Strengths – Erik Jones had a strong rookie season at many track types. In 2018 I would look for him to be at his best at intermediate tracks, flat tracks and Bristol.
Weaknesses – Restrictor plate tracks have been brutal to Erik Jones and its likely no good will come from picking him at those venues. Inconsistency was also a problem last year and quite often trouble wasn’t far away.
Track Type Fantasy Value Key = Elite > High > Medium-High > Medium > Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – High
Erik Jones will be a driver to watch at intermediate tracks in 2018. He had a strong rookie campaign, and he should be even better this year. Beyond gaining valuable seat time I think his equipment will also be half a step better now that he’s truly under the Joe Gibbs Racing umbrella, and not a driver on loan.
Last year at intermediate tracks Erik Jones scored the 13th most points and had a 15.4 average finish. Additionally over the 17 combined races on this track type he had 5 top tens and 11 top fifteens. I will note he was better than his average finish because he had quite a few good results dashed by problems on the track.
In 2018 on a weekly basis I would look for Erik Jones to be a low double digits driver who’ll compete for a top ten.
Flat Track Fantasy Value – High
Erik Jones is a strong performer at both the smaller flat tracks and the bigger flat tracks. Last year over the 9 combined races on this track type he scored the 10th most points and finished in the top ten every race he avoided trouble. In 2018 I expect him to have another strong season and compete for a top ten every race.
Last year at the bigger flat tracks he was very competitive. He swept the top ten at Pocono but at Indy he wrecked.
At the shorter flat tracks last year he ran extremely well. Minus the two races he wrecked he had a 6th place average finish and had a result in the top 8 every race.
Make sure Erik Jones is on your fantasy NASCAR radar at flat tracks.
Short Track Fantasy Value – High
At short tracks I really like Erik Jones at Bristol and at Richmond. At Martinsville his fantasy value won’t be as high.
Last summer at Bristol, Erik Jones had the best performance of his career. He started on the pole, finished 2nd and led a race high 260 laps. That was much better than his 17th place result in the spring.
At Richmond last year he only completed 4 laps before wrecking in the spring, and in the fall he finished 6th.
At Martinsville last year he had results of 12th and 26th. Now that he has two races under his belt I think he should naturally run better.
Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – Medium-High
Erik Jones doesn’t have great fantasy value at plate tracks. Anything can happen on this track type and more than often trouble has found him at these venues. Last year on this track type he finished 9th at Daytona in July, but in the other three races he wrecked and finished 33rd or worse.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – Medium-High
At road courses I think Erik Jones should run well at Watkins Glen and Charlotte, but have a tougher time at Sonoma. This upcoming season I would set his baseline fantasy value as being mid-teens good and then hoping for the best.
Last year on this track type he ran really well at Watkins Glen and finished 10th. Sonoma is a much more technical track and last year he finished 25th.