Get Out Your Dart Board
This week’s article is going to be a little different than usual. These races at Talladega and Daytona really are a crap shoot, and anybody can win. Heck, even Dave Blaney finished 3rd here last fall. Below you will find my favorites, some “out of the box” picks, as well as who to avoid. I’m going to be mentioning my Yahoo! situation with certain drivers’ starts I have left, so keep in mind that you probably won’t be in the same situation. Qualifying is Saturday at noon, although where you start here really doesn’t matter much.
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My Favorites For The Aaron’s 499:
“Out of the Box” Picks:
Brad Keselowski (Yahoo! A Group) - If you don’t want to waste a start on the guys that actually deserve to be the A Group (sorry, BK, but you’re still a B driver in my mind), go ahead and put Bad Brad on your roster. As I’m writing this, only 11% of fantasy racers have him picked. Remember, he won here in 2009.
Regan Smith (Yahoo! B Group) - The #78 always seems to be real quick at the restrictor plate tracks but ultimately gets caught up in a wreck or something and not get the finish. Smith finished 2nd in his Gatorade Duel race earlier this year at Daytona in case you forgot. With just 5% of Yahoo! players picking him right now, you can’t get any more out of the box than Regan Smith.
Paul Menard (Yahoo! B Group) – How the guy that finished 6th in this year’s Daytona 500 is only on 13% of Yahoo! rosters is beyond me. I never really considered Menard on the plate tracks, but now that I look at the numbers, I’m liking what I see. In the last nine restrictor plate races, Menard is one of just four drivers that have notched eight top 20s.
Jeff Burton (Yahoo! B Group) - The same goes with “The Mayor”. Only 15% have Burton on their rosters even though he finished 5th at Daytona in February and has the second-best average driver rating over the last nine restrictor plate races. I know history doesn’t mean much at these types of races, but he did finish 2nd here last fall.
David Gilliland (Yahoo! C Group) – These next two drivers would be on my roster this weekend if Trevor Bayne and Michael Waltrip weren’t racing. The last five restrictor plate races have ended with Gilliland in 23rd, 22nd, 16th, 9th, and 3rd. Only 5% have Gilliland picked. Dare to be different.
Dave Blaney (Yahoo! C Group) – Blaney knows how to avoid the wrecks and can get to the front. What’s even better is only 8% of Yahoo! fantasy players have him on their roster. Dave finished 3rd here last fall and could have won the Daytona 500 this year if the track was un-raceable after Juan Montoya’s little incident (he finished 15th).
You Won’t Find Them On My Roster:
Matt Kenseth (Yahoo! A Group) – I’m down to 7 starts with Kenseth and I want to use him on race tracks that he can’t get caught up in a wreck at any moment. He won the Daytona 500, but that’s still not going to put him on my roster (at least starting). Maybe for possible qualifying bonus points…
Jimmie Johnson (Yahoo! A Group) – I also only have 7 starts left with Five Time and I want to save them. Also, in Johnson’s career at restrictor plate tracks, he’s posted a DNF in over 25% of them. I’ll pass.
Greg Biffle (Yahoo! B Group) – Just like Kenseth, the only way The Biff is going to make my roster this weekend is for possible qualifying bonus points. I’m already down to 6 starts left with Biffle.
Aric Almirola, Bobby Labonte, and Casey Mears (Yahoo! C Group) – From my Preview earlier this week: “The two obvious names [for not wasting a start] are Aric Almirola and Bobby Labonte. I’m sure everyone plans on using both of them the full 9 times this season, so there’s no point in wasting a start on a wildcard race like this. I’d also like to throw into the mix Casey Mears. We’re going to need another starter on intermediate tracks later in the season and that is where this #13 team has been at their best this year.” Some people might use Aric Almirola because he looked strong in practice, but I’ll still pass.