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Cap Considerations

Caps After Dover (Fall)

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

The Chase contenders were less dominant overall at Dover International Speedway—allowing four non-Chasers to grab top-10 finishes.  Fantasy owners want to watch closely to see if this is a trend that continues, because it will impact the NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Game. The top-16 drivers achieved their status by being the fastest in the field, but if the drivers currently ranked 17th and below start scoring single digit results, they are going to supplant the contenders.

Three of the usurpers increased in value this week as Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. achieved modest bumps. That means many of the Chase contenders needed negative adjustments to achieve balance in the salary caps.

Auto racing is a zero sum game. For every position a driver improves, he passes someone else in the field and this was notable among the two most expensive drivers. Kevin Harvick reassumed his top spot in the standings and took 25 cents away from Joey Logano.

Gainers

Harvick gained 25 cents this week, but he is still slightly less expensive than he was entering the Federated 400 at Richmond International Raceway. At $28.75, he is actually still a bargain after earning 305 points last week. The next most prolific driver was Kurt Busch and he garnered only 83. Last week at New Hampshire, he also earned the most points with a relatively modest 159. Harvick thrives under pressure, but don’t look for him to continue to dig holes for his team to climb from. He will challenge for top-fives for the remainder of the Chase.

Joe Gibbs Racing is still Harvick’s greatest challenge and Carl Edwards remains undervalued. For the sixth straight week he increased by 50 cents and can still be signed for slightly less than $25. He has been a top-five points’ producer three times in the last five races even though he is only the 10th-most expensive driver. His cap is slowly catching up to him, but he remains one of the best bargains in this game.

Almirola deserves notice not only for his fourth-place finish in the AAA 400, but for how he has run since late August. In the NASCAR Fantasy Live game, he has been a top-10 earner four times in the past six races and grabbed the 12th-most points on another occasion. He has hovered around the $20 mark and had a couple of rough races that actually dropped him momentarily. Currently at $20.50, he should start showing steady increases so long as he challenges for top-10s.

Losers

Logano did not lose ground so much as he was passed by Harvick, but the momentum in the Penske Racing organization seems to be stalling ever so slightly. Penalized at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, teammate Brad Keselowski was not particularly productive at Dover either and both of them saw decreases in value. Logano remains the second-most expensive driver at $28.50, while Kez sits at $27. Either of them could anchor a team if they have solid practice sessions, but it is difficult to commit before the race begins.

Jimmie Johnson’s mechanical failure at Dover was unforeseen and it dropped him from Chase contention. It also called into question his ability to turn his fortune around and make a patented late-season surge. He ran well in the first two Chase races, but did not challenge for victories. His malaise at the end of the regular season already had him trending down, and in the past six weeks he has lost $1 to settle in at $25.50.

For the second time during the Chase, Denny Hamlin made a mistake that cost him. Unlike Chicagoland Speedway where he won on a tire gamble, he was unable to get back on the lead lap in time to contend for a victory and he earned a disappointing 10 points for his AAA 400 effort. This came on the heels of four consecutive top-three points’ showings, but his cap is too expensive not to adjust him for those two gaffes.

 

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s cap

Gainers

Carl Edwards

 $     0.50

 |

 $    24.75

Kevin Harvick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    28.75

Kyle Busch

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.75

Matt Kenseth

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.50

Jeff Gordon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    24.25

Kyle Larson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.00

Aric Almirola

 $     0.25

 |

 $    20.50

Greg Biffle

 $     0.25

 |

 $    19.50

Sam Hornish Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    15.25

Casey Mears

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.00

Danica Patrick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.25

Cole Whitt

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.25

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.00

Justin Allgaier

 $     0.25

 |

 $    10.25

David Ragan

 $     0.25

 |

 $    10.00

David Gilliland

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.00

Alex Kennedy

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.75

JJ Yeley

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.50

Losers

Joey Logano

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    28.50

Brad Keselowski

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.00

Denny Hamlin

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.75

Kurt Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.25

Ryan Newman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    24.25

Martin Truex Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    23.50

Clint Bowyer

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    22.75

Paul Menard

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.75

Austin Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.50

Tony Stewart

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.75

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.25

Landon Cassill

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.75

Brett Moffitt

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.00

Alex Bowman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.75

Michael Annett

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.25

Jimmie Johnson

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    25.50

 

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.