Loading scores...
Cap Considerations

Caps After Richmond

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

The Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway broke several streaks and questioned some salary cap decisions, but the top drivers bounded back immediately at Richmond International Raceway.

Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex Jr. each saw their perfect records end on the high-banked oval in Tennessee, but all three were back at the top of their game in the Toyota Owners 400. Harvick earned his eighth top-two finish of the past 10 races, but since he is already fairly well maxed out in terms of salary cap, he remained at his pre-Richmond level of $28.75.

The same was true of Logano. A fifth-place finish confirmed his value of $28 but was not quite enough to make him increase his value.

That left Truex as the only one of these drivers to gain in salary cap after Richmond. He continues to move up the grid and has increased $1.75 in the past five weeks. In all likelihood, he has not yet found his natural level, which gives fantasy owners plenty of time still to jump on his bandwagon and lock him in at a relatively low price.

At 25 cents, Truex was not the biggest gainer of the week. That distinction is shared by Kurt Busch and Justin Allgaier.

Busch had a pre-season cap of $22 and after missing the first three weeks to suspension, he surged quickly after challenging for the win at Phoenix International Raceway. That strong run bumped him 50 cents before the Auto Club 400 and he has increased every week since. While he has mostly been inching up in 25 cent increments, it was time to take another big swing at his value and push him to $24.50 this week. Like Truex, he has probably not found his high water mark, but fantasy owners should also be aware that he is a driver prone to both hot and cold streaks. Capitalize while he is hot.

Allgaier struggled through a couple of races at Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway; in fact, he earned negative points in those two events, which drove his cap down briefly. When a player takes a longer view, it will come as no surprise why he was the other big mover this week. In his last six attempts this season, Allgaier earned more than 30 points each week, which made him too good of a value at $10. He earned the 16th-most points during the past two weeks and continues to be a good bargain at $10.75.

A dropped cylinder by Brad Keselowski and an uncommanding performance by Dale Earnhardt Jr. made them the two most expensive drivers to lose salary cap value this week.

The engine-related issue for Keselowski might have been out of his control, but NASCAR is a team sport in which everything has to come together to demand top dollars. Keselowski’s loss of 25 cents in value should be viewed more as a correction based on back-to-back disappointing results on the short tracks. He could bounce back quickly once the series rolls onto the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks of Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway in a few weeks.

Earnhardt’s loss of 25 cents also takes into consideration the past two weeks. He finished 16th at Bristol and 14th at Richmond, while fantasy owners are expecting top-10s from the Hendrick hero. The good news is that he actually earned the seventh-most points in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game last week, but he was tied for the third-most expensive driver in the lineup and needed a price correction of his own.

Casey Mears is another driver who has not lived up to potential recently. His performances at Texas, Bristol, and Richmond were all modest enough to earn Fantasy Live points that were only in the 30s. He is sliding down the value chart, but his price tag of $13 could make him an extremely attractive choice on the restrictor-plate Talladega SuperSpeedway. He has a knack for racing in the draft and is moderately priced.

Players can actually use Mears as a mid-range anchor and then build up from there. Along with one other dark horse (and Landon Cassill with a price tag of $8.50 and a 25 cent increase this week comes to mind), owners can then concentrate on three drivers above the $25 mark and not worry greatly about cap management.   

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This weeks’ cap

Gainers

Kurt Busch

 $     0.50

 |

 $    24.50

Justin Allgaier

 $     0.50

 |

 $    10.75

Jimmie Johnson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.00

Matt Kenseth

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.25

Kasey Kahne

 $     0.25

 |

 $    25.00

Ryan Newman

 $     0.25

 |

 $    23.50

Martin Truex Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    20.50

Trevor Bayne

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.25

David Gilliland

 $     0.25

 |

 $    10.75

Chase Elliott

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.25

Brett Moffitt

 $     0.25

 |

 $      9.00

Landon Cassill

 $     0.25

 |

 $      8.50

Losers

Brad Keselowski

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Greg Biffle

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.75

Tony Stewart

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    19.00

Austin Dillon

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    17.25

Sam Hornish Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    15.25

Casey Mears

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.00

David Ragan

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.25

Cole Whitt

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      9.25

Michael Annett

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.75

Josh Wise

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.50

Jeb Burton

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.25

 

 

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.