMurray does not finish in the top five enough (he had two top five finishes in 2016 Talladega and homestead) and he does not lead laps (McMurray did not lead any laps in 2016).
McMurray is much like Ryan Newman in fantasy NASCAR… He will finish high enough each week to keep your team competitive, but he will not win any races and give your team a chance to finish at the top of your league standings. McMurray had an average starting position of 16.6 and an average finishing position of 13th.
McMurray had more value in Yahoo Fantasy than he did in Fantasy Live. The reason for this is that Yahoo Fantasy does not award a driver for position differential or laps led. McMurray could start 8th and finish 14th and still score well in Yahoo Fantasy. That would not be a good result in Fantasy Live.
McMurray was at his best on the large ovals in 2016. He scored the 13th-most points (465.5 points) on these tracks in Fantasy Live. He had six finishes in the top 10 on these tracks (Auto Club, Michigan (Twice), Kentucky, Charlotte and Homestead).
McMurray was also good on the road courses. He scored the 11th most points (69 points) in Fantasy Live on these tracks. He finished 17th at Sonoma and 8th at Watkins Glen.
2017 PREVIEW: There were no major changes to the No. 1 team following the 2016 season. Matt McCall will once again be the crew chief and McDonalds will be the primary sponsor. Chip Ganassi Racing will build their own chassis and have engines supplied from Hendrick Motorsports. I do think the subtraction of Stewart-Haas Racing from team Chevy could move Chip Ganassi Racing up the pecking order with Hendrick Motorsports. I expect Chip Ganassi Racing and Hendrick Motorsports to have a closer relationship in 2017 and share more information. This can only help McMurray in 2017.
McMurray will be a good pick at the 1.5-mile tracks, Michigan and Sonoma. He was placed into Group B of Yahoo Fantasy so he will have limited value in 2017. The best way to use McMurray in Yahoo Fantasy is to select him as your fourth Group B driver on the 1.5-mile tracks and have him on standby in case one of your stud drivers in your qualifies poorly or perform looks slow in practice. Fantasy teams should have no problem getting 4-6 allocations from McMurray since he is useable at the Superspeedways, road courses and the large ovals.
McMurray does not have as much value in Fantasy Live. Drivers in Fantasy Live need to lead laps in order to be fantasy relevant. McMurray has only led 14 laps in the last 72 races.
BEST TRACKS LAST 3 YEARS: HOMESTEAD (7.6 AVG Finish), RICHMOND (9.5 AVG Finish), SONOMA (10.6 AVG Finish), MICHIGAN (11.0 AVG Finish), CHARLOTTE (11.3 AVG Finish), PHOENIX (11.3 AVG Finish)
*Stats from Driveraverages.com, Racing-Reference.Info and NASCAR Media