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Cap Considerations

Caps After Daytona (Summer)

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

Most of this week’s adjustments were modest—in the 25 cent range. Only four drivers showed a bigger increase and one of these was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who lost the one-race bump he experienced for the Coke Zero 400. And since back-to-back races have been run on the wild card road course of Sonoma Raceway and restrictor-plate, superspeedway of Daytona International Speedway, the adjustments primarily reflect a driver’s overall momentum for the season.

The formula used to determine a driver’s strength or weakness looks at current races. The past 60 days carry a lot more weight than those run at the very beginning of the season and we look at not only raw finishes, but also how a driver ran during an event. All of the scoring categories for NASCAR.com’s Fantasy Live game are also included in the formula and then we compare a driver’s ranking with where they stand against the competition.

A driver can have a good or poor finish one week and still not move considerably.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is one such driver. He gained 25 cents last week, but that really had almost nothing to do with his victory at Daytona; the bigger reason for him to take an advance at all was because he has been running well on unrestricted, intermediate speedways that dominate the schedule. After all, the series hosts only one more plate race and that is not until the playoffs begin.

Most of the drivers at the very top of the cap value list remained stagnant this week, but that was largely because they had bad results at Daytona that had nothing to do with their performance. The drivers above the $22 mark who did move had their increase because they were strong overall.

Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth are beginning to show Joe Gibbs Racing’s progress. Slowly but certainly, they are starting to find their rhythm and it is inconceivable that the organization will not win one or several races before the beginning of the playoffs. Hamlin increased to $27; Kenseth to $25.75.

Daniel Suarez also took an increase. At the beginning of the season, we thought he and Erik Jones would be the two freshmen who would vie for Rookie of the Year honors and that has certainly been the case. Suarez has been more consistently strong than Jones. As a result, he has been one of the better overall values. Jones started a little higher and has also been strong this season, so he also had an increase. Suarez is currently valued at $20; Jones can be signed for $21, which should factor into which of these freshmen one wants to start at Kentucky Speedway in the coming week.

Junior not only lost the $2.50 one-race increase he experienced for the Coke Zero 400, but he dropped another 25 cents. Frankly, that was being kind because he could easily have taken a bigger drop. He had back-to-back top-10s at Michigan International Speedway and Sonoma, but three of his five efforts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this season ended outside the top 15 and that is much more representative of how he will perform for the remainder of the season. Use him sparingly if and until he is able to earn top-10s with predictability.

Joey Logano finally fell out of playoff contention last week. Unable to use his Richmond International Raceway victory as a guarantor to the playoffs, he has been racing on borrowed time considering how many unique winners there are this season. This could be a wakeup call that gets the team to redouble their effort, but it could just as readily be the continuation of his downward spiral. He is valued at $25.75.

Kasey Kahne was the other big loser in terms of cap value and that was because he continues to struggle to find momentum. Kahne is valued at $18.75 and few want to risk starting him even at that modest amount. He has not re-signed with Hendrick Motorsports yet, and while that is not necessarily notable in and of itself, losing a major sponsor earlier this season put a spotlight on him. Meanwhile, speculation continues to rise about Kyle Larson’s fate. Could he wind up at HMS? At the beginning of this week, both sprint car drivers went head to head in Pennsylvania Speedweeks with Larson winning the first three events and Kahne failing to score a top-five. 

 

Driver

Diff

 |

This Week’s Cap

Gainers

Brendan Gaughan

 $     0.50

 |

 $       6.25

Denny Hamlin

 $     0.25

 |

 $     27.00

Matt Kenseth

 $     0.25

 |

 $     25.75

Jamie McMurray

 $     0.25

 |

 $     24.50

Clint Bowyer

 $     0.25

 |

 $     22.25

Austin Dillon

 $     0.25

 |

 $     21.25

Erik Jones

 $     0.25

 |

 $     21.00

Daniel Suarez

 $     0.25

 |

 $     20.00

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $     17.50

Ty Dillon

 $     0.25

 |

 $     15.75

Paul Menard

 $     0.25

 |

 $     13.50

Chris Buescher

 $     0.25

 |

 $     12.00

Michael McDowell

 $     0.25

 |

 $     10.50

David Ragan

 $     0.25

 |

 $       8.00

Corey Lajoie

 $     0.25

 |

 $       5.25

Losers

Jimmie Johnson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $     26.25

Kurt Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $     20.25

Ryan Blaney

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $     19.00

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $     13.00

Danica Patrick

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $       8.50

Joey Logano

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $     25.75

Kasey Kahne

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $     18.75

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (2.75)

 |

 $     17.25

 

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.