Last year the top-three fantasy values were Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Matt Kenseth. As one might expect, they ran well on every track type and once they were acquired in a salary cap game, there was very little incentive to drop them. Others are notoriously great on certain track types and Dale Earnhardt Jr. would get moved onto one’s restrictor-plate, superspeedway lineup only to be replaced by Denny Hamlin on flat tracks. In a nutshell, that describes allocation management strategy, but to really be successful one must be slightly more nuanced.
Some games limit the number of times a driver can be started. Harvick, Logano, and Kenseth were only good values in these contests during weeks they challenged for top-fives and that can be difficult to predict. For veteran drivers, one has a sense of when and where they will run well. At the start of the season, most players are going to pencil Harvick in at Phoenix International Raceway and Kenseth in for Bristol Motor Speedway. Logano can be a little more problematic because his record is neither long nor consistent enough to make him an easy pick on specific tracks. Successful allocation management for No. 20 requires players to roll the dice that momentum will survive from week to week.
If a player has not already done so, they should briefly check out the track type previews listed below, but make certain to scroll to the bottom of the article. Dig deeper than the top five or 10 drivers and pick several listed sixth through 15th to watch in practice. Harvick, Logano, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, and Kenseth dominated the short, flat tracks but most of one’s competition were aware of that tendency. Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Newman were much greater values because they were on fewer rosters and as such allowed players to differentiate their lineups.
There are also certain courses that are considered drivers’ tracks. The unrestricted, intermediate speedways reward big budget teams to a greater degree than short courses because of the cost to develop engines and perfect aerodynamics in NASCAR’s grey areas. Short tracks and flat tracks that require slower speeds through the corners level the playing field, so great dark horses can be found on tracks like Bristol, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Phoenix. Darlington Raceway is another course where driver skill trumps horsepower.
Once again, the marquee picks like Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and others with superteams will challenge for the victory on this track type, but winning or losing one’s league if often about picking a solid top-15 driver. Aric Almirola and Kyle Larson come to mind, but even greater bargains can be had among part time drivers like Ty Dillon and Erik Jones or super-cheap racers like Landon Cassill and Matt DiBenedetto.
This year, look for a weekend update story on Rotoworld and there will be some hidden gems in there.
Track Type summaries