Dan Beaver

Fantasy Power Rankings

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Power Ranking After: Phoenix

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The similarly-configured, 1.5-mile and short, flat tracks measuring one-mile or less dominate the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. To challenge for the championship, drivers have to excel on these courses—and that means they are also among the most important venues for fantasy players.

Kevin Harvick’s dominance in the past three weeks has skewed the perspective so much that it can be difficult to determine who else has been strong, and that is one reason for the Fantasy Power Rankings.

1. Kevin Harvick
It has taken three weeks of dominance to overcome a poor finish at Daytona International Speedway, but Kevin Harvick has finally assumed the top spot in this week’s Fantasy Power Rankings. With a 4.96 to Martin Truex Jr.’s 6.68, he has a sizeable lead that is not going to be lost at Auto Club. Harvick’s three wins mark the first time this feat has been accomplished since Joey Logano did so in 2015 during the Contender round of the Chase.

2. Martin Truex Jr.
It appears that Martin Truex Jr. has not picked up where he left off, but that is as much perception as reality. Harvick has been so dominant that everyone else is racing for top-fives. Truex has been the best in class with three consecutive results of fourth or fifth in the last three weeks. Add in last year’s finals and he has eight top-fives in the past nine races.

3. Denny Hamlin
No one has a perfect record of top-10s through four races this year, but three drivers have three top-fives. Along with Harvick and Truex, Denny Hamlin has been one of the most consistent performers this season and the only time he failed to finish that well was because of a gamble at Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks ago.

4. Kyle Busch
Finishing second is never what a driver wants, but when he has to keep chasing the same car, it gets even more frustrating. Busch was the runner-up to Harvick at both Vegas and last week in Phoenix. That was his third second-place finish in the last five races, which has to be getting just a little frustrating. On the other hand, he is earning a ton of points for Fantasy NASCAR owners.

5. Kurt Busch
Last week defined what is both frustrating and exhilarating for fantasy owners. Busch gambled by staying out in stage two of the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway and then had to battle back to make up his lost track position when he pitted off sequence. He finished 10th, but was a better value in some games because of his stage win.

6. Joey Logano
His struggles last week came as a bit of a surprise considering that Joey Logano entered the weekend as the only driver with a sweep of the top 10. Not only was his 19th-place finish a disappointment, but he failed to finish on the lead lap for the first time in seven races. That caused him to drop four positions to sixth on the chart, but Auto Club Speedway should allow him to rebound since he has back-to-back top-fives there.

7. Brad Keselowski
None of the Penske pilots performed particularly well at Phoenix last week, but Brad Keselowski spent a little more time at the head of the field when he got off sequence in the final stage of the race. With fresher rubber in the final laps, he finished on the lead lap and salvaged a top-15.

8. Ryan Blaney
The biggest loser this week was Ryan Blaney. With results of 12th or better in the first three races and a particularly strong showing in the Daytona 500, he managed to hold onto the top spot. In the TicketGuardian 500, he finished just outside the top 15 in 16th. But he never challenged for a top-10 so his Average Running Position, Driver Rating, and Laps in the Top 15 were nothing short of mediocre.

9. Clint Bowyer
Stewart-Haas Racing placed all four of their drivers in the top 10 last week and Clint Bowyer continues to be one of this year’s best dark horses. If he keeps scoring top-15s like he did with a sixth in the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway, he is not going to catch anyone by surprise in the coming weeks. If he is on your roster in keeper leagues, wait for him to score sub-15th-place finishes in at least two consecutive races.

10. Kyle Larson
The TicketGuardian 500 weekend started with a lot of promise for Kyle Larson. He posted one of the best times in each practice session and rocketed off the grid to lead the opening laps. He might have warped his brakes trying to keep up with the blistering pace set by Ky Busch and Harvick, however, and dropped badly in the closing laps.

Dropped From The Top 10

12. Aric Almirola
Aric Almirola fell out of the top 10 this week despite finishing seventh at Phoenix. The reason for this was that he did not spend a lot of time at the front of the pack. He had only the 13th-best Average Running Position last week, the 15th-best Laps in the Top 15, and failed to record a single Fastest Lap during the event.   

 

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This Week

Driver

Avg Finish

Last Week

Difference

1.

Kevin Harvick

4.96

3

2

2.

Martin Truex Jr.

6.68

4

2

3.

Denny Hamlin

7.48

6

3

4.

Kyle Busch

7.93

8

4

5.

Kurt Busch

8.04

5

0

6.

Joey Logano

8.22

2

-4

7.

Brad Keselowski

8.52

7

0

8.

Ryan Blaney

9.24

1

-7

9.

Clint Bowyer

9.52

12

3

10.

Kyle Larson

10.77

10

0

 

 

 

 

 

11.

Ryan Newman

11.95

13

2

12.

Aric Almirola

12.09

9

-3

13.

Chase Elliott

12.20

17

4

14.

Erik Jones

13.64

18

4

15.

Alex Bowman

14.57

14

-1

16.

Paul Menard

15.25

11

-5

17.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

15.39

16

-1

18.

Austin Dillon

15.82

15

-3

19.

Daniel Suarez

17.81

20

1

20.

Brendan Gaughan

19.80

23

3

21.

Jamie McMurray

20.62

28

7

22.

William Byron

20.75

29

7

23.

Jimmie Johnson

21.38

27

4

24.

Trevor Bayne

21.64

21

-3

25.

Kasey Kahne

21.95

26

1

26.

Darrell Wallace Jr.

22.43

19

-7

27.

Michael McDowell

22.61

22

-5

28.

David Gilliland

24.60

30

2

29.

AJ Allmendinger

24.65

25

-4

30.

Chris Buescher

24.80

24

-6

31.

Justin Marks

24.80

31

0

32.

David Ragan

26.10

32

0

33.

Ty Dillon

27.48

34

1

34.

Matt DiBenedetto

27.80

33

-1

35.

Danica Patrick

29.20

35

0

36.

Cole Custer

29.25

 

 

37.

Cole Whitt

31.00

40

3

38.

Mark Thompson

31.00

38

0

39.

Ross Chastain

31.19

41

2

40.

DJ Kennington

32.00

37

-3

41.

Gray Gaulding

32.90

39

-2

42.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

32.90

39

-3

43.

Timmy Hill

34.00

 

 

44.

Harrison Rhodes

34.40

42

-2

45.

Joey Gase

35.75

 

 

46.

Corey LaJoie

36.18

43

-3

 

Power Rankings
After Las Vegas 1 
After Atlanta 
After Daytona 1

 



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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