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Martin Truex Jr.
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Fantasy Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Martinsville 1

by Dan Beaver

Kyle Busch is the only member of the Big 3 to have won already this season. It’s safe to say that parity has returned to the series for the time being – at least among eight drivers who have swept or almost swept the top 10 on unrestricted, intermediate speedways.

With this much concentrated strength, the challenge for fantasy players is to determine who will be among the fast five each week – and who in the sixth- to 10th-place range is going to be the best differentiator. That is a shifting target, but the Fantasy Power Rankings Top-10 provides an opportunity for players to concentrate their attention on a smaller subsection of the field and that will hopefully make you more productive.


1. Kyle Busch (last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 6
FPR#: 4.03

Ultimately it’s the result that counts. Busch struggled in qualification after climbing out of his Truck last week and did not come to the front of the Cup field nearly as quickly as we expected. He finally found the handle in the closing laps, however, and charged to the top five where he remained the rest of the afternoon. His third-place finish there comes on the heels of back-to-back wins and keeps him solidly atop the Fantasy Power Rankings.

2. Kevin Harvick (last week: 3) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 6
FPR#: 5.77

It’s difficult to quibble with a driver for finishing sixth, but so much more has been expected of Harvick this year. Nothing short of a top-five is sufficient, given his 2018 domination and the ripple effect that has caused to his salary cap in 2019. Still, he is among the strongest contenders with five consecutive top-10s as the series heads to the type of track that suited him so well last year.

3. Denny Hamlin (last week: 4) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 6
FPR#: 6.90

The best thing about Hamlin’s performance last week on the short, flat track of Martinsville is that it came on the heels of another top-five at Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway. He is becoming predictable once again on a course type that has been so kind to him in the past and that raises expectations at Richmond Raceway in a few weeks and Pocono Raceway later this summer.

4. Joey Logano (last week: 2) -2
Weeks in the top 10: 6
FPR#: 6.98

A lot more was expected from Logano last week. As the most recent winner on this track last Fall, he should have easily scored a top-10. He hovered around the single-digits in the first half of the STP 500, but then dropped precipitously when it mattered most. That is not what we want to see from him going forward, but he should have an opportunity to reset this week on the 1.5-mile track in Texas. 

5. Brad Keselowski (last week: 6) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 5
FPR#: 8.21

Keselowski may have moved up only one position in the Fantasy Power Rankings this week, but his average improved from 9.84 to 8.21. While that is good news, it may be too soon to form a bandwagon just yet. Even with four top-fives in the last five races, he has been uneven during competition and we simply don’t know when he might fade in an event.

6. Aric Almirola (last week: 5) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 5
FPR#: 8.25

At this stage of the season, Martinsville might well have been Almirola’s biggest hurdle. It had been more than four years since he scored a top-10 on that short track, but he entered the weekend with four consecutive top-10s. The question last week was if current momentum or track skill would make the difference? The scale seems to have been tipped in favor of momentum and now he has a chance to keep that going in Texas.

7. Ryan Blaney (last week: 7)
Weeks in the top 10: 3
FPR#: 8.80

Blaney got off to a slow start this season with three consecutive results outside the top 20. After Las Vegas, he was 15th on the grid when a broken valve stem early in the race caused him to plummet down the standings. Since then, he’s swept the top five in the last three races and he’s almost as strong as his Penske teammates.

8. Martin Truex Jr. (last week: 8)
Weeks in the top 10: 3
FPR#: 9.46

It took a few weeks for Truex to overcome his poor finish in the Daytona 500. Since then, he has been perfect in regard to top-10 finishes with a pair of runner-ups tossed in for good measure. Truex has not quite picked up where he left off in 2018, but he can still see the leaders from where he’s running.

9. Chase Elliott (last week: 12) +3
Weeks in the top 10: 3
FPR#: 10.38

Elliott easily had the second-best performance last week with an Average Running Position of 2.35 compared to third-place Blaney’s 5.11. He led nearly 50 laps, but could not quite find that little something extra to get around Keselowski. This early in the season, one can make excuses for not winning, but Elliott’s standing of ninth in the points is not enough to give him a lot of breathing room to allow him to start thinking about the playoffs.

10. Kurt Busch (last week: 9) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 2
FPR#: 10.44

Another question that gets asked quite often is whether it’s the car or driver that makes the biggest difference. In Busch’s case, it would seem to be the driver because he is performing almost exactly as he did at the start of 2018 while driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. Meanwhile, the No. 1 team that struggled with Jamie McMurray behind the wheel, seems to be significantly outperforming last year’s results. That means fantasy players can expect Busch to hover around the high side of the single digits and low end of the top 15 for the next several week.

Dropped from the Top 10

11. Kyle Larson (last week: 10) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 4
FPR#: 11.72

Not much was expected from Larson on the short, flat track of Martinsville that is lacking an upper groove and he predictably struggled with an Average Running Position of 13.35. Unfortunately, he was barely clinging to a spot in the top after scoring no top-fives in the first five races of the season and finishing 12th three times. His 18th-place finish in the STP 500 allowed Elliott to leapfrog him and now the showdown shifts to Texas.

Big Movers outside the Top 10

12. Clint Bowyer (last week: 14) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 2
FPR#: 12.76

Bowyer had a solid run in Martinsville that could not quite erase his Auto Club disappointment. He was among last year’s Fantasy Power Rankings 30 times (largely based on consistency) and it remains to be seen if he can replicate that in 2019.

22. Ryan Newman (last week: 19) -3
Weeks in the top 10: 0
FPR#: 18.76

Newman did all he could do last week. He battled to stay on the lead lap every time Keselowski got to his back bumper, but unfortunately that meant he was fairly consistently outside the top 20. With his Average Running Position of 23.91 and a finishing result of 23rd, he dropped three spots which was the most of the field.

 

This Week

Driver

Power Avg.

Last Week

Difference

1.

Kyle Busch

4.03

1

0

2.

Kevin Harvick

5.77

3

1

3.

Denny Hamlin

6.90

4

1

4.

Joey Logano

6.98

2

-2

5.

Brad Keselowski

8.21

6

1

6.

Aric Almirola

8.25

5

-1

7.

Ryan Blaney

8.80

7

0

8.

Martin Truex Jr./p>

9.46

8

0

9.

Chase Elliott

10.38

12

3

10.

Kurt Busch

10.44

9

-1

 

11.

Kyle Larson

11.72

10

-1

12.

Clint Bowyer

12.76

14

2

13.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr./p>

13.46

11

-2

14.

Daniel Suarez

14.27

16

2

15.

Erik Jones

15.03

13

-2

16.

Jimmie Johnson

15.42

15

-1

17.

Alex Bowman

15.43

18

1

18.

William Byron

16.64

17

-1

19.

Austin Dillon

17.06

21

2

20.

Paul Menard

17.66

20

0

21.

Jamie McMurray

18.71

22

1

22.

Ryan Newman

18.76

19

-3

23.

Matt DiBenedetto

19.38

23

0

24.

Chris Buescher

20.37

24

0

25.

Ty Dillon

22.29

27

2

26.

Daniel Hemric

23.19

25

-1

27.

Tyler Reddick

23.33

26

-1

28.

Ryan Preece

23.90

29

1

29.

Brendan Gaughan

25.33

30

1

30.

David Ragan

25.35

28

-2

31.

Bubba Wallace

26.45

34

3

32.

Michael McDowell

26.77

31

-1

33.

Parker Kligerman

27.20

32

-1

34.

Matt Tifft

28.07

33

-1

35.

Ross Chastain

28.87

36

1

36.

Corey LaJoie

29.00

35

-1

37.

Landon Cassill

30.71

37

0

38.

Quin Houff

32.00

38

0

39.

DJ Kennington

32.00

 

NA

40.

Bayley Currey

32.40

39

-1

41.

Casey Mears

32.60

40

-1

42.

BJ McLeod

32.80

41

-1

43.

Cody Ware

34.20

42

-1

44.

Jeb Burton

34.20

 

NA

45.

Reed Sorenson

35.10

43

-2

46.

Joey Gase

35.17

44

-2

47.

Garrett Smithley

36.20

45

-2

 

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.