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Daniel Suarez
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Cap Considerations

Draft Kings: STP 500

by Dan Beaver

Martinsville is generally considered a wild card track. Much like Daytona International Speedway, circumstances can often dictate how a driver finishes because a slight mistake during the race can be catastrophic with lost laps and track position.

As on most courses, the cream tends to rise to the top, however, and that puts a strain on salary cap considerations since one has to roll the dice on mid-priced and bargain basement drivers. The saving grace is that there are some good deals to be had if one is intrepid enough to start some of the cheaper drivers in the field.


Group A: 5 Most Expensive (>=$10,800)

Kyle Busch ($13,000)

Draft Kings keeps raising the price on Busch hoping to make him prohibitively expensive. Quite frankly, they’re not there yet. Even with a price tag of $13,000, Busch is still earning the most points per thousand dollars spent at 6.97. His closest competition is Brad Keselowski ($12,400) at 4.95. Busch’s last seven efforts on this half-mile bullring all ended in top-fives including win in spring 2016 and fall 2017. His last two attempts this season netted near perfect Driver Ratings from NASCAR and he is going to keep right on rolling.

Group B: (Between $10,200 and $8,200)

Denny Hamlin ($9,400)
After his solid performance at Phoenix, Hamlin has become increasingly fantasy relevant on short, flat tracks. Martinsville is another track on which he has excelled in the past with five wins – the most recent coming in 2015. Last fall, he showed why he is so strong on this track. He patiently waited for Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. to get into a tussle and almost drove past the pair as they banged off one another. He had to settle for second instead, but that was a great result nonetheless.

Aric Almirola ($8,700)
This has not been a traditionally strong venue for Almirola and he has not scored a top-10 at Martinsville since 2014. That is going to have him flying beneath the radar screen and could make him a great differentiator because he will almost likely to break that negative streak. He’s been solid in every unrestricted race this year with top-10s since Daytona. With 37.3 points earned per race on average, he sits at 4.28 per thousand this week, which puts him among the leaders.

Group C: (Between $8,000 and $7,000)

Jimmie Johnson ($8,000)
Johnson was the eighth-most productive driver at Phoenix in terms of Draft Kings. Earning 44 points in the TicketGuardian 500k, he commanded a price tag of $8,000 just like he does this weekend and that makes him a solid value. He finished eighth in that race and has the potential to do a little better on the paperclip where he has won so many times. Johnson might not earn a top-five, but he should at least challenge for one.

Daniel Suarez ($7,600)
So far this year, Suarez has been a top-15 earner twice in the Draft Kings game. He scored the 12th-most points at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and 10th-most at Auto Club. On the other short, flat track, he didn’t quite get that high, but was respectable with the 17th-most of 29.5. Slowly but certainly, Stewart-Haas Racing is equalizing their productivity. This week, Suarez should be able to get within sight of Kevin Harvick and Almirola for a fraction of the cost. Last fall, Suarez scored his first Martinsville top-10 with an eighth in the First Data 500.

Group D: (Between $6,900 and $6,100)

Chris Buescher ($6,500)
Buescher continues to be an undervalued driver. Last week he scored 26 points with a price tag of $7,100, which means he earned 3.66 points for every thousand dollars players spent. That is below the current average of 3.78, but in order to take a driver like Ky. Busch or Keselowski, sacrifices have to be made. Short, flat tracks are drivers’ courses and Buescher was more productive at Phoenix where his 34 points earned put him 14th on the chart.

Ryan Newman ($6,800)
Martinsville was designed for hard customers and Newman is a bulldog. If a driver can stay on the lead lap by sheer force of will, Newman knows how to do just that and each time he battles the leaders as they come up on him, he improves his overall position. Roush Fenway Racing is not well-known for their prowess on short, flat tracks and Newman might not score a top-10, but his tenacity has made him the second-most productive driver at this level and earns a spot on your roster.

Group E: ($5,900 or less)

Jeb Burton ($4,900)
Since no one in the bargain bin has a particularly good record at Martinsville, one may as well roll the dice. In his season premiere, Burton commands the paltry price of $4,900 and has the potential to stretch your budget. The second Rick Ware car won’t be particularly strong, but with hometown pride on the line, Burton is likely to keep the No. 52 running until the checkers wave. If there is any significant amount of attrition, he could duplicate his record from 2015 when he scored a pair of top-30s while driving for BK Racing.

 

Driver

Avg. Rank

Total Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

Martinsville

Points Per K

Group

Kyle Busch

3.20

452.8

90.6

 $     13,000

          6.97

A

Brad Keselowski

8.80

307.0

61.4

 $     12,400

          4.95

A

Joey Logano

8.20

269.5

53.9

 $     11,300

          4.77

A

Kevin Harvick

11.60

244.3

48.9

 $     10,800

          4.52

A

Martin Truex Jr.

10.60

241.0

48.2

 $     11,900

          4.05

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle Larson

8.00

278.0

55.6

 $      9,700

          5.73

B

Kurt Busch

10.00

230.5

46.1

 $     10,200

          4.52

B

Denny Hamlin

11.20

211.8

42.4

 $      9,400

          4.51

B

Aric Almirola

13.80

186.3

37.3

 $      8,700

          4.28

B

Ryan Blaney

14.80

189.0

37.8

 $      9,000

          4.20

B

Chase Elliott

15.60

155.0

31.0

 $      8,200

          3.78

B

Clint Bowyer

19.40

117.0

23.4

 $      8,400

          2.79

B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erik Jones

14.60

178.0

35.6

 $      7,800

          4.56

C

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17.20

151.8

30.4

 $      7,200

          4.22

C

Daniel Suarez

18.00

136.5

27.3

 $      7,600

          3.59

C

Jimmie Johnson

20.00

136.0

27.2

 $      8,000

          3.40

C

Paul Menard

20.80

109.5

21.9

 $      7,000

          3.13

C

Alex Bowman

21.40

112.5

22.5

 $      7,400

          3.04

C

Austin Dillon

24.40

100.5

20.1

 $      7,300

          2.75

C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Buescher

18.20

137.5

27.5

 $      6,500

          4.23

D

Ryan Newman

19.00

143.0

28.6

 $      6,800

          4.21

D

Ty Dillon

23.60

115.0

23.0

 $      6,100

          3.77

D

William Byron

19.00

130.0

26.0

 $      6,900

          3.77

D

Matt DiBenedetto

22.60

102.3

20.5

 $      6,300

          3.25

D

Ryan Preece

24.80

89.0

17.8

 $      6,200

          2.87

D

Daniel Hemric

26.80

65.8

13.2

 $      6,600

          1.99

D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ross Chastain

20.20

136.5

27.3

 $      5,500

          4.96

E

Corey LaJoie

23.40

103.0

20.6

 $      5,400

          3.81

E

Matt Tifft

23.60

95.5

19.1

 $      5,300

          3.60

E

Landon Cassill

28.20

78.5

15.7

 $      5,200

          3.02

E

David Ragan

25.60

76.5

15.3

 $      5,600

          2.73

E

Michael McDowell

25.40

80.0

16.0

 $      5,900

          2.71

E

Cody Ware

29.60

52.0

10.4

 $      5,100

          2.04

E

Bubba Wallace

27.80

49.0

9.8

 $      5,800

          1.69

E

DJ Kennington

 

 

 

 $      5,000

 

E

Jeb Burton

 

 

 

 $      4,900

 

E

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.