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Cap Considerations

Caps After Bristol (Summer)

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway was not exactly the wild card everyone expected. Seven of the top-10 finishers under the lights finished that well the week previous at Michigan International Speedway, while Kyle Busch finished eighth on the short track after scoring an 11th on the two-miler.

The rich just keep on getting richer and it makes it fairly easy to adjust salary caps in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game.

Darlington Raceway and Richmond International Raceway loom on the schedule, however, and fans may yet get some unpredictable results and see some fresh faces at the front of the pack. There are still some good values lurking in the pack, and selecting the right mid-cap drivers will help owners win their leagues.

Gainers

Winning one’s league is not always about picking the winning driver. Consistency is equal to strength, because it allows the fantasy player to make accurate predictions. Carl Edwards has finished his last six races in a narrow band from sixth through 13th with an average of 8.5. He wasn’t always that reliable, however, and that kept his NASCAR.com Fantasy Live salary cap low for a time. Since the 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway he has steadily increased in value from $20.50 to $22.25 and so long as he keeps on rattling off top-10s, the No. 19 driver is still a bargain.

It is fitting that the final laps of the Irwin Tools Night Race came down to a duel between Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick because they are arguably the best drivers in the field at the moment. Since the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, both racers have scored five top-fives and one more top-10. Each of them has one poor finish at Pocono Raceway and both of those were probably the result of gambling: Harvick on his engine; Logano on fuel. Even though they are both expensive, there was still some room to reward them with 25 cent increases and make fantasy owners’ decisions just a little more difficult.

Sam Hornish Jr. is making a claim for being one of the best mid-cap drivers in the field. Still priced under $15, he has scored top-20 finishes in four of his last five attempts and his points match up. Fantasy owners are not winning their league based on his 30-35 points per race, but they are finding him to be a great way to stretch the dollar at the top of the range.

Losers

Last week’s 39 points earned by Jeff Gordon was only his second-best showing in the past five weeks. In two of these events—the Cheez-it 355k at the Glen and the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard—he earned negative points. That is simply not acceptable for a driver commanding more than $24 in salary cap. Bristol should have been a place for him to shine and he actually ran well for a little while there—but ultimately he finished 20th and needed a downward adjustment of 50 cents. Darlington and Richmond should allow him to rebound and he is on the cusp of being a good value, but fantasy owners want to pay close attention to him in the final two regular season races.

Kurt Busch is a victim of his own success. He entered the Windows 10 400 at Pocono with a seven-race streak of top-10s and some steady increases in salary cap. He sustained crash damage in that race and dropped 10 laps off the pace to finish 37th. That seems to have killed his momentum. With a fifth-place bump at Watkins Glen International, he slipped outside the top 10 in his last two starts and needed to make some room at the top of the order for the much more reliable Logano.

Jamie McMurray also received a slight adjustment this week because his top-15 finishes do not always earn points of the same magnitude. In his last nine races, he has earned and average finish of 18.2 but his average ranking in NASCAR.com Fantasy Live points has been 21.2. Last week he finished 11th and scored the 10th-most points, however, and if he can keep that up he should rebound. 

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s Cap

Gainers

Carl Edwards

 $     0.50

 |

 $    22.25

Kevin Harvick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    29.00

Joey Logano

 $     0.25

 |

 $    28.00

Kyle Busch

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.50

Brad Keselowski

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.75

Ryan Newman

 $     0.25

 |

 $    23.50

Austin Dillon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    15.50

Sam Hornish Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.75

Ryan Blaney

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.00

Justin Allgaier

 $     0.25

 |

 $    10.25

Trevor Bayne

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.00

Losers

Kurt Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Jamie McMurray

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    24.75

Martin Truex Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    24.25

Kyle Larson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    22.25

Kasey Kahne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    22.00

Aric Almirola

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    19.75

Tony Stewart

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    15.00

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.50

Danica Patrick

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.25

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    11.25

David Ragan

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    10.00

David Gilliland

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      9.25

Mike Bliss

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.50

Reed Sorenson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.25

Joe Nemechek

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.00

Jeb Burton

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      4.50

Jeff Gordon

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    24.25

 

Dan Beaver
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.