Admittedly, my skills at the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game still need polishing. So, I reached out to a few leaders in my groups for some sage fantasy NASCAR advice. Not just anyone though. I checked out lots of profiles and looked specifically for people that showed a consistent degree of success at the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game.
Meet Kobi Akers, aka Alvin HornToads
My first conversation was with a fellow Texan named Kobi Akers. He goes by the Yahoo username of Orctin420 and has been playing a variety of fantasy games at Yahoo since 2000. His team names have consisted of variations on his Texas heritage, hometown and some restrained wit. While I was being schooled by him in my group, he was running his team as Alvin HornToads. If you see him in your group…you might want to pick another.
Kobi’s Yahoo Auto Racing Results
- 2010: 97% (2010: 86% second profile)
- 2009: 96%
- 2008: 43%
- 2006: 35%
- 2005: 96%
- 2003: 97%
- 2002: 96%
- 2001: 93%
Getting to Know This Yahoo Racing Expert
Q: How long have you been a NASCAR fan?
A: I’ve watched off and on since 1995. I started watching more after the Dale Earnhardt, Sr. death. It was tragic. But, watching the race, and how it unfolded before us, made me want to know more about the sport.
Q: How long have you been playing fantasy NASCAR games?
A: Since around 2000. Some of my friends got me into their group and explained the basics to me.
Q: How many fantasy NASCAR games a year do you play?
A: Mainly just the Yahoo Auto Racing one. But, I have a couple of groups I hang with who have sites on the net. One, just a NASCAR fan site. The other is a year-long, multi-sport fantasy competition site.
Q: Who is your favorite driver?
A: Kevin Harvick. The way he drove after replacing Dale Sr. that year made me pay attention to him. He’s finally starting to get stronger, hope he wins a championship eventually.
Kobi’s Yahoo Fantasy Racing Strategy
Q: What is it that you like the most about the Yahoo Fantasy Racing game?
A: The strategy that you have to employ to make it through the year. With limited starts and mixed groups you have to pay attention or you can put yourself in the hole quick.
Q: When I first looked at your profile I thought this was your first year…and was EXTREMELY impressed with your score. (turns out that the profile Kobi was using in my group is under his wife, Mary’s, account. He pointed me to his other profile when I contacted him.) Turns out you are an ‘old pro’ at the game which is even better. Do you just really ‘get’ this style of fantasy NASCAR game (having multiple driver groups with limited usage)? Do you have as much success on other types of NASCAR games?
A: I’ve tried of a couple other types of games over the years, but find this type of game with driver groups and limited usage is more of a challenge. It involves more that just picking your favorite driver every week. You have to look at using drivers you normally would not think about if you want to spread your starts out over the whole year. The NASCAR season is a a long season!
Q: What are the factors you take in to consideration when making your Yahoo picks?
A: Lot of factors play into each weeks picks. You have to look at:
- Each driver’s history at that track.
- The track itself. Is it just speed, survival, or technique that is required?
- Drivers streak over the past few weeks.
- How many starts do I have to use for this driver or should I save for later?
- Trying to maximize points without wasting a start.
Q: Do you go into the season with a plan for which drivers you want to run the most? How do you handle ‘driver management’?
A: Yahoo has 3 groups. The A-group is the strongest (best drivers from last year) and the easist to pick from. I look for who currently has the ‘hot hand’. I also take a backup driver with good history at the track.
The B-group is a mix of good and middle of the road drivers. This group is where most your points will come from. You have to identify which drivers are the easiest to burn up your starts with because they are the best of the group. These are guys who slipped last year and dropped to the B-group. You have to try to not overuse them early in the season. It’s easy to do and will hurt you down the road.
The C-group, now this is the group to give you fits. You’re lucky to have three drivers here that you would want to start any given week. Maximizing your starts in the C-group is a must! Using a driver that doesn’t run the full schedule will help you to stretch those that do out. While it’s a tough call, there are some week’s you have to take a chance on the Bill Elliott’s and Bobby Labonte’s when they announce they will run in a paticular week. While you won’t get max points from them, if the can finish 30th or better you take it. This will save your limited good drivers for the long haul.
Q: What is the biggest mistake that you think fantasy NASCAR players make on the Yahoo game or any other games you’ve played?
A: Getting stuck in the pattern of taking so-and-so driver because they like him. While it’s good to have a favorite, sometimes it pays off to take the enemy as they will come out on top more than you like for them to.
Also, remember, it’s a long season. If you screw up early with a bad week, take your lumps and move forward. A lot of players start dropping out after nine-weeks because they only play a few weeks and their picks are burned up after a while. Around the midpoint on, you can really make some ground up if you just keep playing and don’t give up.
Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: Find some friends in your groups to work together with. There is no harm in sharing your thoughts week-to-week about whom you think will do well. If you just sign up to groups with a bunch of people you don’t know, chances are you’ll get a little bored since there is no one to gloat to during your best weeks or punch you during you bad weeks.
You’re going to have times when you have two or three bad weeks in a row. Driver’s wreck. Rain falls. Mistakes happen. If you fall into a rut, change up your drivers. Try guys who, while not winning a lot, run in the top-15 each week. Chances are you just might pick a winner without even trying.
Here is a Summary of Kobi’s Yahoo Racing Strategy
- Don’t just pick your favorite drivers.
- Look at drivers you tend to overlook.
- Spread out your driver starts, it’s a long season.
- Research each driver’s history at that track.
- What type of track is it? Fast, highly-technical or survival?
- Look at ‘hot drivers’.
- Is this driver best for this track? Or, should I save for later?
- Maximize points without wasting a start.
- Take a good ‘back-up’ driver for your bench.
- Your most points will come from your B-group.
- Don’t overuse drivers early in the season.
- Use a viable C-group driver when available that is not running the full-season.
- Keep playing even if you have a bad week of two. Don’t quit!
- Talk with other fantasy NASCAR players and discuss your picks.