Overvalued Drivers

by C.J. Radune on February 6, 2008 @ 09:04:33 PDT

 


Clint Bowyer | No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet | Richard Childress Racing

Analysis: Bowyer looked good in his sophomore season, finishing third overall in the Sprint Cup standings and as Richard Childress Racing's top-rated driver. However, he was the only driver to make the Chase without winning a race, relying on two top fives and 12 top-10 finishes through the first 26 races. His third place finish in the overall standings is a little misconstrued. He grabbed the 12th and final seed into the Chase, and after a well timed victory - his first of the season coming in the first race in the Chase - he was catapulted eight spots in the standings. Overall, Bowyer should be considered a No. 2 driver on fantasy rosters and not one of the top tier drivers - where he's averaging the fourth overall selection. Look to add Bowyer on short tracks, where he made a drastic improvement in his average finishing position from 22.3 in 2006 to 8.7 in 2007.

Greg Biffle | No. 16 Ameriquest/3M Ford | Roush Fenway Racing

Analysis: Biffle had a strong close to the 2007 season. Over his last 10 races, he picked up one win, three top fives and four top 10s to finish 14th in Cup points. While there was a definite drop in performance last year, Biffle still has upside. Roush Fenway Racing has looked strong in preseason testing, which should help to eliminate the slow start he had in 2007. The RFR team also has an abundance of resources, including teammate Matt Kenseth, who is considered a favorite to overtake Jimmie Johnson for the championship. Biffle has had success on several tracks, but none more than Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway where he has an average finish of 5.5 over the last nine races on those tracks. However, Biffle has barely finished outside the Chase the last two seasons and until his team can rectify the 11 DNFs he has had over that time, it will continue to hamper his ability to be an elite driver. Fantasy owners shouldn't reach for Biffle, who is being selected as the fifth overall driver in most drafts. Biffle should be considered no better than a solid No. 2 driver.

Brian Vickers | No. 83 Red Bull Energy Drink Toyota | Team Red Bull

Analysis: Vickers only started 23 of 36 races in 2007, earning one top five and five top 10s. Toyota cars struggled to be competitive and Team Red Bull was new to NASCAR, which accounted for some of the disappointment. Vickers finished the season 38th in Cup points, which means that he is on the outside looking in and will have to qualify for the first five races. In leagues with straight drafts, fantasy owners should not be drafting a driver who's not guaranteed to be in the first five races with the 17th overall pick, which is where he is being selected. There is no doubt that Vickers has the potential to be an elite driver in NASCAR, and when he does qualify for a race he is a threat to win. However, with the deck seemingly stacked against him, Vickers should be considered as your No. 4 driver in fantasy.

John Andretti

Analysis: Andretti started 15 races last year and was scheduled to return to the No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2008. However, he was replaced by Ken Schrader in January after BAM announced that Schrader would be racing in the Budweiser Shootout and attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500. Sponsorship is a problem for the team and it appears as though funding to put Andretti in the driver's seat did not come through. His 15 races in 2007 didn't produce any top five or top-10 finishes. Fantasy owners should avoid drafting Andretti since his future is uncertain, and any schedule he runs probably will be part time. If he does end up driving in 2008, he's worth a consideration on road courses and select intermediate tracks.

Michael Waltrip | No. 55 NAPA Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing

Analysis: This past season was a long one for Waltrip to reflect on. His new team struggled to make races with the Toyota engine. He also started the season with tremendous controversy that resulted in monetary and points fines that put him in a hole that he wasn't able to overcome. He did manage two top 10s and a pole in his 14 starts, but the season was otherwise dismal. Waltrip has the name recognition to be selected with the 29th overall pick, which is where he is going in most leagues with serpentine drafts. However, his production on the track proves otherwise; he has failed to win a race over the last four seasons. Did I forget to mention he needs to qualify for the first five races? The numbers speak for themselves. Fantasy owners shouldn't reach too high for Waltrip, who is better served being a No. 5 fantasy driver.

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About C.J. Radune

Radune has been a KFFL contributor since January 2008.

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