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Cap Considerations

Caps After Kentucky

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

This is becoming too commonplace for one of the most popular drivers in fantasy NASCAR. On lap 43 of the Quaker State 400, Jimmie Johnson spun by himself and destroyed his Chevrolet. The team got the car back on track and logged some laps, but earned only nine Sprint Cup points. At this stage, it is impossible to say the team is working on experimental setups. They missed at Sonoma Raceway, Johnson made a mistake in the draft at Daytona International Speedway, and has made unforced errors several times this season on tracks or course types that have been traditionally kind. Johnson has been slowly losing cap value—$2 in the past 10 races, in fact—to land at $25.25. He will continue to lose value until he rebounds, but teams of this caliber tend to have a hard bounce and he could be great if one climbs on the bandwagon at the right time.

Joey Logano’s mistake was just as big as Johnson’s, but he lacks the historic framework to cause him to drop 50 cents. Instead, he is a quarter less expensive than he was entering Kentucky. He won the last time NASCAR used this extreme low downforce package at Michigan International Speedway, but the combination of the aerodynamic looseness and a new configuration and surface was too much for the driver of the No. 22. He slapped the wall when teammate Brad Keselowski took the air off his spoiler, attempted to ride out the damage, and eventually destroyed his car. He doesn’t really care about the points’ standings for now, so it was an easy choice to stay in the garage. His new cap in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game is $26.25—in part to allow the more solid Martin Truex Jr. to rise to $26.50.

Rookies are supposed to make mistakes, but there is a price to pay when they do. In Blaney’s case, it was 25 cents. Ryan Blaney found himself in a precarious situation on a lap-88 restart. In the middle of a three-wide battle, he could choose to try and keep the position or back out. Throughout the day, several racers found they had a similar choice to make and the cost of getting out of the throttle was several positions. Blaney tried to keep his momentum, got loose, clipped Chase Elliott, and spun both into the wall. The rookie has yoyoed up and down in value this year and slipped to $17.50. Since the accident was not Elliott’s making, he stays constant at $25.50, but another bad finish will probably take a toll on his salary cap.

With four wins in the bank now, Keselowski would seem to be the current top value, but salary caps rarely adjust that quickly. Two of his victories came on restrictor-plate, superspeedways and are not predictive of how he will run on unrestricted, intermediate speedways. The Quaker State 400 is one of the first times this year that he looked like the old dominant self that challenged for the championship in the past several years. He is creeping up the value chart to land at $27.50, displacing Matt Kenseth in the process who falls to $27.25.

It was fairly easy to write off the top-10 finish at Daytona for Greg Biffle since that was a plate track. This week, he drove into the lead pack and would have challenged for another top-10 regardless of the fuel mileage gambit at the end. Biffle is an old school racer who likes the low downforce package and if Roush-Fenway Racing can do their job and give him a strong enough engine, he will contend for more strong finishes when these rules are enforced.

Tony Stewart rounds out the list of drivers who took a 50 cent increase. He currently sits at $14.75. Fantasy owners might want to take a few races before they completely trust his fortunes have improved. However, climbing on his bandwagon now will allow players to lock him in at a low cost, but there is a risk associated with doing that. Unless Stewart goes on a tear and earns several top-10s in a row, it will be tempting to leave him on the roster. He will not need to be reacquired at a highest cap and that could cost points in several contests.

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s Cap

Gainers

Brad Keselowski

 $     0.50

 |

 $    27.50

Greg Biffle

 $     0.50

 |

 $    18.25

Tony Stewart

 $     0.50

 |

 $    14.75

Martin Truex Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.50

Jamie McMurray

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.75

Ryan Newman

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.75

Kyle Larson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.00

Trevor Bayne

 $     0.25

 |

 $    19.25

Clint Bowyer

 $     0.25

 |

 $    17.25

Cole Whitt

 $     0.25

 |

 $      6.25

Losers

Matt Kenseth

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Joey Logano

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.25

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    25.00

Denny Hamlin

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    23.75

Austin Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.00

Paul Menard

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    19.00

Ryan Blaney

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    17.50

AJ Allmendinger

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    15.25

Ty Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.75

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.75

Regan Smith

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.75

Matt DiBenedeto

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.25

Chris Buescher

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      4.75

Jimmie Johnson

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    25.25

Aric Almirola

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    16.00

 

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.