Fantasy Article

Rotoworld

5. Chase Elliott

Dan Beaver
Sunday, January 22, 2017

A lot is about to change in NASCAR. A new entitlement sponsor has an emphasis on youth at a time when approximately one quarter of the field will be made up of drivers with four or fewer years’ experience. Several of these drivers land in the top 16 profiles, but one name stands above the rest.

Chase Elliott bridges the gap between the old guard and new. His father Bill Elliott won the 1988 Winston Cup Series championship, but his impact went much deeper. For many years, he was one of the principle rivals of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Darrell Waltrip, and Rusty Wallace. He raced with Benny Parson, Richard Petty, and Cale Yarborough and now it is his son’s time to shine.

Elliott comes along at a time when several top-named drivers are peaking. Teammate Jimmie Johnson might have another couple of championships left in him, but he will not dominate as he once did. In fact, with the new winner-take-all format of the final round it is unlikely that anyone will be able to string a long streak of championships together like Johnson, Earnhardt, and Petty. Once he learns how to win races, however, Elliott is going to be one of best and most consistent fantasy values in the game.

Elliott started last season like he had something to prove. He won the pole for the Daytona 500, lost 40 laps to crash damage, and finished poorly. An accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was reminiscent of another rookie who tore up a lot of No. 24 cars, but once he settled down Elliott was consistent and fast. Fantasy players should recall the frequency with which Jeff Gordon crashed as a rookie and reflect on the career he went on to have.

Despite crashing in two of the first three races last year, Elliott scored 11 top-10s and a 12th in the first 15 races. He sustained crash damage in six of the next 11 races as his focus shifted to making the playoffs. Bracketing this span of disappointments were a pair of second-place finishes at Michigan International Speedway that helped him become the best fantasy value on two-mile tracks. During the playoffs, he finished third twice—at Chicagoland Speedway and Dover International Speedway, which are two completely different tracks to Michigan.

It is his second full season, one should expect him to go further into the playoffs. Chase will qualify for the third round and might even have a shot at the Cup. His biggest impact is going to be overall improvement everywhere, however. Look for him to challenge for wins on unrestricted, intermediate speedways once more, improve his short track program, and run better on one-mile tracks than he did as a rookie.

Victories: None
Top-fives: 10 (.278)
Top-10s: 17 (.472)
Top-15s: 25 (.778)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Best
Fin

Career

Attempts

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Michigan International Speedway +

2.00

2.00

2

2

2

2

2

Chicagoland Speedway

3.00

3.00

3

1

1

3

 

Dover Downs International +

3.00

3.00

3

2

2

3

3

Texas Motor Speedway +

4.50

4.50

4

2

2

5

4

Auto Club Speedway

6.00

6.00

6

1

1

6

 

Atlanta Motor Speedway

8.00

8.00

8

1

1

8

 

Phoenix International Raceway *

8.50

8.50

8

2

2

8

9

Talladega SuperSpeedway

8.50

8.50

5

2

1

5

12

Bristol Motor Speedway

9.50

9.50

4

2

1

4

15

Homestead - Miami Speedway

11.00

11.00

11

1

 

11

 

Watkins Glen International

13.00

13.00

13

1

 

13

 

Richmond International Raceway

15.67

15.67

12

3

 

12

19

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

16.50

16.50

15

2

 

15

 

Pocono Raceway

18.50

18.50

4

2

1

4

33

Charlotte Motor Speedway

19.67

19.67

8

3

1

8

33

Kansas Speedway

20.00

20.00

9

2

1

9

31

Sonoma Raceway

21.00

21.00

21

1

 

21

 

Martinsville Speedway

23.33

23.33

12

3

 

20

12

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

23.50

23.50

13

2

 

34

13

Darlington Raceway

25.50

25.50

10

2

1

10

 

Kentucky Speedway

31.00

31.00

31

1

 

31

 

Daytona International Speedway

34.50

34.50

32

2

 

37

32

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

38.00

38.00

38

1

 

38

 

 

++ Swept Victory Lane
+ Top-five sweeps
* Top-10 sweeps

6. Brad Keselowski 
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
8. Matt Kenseth 
9. Denny Hamlin 
10. Kyle Larson 
11. Martin Truex Jr. 
13. Kasey Kahne 
14. Kurt Busch 
15. Erik Jones 
16. Ryan Blaney