2018 NASCAR Fantasy Preview

First off, I would like to thank all of you for reading my articles in past years and for the great comments you have left me in the past. I would also like to thank those of you who have pointed out errors in my articles and for keeping me on my toes. Without you the articles wouldn’t be near as accurate as they should be.

Next I would like to thank the site owner, Darren, for creating a game similar to the one most of you have played in the past which I will not name here. After they decided not to run their league anymore, Darren stepped up a created his league which is going to fill a huge void for us fans of fantasy racing. Thanks for all of your time and effort to get this done in time for the 2018 season Darren!

Finally, before I get started, I would like to welcome those of you who are new to the site. I try to do my best to get my weekly articles out the day after the previous race has been completed or even that very day after the race. I mostly do an article where I make picks for the new game on this site and give a little insight in to why I am picking those drivers and who else might be good to have on your roster for that week. I also try to answer any questions asked before the race starts. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask no matter what it is. I only ask that you ask the questions as soon as possible as sometimes I get questions very close to race time and I don’t always get a chance to answer those.

Last year I had quite a few requests to make picks for the NASCAR Fantasy Live game. I haven’t played it before, but am considering it for this year. After reading the rules and how it is scored, I’m not sure if I can give decent advice seeing they have a score for how many positions a driver picks up during the race. My articles are out before qualifying, so I don’t know where drivers are starting in the field. I will try to answer questions from you about this league if you have them if I have time after qualifying.

I’m thinking I am going to have a lot more people asking questions this season, because I think the traffic on the site is going to really pick up with the new game here. So, I ask that you please bear with me and I will try to answer all questions in a timely manner.

I haven’t created a league of my own this year seeing the game is played right here. I did join SlickTrack’s league as he is one of the people who have played in my league for years. If anyone wants me to start a private league let me know and I will do that.

Finally, I want to explain what I term the Big 18 pool. This is a fantasy game many people play where you pick one driver every week and get that drivers points. The trick is, you can only use each driver twice during the season. When I started to play in a league the top 18 drivers were the only ones we could choose and that is where the name of the game came from. Now most leagues let you select any driver in the field, but you can still only use each driver twice.

2018 Season Predictions

I will be back to make my picks after the qualifying races for the Daytona 500 seeing we don’t have to set a roster until then because of the way they run qualifying for this race only. I just want to talk about a few things and make some predictions as to what I think is going to happen this year.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired, Matt Kenseth is taking a sabbatical, Chase Elliott changed from #24 to #9 which is the number his dad drove, and a handful of drivers have switched teams once again this year. We will sort all of these changes as the season progresses and we get to see if teams have improved, stayed the same, or gotten a bit further behind the rest of the field.

It is always interesting to see which rookies come out at the top of their game and can compete right away in the sport. Last year, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, and Daniel Suarez all improved a great deal as the season progressed with Blaney winning a race and making the playoffs, while Jones just missed them and Suarez got better and better every week. We saw Chase Elliott come oh so close time and again to getting the first Cup win of his career.

Predictions for this year:

Chase Elliott wins multiple races. This I think is a no brainer, so it is my safest prediction.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins the Daytona 500. He won a race at Daytona and a race at Talladega last year.

The sixteen drivers that will make the playoffs and the order in which they will finish the season:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Larson
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kyle Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Chase Elliott
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Jamie McMurray
10. Kurt Busch
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Erik Jones
13. Ryan Blaney
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15. Joey Logano
16. Aric Almirola

2018 Rookie of the Year: William Byron

Anything else you would like a prediction on? Let me know and I will make my best guess.

Please come back to see my Daytona 500 picks after the qualifying races are finished and the field is set. Good luck to all of you this year and thank you once again for reading! I hope to help you all out as much as I can once again this season.

40 thoughts on “2018 NASCAR Fantasy Preview

  1. I’m in a yearly pool here, the box type, 2 drivers from each of 6 boxes. Could you post a list ranking the top 40 drivers please? Needless to say, it’s not always the top 12-16 drivers that can affect this type of pool, but it’s the new and lower ranked drivers that can help, or hurt your total after 36 races. A rookie or average driver having a breakout year can zoom a team up the standings. It’s hard to know whether Jeff Earnhardt, or a Joey Gase or Wallace Jr, etc. have the cars and teams to be consistent all year. Also tough to guess which teams can make the new Camaro fast, and quickly, so crew chiefs become very important too. I understand how hard it is to pick this, but would appreciate and respect your input. Thank you.

    1. That would be very hard to do. My suggestion is to look at the drivers who are going to compete every week and you might come up with 40. Sometimes there aren’t even 40 drivers entered in a race so trying to rank drivers that might only compete a few times a year would be almost impossible.

  2. Howdy Jeff, The league I created this year for the new “Driver Group Game” is”Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet” league ID 372. All are welcome to join. I really appreciate the opinion you post every week, and look forward to reading your posts again this year. The background you add to your driver info for each race are very informative. For the new people that will be here this year I would advise you to read Jeff’s blog, every week. The league for this page will have some of the best NASCAR players, so if you want to play against the best around, please join. Have a great day/season. ST

  3. Please help im in my church nascar pool and i have no idea who to pick its only for 5.oo but i don’t want to let my kiddo down. I cant pick a driver more than 3 times. Can someone please give me some advice

    1. That’s going to be tough. Just look at the ratings in the article and pick the first 12 three times. Maybe read the weekly blog post to determine which to put in on each track. It will mostly come down to luck anyway.

      1. Actually, use McMurray at Daytona and Talledega. Bowyer at Watkins Glen, Sonoma and Daytona; Jones at Bristol twice and Johnson at Dover twice and that should give you a slight advantage on the competition. The rest you can just pick because they can win anywhere.

        1. I have to disagree with Danica on this. You can’t predict how everyone is going to be running that far into the season for one and to say just pick the rest because they can win anywhere means there is no way to make informed picks at the rest of the tracks.
          If that were the case it wouldn’t even pay to play any fantasy racing game.

          1. Here’s a little more advice for you MIssy. Add Johnson at Martinsville and replace Busch with Blaney and use him twice at Kansas and once at Pocono. Good luck with your $5 ticket. Now you have more advice than you know what to do with!!

    2. I think if you follow my Big 18 picks every week you should be good to go for the start of the season anyway. As the season progresses we will be able to tell who has gotten better and who has gotten worse. You can also use the better drivers one more time than I do in the Big 18.

  4. Fantasy Live has completely changed it rules to make it more like Yahoo. As a result, qualifying is no longer a consideration with that game.

  5. I am sooooo relieved to find a Fantasy NASCAR free game available! I was going through some serious withdrawal pains as I have been playing this game since 2004.
    Thank You for coming to my rescue!
    Marcia

  6. Thanks fantsyracingcheatsheet.com for taking on this fantasy league I’m sure you worked hard to get it up in time. Since yahoo just dropped us nascar fans I won’t play any of their other fantasy games. Great job!

  7. I’m in a league where you have 36 different drivers for for each week I have the main drivers can you give me some Long shots to do decent at certain tracks thanks

      1. You have to pick 1 driver for every race 36 different drivers but not allowed to use the same driver twice. It’s tough after you put your top drivers in .I was wondering if you had drivers to fill in who are running certain track or new drivers running the whole series like Danika just running a couple races but I can use her at Daytona. Thanks for the reply I hope this helps.

        1. For starters, I would use Danica at Daytona this weekend. Then for the other 3 restrictor plate races, Daytona in July and 2 at Talladega, I would use a driver who is near the bottom of the standings for those races. Other than that it is going to be a crap shoot for anyone below 20th place in the standings.

  8. Jeff,

    When making picks this weekend and for 2018 in general would you go more of off previous results (2017-prior), or how driver has been performing this week (Clash,Duels,Practice)? And if you look at prior results , should look at just Daytona 500 stats, all Daytona stats or all Restrictor Plates results? Thanks

    1. For this race I learned a lot from just watching the Thursday qualifying races. It showed me the Ford’s are once again the class of the field and I am filling my roster with them. As for the rest of the season, I like to look at who is running well the past few weeks, how those drivers historically perform on the type of track they will be racing on that week, gut instinct, and how each driver has done at that track the last 3 or 4 races.

  9. Im in a Big 18 pool (only can use a driver twice for year) so Im between Austin Dillion or Almirola this week? Was leaning towards Almirola but do you think him going to a back-up car wil affect him in any way?

    1. I didn’t start one because no one really asked. Slick Track started a league called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet and I joined that league because he has been in mine every year for as long as I remember.

  10. Jeff, I have used your article religiously over the years. I read the paragraphs on your drivers that should fair well that week and then the Top 5 Overall at the bottom of the article, dark horse and stay away from. Usually the article is out by now this week.

    Are you doing your weekly article any longer? I really liked your advice. I’m in a league where you pick 4 drivers each week, but you can only use one of those guys the following week if desired. So you are pretty much changing 3-4 drivers each week. I would love to have your article again. Any advice?

    1. I just posted a short article for the Daytona 500. I usually wait until after the Thursday races for this race before posting my article so I can see who looks legit in the draft. Not to worry, the rest of the articles should be posted a couple hours after the conclusion of that week’s race for the next week.

  11. Need some advice, I have to choose one of these drivers for the whole season, not sure which to pick, any advice?
    Menard, Dillon, Buescher, McDowell, or Allmendinger?

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