Dan Beaver

NASCAR Fantasy Live Preview

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Fantasy Live: Coke Zero 400

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


In the NASCAR America Fantasy Live game with 10-week contests and unlimited usage of drivers, there is no compelling reason to leave the Big 3 in the garage. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. are as likely to score top-fives as anyone in the field.

They are just as likely to wreck, however, and this spring, the Big 3 all finished outside the top 15.

There is a strategy play that can be made regarding their use – but it depends on what a player hopes to accomplish. In only the second week of this round, no one needs to make up a ton of points, but this week could establish the tone for the next eight. The majority of rosters will have Harvick, Busch, and Truex activated. If they crash, you are going to be affected as much as everyone else if they are on your roster.

If you go with drivers who are traditionally strong on plate tracks – and guess correctly about the Fab 5 – then you might rocket into the top 10 percent.

Joey Logano
It is virtually impossible to string four restrictor-plate superspeedway top-fives together, but that is what Joey Logano will attempt his week. He was fourth last fall in the Alabama 500 and then again in the Daytona 500. He won the Geico 500 this spring. Logano had another streak of three results sixth or better at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, so he knows how to stay out trouble on the big tracks.

Ryan Newman
Last week, Ryan Newman was in the headlines for the wrong reason – holding up the leader. This week after the Coke Zero 400, he could be talked about for what he’s done right. Newman hates to be passed – whether it is for the lead or to get lapped by the leader – and that kind of tenacity has often played in his favor on plate tracks. He is the only driver entered this week with four consecutive top-10s on this track type and hat did not come by chance.

Aric Almirola
Aric Almirola came within a half-lap of winning the Daytona 500 until he was spun out of the lead by Austin Dillon. He had a great run last week at Chicagoland before a pair of loose wheels spoiled his day. Eventually Fate has to smile on him – just as it did in this race back in 2014. Almirola knows the way to Victory Lane based on that trip four years ago, but even when he misses the top spot on podium, his value is evident. He enters the weekend with three top-fives, another pair of top-10s. and a perfect record of top-15s in his last seven plate races.

Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch has been a little more hit and miss on plate tracks than the other drivers in this week’s top four, but he has a reputation for running well on the this course type. He has also done a good job of keeping from scoring two bad results in a row this year, so coming off a finish outside the top 15 last week at Chicagoland suggests he is going to stay out of trouble in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. If that happens, he should be able to score a top-five.

Greatest Differentiator

David Ragan
Last year, David Ragan got off to a slow start on the plate track with a 25th in the Daytona 500. He swept the top 10 in the next three races on this track type. He got off to another bad start this year with a 30th at Daytona and then scored a sixth at Talladega. If he is able to repeat last year’s feat, Ragan could be the differentiator between winning and losing.

Garage Pick

The Dominators
There is no safe pick this week. Everyone in field is as likely to get involved in an incident as the next driver, but you should pay close attention to your roster this week in case there is a 'Big One' crash in the first two stages. If you start primarily dark horses as your top five, make sure to have one of the Big 3 in the garage.

Red Flag

Ryan Blaney
While no one can predict who will be in an accident, there are a few drivers who are crash prone. Ryan Blaney has been involved in at least 11 accidents in the last eight races. He managed to overcome the damage on three occasions and finish in the top 10, but he has also failed to finish three times. Starting him constitutes a roll of the dice.



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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