Loading scores...
Cap Considerations

Caps After Charlotte (Fall)

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Two weeks ago Kevin Harvick dominated the AAA 400 at Dover and found Victory Lane in a must-win race. With Talladega SuperSpeedway looming, most of the Chase contenders treated the Bank of America 500 the same way but there could be only one winner. Joey Logano was nearly as dominant at Charlotte Motor Speedway as Harvick had been at Dover and the two currently share the honor of being the most expensive drivers in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game.

The Bank of America 500 was tough on Chasers. In separate incidents, Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. created some drama, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman collided, and Kyle Busch ran into non-contending Kyle Larson. Meanwhile four of the Chasers added to their value because of their solid runs.

This week two drivers originally valued greater than $25 gained salary cap while another joined that rank. Four drivers in that same price range lost value and fantasy owners will want to pay close attention to who is rising and who is losing each week.

Gainers

Logano lost 25 cents last week because he was not nearly as strong at Harvick in Delaware. This week he proved to be more than equal with last year’s Champion and it is time to put them on level footing. A player who renegotiated Logano’s salary after the AAA 400 has just a little more money to play with than someone who picked him up for the first time this week and that quarter can be an important financial consideration further down the list. Winning a NASCAR fantasy salary cap game is often about managing the current market fluctuations.

Logano’s increase was a slight adjustment and probably will not impact most fantasy owners. The same cannot be said about the increase for Carl Edwards. He has been surging up the rankings for quite some time and finally cracked the $25 mark to land at $25.25. That makes him the 10th driver to command a salary in that range and collectively these drivers are the ones most owners want to hire. Edwards has been threatening for top-fives nearly every week and now that he is among the elite, he will need to earn them to continue increasing in half-dollar increments. Solid top-10s will likely keep him moving up the order a quarter at a time, however.

If he develops even a small percentage of Edwards’ consistency, Aric Almirola will start to increase in regular 50 increments as well. He has earned four top-10 finishes in his last five races. Six weeks ago he finished just outside that mark with an 11th, which made him a bargain at $19.75. He started climbing at that point and currently can be signed for $21. Owners who are willing to take a little bit of a gamble may want to go ahead and sign him in anticipation of his continued rise.  

Losers

Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Earnhardt, and Newman each dropped 25 cents this week after their dramatic finishes in the Bank of America 500. To contend for the Sprint Cup, drivers do not have to be flawless under the current format, but they have to be close. Like Logano last week, this is an opportunity for fantasy owners to renegotiate their salaries if they believe a strong Kansas Speedway run will project them back up the order.

Most experts expected Jimmie Johnson to contend for the Bank of America 500 victory. They were right for a while until another mechanical failure sent him out of the top five and behind the wall. That was the second consecutive race in which he finished outside the top 35 and the third time in the last eight weeks that he earned negative points. He should rebound this week and be a decent value at $25.25, but all bets are off the table until he reverses his fortune.

Jamie McMurray is in kind of an awkward spot in terms of valuations. He is one of the more expensive drivers in the field and fairly often lives up to expectations. He doesn’t always earn enough points to warrant his expense, however, and his 25 cent downward adjustment reflects more on his last six races in general than last week’s 12th-place result. He will probably increase in the next few weeks and could be a hidden gem. 

 

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s cap

Gainers

Carl Edwards

 $     0.50

 |

 $    25.25

Aric Almirola

 $     0.50

 |

 $    21.00

Joey Logano

 $     0.25

 |

 $    28.75

Denny Hamlin

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.00

Jeff Gordon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    24.50

Sam Hornish Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    15.50

Ryan Blaney

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.25

Trevor Bayne

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.25

Casey Mears

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.25

Danica Patrick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.50

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.25

Michael McDowell

 $     0.25

 |

 $      8.00

Matt DiBenedeto

 $     0.25

 |

 $      7.50

Alex Kennedy

 $     0.25

 |

 $      6.00

JJ Yeley

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.75

Losers

Kyle Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.50

Matt Kenseth

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.50

Jimmie Johnson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    25.25

Ryan Newman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    24.00

Jamie McMurray

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    23.50

Paul Menard

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.50

Kasey Kahne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.50

Tony Stewart

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.50

Cole Whitt

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.00

David Ragan

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      9.75

Landon Cassill

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.50

Alex Bowman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.50

Josh Wise

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.25

Michael Annett

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.00

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.