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Denny Hamlin
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Fantasy Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Michigan 2

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: August 12, 2019, 5:57 pm ET

The past 45 days stretches back to the Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway where Alex Bowman scored his first career win. That was a turning point for his team—but not a good one—and he failed to crack the top 10 in the next five races. Last week, he finally climbed back into the top 10.

He is not the only driver who has struggled lately and the wide variety of tracks NASCAR has visited is enough to keep anyone from achieving a sweep of the top 10 in the period of time that contributes to the Fantasy Power Ranking. In fact, the closest anyone has come to a perfect streak of top-10s is five of seven races with Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, and Kyle Larson earning that many.

Consistency and strength is what makes the following 10 drivers the most fantasy relevant among the field.


1. Denny Hamlin (last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 16
FPR#: 6.59

Based on his last two years at Michigan, we had our doubts about Hamlin this week, but with the best Driver Rating, the most points in the Draft Kings game, and being among the top five in every category we track it is easy to see why he is this week’s leader. Michigan is not an isolated race. The same thing has been true for the past three weeks; he has not only been scoring top-fives, he has been faultless while doing so.

2. Kevin Harvick (last week: 3) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 23
FPR#: 7.24

Harvick has truly turned a corner. His win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway four weeks ago triggered three more top-10s. Last week, he didn’t quite have the strongest car, but it was good enough to put him in a position to capitalize and beat Logano on fuel mileage and Hamlin because that driver was set up for long runs. The bottom line is: He has earned a lot of points in the process and that is ultimately what matters most to fantasy owners.

3. Kyle Busch (last week: 2) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 23
FPR#: 7.98

In the past 45 days, Busch has scored only one top-five – a second at Kentucky Speedway. While he has been in the top 10 regularly on ovals in recent weeks, that is not enough to put him at the top of the charts—especially since many of his problems have been self-inflicted like the accidents at Watkins Glen International and last week’s failed strategy at Michigan.

4. Martin Truex Jr. (last week: 4)
Weeks in the top 10: 20
FPR#: 8.06

When a driver does something like we saw last week at Michigan with Truex driving from the back to win Stage 1, it forces fantasy players to take notice. The Joe Gibbs Racing organization is the hottest in the field at the moment with all four of their drivers in the top six. If you have the allocations to spend, Truex is a place-and-hold driver.

5. Joey Logano (last week: 7) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 23
FPR#: 9.02

One of the reasons we track more than simply race finishes is because a problem in the closing laps can often obscure a strong run. Logano was forced to pit with three laps remaining. He chose the wrong strategy, but there were moments in last week’s Consumers Energy 400 when he looked like the driver we saw at the beginning of the year. With three races remaining in the regular season, he still has time to regain his momentum.   

6. Erik Jones (last week: 5) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 6
FPR#: 9.79

Jones was not able to extend his top-five streak at Michigan; in fact, he didn’t even come close. His 18th-place finish was worse than he deserved because of the myriad of strategies employed, but he had only the 13th-best Average Running Position and 14th Driver Rating. That is about where he should have finished. Fortunately, the drivers below him on the playoff bubble mostly finished worse and his spot among the top 16 is fairly safe.

7. William Byron (last week: 9) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 12
FPR#: 10.47

Byron was the recipient of a few spots last week as others ran out of gas, but it pays to note that he had put himself in position to capitalize on that scenario. Some weeks that is the best a driver can do and it rewarded Byron with his fourth top-10 in the last six oval races.

8. Kyle Larson (last week: 8)
Weeks in the top 10: 9
FPR#: 10.56

When the memory of the circumstances fades, the record book will still show that Larson scored his fifth Michigan top-five in the last eight races there. He was third.  Like Byron, Larson was in position to take advantage of other’s misfortune scored his sixth top-10 in the last eight races of the season. Four of those were top-fives and it makes him a good driver to have in reserve.

9. Ryan Blaney (last week: 6) -3
Weeks in the top 10: 15
FPR#: 11.07

We’re not sure if Team Penske uses the same strategist for all three cars, but it certainly seemed that way last week. Blaney should have scored a top-10 at Michigan and if he had, it would have been his fourth consecutive. The organization entered the weekend with two sweeps of the top 10 in the last two 2-mile races and left with three results outside the top 15. That did damage to a lot of rosters.

10. Kurt Busch (last week: 11) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 14
FPR#: 11.66

Busch popped back up into the top 10 this week because he had a solid run. He ran out of gas on the final lap and dropped to 23rd in the running order. It was his second sub-20th-place finish in the past two oval races. It might be difficult for him to stay among the top 10, but for now his overall consistency is enough to recommend the driver of the No. 1.

Dropped from the Top 10

13. Aric Almirola (last week: 10) -3
Weeks in the top 10: 14
FPR#: 12.59

Almirola entered the Consumers Energy 400 with five straight top-15s. Only one of those was a top-10, however, and he has not scored a top-five in 20 weeks. In fact, his only top-five came in Week 4 at Phoenix and what was once a vaunted consistency was undone by last week’s crash-induced 33rd. It could take a while for him to rebound.

Big Mover outside the Top 10

14. Chase Elliott (last week: 17) +3
Weeks in the top 10: 15
FPR#: 13.98

In the last two weeks, Elliott climbed seven positions in the Fantasy Power Rankings on the strength of back-to-back top-10s. Considering how five of his previous seven races ended 20th or worse, this is an encouraging turnabout. Unfortunately, Bristol is next on the schedule and danger lurks at every turn of that bullring.

 

This
Week

Driver

Power
Avg.

Last
Week

Difference

1.

Denny Hamlin

6.59

1

0

2.

Kevin Harvick

7.24

3

1

3.

Kyle Busch

7.98

2

-1

4.

Martin Truex Jr.

8.06

4

0

5.

Joey Logano

9.02

7

2

6.

Erik Jones

9.79

5

-1

7.

William Byron

10.47

9

2

8.

Kyle Larson

10.56

8

0

9.

Ryan Blaney

11.07

6

-3

10.

Kurt Busch

11.66

11

1

 

11.

Brad Keselowski

11.67

13

2

12.

Alex Bowman

12.45

12

0

13.

Aric Almirola

12.59

10

-3

14.

Chase Elliott

13.98

17

3

15.

Jimmie Johnson

15.79

14

-1

16.

Chris Buescher

15.97

18

2

17.

Ryan Newman

15.97

16

-1

18.

Paul Menard

16.05

20

2

19.

Matt DiBenedetto

16.75

15

-4

20.

Clint Bowyer

17.63

19

-1

21.

Daniel Suarez

18.21

22

1

22.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18.23

21

-1

23.

Austin Dillon

19.28

23

0

24.

Michael McDowell

21.49

24

0

25.

Daniel Hemric

23.16

25

0

26.

Bubba Wallace

24.05

26

0

27.

Ty Dillon

24.64

27

0

28.

Ryan Preece

25.33

31

3

29.

David Ragan

26.67

29

0

30.

Matt Tifft

26.69

28

-2

31.

Justin Haley

26.83

30

-1

32.

Parker Kligerman

27.30

33

1

33.

Joey Gase

27.67

32

-1

34.

Brendan Gaughan

28.00

34

0

35.

Corey LaJoie

28.54

36

1

36.

Landon Cassill

28.75

35

-1

37.

JJ Yeley

29.00

39

2

38.

Ross Chastain

29.25

37

-1

39.

Bayley Currey

30.09

38

-1

40.

Andy Seuss

31.40

40

0

41.

Reed Sorenson

32.38

41

0

42.

Josh Bilicki

33.47

43

1

43.

Cody Ware

33.64

42

-1

44.

Quin Houff

34.40

44

0

45.

Austin Theriault

34.80

46

1

46.

BJ McLeod

34.90

45

-1

47.

Garrett Smithley

35.20

 

NA

48.

Spencer Boyd

37.40

 

NA

 

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.