DENNY HAMLIN (JOE GIBBS RACING) TOYOTA
2018 DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 7TH
2017 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 6TH
2017 RECAP: The No. 11 team for Joe Gibbs Racing always has one of the fastest cars and one of the fastest pit crews in the sport. Denny Hamlin had a good season in 2017. He won two races (Loudon and Darlington), won two poles (Charlotte and Homestead) and finished 22 races in the top 10. The problem with Hamlin is that he always finds a way to beat himself. Last year he made the decision to… let’s just say… “race Chase Elliott aggressively” and it backfired on him. Elliott raced Hamlin “aggressively” at Phoenix and took away his chances to race for the Championship. Hamlin ranked 6th in fantasy value last year but it could have been a lot better.
2018 Preview: Denny Hamlin should have a similar season to what he had in 2017. I expect Hamlin to have multiple trips to Victory Lane and finish most of the races in the top 10. He will have more value in fantasy than he will in real NASCAR. Hamlin should come close to making the final four in Homestead but I doubt he earns one of the final spots. He will score in the top 10 in fantasy though and he should be on your teams when the series visits the tracks in Virginia, Darlington and Chicago.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK VALUE
Denny Hamlin got off to a slow start on the Intermediate tracks (1.5-mile and 2-mile ovals) last year. He had an average finishing position of 21.5 in the first five Intermediate track races of the season. He really heated up once the series had their All-Star break. Hamlin had an average finishing position of 5.5 in the last 10 races on the Intermediate tracks. Hamlin ranked 6th in fantasy value at these tracks in 2017. I expect the Joe Gibbs Racing cars to run up front this year and Hamlin will have top-five value at the Intermediate tracks.
SUPERSPEEDWAY TRACK VALUE
Denny Hamlin is one of the best drivers in the sport on the Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega). He is the biggest threat to the Ford drivers at these tracks. Hamlin works very well with his teammates at these tracks and he is the best of the Toyota drivers at leading laps at these two tracks. Hamlin has led laps in eight consecutive races at Talladega and five of the last six races at Daytona. Hamlin is a great pick at Daytona and a good pick for Talladega.
FLAT TRACK VALUE
Denny Hamlin has been a good fantasy pick at the Flat tracks (Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and Loudon) in his career. He is especially good at the two tracks (Richmond and Martinsville) in his home state of Virginia. Hamlin has finished five consecutive races at Richmond in the top six. He must be on your fantasy team at Richmond. He has been pretty good at Martinsville too. Hamlin consistently runs in the top 10 at the paperclip-shaped track. Although Hamlin won the race at Loudon last year, it is not his best track. His average finishing position at the track is 10.5. There are better options for your fantasy team at Phoenix. Hamlin has an average finishing position of 11.8 in the desert.
STEEP TRACK VALUE
Denny Hamlin has been good but not great at the Steep tracks (Bristol, Dover and Darlington) in his career. Hamlin ranked 8th in fantasy value at these tracks in 2017. His best track is Darlington. Hamlin has finished his last three races at The Track Too Tough To Tame in the top four, including a trip to Victory Lane last year. Hamlin should be on your fantasy team at Darlington but I would fade him at Bristol and Dover.
ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE
Denny Hamlin is one of the best choices for your fantasy team at the Road Courses (Sonoma and Watkins Glen). Hamlin ranked 3rd in fantasy value at these tracks last year. He has finished 2nd and 4th in his last two races at Sonoma and 1st and 4th in his last two races at Watkins Glen. It will be hard to find a better driver for your fantasy team at these two tracks.
Best Tracks to for Denny Hamlin: 1) Darlington, 2) Richmond, 3) Chicago, 4) Sonoma, 5) Kentucky
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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