DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 22nd
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. (ROUSH FENWAY RACING) FORD
2016 FANTASY LIVE POINTS: 809 (RANKED 26TH)
2016 YAHOO POINTS: 1,917 (RANKED 20TH)
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, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2016 RECAP: It is hard to believe that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just completed his fourth full season in the Sprint Cup Series. It seems like yesterday he was winning back-to-back championships in the Xfinity Series. So far Stenhouse has not lived up to the hype he brought with him into the Cup Series, but he is getting better.
Stenhouse had a good (not great) season in 2016. He had four finishes in the top five (Auto Club, Daytona, Bristol and Talladega) and six finishes in the top 10 (Atlanta, Auto Club, Daytona, New Hampshire, Bristol and Talladega).
Stenhouse was at his best at the steep oval tracks in 2016. He finished 16th and a career-best 2nd at Bristol and 14th and 11th at Dover. As good as he was at these tracks; he was one of the worst drivers on the road courses (32nd Avg. Finishing Position).
2017 PREVIEW: The only change with the No. 17 team this season is the addition of Brian Pattie as the crew chief. Pattie served as the crew chief for Greg Biffle in the No. 16 car last year. Fastenal will once again be the primary sponsor for the car.
Stenhouse can be a useful driver for your fantasy team if you use him at the right tracks. He should be on every team (Fantasy Live, Yahoo Fantasy and DraftKings) at Bristol. For some reason he knows how to get around this track better than most of the other drivers. If Stenhouse is going to win his first race at the Sprint Cup level it should happen at Bristol. He is also a good pick on the Superspeedways.
The price for Stenhouse really dropped last year in Fantasy Live. He cost around $18 for most of the year but fell to around $13 at the end of the season. If the game decides to price him at $13 to open the 2017 season, he would be a great fourth driver for your team. I doubt he will open at such a low price since Daytona is one of his best tracks. He is definitely one of the drivers to keep an eye on in Fantasy Live.
Stenhouse will not have much value in Yahoo Fantasy since he was placed into Group B. The only tracks I would consider using him is at Bristol and the Superspeedways. Roush Fenway Racing seems to be behind the top six teams (Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske) in the sport. The team would need to make significant improvements in order for Stenhouse to have value in Yahoo Fantasy.
I expect Stenhouse to be the leader at Roush Fenway Racing in 2017. His stats should increase a little bit, but I doubt 2017 will be the season when he gets his first win.
BEST TRACKS LAST 3 YEARS: BRISTOL (8.5 AVG Finish), TALLADEGA (13.2 AVG Finish), AUTO CLUB (18 AVG Finish), KANSAS (18.3 AVG Finish), DOVER (18.3 AVG Finish), DAYTONA (20.5 AVG Finish)