By KFFL Staff on February 14, 2011
KFFL.com recently hosted a six-team fantasy NASCAR expert draft that will be played out over the 2011 Sprint Cup season. Our Fantasy Experts Roto Shootout league uses a 10-category rotisserie scoring system that includes wins, top-fives, top-10s, Sprint Cup Series points, average finish, laps led, laps completed, poles, average starting position and DNFs, as a negative statistic. Below you'll find the results of the event and answers to some post-draft questions each participant were asked.
|Person||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|Brian Polking||Jimmie Johnson||Juan Pablo Montoya||Joey Logano||Marcos Ambrose|
|Adam Ansell||Kyle Busch||Kurt Busch||Jeff Burton||Brian Vickers|
|Dan Beaver||Denny Hamlin||Greg Biffle||Mark Martin||A.J. Allmendinger|
|Ryan Rantz||Carl Edwards||Matt Kenseth||Jamie McMurray||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Darren Fauth||Clint Bowyer||Tony Stewart||Kasey Kahne||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Eric McClung||Kevin Harvick||Jeff Gordon||Ryan Newman||David Reutimann|
Question: Getting the first pick gave you dibs on the five-time champion, but it also means waiting the longest for your second pick. Since the drop-off is so steep in fantasy NASCAR drafts, do you see picking first as an advantage or disadvantage?
Answer: While guys like Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards should be sure things, the fact is that Jimmie Johnson is really the only true bulletproof pick. In 2007, Jeff Gordon won six races but went winless in 2008. Edwards won nine times in 2008 but went winless in 2009. Mark Martin won five times in 2009 but went winless last season. Every pick in the first round aside from Johnson has the chance to be a disappointment. Johnson is a virtual lock to finish in the top-three in every category of our roto league. He is far and away the safest pick in the game, and I will take my chances building a team around him.
Montoya emerged as an excellent qualifier last season, and he ranked in the top-10 in terms of loop data numbers such as quality passes, laps run in the top 15, number of fastest laps and laps led. Even if his luck doesn't turn around in 2011, which I think it will, he will still have value in our roto format if he can repeat his 2010 stats.
I might be looking too much into Logano's hot streak to end 2010, but I expect him to improve across the board once again this season. Not to mention the fact that his 16 top-10 finishes last year were the most of any non-Chaser and only two fewer than both his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates that went in the top five of our draft.
Adam Ansell | RotoExperts.com
Q: Not only did you surprise everyone by taking Kyle Busch second, you also grabbed his older sibling in the second round. What are your exceptions for this duo of brotherly love?
A: Obviously, I have high expectations for Kyle Busch - he's No. 1 in my Sprint Cup driver rankings. He has shown he can be dominant over the past five years, but he hasn't even reached his potential and that's what intrigues me the most. In this format I don't believe much separates Busch from Johnson, especially if Kyle can make the improvements he needs to - which I expect him to.
I don't love Kurt Busch because of how he finished out 2010 - he led laps in just three of the final 18 races after leading 13 of 18 in the first half of the season. I'm expecting things to even out for him this season. A late-second round pick, 11th overall, was definitely the right price.
Dan Beaver | NASCAR.com/Yahoo! Sports
A: Martin has been doing this so long that experience will carry the day more often than not, and HMS is too strong of an organization to discount their efforts regardless of who is at the helm. Will the old man win four or five races in 2011? Probably not, but he will be focused on making the Chase in his last campaign, and I'm betting that he'll get the job done.
Q: Did the roto scoring format come into play with any of your picks?
A: My custom power average score combines several strength-based factors, including average running position, driver rating, laps in the top-five and -10, speed in traffic, quality passes, etc. My assumption is that if you pick strong drivers, even if their finishing results are altered by a late-race accident or errant pit strategy, the cream will eventually rise to the top.
Ryan Rantz | iFantasyRace.com
Q: Last year we saw a consistent Kenseth at the start of the season. By midseason he was painfully mediocre. Come Chase time he was looking like an elite driver. Which Kenseth shows up this season?
A: In 2011, we'll see Kenseth once again performing at an elite level. He's not a flashy driver who wins a lot of races, but the new point system will be extremely friendly to him. His greatest strength is consistency and that will take you a long way. Another variable that is an advantage for Kenseth is his pit crew. The new E15 fuel will slightly reduce fuel mileage and that will translate into more pit stops for this first-class pit crew.
Q: Everyone seemed to be avoiding Dale Jr. like the plague. How much value do you think he offers in the final round?
A: Earnhardt in the final round is well worth the risk. His performances in recent years have been mediocre, at best, but there are reasons for optimism in 2011. He'll have Steve Letarte calling the shots from the 88 pit box; he has the skills to rebuild Earnhardt's confidence. Junior will also be sharing a garage with Johnson, rather than Jeff Gordon.
Darren Fauth | Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Q: Various expert rankings strongly differ over Bowyer. Some see him as a middle-tier driver, some believe he's on the cusp of becoming special. Where do you see Bowyer in 2011 and beyond?
A: I like the steady progress that Bowyer has made over the last three years. Because of that, he is definitely a solid part of a 'set it and forget it' type fantasy NASCAR game. In our game all drivers start every week and we take their season long results, Bowyer brings solid numbers and value. I don't have delusions that Clint is going to be a final contender for the championship at the end of the year, but I think he has shown he is a tough competitor and not prone to caving to a challenge.
Eric McClung | KFFL.com
Q: As previously mentioned, the drop-off in fantasy NASCAR drafts is pretty steep. How did landing the final pick of the first round work out for you?
A: The last pick worked out perfectly. Few are expecting Harvick to duplicate the amazing consistency he displayed a year ago, myself included, but I got a great value here. Pairing him with Gordon, who was second in driver rating in 2010, provides two drivers that will compete for top-five finishes on a weekly basis. With so many intermediate tracks on the schedule, taking Newman and Reutimann on the back end further solidify a very well-rounded squad.
Eric McClung has been a KFFL contributor and fantasy NASCAR consultant since 2008. His work has been published on several prominent NASCAR websites, and McClung is one of KFFL's featured NASCAR experts. He can be followed on Twitter @ericmcclung