Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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Update: Texas (Fall)

Saturday, November 4, 2017


Texas is a track on which it pays dividends to roll off the hauler fast. Most of the speed on a course like this is found in the wind tunnel or engine shop, but from a fantasy standpoint, it is necessary to confirm that speed. Several drivers were fast throughout the weekend and they are the ones that should anchor fantasy rosters.

The potentially best value is Kurt Busch. His pole-winning speed of 200.915 mph set a record for 1.5-mile tracks—if indeed, Texas Motor Speedway is still a 1.5-mile track after its reconfiguration—but regardless of that quibble, he was the best man in the session. Topping the 200 mile mark is a milestone on any course and in this case, five drivers managed it. What sets Busch apart is the fact that he was able to back up his top speed with another strong run in the first Saturday session and that means he is likely to pace the field early and earn some laps led bonuses.

In the morning session, Kyle Larson led the pack in terms of 10-lap averages with a speed of 189.152 mph. He also topped the charts in Happy Hour with a speed of 189.145 and that suggests he is going to have the edge if the race goes green for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, he rolls off the grid outside the top 10 and he can only be guaranteed a top-five finish if the race ends in a long green flag run. He could be a great value, but he is expensive enough to make him questionable

Erik Jones was second-quick in both sessions with a 188.864 mph average in Saturday’s first session and a 189.009 in Happy Hour. From a price to potentially points’ earning ratio he is a great value, but players have to struggle with the knowledge that as a rookie he is far from predictable. Two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway, he made a mistake that cost several drivers a strong finish and that could happen again. He also has the ability to score a top-10, however, and should make a majority of rosters.

One also has to look for bargains elsewhere and Chase Elliott leaps to the front of mind. He failed to clear inspection on Friday, which means he is going to roll off the grid 34th. His bad news—and rest assured it is bad news in regard to a potential win—is good news for fantasy players because he is liable to score at least 24–29 place-differential points to go along with a top-10 finish.

Likewise Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano are going to be good values in this regard. They also failed to clear inspection, will roll off the grid 35th and 36th respectively, and have the potential to score top-10s. Neither driver has been as consistent or strong as Elliott in recent weeks, but then again they are not as expensive as Elliott so players need to evaluate the cost-to-points ratio.

Trevor Bayne starts 37th. He will not earn a top-10, but he could still be a top-10 points earner with a big enough place-differential. He was already one of our top picks this week in the Daily Fantasy article [http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nas/75558/463/dfs-texas-(fall)] and there is no reason to turn our back on him. Bayne should contend for a top-15 unless he gets involved in an incident early in the AAA Texas 500 because he is mired in traffic.  



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.
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