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Cap Considerations

Caps After Charlotte (Spring)

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

Fantasy NASCAR owners learned a valuable lesson at Texas Motor Speedway in the Duck Commander 500 and Kansas in the GoBowling.com 400. Earning points in NASCAR.com’s Fantasy Live game is not always about winning. Martin Truex Jr. was the best value in those two events despite late-race slips through the ranks. When he dominated the prelims for the Coca-Cola 600, it did not take long for most to jump on his bandwagon.

Those fantasy owners were rewarded by one of the most dominant performances seen in recent years. Truex scored a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 based on his leading 392 of 400 laps from the pole. He posted 106 fastest laps run, which was 34 more than Jimmie Johnson who was second on that chart. Altogether, his 292 points earned in the game skewed the standings to a great degree. Johnson earned the second most Fantasy Live points with 80.5; Kevin Harvick was third-best with 63.5—or a mere 22 percent of the points scored by the leader. Yes, Truex took a bump in salary and is still a great value at $26.50.

Chase Elliott acts less like a rookie with each passing week. Both he and Ryan Blaney had speeding penalties in the Coke 600 during the competition caution that waved on lap 27. Both had been running in the top 15, and both were in jeopardy of losing a lap during the long green flag segment that followed. It is notable that Elliott stayed on the lead lap all night and meticulously made his way through traffic to earn his fourth consecutive top-10. If he is not going to drive like a rookie, then he cannot be treated like one in the NASCAR.com Fantasy Live game just because this is his first fulltime season. He has been showing steady increases since the start of the year, but this week it was time to take an even bigger swing and jump him up $2.50 to $24.50.

Jimmie Johnson is beginning to look like his old self. Occasionally a driver finds something special, and no one could keep up with Truex at Charlotte, but Johnson came closest through the entire event. He ran second during most of the evening, scored a lot of laps led, and gained some place-differential points on a track that was once very kind. Johnson needs to run consistently well on tracks that were traditional strongholds, and that means fantasy owners will want to pay particular attention next week at Pocono Raceway. If he earns another top-five there, the balance of power could shift slightly at the top of the order.

Before a driver can rise at the top level of the NASCAR Fantasy Live salary cap, another has to fall. Carl Edwards was one of the most consistently strong drivers at the front of the pack in the beginning of the season. Talladega SuperSpeedway broke his momentum, however, and he has failed to live up this his top-dollar price tag. He is slowly dropping down the salary cap order, but mostly as a way to redistribute the wealth among the top eight drivers. Edwards fell so Johnson could rise.

The same is true of Kyle Busch. He has not shown the same kind of dominance as he did before crashing out of the past two weeks while his brother Kurt Busch has been much more consistent. Kevin Harvick has shown a lot more power. Following the Axalta We Paint Winners 400 at Pocono Raceway, the top of the order will probably shift once more, so NASCAR Fantasy Live players will want to pay close attention to points earned this week.

Brian Scott was the other big loser this week. His drop in price of 50 cents has more to do with continuing to adjust him toward a more reasonable value. His natural level should be somewhere below the $10 mark, but Petty Enterprises is strong enough to cause the salary cap manager to show a little patience. Aric Almirola and Scott are both capable of earning top-20s, which would make the No. 44 worth starting. More often than not, however, his cost per dollar equation is not great enough to sway the day. During the past two months, he has scored an average of only 10.13 points per race.

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s Cap

Gainers

Chase Elliott

 $     2.50

 |

 $    24.50

Jimmie Johnson

 $     0.50

 |

 $    27.25

Martin Truex Jr.

 $     0.50

 |

 $    26.50

Kurt Busch

 $     0.25

 |

 $    28.00

Kevin Harvick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.75

Matt Kenseth

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.75

Jamie McMurray

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.00

Kyle Larson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    20.75

Clint Bowyer

 $     0.25

 |

 $    16.50

Landon Cassill

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.75

Michael McDowell

 $     0.25

 |

 $      7.75

David Ragan

 $     0.25

 |

 $      7.75

Losers

Carl Edwards

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.00

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.25

Paul Menard

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.50

Austin Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.25

Aric Almirola

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    18.00

Trevor Bayne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    17.75

Ryan Blaney

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    17.00

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.75

Tony Stewart

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.25

Casey Mears

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    10.25

Regan Smith

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      8.50

Matt DiBenedeto

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.50

Joey Gase

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      4.75

Kyle Busch

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    27.50

Brian Scott

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    11.25

 

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.