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Cap Considerations

Caps After Pocono (Summer)

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

“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.”

It looked good on paper. Three consecutive flat track races should have provided plenty of data to make significant changes to the NASCAR Fantasy Live Salary caps. A truly bizarre start to the Windows 10 400 caused a rash of cautions early that affected some of the biggest drivers in the series. Accidents for Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch were joined by an early blown engine for Kevin Harvick to create some roster-busters.

The event then settled into some long green flag segments that eventually set up a fuel-mileage race in which the three dominant drivers Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. ran out of gas in the final circuits. That can be difficult to account for and the Fantasy Live points got shuffled. There is a reason why the formula used to set the caps looks at all of the scoring categories and not simply finishing results—and this is that reason.

Gainers

This does not happen very often, but occasionally a driver is so strong on a track type that he gets a bump before the event. AJ Allmendinger has been consistently strong at Watkins Glen and the fact that he is coming off a top-10 last week at Pocono Raceway certainly doesn’t hurt matters any. He has also trended up slightly in the past three weeks and deserves his 50 cent increase to $15.75. If he fails to challenge for the victory of the Cheez-it 355k at the Glen, expect him to drop next week.  

Kyle Busch rolled the dice and failed to cover the point but his gamble did not affect him greatly as he still finished ahead of most of the drivers on the cusp of the top 30. That was cold comfort to fantasy owners who expected him to win at his Pocono price of $26.25, but his show of strength was still enough to raise him a quarter. That happened mostly so that he climbs into the range of the top-priced drivers.

The Gibbs’ guys have been getting a little stronger with each passing week and their cap adjustments continue. This week it was Matt Kenseth’s turn to get a salary increase, but not because he won the Windows 400. His victory was a function of fuel mileage, but he was running solidly in the top 10 before that happened and either way he was going to achieve a four-race, top-10 streak.

Losers

Each time Harvick stumbles at all, the cap managers like to take the opportunity to drop his salary cap just a little. Momentum can be lost in a heartbeat and a 42nd-place finish could very well prove to be a catalyst for negative change. It is likely that the No. 4 team will rebound immediately, but he is still the most expensive driver in the game by more than $1 at $28.75 so his fans should not complain about the minor adjustment.

Jimmie Johnson continues to look just a little anemic and for that reason he is slipping down the cap ranking to make room for drivers like Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. The changing of the guard at the front of the pack can sometimes be subtle and now that “Six-time” is well into his 14th season, he could begin to experience some of the same issues that eventually slowed teammate Jeff Gordon. It’s not time to write him off, but he will not command top dollar until he goes back to challenging for the win every week. He is still pricey at $27.25.

For that matter, all of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers have been on a downward slide in recent races, so Dale Earnhardt Jr., Gordon, and Kahne all took a 25 cent hit this week. Kahne is the least expensive of the group, but he has also been the most prone to poor finishes and his current cap of $23 is not as low as he will go.   

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s Cap

Gainers

AJ Allmendinger

 $     0.50

 |

 $    15.75

Kyle Busch

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.50

Matt Kenseth

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.00

Greg Biffle

 $     0.25

 |

 $    19.25

Cole Whitt

 $     0.25

 |

 $    11.00

Boris Said

 $     0.25

 |

 $    10.00

Justin Allgaier

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.75

Landon Cassill

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.25

Matt DiBenedeto

 $     0.25

 |

 $      6.75

Michael Annett

 $     0.25

 |

 $      6.00

Losers

Kevin Harvick

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    28.75

Jimmie Johnson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.00

Denny Hamlin

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.25

Jeff Gordon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    25.75

Jamie McMurray

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    25.50

Martin Truex Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    24.75

Kasey Kahne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    23.00

Aric Almirola

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.25

Sam Hornish Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.00

Alex Bowman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.75

Alex Kennedy

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.50

 

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.