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Cap Considerations

Caps After Chicagoland

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

Kevin Harvick peaked with a salary cap of $28.75 in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game last week, which was well above the normal high of $28. In order to sustain that mark, a driver has to be virtually perfect, however, and Harvick’s finish of 20th in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 was anything but. While it is certainly true that Harvick’s result was impacted by factors outside of his control such as the untimely cautions, refusing to face the media afterward signals a level of frustration that is hard to ignore. Last year after suffering a bad race at Chicagoland Speedway, Harvick gambled unsuccessfully at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Fantasy owners should be a little concerned this week that history might repeat itself.

Fantasy players would usually prefer to concentrate on drivers on their way up. Martin Truex Jr. has been absolutely great on a number of occasions this year, but bad luck has plagued him. That limited his effectiveness because he was unpredictable, but he was the top scorer in NASCAR Fantasy Live in three of the past four similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track races preceding Chicagoland. He scored the second-most on one other occasion. When he cut a tire midway through last week’s race it seemed the old bugaboo would bite once more—but he rebounded to score his third straight top-three. He is probably worth more than $27, but time will tell if he keeps marching up the cap ladder because he needs more than three straight successes.

Kyle Larson did not get the finish he deserved last week in Chicago because of a cut tire late in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400. He had a top-five capable car if cautions had waved in his favor and that is why he earned a 25 cent increase to $24.75 this week despite falling out of the top 15. His recent performance should put him higher on the list. Even with this increase there is a little concern, however, because he enters the weekend doubting his ability to race effectively at New Hampshire. Larson is young and emotional, but he has a lot of upside when he races to his full potential.

Kasey Kahne finally has a little momentum on his side. He scored his third consecutive top-10 last week for the first time since summer 2014. He has not had four straight top-10s since early in 2013, which was 129 races ago. He needs to show his team and owner his potential before the season winds down. Kahne took a 50 cent increase this week, however, because he is trending up. Before his current streak of three top-10s, he also had three top-15s and that means he has been outperforming his salary cap.

On the other hand, Greg Biffle takes a 50 cent decrease just in time to be a solid dark horse at New Hampshire. On that track, he enters with back-to-back, top-fives, but salary caps are set with a long view—and Biffle’s last three performances in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game resulted in points of only 25th-best or worse. He has not really come close. Biffle has scored sub-20th-place points in 56 percent of this season’s starts and that has made him difficult to place-and-hold. Biffle’s cap of $18.50 should open up some room at the top of the order and allow a player to upgrade their marquee pick.

Aric Almirola was the other big loser this week. Six of his last eight attempts have ended in points’ productions of 24th or worse in Fantasy Live and even when his ranking has been decent—like it was with a 12th at Richmond International Raceway two weeks ago—he only banked 35 points compared to the leader’s 182. Richard Petty Motorsports has been frustrating this season because they have shown just enough strength to make them tempting, but bad luck has alternated with poor performances to rob fantasy players of points. 

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

 2490 cap

Gainers

Martin Truex Jr.

 $     0.50

 |

 $    27.00

Kasey Kahne

 $     0.50

 |

 $    22.50

Joey Logano

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.25

Denny Hamlin

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.75

Kyle Larson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    24.75

Chase Elliott

 $     0.25

 |

 $    24.50

Austin Dillon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.25

Ryan Blaney

 $     0.25

 |

 $    16.00

Danica Patrick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    15.00

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    14.25

Chris Buescher

 $     0.25

 |

 $    11.50

Casey Mears

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.75

Brian Scott

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.75

Losers

Kevin Harvick

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    28.50

Kyle Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.75

Matt Kenseth

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.50

Carl Edwards

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    25.75

Kurt Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    25.50

Jamie McMurray

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    24.00

Ryan Newman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.50

Trevor Bayne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.25

Paul Menard

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    17.25

Tony Stewart

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    16.75

Clint Bowyer

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    15.00

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.50

Ty Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.50

David Ragan

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.25

Cole Whitt

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.25

Michael Annett

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.25

Greg Biffle

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    18.50

Aric Almirola

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    13.00

 

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.