DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 4TH
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (FURNITURE ROW RACING) TOYOTA
2016 FANTASY LIVE POINTS: 1,721.5 (RANKED 2ND)
2016 YAHOO POINTS: 2,610 (RANKED 7TH)
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 Martin Truex Jr.
2016 RECAP: Martin Truex Jr. was one of the best fantasy options in 2016. He won four races (Charlotte, Darlington, Chicago and Dover). His win at Charlotte was one of the most impressive wins in NASCAR history. He won the pole, led 392 of 400 laps and scored 295 points in Fantasy Live. Truex also had eight finishes in the top five and 17 finishes in the top10. He led a series-high 1,809 laps in 2016. It was by far his best fantasy season in NASCAR.
Truex was good at all tracks. He scored the second-most points (637.5) on the flat tracks (Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and New Hampshire), the second-most points (409.5) on the steep tracks (Dover, Darlington and Bristol), second-most points (1,105.5) on the intermediate tracks (all oval tracks 1.5-mile and 2-miles in length), and the fourth-most points (88.5) on the road courses (Sonoma and Talladega). He worst tracks were the Superspeedways, but he came inches away from winning the Daytona 500.
Truex was placed in Yahoo Fantasy Group B last year. He was the best pick in the game and his allocations had to be used wisely. He did everything for fantasy teams last year. He scored bonus points for winning five poles, scored the most bonus points for leading laps and consistently finished up front. Some people thought that the switch to Toyota would slow the team down, but it only made them stronger.
Truex had a career year in 2016 and has a lot to build upon heading into the 2017 season.
2017 PREVIEW: Truex will be a popular pick to win the championship in 2017. The No. 78 team showed no weakness last year. The team will be the same heading into the 2017 season. Cole Pearn may be the best crew chief in the garage and he will once again be on the pit box for the No. 78 team. Furniture Row will once again be the primary sponsor for the team. Furniture Row Racing added a second car for the 2017 season with Erik Jones as their driver. The team overcame adversity last year by switching to Toyota and the addition of the No. 77 team should only give them more information to build their cars from.
Truex moved up from Group B to Group A in Yahoo Fantasy this year. This should not hurt his fantasy value though. The No. 78 team is so good at so many tracks that it will be easy to use nine allocations with him, even in a stronger group. Truex must be used at Charlotte, Dover, Texas, Las Vegas and Kansas. These are by far his best tracks and using all nine allocations in these races might be the smart move in 2017.
I expect Truex to be priced over $27 in Fantasy Live this year. He will still have a lot of value because of his ability to lead laps. Truex led the most laps last year and I see no signs of the team slowing down in 2017. Fantasy teams can add Truex to their lineup for the Daytona 500 and probably leave him there for most of the season. He is that good.
Truex will once again make the Chase in 2017 and be a threat to win his first NASCAR Championship.
BEST TRACKS LAST 3 YEARS: DOVER (6.6 AVG Finish), LAS VEGAS (9.0 AVG Finish), CHICAGO (9.3 AVG Finish), CHARLOTTE (10.1 AVG Finish), TEXAS (10.5 AVG Finish), ATLANTA (12.0 AVG Finish) AND KANSAS (12.3 AVG Finish)
Follow me on Twitter: @MrFantasyNASCAR