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Cap Considerations

Caps After NH (Fall)

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

There were a few more losers than gainers in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game this week, but a few of the gainers increased by 50 cents, so the net difference was zero. Keeping a balance between the two insure that the salary caps do not get out of hand and fantasy players are required to add hot drivers as they drop or renegotiate the caps of drivers who seem to be losing steam.

Winning the Fantasy Live game is not only about figuring out which drivers are going to finish among the top 10, but how to manage the mid- and low-cap drivers. Astute players who have been reading this article each week probably have a good idea of how the salary cap manager’s brain works—in fact, they may have a better idea than he does himself. If you have not been reading this article regularly, there is still time to go back and study.

Gainers

When Kevin Harvick quipped that he would grind Joe Gibbs Racing into the ground, he did not anticipate them winning the first two races of the Chase. It is notable that Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin chased him so hard in the final laps of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that they forced him to run out of fuel. For their teamwork, both increased in salary cap value. Hamlin’s victory at Chicagoland Speedway and second-place finish at New Hampshire allowed him to increase by 75 cents during the past three weeks to settle in at $27. Kenseth took a 50 cent jump this week to $27.25 based on three victories in the past eight weeks.

Carl Edwards also took a 50 cent increase this week, but he is still a bargain at $24.25. His current 11-race streak of top-15s insured that he has been getting progressively more expensive, but his meteoric rise has outpaced these increases. There is still time to lock him in at a relatively low price, but fantasy owners should be aware that as fast as his results improved, he could lose momentum. That is one reason the salary cap manager is hesitant to make adjustments in greater than 50 or occasionally 75 cent increments.

Ryan Newman earned back to back top-10s during the Chase for the Championship and he did so in dramatic fashion. He passed 10 cars in the final five laps of the MyAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland and spent only one lap—the final one—inside the top 10 in the Sylvania 300. It is not only his finishing results that contributed to his increase, however; he has outperformed his salary cap in four of the last five races this season.

Losers

For quite some time we have been suggesting caution where Kyle Busch is concerned. While the tire problem could have had nothing to do with a risky setup—and Goodyear would likely have announced that if it were the case—the fact remains that he was the only Chase driver to experience a blown tire. His strong run since returning to the cockpit has him as the third-most expensive driver, even after taking a 25 cent hit to $27.50. Keep an eye on him this week because if he struggles again this week, he will be even cheaper before Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski’s 25 cent adjustment this week is more of a reality check than an insult. He has been running well during the past dozen races, but with more top-10s than top-fives he needs to be a little less expensive to make room for the rising Gibbs’ guys.

Jimmie Johnson is getting closer to his natural level while he is concurrently showing signs of improvement. Since the end of the Pure Michigan 400, he has lost $1 in total value and now sits at $26. He has shown promise in the last couple of races, but his dollar-to-points ratio was not enough to leave him at his current rate. If he turns on the afterburners like he did in previous Chases, this is an opportunity to lock him in at a relatively cheap price because he is currently only the ninth-most expensive driver in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game.

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s cap

Gainers

Matt Kenseth

 $     0.50

 |

 $    27.25

Ryan Newman

 $     0.50

 |

 $    24.50

Carl Edwards

 $     0.50

 |

 $    24.25

Denny Hamlin

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.00

Jeff Gordon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    24.00

Greg Biffle

 $     0.25

 |

 $    19.25

Sam Hornish Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    15.00

Trevor Bayne

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.00

Casey Mears

 $     0.25

 |

 $    13.75

Cole Whitt

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.00

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    11.75

Brett Moffitt

 $     0.25

 |

 $      7.25

Josh Wise

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.50

Timmy Hill

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.00

Jeb Burton

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.00

Losers

Kyle Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.50

Brad Keselowski

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.75

Kurt Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.50

Jimmie Johnson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.00

Jamie McMurray

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    23.75

Clint Bowyer

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    23.00

Kyle Larson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.75

Austin Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.75

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.50

Danica Patrick

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.00

David Ragan

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      9.75

David Gilliland

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      8.75

Landon Cassill

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      8.00

Matt DiBenedeto

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.25

Alex Bowman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.00

Michael Annett

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.50

Travis Kvapil

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      4.50

 

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.