Fantasy NASCAR: Undervalued and sleeper drivers

by Cory J. Bonini on February 11, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Also see: Overvalued and bust drivers

Fantasy NASCAR owners are looking for the most out of their picks, and just like in any other fantasy sport, it's all about value. Finding sleeper and undervalued drivers can carry you to Victory Lane. KFFL.com has identified these racers!

Some drivers are simply undervalued and are not true sleepers. With a limited pool of participants each week, fantasy owners are rarely, if ever, caught off-guard by unknown commodities circling the track.

Undervalued and sleeper drivers

Carl Edwards | No. 99 Aflac Ford | Roush Fenway Racing

Last year's winless effort has a lot of fantasy NASCAR owners forgetting about just how good Edwards is. Roush Fenway Racing struggled as a whole last year, but there is hope for 2010 in the form of new Ford engines. Edwards' nine-win 2008 season illustrates just how capable he is. The 30-year-old racer has five DNFs in his past two seasons combined following four incompletes in 2007 alone. Roush is a top-flight team, and Edwards is in the prime of his career. We confidently expect a 2010 finish in the top seven.

Denny Hamlin | No. 11 FedEx Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing

Not much stands between Hamlin and a Sprint Cup title, well, other than Jimmie Johnson. Don't worry too much about his knee injury; this shouldn't have any affect on his driving ability. The fresh-faced five-year veteran has at least one win every season since his 2005 rookie campaign, and he has no fewer than 12 top-five finishes in each of the past three years. A late rally in the 2009 Chase for the Cup may have him in the forefront of other owners' minds. Finishing fifth overall last year can't hurt, either. In addition, the 29-year-old racked up a career-high four wins, matching his career total heading into the season. We like Hamlin to seriously challenge Johnson for the title this year, and the four-time defending champion is about the only other driver we would rather have with our first pick.

Kyle Busch | No. 18 M&M's Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing

Another Joe Gibbs driver, Busch narrowly missed the Chase last year by finishing 13th. He won four races in 2009, only two behind all of the non-Chase drivers combined. Only Mark Martin (five) and Jimmie Johnson (seven) won more races last year; the then 23-year-old Busch won a whopping eight races on his way to his second straight Chase appearance in 2008. We don't think owners will necessarily forget about Busch, but his brash personality has turned off a lot of fans. Don't let your personal feelings toward the talented driver get in the way of making a sound fantasy investment.

NEW - A.J. Allmendinger | No. 43 Best Buy Ford | Richard Petty Motorsports

Coming off his first full Sprint Cup season, Allmendinger is looking to improve his 24th-place finish. We think he has the tools to make it happen, and with a year under their collective belts, Richard Petty Motorsports should progress on the race track. His best average finish comes on superspeedways (21.7), but he's comparable on all four track types. Unlike last year, a full offseason of preparation should only help Allmendinger. He's an ideal fifth driver to take a chance on.

Also see: Overvalued and bust drivers

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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