Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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9. Ryan Blaney

Thursday, February 8, 2018


For the longest time, Ryan Blaney’s results looked like a hillbilly’s teeth: only every other one was good. He started off with a second-place finish in the Daytona 500, finished 18th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and then alternated top-15s with results outside that mark in the next six attempts. While he did not continue to perfectly juxtapose results like that, he failed to record back-to-back top-10s until well into the playoffs and there were only two occasions when backed up one top-15 with another before the final 10 races.

By contrast, he has a three-week period when he finished in the 30s due to crash damage.

Overall, his results were good, however, with just under a 50%, top-15 record compared to eight results outside the top 25. This came with a team that entered the season without a charter and some minor concerns about making the show a time or two.

Blaney’s biggest problem—and the thing that kept him from being a better value—was his propensity for dropping back in race trim. The problem was so pervasive, that he finished worse than he started in 27 of the 36 races (75%)—often by a sizable margin. His average place-differential loss of nearly seven positions robbed players of a lot of points. It was the worst in the field by a wide margin. Kurt Busch was second-worst with a -5.00.

All of that should conspire to drop him further down the handicap order, but there are a lot of reasons to think he is going to have his best season ever. Moving into a third Team Penske ride this year, he will be in great equipment without the filter of an affiliation. Moreover, Penske should be better in 2018 than they were last year. Coming off a bad season with Joey Logano missing the playoffs and Brad Keselowski failing to live up to expectations, it is difficult to imagine they will stay down for long.

Blaney scored his first career win at Pocono—a track where it is more than possible to repeat victories and establish a long history of success. That also bodes well for his efforts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway (formerly Phoenix International) even though his results last year were erratic on the flat tracks.

Then bottom line is that Blaney is on an upward trajectory that is going to end in the playoffs for the majority of the next decade. More importantly, he is going to be a great fantasy value until he levels off at the top. That gives players ample opportunities to ride the wave.

2017 Victories: Pocono (Spring)
Average Finish: 17.25
Top-fives: 4 (.111)
Top-10s: 14 (.388)
Top-15s: 17 (.472)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-5s

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Kansas Speedway +

6.60

10.00

6

3

4

4

3

Chicagoland Speedway

7.50

7.50

2

1

1

11

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

10.67

10.67

3

 

2

7

 

Pocono Raceway

13.00

13.00

4

1

2

1

30

Watkins Glen International

13.50

13.50

2

 

1

8

 

Phoenix International Raceway

14.50

14.50

4

 

2

23

17

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

14.80

14.80

5

 

1

19

9

Sonoma Raceway

16.00

16.00

2

 

1

9

 

Martinsville Speedway

17.75

17.75

4

 

1

25

8

Michigan International Speedway

18.17

18.17

7

1

1

25

15

Daytona International Speedway

20.00

20.00

5

1

1

2

26

Talladega SuperSpeedway

20.67

20.86

7

1

2

39

18

Atlanta Motor Speedway

21.50

21.50

2

 

 

18

 

Auto Club Speedway

22.00

22.00

2

 

1

9

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

22.20

22.20

5

 

1

33

10

Kentucky Speedway

22.50

22.50

2

 

1

10

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway

23.17

23.17

6

 

1

24

8

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

23.67

23.67

3

 

 

23

 

Homestead - Miami Speedway

24.00

24.00

3

 

 

29

 

Texas Motor Speedway

24.00

24.00

6

 

1

12

6

Darlington Raceway

24.67

24.67

3

 

 

31

 

Dover Downs International

25.25

25.25

4

 

1

32

23

Richmond International Raceway

30.25

30.25

4

 

 

36

18

 

+ Top-five sweeps

2018 Top-25 Fantasy Values


10. Jones, Erik
11. Johnson, Jimmie 
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

 



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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