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Cap Considerations

Caps After Charlotte (Fall)

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

Jimmie Johnson finally had a mistake-free race last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Most experts have been predicting for quite some time that he was capable of winning as soon as that happened. He won the Bank of America 500 and now that the spell is broken, it is a good bet more will come. In 2015, Joey Logano swept Victory Lane in round two of the Chase. Last year, Johnson won at Texas Motor Speedway after being eliminated from contention and we predict the No. 48 team could win the last two events on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. Johnson is a bargain this week at $24.50 in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game and he should be regarded as a favorite to win the Hollywood Casino 400.

Hendrick Motorsports is the most improved organization in the field. In the past several weeks, Kasey Kahne has completely turned his season around with five top-10s and a nine-race streak of top-15s. Last week, his third-place finish was elevated when a multi-car accident among the leaders thinned the competitive field, but now that he has a top-five under his belt, he is ready to challenge for wins. In all likelihood they will not come before the end of this season, but he should continue to be a good value as he records a series of near-misses. Kahne’s current value is $24.

Aric Almirola is the only other driver this week to take a 50 cent increase. While he is not the first to come to mind in most races, he has run consistently well on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. Kansas Speedway, Texas, and perhaps even Homestead-Miami Speedway are venues on which he can score top-20s. Determining the top of the order is often not very difficult. One knows Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski will challenge for top-fives, but finding a racer who can give you a top-20 for only $13.50 is valuable.

While Harvick is certainly capable of scoring those top-fives and he still deserves to be the most expensive driver in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game, back-to-back mechanical issues sent him out of the last two races in the high-30s. He also struggled at Chicagoland Speedway and even if all of the bad results were not his fault, Harvick is playing with fire. The good news is that he shares the bottom of the Chase grid with four other drivers and needs only to outrun them to advance to the next level. He does not need a miracle, but he cannot afford to run badly. The No. 4 team might settle for average in the next few weeks and that is not worthy of $28.

Almirola is capable of scoring top-20s and gets offered this week at $13.50; Paul Menard has not earned a top-20 in the past five weeks of Cup competition and is slowly losing value to close the competition gap. This week, he is available for $16.25. Richard Childress Racing is a solid organization, but for the moment they need to concentrate on the efforts of Austin Dillon and that could very well hurt the runs of Menard and Ryan Newman.

Trevor Bayne scored top-20s in the past two weeks, but the pendulum continues to swing in an effort to find a more agreeable salary cap. In his last six races, he has two extremely disappointing finishes and an average worse than 25th. He has progressively declined since the Federated Auto Parts 400 and will probably level out a few dollars below his current value of $19. 

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

 2493 cap

Gainers

Jimmie Johnson

 $        0.50

 |

 $      24.50

Kasey Kahne

 $        0.50

 |

 $      24.00

Aric Almirola

 $        0.50

 |

 $      13.50

Martin Truex Jr.

 $        0.25

 |

 $      28.00

Matt Kenseth

 $        0.25

 |

 $      27.00

Denny Hamlin

 $        0.25

 |

 $      26.75

Kyle Larson

 $        0.25

 |

 $      25.25

Austin Dillon

 $        0.25

 |

 $      22.25

Tony Stewart

 $        0.25

 |

 $      17.00

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $        0.25

 |

 $      15.00

Regan Smith

 $        0.25

 |

 $        8.25

Michael McDowell

 $        0.25

 |

 $        8.25

Brian Scott

 $        0.25

 |

 $        6.50

Matt DiBenedetto

 $        0.25

 |

 $        5.50

Losers

Brad Keselowski

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $      27.75

Joey Logano

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $      26.75

Kurt Busch

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $      24.75

Alex Bowman

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $      16.50

Ryan Blaney

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $      15.75

Chris Buescher

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $      10.75

Casey Mears

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $        9.25

Landon Cassill

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $        8.25

David Ragan

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $        6.50

Cole Whitt

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $        5.50

Michael Annett

 $      (0.25)

 |

 $        5.50

Kevin Harvick

 $      (0.50)

 |

 $      28.00

Trevor Bayne

 $      (0.50)

 |

 $      19.00

Paul Menard

 $      (0.50)

 |

 $      16.25

 

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.