DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 20th
AJ ALLMENDINGER (JTG DAUGHERTY RACING) CHEVY
2016 FANTASY LIVE POINTS: 1017 (RANKED 17TH)
2016 YAHOO POINTS: 2,086 (RANKED 18TH)
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 a lot of talent, AJ Allmendinger.
2016 RECAP: AJ Allmendinger has long been considered a fantasy stud at the road courses. He should also be considered at other tracks as well. Allmendinger had two finishes in the top five (Martinsville and Watkins Glen) and nine finishes in the top 10. He finished 19th in the Point Standings.
Allmendinger scored the eighth-most points in Fantasy Live on the road courses. He was also a good pick for the large oval tracks. Allmendinger finished 8th at Auto Club, 8th in both races at Kansas, 15th at Michigan and 8th at Homestead. It was one of Allmendinger’s best seasons on the 1.5-mile and 2-mile ovals since he left Team Penske.
It was surprising to see that Allmendinger had a lot of value in the Yahoo Fantasy game in 2016. Allmendinger was one of the most popular picks on the road courses, but fantasy teams who used him at Martinsville were rewarded as well. Any tracks that requires out-braking the competitors makes Allmendinger a good choice at. He was also a good driver to use on the Superspeedways to save allocations with the more popular drivers in the sport.
2017 PREVIEW: Everything will be the same with the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team in 2017. Randall Burnett will serve as the crew chief, Kroger will be the primary sponsor and the team will have an affiliation with Richard Childress Racing.
JTG Daugherty Racing decided to add a second car in 2017. Chris Buescher will be Allmendinger’s new teammate. While expanding to two teams puts stress on a small organization like JTG Daugherty Racing, I think the addition will help the No. 47 team more than it hurts it. Allmendinger ran well in the 2nd-half of the season and more information should only make him better.
One thing I hate about Fantasy Live is the drivers priced between $15 and $22. I like to build my team using three studs and two cheap picks. Drivers in the $15 – $22 price range are too expensive to be considered “cheap drivers” so to me they are unusable. This is the category that Allmendinger is usually placed into. Although he has good stats on the 1.5-mile and 2-mile tracks, I would only suggest using Allmendinger at the road courses. If for some reason his price falls below $15 he will be a great fantasy option, but I doubt that will happen.
Allmendinger was placed into Group B of Yahoo Fantasy. Fantasy players should be able to get at least four starts out of the No. 47 car in 2017. Allmendinger must be used at the two road courses (Sonoma and Watkins Glen). He is also a great pick at the two races at Martinsville. Allmendinger is not known for being a great Superspeedway track racer, but last year he had an average finishing position of 14.5 at Daytona and Talladega so it may be wise to use an allocation with Allmendinger at these tracks.
Allmendinger has a lot of talent. I wish he could land a spot at one of the top teams. He will be one of my #1 sleeper picks in 2017.
BEST TRACKS LAST 3 YEARS: WATKINS GLEN (9.6 AVG Finish), LAS VEGAS (12.6 AVG Finish), MARTINSVILLE (14.3 AVG Finish), TALLADEGA (17.5 AVG Finish), SONOMA (Has had bad luck recently)
*Stats from Driveraverages.com, Racing-Reference.Info and NASCAR Media