PAUL MENARD (WOOD BROTHERS RACING) FORD
2018 DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 22ND
2017 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 23RD
2017 RECAP: Paul Menard has competed in 399 MENCS races and he only has one win. Last year was nothing new with Menard. He finished outside the top 20 in the point standings and was only able to finish three races in the top 10 (The two races at Daytona and the race at Talladega). Menard only led 5 laps and his average running position for the season was 22.2. It was not a good season for Menard at Richard Childress Racing.
2018 Preview: It was not a surprise to see that Paul Menard will not be back at Richard Childress Racing. It was surprising to see him secure a seat in the No. 21 car with the Wood Brothers. It will be a make or break season for Menard in 2018. He has not had much success in the MENCS and he cannot blame the car this year. Ryan Blaney was able to run consistently in the top 10 in the No. 21 car. Can Menard do the same? I doubt it.
Menard is still a very good driver on the Superspeedways but he must improve on the Intermediate tracks if he is going to have any fantasy value. I do not plan on using him early in the season (other than Daytona) because I want to take the “wait and see” approach with him. If Menard can put together back-to-back top 10 finishes, I will consider him for my fantasy teams.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK VALUE
Running well on the Intermediate tracks (1.5-mile and 2-mile ovals) is what separates the good drivers from the great drivers. Menard has not been able to run in the top 10 at these tracks. Menard ranked 24th in fantasy value on the Intermediate tracks in 2017. He will have a car fast enough to win poles and run in the top 10 this season. Does he have the skills behind the wheel to get the job done? I will wait until Charlotte before I decide to use Menard at an Intermediate track.
SUPERSPEEDWAY TRACK VALUE
If fantasy teams want to use Menard early in the season I recommend they use him on the Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega). Menard finished all four races at these tracks in the top 12 last year. He ranked 13th in fantasy value on the Superspeedways. I expect even better results from Menard now that he has Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney to work with. I would not be surprised if he finished in the top five in the Daytona 500.
FLAT TRACK VALUE
Paul Menard ran most of the races on the flat tracks (Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and Loudon) between 18th and 22nd place last year. He ranked 25th in fantasy value at these tracks. I do not expect a significant improvement from him in 2018. I plan to see how he runs at Phoenix, Richmond and Martinsville early in the season. If he runs well I will use him at the tracks when the series comes back for their second races.
STEEP TRACK VALUE
Paul Menard is only average on the Steep tracks (Bristol, Dover and Darlington). Menard ranked 23rd in fantasy value at these tracks in 2017. He finished both races at Bristol in 16th place. He really struggled at Dover. He finished 33rd in the spring and 26th in the fall. He does have back-to-back 16th-place finishes at Darlington. Menard can be considered for your fantasy team at Bristol and Darlington if his price is cheap in salary cap games.
ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE
Paul Meanrd is a good sleeper pick at the road courses (Sonoma and Watkins Glen) and the switch to Wood Brothers Racing should make him even better. Menard ranked 14th in fantasy value on the road courses in 2017. His average finishing position in the last four races at Sonoma is 11.2. Menard can be considered for your fantasy team at Sonoma and the roval course at Charlotte. He has only been an average driver at Watkins Glen.
Best Tracks to for Paul Menard: 1) Talladega, 2) Sonoma, 3) Indianapolis, 4) Las Vegas, 5) Auto Club
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