Dan Beaver

Cap Considerations

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Caps After Talladega (Spring)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


The past month has been challenging for handicappers and managers of cap games. The majority of races have come on short tracks and last week’s restrictor-plate, Talladega SuperSpeedway. While one might implement some sweeping changes to accommodate the three races on tracks less than a mile in length, consideration still had to be made for Texas Motor Speedway three weeks ago as well as the upcoming events at Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Additionally, NASCAR’s three short tracks—Martinsville Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and Richmond International Raceway—are each dissimilar from one another enough to make a challenge of lumping those together.

The unrestricted, intermediate speedways host the most events. A cap structure like the one used for NASCAR Fantasy Live tends to make modest changes so that both players who implement place-and-hold strategies as well as those with a single-game mindset can enjoy the experience.

This week, there were 13 gainers and 16 losers, with a net effect of a $1 loss. Pretty much that entire loss could be attributed to a readjustment of Dale Earnhardt Jr. after his one-race bump for the Geico 500.

And that is as good a place to start this week’s article as anywhere. Earnhardt seems to be having a little more fun in the past couple of weeks now that he has announced he will retire at the end of 2017, but that has not improved his performance one bit.  A 30th at Richmond and 22nd at Talladega failed to provide sufficient fantasy points to make him relevant in any game. He is still overpriced at $20.50 and will continue to fall unless he begins challenging for top-10s.

The remainder of the drivers who experienced a loss in salary cap this week fall into the category of adjustments. Of the 29 drivers who went up or down, all but three of them moved by only 25 cents. Some of them, like Joey Logano and Kyle Larson experienced cuts to make the top a little cleaner and reflect the relative strength of the top three.

The difference between Logano’s $28.00 price tag last week and $27.75 this week might not seem like much unless one is really struggling on a mid-cap decision. The same is true of Larson, who fell to $27.50. Both drivers still demand to be the designated marquee driver of the week when they are started. And, if they finish top five while Brad Keselowski stumbles, they could be more expensive after the GoBowling.com 400.

Erik Jones is another driver for whom there was an attitude adjustment this week. He has been progressively more expensive since the Daytona 500. His cap raised $1.25 over the course of six weeks and then stabilized after the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500. He is starting to look increasingly like a rookie, however, with the erratic results that are often associated with first-year drivers. Jones can be signed for $20.

Meanwhile, Daniel Suarez seems to be gaining ground on Jones. They began the season with only a $1 separation, but Jones’ early run widened the gap. Because he seemed a little more tentative in early races, Suarez lost some cap early, gained a little back during the next several weeks, and added one more quarter after Talladega. He is currently priced at $17 and is a good value at that—so long as he does not make a rookie mistake on the 1.5-mile tracks during the next two weeks.

Clint Bowyer continues to increase in value. Based on his relative strength compared to other drivers, his natural level would comfortably be in the low- to mid-$20 and he is getting close to that at $20.50. If a fantasy player placed-and-held him after Daytona when he was $15.25, there is no way he can be let go. So long as he challenges for top-10s, he is still a good value for anyone late to the bandwagon.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the other big mover. His 50 cent increase to $15.50 had less to do with his Geico 500 run at Talladega and more to do with his overall performance this season. Trimming to two cars and having Young Gun peers behind the wheel has been the right balance for Roush-Fenway Racing and both Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne have been among the most improved in the field. Bayne also took a 25 cent bump to $18.75.

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

 2509 cap

Gainers

Clint Bowyer

 $     0.50

 |

 $    20.50

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $     0.50

 |

 $    15.50

Kevin Harvick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.50

Jimmie Johnson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.00

Denny Hamlin

 $     0.25

 |

 $    25.50

Jamie McMurray

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.25

Ryan Newman

 $     0.25

 |

 $    19.25

Trevor Bayne

 $     0.25

 |

 $    18.75

Daniel Suarez

 $     0.25

 |

 $    17.00

Ty Dillon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    13.75

Aric Almirola

 $     0.25

 |

 $    13.75

Chris Buescher

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.75

Brendan Gaughan

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.75

Losers

Joey Logano

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.75

Kyle Larson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.50

Matt Kenseth

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    24.50

Kasey Kahne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.75

Kurt Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.25

Ryan Blaney

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.75

Austin Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.00

Erik Jones

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.00

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    15.00

Paul Menard

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.25

Danica Patrick

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    10.50

Michael McDowell

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      9.75

Landon Cassill

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.50

Matt DiBenedetto

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.50

DJ Kennington

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      4.75

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (1.00)

 |

 $    20.50

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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