Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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11. Jimmie Johnson

Monday, February 5, 2018


For the first time in more than a decade, we lost faith in Jimmie Johnson in 2017. The driver who seemed to inherit the Superman cape from Jeff Gordon never really got going and fantasy handicappers ran out of excuses well before the end of the year.

The old belief that “Johnson has struggled before, but he always steps up in big races” wasn’t true.

“Johnson is just saving himself for the playoffs” proved equally invalid and there was virtually no time that one could comfortably expect to place-and-hold him on their roster.

Johnson failed to finish on the lead lap in his first two races of 2017. He crashed out of the Daytona 500 and simply did not have the speed to go the distance at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In week three, he finished on the same lap as the leaders, but still failed to finish in the top 10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Phoenix International Raceway has been kind in the past, but he could muster only a fourth in week four and then he logged two more sub-10th-place finishes.

Johnson had only one top-10 and no top-fives in his first six tries.

And then, just as if the switch flipped that everyone expected, he won back-to-back races at Texas Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway.

Then struggled again with one more top-10 in his next four races.

Then won his third races of the season at Dover International Speedway.

If fantasy players were not completely baffled by this pattern—if they decided that he was going to be that same great driver we’ve grown to respect, love, and rely on—they were sorely disappointed. With his place in the playoffs solidified, he fell out of contention again and scored just two more top-10s before the final regular season race.

At Richmond International Raceway in week 26, he finished eighth and backed that up with another eighth the following week. He was 14th in the second race of round one, and then scored his first top-five that was not a victory at Dover. Maybe he was saving himself for the playoffs? But a seventh the following week at Charlotte Motor Speedway was his last top-10 of the season. He failed to even finish on the lead lap in the final three races of the year and did not advance to the championship round.

Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports are too good to believe he will struggle like that again in 2018; heck, he may even be too good to get ranked only 11th in this year’s preseason rankings, but fantasy owners should approach him with a lot of caution until he scores more than two consecutive top-10s this year and that could take more than a quarter of the season.

2017 Victories: Texas (spring), Bristol (spring), Dover (spring)
Average Finish: 16.83
Top-fives: 4 (.111)
Top-10s: 11 (.306)
Top-15s: 21 (.583)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-5s

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Atlanta Motor Speedway

7.00

11.00

26

14

16

19

 

Texas Motor Speedway

7.50

8.76

29

15

21

1

27

Richmond International Raceway

7.50

15.63

32

7

13

11

8

Bristol Motor Speedway

8.00

13.66

32

11

18

1

11

Kansas Speedway

10.00

9.61

23

9

17

24

11

Auto Club Speedway

10.33

7.13

23

13

16

21

 

Chicagoland Speedway

10.33

9.38

16

7

11

8

 

Sonoma Raceway

10.67

12.50

16

4

9

13

 

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

12.00

10.59

32

10

21

10

14

Homestead - Miami Speedway

12.33

13.73

15

5

10

27

 

Dover Downs International +

13.00

9.06

32

17

23

1

3

Martinsville Speedway

14.00

7.69

32

19

24

15

12

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

15.00

15.38

16

6

7

27

 

Talladega Superspeedway

16.17

17.22

32

7

12

8

24

Daytona International Speedway

17.33

17.84

32

11

14

34

12

Charlotte Motor Speedway

17.83

12.55

33

15

20

17

7

Michigan International Speedway

18.17

16.31

32

5

13

10

19

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

18.33

10.94

16

6

9

11

 

Phoenix International Raceway

18.83

10.00

29

15

20

9

39

Darlington Raceway

21.33

10.47

19

9

12

12

 

Pocono Raceway

21.83

12.13

32

11

19

36

35

Watkins Glen International

26.33

16.25

16

4

8

29

 

Kentucky Speedway

27.00

15.57

7

1

5

40

 

 
+ Top-five sweeps

2018 Top-25 Fantasy Values

12. McMurray, Jamie 
13. Bowyer, Clint 
14. Suarez, Daniel 
15. Newman, Ryan 
16. Busch, Kurt 
17. Almirola, Aric 
18. Dillon, Austin 
19. Stenhouse Jr., Ricky 
20. Menard, Paul 
21. Bayne, Trevor 
22. Dillon, Ty 
23. Buescher, Chris 
24. Allmendinger, AJ 
25. Kahne, Kasey 

Rookie Watch

Wallace Jr., Darrell 
Byron, William

Previous Jimmie Johnson Profiles

2017 
2016 
2015

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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