DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 16th
RYAN NEWMAN (RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING) CHEVY
2016 FANTASY LIVE POINTS: 1000 (RANKED 18TH)
2016 YAHOO POINTS: 2,269 (RANKED 13TH)
The 2017 NASCAR season is right around the corner. In order to get fantasy teams ready for the new season I decided to recap the 2016 season for my top 30 drivers and preview how I think they will perform this year. Each day I will post two driver previews until my No. 1 fantasy driver is revealed. I will continue my rankings with Ryan Newman.
2016 RECAP: Fantasy players know what they will get with Ryan Newman. He will not win any races (Has not won since 2013), not lead many laps (only led 24 in 2016), but he will finish the majority of the races in the top 15 (finished 20 races in the top 15 last year). These stats are good for Yahoo Fantasy because Newman is one of the safest picks in the game. They are not very good for Fantasy Live because fantasy teams need drivers who lead laps and score bonus points. That is not who Newman is.
Newman has been the lead driver for Richard Childress Racing since Kevin Harvick left the organization. The balance of power changed in 2016 at RCR with Austin Dillon taking over as the lead driver. The team will do their best to provide the best cars for each of their drivers, but if there is one driver from RCR who I would want going forward it would be Dillon and not Newman.
Newman had his best results in Fantasy Live on the Superspeedways in 2016. In order to score well at these tracks driver must qualify poorly and finish in the top 10. This allows the driver to score maximum bonus points for position differential. Newman was good at qualifying poorly and finishing up front on the Superspeedways last year. He scored the 11th-most points (147) in Fantasy Live at Daytona and Talladega. Newman will be a good pick at these tracks again in 2017.
Newman was a popular pick in Yahoo Fantasy last year because of his consistency to finish in the top 15. Since the game does not require fantasy players to start all of the drivers on their team, Newman was always a good insurance policy to have just in case one of your top drivers performed poorly in practice or qualifying. He should have the same value in 2017.
2017 PREVIEW: it was surprising to see Newman sign a multiple year deal with Richard Childress Racing in 2016. I thought the organization would turn to younger drivers like Ty Dillon for the No. 31 car. Newman will have the same team this year as he had in 2016. Luke Lambert will once again serve as the crew chief and Caterpillar will be the primary sponsor for the car.
Fantasy teams should expect similar stats in 2017 as to what Newman posted last year. The best tracks to use him at the 1.5-mile cookie cutter tracks (Las Vegas, Charlotte, Kansas, Chicago and Texas). His chances of winning any of these races are low, but he should finish in the top 10 at most of them. Newman also has sleeper value at Sonoma. Most people do not consider Newman a good road course driver but he has proven to be able to get the job done. His last three finishes at the track were 8th, 9th and 11th.
I do not expect Newman to be a good pick for Fantasy Live. His price will be too high to match the points he scores in the game. Newman needs to lead laps to become fantasy relevant in Fantasy Live and that is not going to happen.
Newman was placed in Group B of Yahoo Fantasy. Fantasy players should use him the same way they used Newman in 2016… Select him for your team as an insurance policy. His floor (the least amount of points he will score) is pretty high, but his ceiling (the most amount of points he will score) is pretty low. Newman is a safe driver to have on your team.
BEST TRACKS LAST 3 YEARS: LAS VEGAS (7.6 AVG Finish), KENTUCKY (8.6 AVG Finish), SONOMA (9.3 AVG Finish), CHARLOTTE (9.5 AVG Finish), KANSAS (9.5 AVG Finish)
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