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Chase Elliott
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Fantasy Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Kansas 1

by Dan Beaver

This week, the STP 500 ages out of our Fantasy Power Rankings formula because it was more than 45 days ago. That, coupled with a very exciting race at Kansas Speedway, shuffled the order considerably. Every driver in the top 10 swapped positions with Chase Elliott becoming the new top dog and his best friend in the garage Ryan Blaney falling out of the ranking.

An off-week and the longest race of year are next up, so the shuffling is likely to continue.

With the exception of the wild card race at Talladega Superspeedway, this past 45 days has been fairly representative of the schedule. A collection of races on 1.5-mile tracks plus a sprinkling of short tracks and the hard-to-pigeonhole Dover International Speedway has given drivers a chance to showcase their talent. This week’s top 10 will be heavily favored over the next few weeks.


1. Chase Elliott (last week: 2) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 9
FPR#: 6.65

Elliott is currently the hottest driver on the circuit. His victory at Talladega sparked a three-race streak of races that he could have won. Last week, he got shuffled backward on a couple of frenetic restarts, but over long runs he was as good as anyone. Dating back to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, he has a 10-race streak of top-15s.

2. Joey Logano (last week: 3) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 12
FPR#: 7.80

Last week was one of the first times this year that we’ve really seen Logano struggle. He finished off the lead lap for the third time this season. Notably, all three of his incomplete races came on 1.5-mile tracks. Fortunately for his standing in the Fantasy Power Rankings, Busch had a worse overall performance and that allowed JoLo to climb a position.  

3. Kyle Busch (last week: 1) -2
Weeks in the top 10: 12
FPR#: 8.21

Last week’s performance by Busch is precisely what makes him a risky proposition for fantasy players. He made a mistake in the pits by driving through too many stalls at a critical juncture that put at the tail end of a 40-car field. Fueled by anger, he sliced his way through the field, but as is often the case – he pushed the envelope a little too far and did enough damage to his car to drop him to 30th in the final rundown. Until he learns patience, owners are going to have to put up with that uncertainty.

4. Kurt Busch (last week: 6) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 8
FPR#: 9.32

Another week – another typical performance from Busch. He is not making a lot of noise each week, but so long as he continues to rattle off consistent top-15 finishes, he commands a spot on your roster. Last week’s seventh-place finish was the 11th consecutive race in which he finished among the top 15. Equally important, he has finished better than he qualified in all but one of those races to add positive place-differential points to the coffer.

5. Clint Bowyer (last week: 9) +4
Weeks in the top 10: 5
FPR#: 9.54

When a driver thinks he has the checkered flag in sight and another keeps him from obtaining it, he can get downright cranky. That explains the dust-up after last week’s race in Kansas between Bowyer and Erik Jones. If Bowyer can channel that anger, he could be one of the best values at Charlotte because he has an almost perfect record of top-10s in the last seven races. His only bad result came at Talladega when he was caught up in another driver’s mistake.

6. Martin Truex Jr. (last week: 4) -2
Weeks in the top 10: 9
FPR#: 9.67

We expected a lot more from Truex last week than we saw. He was one of the 11 drivers sent to the back of the pack after failing inspection, but the same thing happened in Dover and he was able to overcome that penalty and win. He was just never able to find the right handle at Kansas and recorded an Average Running Position of 19.09. The 21st-best Driver Rating didn’t help matters either.

7. Brad Keselowski (last week: 5) -2
Weeks in the top 10: 11
FPR#: 10.56

Even Keselowski knew he didn’t have the best car last week, but that is not always what is needed in NASCAR to win. He had the right strategy and fresh tires in the closing laps to get around a highly determined Alex Bowman and Erik Jones. His victory was impressive, but it is one of only two top-10s in the last six races and we need to wait and see what next week brings before forming a bandwagon.  

8. Kevin Harvick (last week: 10) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 12
FPR#: 10.82

For most of the Digital Ally 400 weekend it appeared Harvick was on the rebound. When things have been going wrong with regularity, it’s easy to believe the worst might be happening and that sent Harvick to the pits with what he believed might be a cut tire. Give him a week to see if he makes another mistake next week, but if his upward trajectory continues, trust him to keep getting closer to his 2018 form.

9. Daniel Suarez (last week: 8) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 3
FPR#: 11.53

Suarez continues to hang inside the Fantasy Power Rankings Top 10 with consistency. A 14th-place finish at Kansas was the seventh top-15 in the last eight races. His worst effort was an 18th at Richmond. Sometimes a fantasy owner just needs a nice, safe pick that is not going to lose a lot of ground to the competition.

10. Alex Bowman (last week: 14) +4
Weeks in the top 10: 2
FPR#: 11.54

It took three consecutive second-place finishes to elevate Bowman into the top 10. One big reason for that was because of the three results outside the top 15 that preceded it. For all the promise he’s shown, Bowman did not have any top-10s to his credit until this recent surge and cautious fantasy owners will continue to play a wait and see game before they commit.

Dropped from the Top 10

14. Ryan Blaney (last week: 8) -6
Weeks in the top 10: 8
FPR#: 13.82

The Digital Ally 400 continued a streak of disappointment that stretches back to the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. He finished 37th in that race with an overheating problem, was 25th two weeks later at Richmond and has failed to finish on the lead lap in his last two starts. That is a stark contrast to the three consecutive top-fives he scored at ISM Raceway, Auto Club Speedway, and Martinsville Speedway.

Big Movers outside the Top 10

11. Erik Jones (last week: 17) +6
Weeks in the top 10: 3
FPR#: 12.57

Jones had to battle Bowyer hard at the end of the Digital Ally 400. He’s in a contract year and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity driver Christopher Bell is rapidly coming into his own. He only needs to look over at former teammate Daniel Suarez – who is now with another team – to know that this is a performance-based sport and his job is not secure.

19. Denny Hamlin (last week: 11) -8
Weeks in the top 10: 10
FPR#: 15.76

When drivers fall, sometimes they fall really hard. Hamlin has sustained crash damage in three consecutive races and that has kept him from contending with the leaders. What makes that all the more disappointing is the fact that it comes on the heels of a seven-race streak of top-10s – the majority of which were fifth or better.

 

This
Week

Driver

Power
Avg.

Last
Week

Difference

1.

Chase Elliott

6.65

2

1

2.

Joey Logano

7.80

3

1

3.

Kyle Busch

8.21

1

-2

4.

Kurt Busch

9.32

6

2

5.

Clint Bowyer

9.54

9

4

6.

Martin Truex Jr.

9.67

4

-2

7.

Brad Keselowski

10.56

5

-2

8.

Kevin Harvick

10.82

10

2

9.

Daniel Suarez

11.53

8

-1

10.

Alex Bowman

11.54

14

4

 

11.

Erik Jones

12.57

17

6

12.

William Byron

12.75

13

1

13.

Austin Dillon

13.69

12

-1

14.

Ryan Blaney

13.82

8

-6

15.

Jimmie Johnson

13.97

18

3

16.

Paul Menard

14.51

15

-1

17.

Ryan Newman

14.51

19

2

18.

Aric Almirola

15.28

16

-2

19.

Denny Hamlin

15.76

11

-8

20.

Chris Buescher

16.58

22

2

21.

Tyler Reddick

17.00

 

NA

22.

Kyle Larson

17.58

20

-2

23.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18.69

25

2

24.

Ty Dillon

19.82

21

-3

25.

Brendan Gaughan

21.33

24

-1

26.

Daniel Hemric

21.79

27

1

27.

Matt DiBenedetto

22.72

23

-4

28.

Ryan Preece

24.13

26

-2

29.

David Ragan

25.50

28

-1

30.

Michael McDowell

26.65

31

1

31.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

26.67

29

-2

32.

Corey LaJoie

28.00

34

2

33.

Justin Haley

28.33

32

-1

34.

Ross Chastain

28.50

33

-1

35.

Bubba Wallace

28.66

30

-5

36.

Matt Tifft

29.13

38

2

37.

Parker Kligerman

29.50

35

-2

38.

Reed Sorenson

31.10

37

-1

39.

Landon Cassill

31.34

39

0

40.

Jeb Burton

32.33

43

3

41.

Bayley Currey

32.90

42

1

42.

Joey Gase

32.92

36

-6

43.

Cody Ware

33.13

40

-3

44.

Garrett Smithley

34.20

44

0

45.

Stanton Barrett

34.60

45

0

46.

Gray Gaulding

35.00

47

1

47.

BJ McLeod

35.10

49

2

48.

Quin Houff

35.15

46

-2

49.

Timmy Hill

35.87

48

-1

 

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.