Fantasy NASCAR: Overvalued and bust drivers

by Bryce McRae on February 11, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT


Also see: Undervalued and sleeper drivers

Not all drivers are going to perform how you expect. Just ask Carl Edwards owners last year how they felt when Edwards, a preseason favorite, limped to 11th in the standings and failed to win a race. With such a small pool of drivers, one wrong pick can submarine your fantasy NASCAR season.

That's why we're here - no, not to submarine your fantasy NASCAR team. has identified a few drivers that you'll want to avoid on your team this year. Keep in mind, we don't necessarily mean you shouldn't select them at all, just that their value is likely going to be overblown after last year.

Juan Pablo Montoya | No. 42 Target Toyota | Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing

Sure, Montoya finished a career-high eighth in the Sprint Cup standings last year. He managed 18 top-10s over the course of the year - nine more top-10s than he had in the previous two years combined. However, after 13 races last year, Montoya was just 15th. Up to that point, he had looked better ... but he still wasn't a top driver. Is he now? Well, despite his career-high final placing, he had three finishes of 35th or worse in his final seven races last year.

We aren't dogging on Montoya's ability; he could be one of the most talented drivers in the circuit. Now he has seems to finally have brought the stock car under control. Like Roush Fenway Racing's Carl Edwards prior to last year, though, we want to see more before we peg him as a legit No. 1 driver. Prior to last year, he hadn't finished higher than 20th in the final standings and regressed in his second full-time season (2008).

Ryan Newman | No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet | Stewart-Haas Racing

It was quite a first year for both Stewart-Haas Racing drivers. Newman enjoyed his best finish since 2005; he managed five top-fives, 15 top-10s and had only one DNF en route to a ninth-place finish in the Sprint Cup. With another offseason of testing and working with his team, it should be even more reason to like Newman, no?

Well, Newman tailed off last year - he was fourth after 14 races - and the 32-year-old failed to finish in the top five in his final 22 races. His average finish in the Chase races was 16.3. Newman's one DNF also appears an aberration. He has at least three in every year dating back to 2001 and three times has had seven or more in a season. Running Hendrick Motorsports engines in '09 could be the reason for his lone DNF, though.

David Reutimann | No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing

In 2005, Reutimann finished 25th in the Sprint Cup standings. He then jumped to 39th in 2007, 22nd in 2008 and a career-high 16th last year. If he continues that trajectory, he should jump close to, if not into, the Chase this year.

What's not to like? Well, Reutimann will turn 40 this year - why has he taken until now to show his driving chops? He had just four top-10s entering last year. He also had 13 DNFs in 63 races prior to 2009. It'll be tough to repeat last year's zero in the DNF column. He doesn't have the backing of one of the powerhouse teams, and Reutimann isn't strong enough on his own to carry the Waltrip team. There is just too much against him to make him a No. 2 driver. Ideally, he is a No. 3 driver.

Also see: Undervalued and sleeper drivers

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.

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