Fantasy NASCAR Preview #8: Ryan Blaney

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RYAN BLANEY (TEAM PENSKE RACING) FORD

2019 DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 8TH   

2018 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 11TH      

 

2018 RECAP: Ryan Blaney has now competed in three full seasons in the Cup Series. He has wins in two straight seasons, made the playoffs in back-to-back years and finished in the top 10 in the point standings in 2017 and 2018. Blaney doubled his amount of top-five finishes last year (from 4 to 8) and the amount of laps led (from 301 to 660). Blaney also won three poles in 2018. The bonus points for winning the pole always come in handy in Fantasy NASCAR. Blaney was one of the most consistent drivers in 2018 and that will not change this season. (Ryan Blaney ranked 8th in fantasy points scored in 2018)

Year in Review: Ryan Blaney Video

 

2019 Preview: The only thing that could set Ryan Blaney back in 2019 is the car. Ford will debut the Ford Mustang at the Daytona 500 this season. I expect a smoother transition from the Fusion to the Mustang than what we saw with the Chevys last year when they switch to the Camaro ZL1 car. Jeremy Bullins will once again call the shots on top the pit box. Blaney and Bullins work well together so I expect more success for the combination in 2019.

This could be a breakout season for Blaney. He has been good in his short career but this could be the year when he takes the next step and competes for a championship. Blaney is one of the best drivers in the sport at starting up front. The new aero-package for the 2019 season makes starting position more important than in the past. He is good at every type of track and Team Penske is one of the best teams at having their drivers work together. Blaney now has the experience to consistently finish in the top 10.

 

INTERMEDIATE TRACK VALUE

Ryan Blaney had a good season on the intermediate tracks in 2018. He won two poles (Las Vegas and Texas), finished five races in the top five (45% of the races) and six races in the top 10 (54% of the races). Blaney was really good at the intermediate tracks in the playoffs. He finished 5th at Las Vegas, 7th at Kansas and 2nd at Texas. He is one of the best picks for your fantasy teams at these tracks. Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas make up four of his top-five tracks. (Ryan Blaney ranked 7th in fantasy points scored on the intermediate tracks in 2018)

 

SUPERSPEEDWAY TRACK VALUE

Team Penske has dominated the races at the Superspeedways over the last four seasons, but the success of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano has not translated to Ryan Blaney having the same success. Talladega ranks as his worst track. Blaney has competed in nine races at Talladega and his average finishing position is 21.44. There are better picks for your team in Alabama. His record at Daytona is better than at Talladega. Blaney has competed in seven races at Daytona and his average finishing position is 15th. He did finish second in the 2017 Daytona 500, so he does have the skills to run up front. I just think it is wise to save Blaney for the smaller tracks. (Ryan Blaney ranked 12th in fantasy points scored on the Superspeedways in 2018)

 

FLAT TRACK VALUE

Ryan Blaney has fantasy value at Martinsville and Loudon but I would fade him at Phoenix and Richmond. Blaney finished 3rd at Martinsville last year. He has finished two of his last three races at the paper-clip shaped track in the top eight. Blaney qualified 5th and finished 7th at Loudon. It was his second consecutive season finishing in the top 10 at the Magic Mile. Phoenix and Richmond rank as two of his worst tracks. Blaney had a 25th-place average finishing position at Phoenix last year and a 20.5 average finishing position at Richmond. There are better choices for your fantasy team at these two tracks. (Ryan Blaney ranked 12th in fantasy points scored on the flat tracks in 2018)

 

STEEP TRACK VALUE

The only steep track (Bristol, Dover and Darlington) to consider Ryan Blaney for your fantasy team is at Dover. After struggling at the Monster Mile in his first two seasons in the Cup Series, Blaney was able to finish 8th and 11th at the track last year. He has been horrible at Bristol and Darlington in his first three seasons. Blaney has a 21.86 average finishing position in his seven races at Bristol and a 23.4 average finishing position in his four races at Darlington. I would save Blaney for the intermediate tracks and fade him on the steep tracks. (Ryan Blaney ranked 16th in fantasy points scored on the steep tracks in 2018)

 

ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE

Ryan Blaney made his mark in the record books when he won the first race on the Charlotte Roval. It was more like Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson lost the race then Blaney winning it… but a win is a win. Blaney had an 8th-place running position at the Roval, so he did run well. He should be considered one of the top picks at the track again in 2019. His success at Sonoma and Watkins Glen has been mixed. He has one finish in the top 10 and two finishes outside the top 20 at Sonoma. His average finishing position in his three races at Watkins Glen is 13th. I would consider Blaney for my fantasy team at the Charlotte Roval but I plan to fade him at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. (Ryan Blaney ranked 9th in fantasy points scored on the road courses in 2018)

 

Best Tracks to for Ryan Blaney: 1) Las Vegas, 2) Kentucky, 3) Kansas, 4) Texas, 5) Auto Club

 

 

*Stats from FantasyRacingCheatSheet.com,  Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

 

If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR

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