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Fantasy NASCAR Driver Rankings for 2016

RotoExperts Staff February 9, 2016 1:45PM EDT
It’s that time of year again, as February means the start of the new Sprint Cup Series season. We have compiled our Top 30 NASCAR rankings for all formats, including Salary Cap (such as NASCAR Fantasy Live) and tiered leagues (Yahoo Sports) and Daily Fantasy Sports.

 Daniel E. Dobish's RankingsAnalysis
1Joey LoganoLogano came up short in his bid for a chance at the title, although he was one of the hottest drivers in the Chase. Logano's championship urge will burn white hot in 2016 and he is the top option in NASCAR Fantasy Live and all other formats.
2Jimmie JohnsonThe six-time title winner Johnson is a must-start Fantasy play at tracks like Martinsville and Dover in Yahoo, so make sure to plan accordingly and don't burn up your starts early. And while he isn't bad on restrictor-plate tracks, that's not his forte.
3Kevin HarvickHarvick has matured over the past few seasons, and he can no longer be discounted when discussing title contenders. He is especially attractive for Fantasy owners at plate runs as well as most tri-ovals. You'll always get bang for your buck in DFS at these type of tracks.
4Denny HamlinHamlin has had difficulty staying healthy over the past couple of seasons, but when he is on, he is on. He is especially dangerous on the short tracks in his home state of Virginia, so make sure to budget well in Yahoo where starts are limited per driver.
5Matt KensethKenseth rolled up five victories last season, second-most in Sprint Cup, and he had 12 Top 5s. He is a contender week in and week out, but he is a top-tier DFS play at Bristol, Kentucky, Las Vegas and Michigan. Avoid him in all Fantasy formats on the road courses.
6Kyle BuschRowdy rolled to his first championship last season, and it was well deserved. Love him or hate him he is one of the most talented wheel men out there. He owns the short tracks at Bristol and Richmond, and is one of the better bets on road courses for Fantasy owners.
7Brad KeselowskiKeselowski was spinning his wheels for most of his disappointing 2015. He has just one win and a single-digit amount of Top 5 finishes. Despite the down year, he cannot be discounted by Fantasy owners, particularly on flat tracks like New Hampshire and Pocono, as well as plate tracks.
8Carl EdwardsEdwards is as consistent as they come, and he'll be even more comfortable with his JGR teammates in his second season with the organization. He is better than most at Auto Club, Charlotte, Dover, Homestead and Michigan, so plan ahead in Yahoo and don't waste those starts early.
9Dale Earnhardt Jr.Little E turned in three victories with 16 Top 5s and 22 Top 10s in 2015, a great season. However, he flamed out early in the Chase. Earnhardt is a must-have on restrictor-plate tracks, as that's where he excels the most, but he has also shown well recently at Michigan and Pocono, so remember him there.
10Kurt BuschThe elder Busch missed a handful of races to start the season, but he made up for lost time and was in the mix more often than not. He won't have a large hole to climb out of this season. He is a threat to get off to a hot start for Fantasy owners at Daytona, as restrictor-plate tracks are where he fares best, but he is also a top-notch short track option, too.
11Kyle LarsonLarson will be a great value in DFS early on. Larson is a great driver who has only scratched the surface in Cup, and he isn't intimidated at the difficult stops. Larson has fared really well at Darlington and Pocono, for instance, where most other young drivers have wilted under the pressure.
12Austin DillonDillon will take a major jump in 2016, perhaps even recording his first Sprint Cup Series victory. Look for a major leap forward, especially at plate tracks and intermediates where he runs the best.
13Jamie McMurrayJamie Mac toiled in mediocrity for many years, but posted a strong season and entry into the Chase. Look for him to build off that success in '16. He is always good on plate runs, but has notched wins in recent years at Charlotte and Indianapolis, showing he is not just a one-trick Fantasy pony.
14Aric AlmirolaAlmirola continues to slowly but surely improve, and he is really making up ground at the short tracks. Fantasy owners in Yahoo will find him surprisingly useful on flat runs like New Hampshire and Phoenix, too.
15Martin Truex Jr.MTJ was a Cinderella story last season, racing to the final lap for a title and coming up just short. Expect a hard fall for the one-man team this season.
16Kasey KahneKahne hasn't exactly lit the world afire in his time with Hendrick so far, but 10 Top 10 finishes last season wasn't too shabby. He seems to excel most on intermediates, shining particularly well for Fantasy owners at Atlanta, Charlotte and Kansas, while handling himself well on flats, too.
17Chase ElliottThe rookie Elliott has gargantuan shoes to fill, taking over for the retired Jeff Gordon. If anyone can do it, Elliott can. He has great bloodlines, and, more importantly, amazing driving skills. He isn't a bad No. 3 or 4 Fantasy driver despite his rookie status, especially on the 2 1/2-mile tracks and superspeedways.
18Ryan NewmanEveryone tries to write off Newman each season, but all he does is produce and contend for the Chase. His work on the flat tracks has been extraordinary, and he excels on the cement at Dover, too.
19Clint BowyerBowyer is great at certain tracks, and terrible at many others. He needs to be a little less erratic to get back to the top. He can be a DFS value on plate tracks and short tracks, particularly Richmond. He is also an above-average road course driver, so remember him in Yahoo this summer for runs at Sonoma and, particularly, Watkins Glen.
20Ryan BlaneyThe diminutive Blaney, who stands less than 5-foot tall, will drive full-time for the Wood Bros. He might not contend for the Chase, but he will produce a handful of Top 10s and he'll be solid on plate runs.
21Trevor BayneBayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, is always a threat at restrictor-plate tracks. He has picked up the pace on intermediate tracks, especially the two-milers, and he is a surprisingly decent road track driver if you're looking for a sleeper in DFS.
22Paul MenardMenard was consistently mediocre last season, ranking in the Top 14, but posted just two Top 5s and five Top 10s. He is a good driver to remember in NASCAR's Fantasy Live for his good work on intermediates, and he has had success at Indianapolis. However he is a train wreck at road courses, so avoid.
23Tony StewartSmoke's biggest problem is between his ears after some off-track issues. He enters his final Cup season, but don't expect a Jeff Gordon-esque Hollywood finish. He is still a threat to win at road courses, where he has excelled over the years, and he is a tremendous Fantasy option at the flat tracks, including Indy.
24A.J. AllmendingerThe 'Dinger is a threat on the road courses, and a win at Sonoma or Watkins Glen could propel him into the Chase. Other than that he is rather mediocre for Fantasy owners.
25Danica PatrickDanica catches a lot of flak for her commercials, yoga poses and everything but racing. But she has shown slight improvement, and is an especially decent value in salary-cap games at restrictor-plate tracks.
26Regan SmithThe talented Smith catches a full time ride with Tommy Baldwin Racing, and he could be a value on select tracks like Charlotte and Darlington, especially for DFS players.
27Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Danica's boyfriend hasn't made a ton of progress, but he did turn in three Top 10s in 2015. Once in a blue moon he can surprise for Fantasy owners, especially at Bristol where he has been surprisingly effective over the years.
28Chris BuescherThe 2015 Xfinity Series champion bumps up to a full-time ride with Front Row Motorsports. He is a nice Fantasy sleeper for early in the season, and he won't have as much exposure as some of the bigger names.
29Greg Biffle'The Biff' has aged quickly and descended down the standings rather rapidly. He just can't be trusted in Fantasy anymore, although his strong career numbers at Homestead, Las Vegas and Michigan are hard to ignore.
30Casey MearsMears showed some signs of life in 2015, and is especially useful as a sleeper on plate runs and road courses.

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