Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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Update: Kansas (Fall)

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Last week, nothing was predictive at Talladega SuperSpeedway—not practice, not a driver’s track record, and certainly not qualification. Combine all those factors and three times zero is still zero, so fantasy owners were on their own while setting their roster. Similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks are quite a bit different.

On the unrestricted, intermediate speedways, it pays to roll off the hauler fast. Teams need a good baseline from which to work and there are not nearly as many surprises as on wild card tracks like restrictor plate superspeedways or short courses. The drivers who topped qualification and practice this week are the same who have the best average finishes on this track type and during the past six weeks.

Unfortunately, that also means they are the most expensive drivers in salary cap games and the most popular in Pick ‘Ems.  This week, it’s going to be hard to win without someone like Martin Truex Jr. or Kyle Larson on the roster, but the real difference is going to be made by drivers overlooked by the competition.

If Ryan Blaney is not on your radar screen this week, it is time to recalibrate that instrument. He posted the third best time, but when his car went through post-qualification inspection, he was found to have an illegal package tray, which is the top lid of the trunk. His time was disallowed and he will officially start 40th. “Officially” is the operative word in that sentence because that is the starting position he will automatically be credited with and not a imposed position from rolling out a backup car or making unapproved adjustments. He is going to earn major place-differential points and as a mid-cap driver, that will make him one of the top values.

Truex is on the other end of the grid, but he too is going to be hard to pass over. He has won the last three races on this track type at Kentucky Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. He finished third in the Coke 600, and won at Kansas in the spring. In most of those races, he was the top points’ earner and there is every reason to believe he will do so again.

Kevin Harvick is another driver hard to overlook. He posted the second-best time in qualification and kept his momentum alive with the quickest 10-lap average in both the Saturday morning and afternoon practice sessions. That gives him a great balance of speed and durability. He is likely to lose the lead early, but in 15 or 20 laps he will surge into the top spot and collect a lot of laps led points.

In terms of 10-lap averages during Happy Hour, Clint Bowyer and Erik Jones were the best drivers in Happy Hour. Both are affordable in cap games and could easily make their way onto one’s roster. The rookie Jones will be the more popular pick this week, however, and that makes Bowyer the better value.

Joey Logano would be one of the drivers to avoid this week. He failed to log a decent speed in final practice with only the 25th-best time of 30 cars that went 10 or more laps. He qualified 17th and is likely to finish outside the top 15 as well. He is not going to earn many points and that makes him a bad value despite his cost. 



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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