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Cap Considerations

Caps After Texas (Fall)

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

Whether a driver is in or out of Chase contention continues to be one of the most important factors each week. Last week they took four of the five top spots while the driver who won began the season in playoff contention. Sixth through 10th were also occupied by current and former Chase contenders and there should be little to no doubt in anyone’s mind as to why these racers are the most expensive in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game.

There are still some great values deeper in the game and effectively managing one’s salary cap depends on finding and exploiting them. That is why this weekly article has been so important all season and with two races remaining, it continues to be one of the most critical articles a player can rea.

Gainers

Could Jeff Gordon be on his way to a championship in his final full season of competition? Stranger things have happened and all he needs now is to beat the other three contenders at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The top performers have been experiencing isolated problems at arbitrary times, while Gordon enters the weekend with five consecutive top-10s and a perfect sweep of the top 15 since the Chase began. He should get another one at Phoenix International Raceway, but he will have to challenge for the Ford 400 win to be a great value there and that is too difficult to predict even now—with only two races remaining.

There was some discussion that went into the pricing of Matt Kenseth’s replacement driver at Texas Motor Speedway. The cap managers knew that he would be in fast equipment, but one does not want to be guilty of overpricing a driver who is in only his third Cup race. A price tag of $17.50 seemed aggressive, but Erik Jones should live up to expectations. As it turned out, the held a steady wheel and outperformed expectations so he is even more expensive this week with a price of $18. Kenseth will be back behind the wheel of the No. 20 at Homestead so price management does not come into play, but Jones is still a great value.

With three top-10s during the Chase, Aric Almirola has been one of the top performers among those who have not been battling for the Sprint Cup. His latest top-10 came at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but he continues to earn positive points and has steadily increased in value. Last week at Texas his 18th-place finish netted 32 points, which the 15th-most in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game.

Losers

One bad finish could be overlooked for Joey Logano, but just as fantasy owners were beginning to trust him, his exploding tire put him in negative points for the second time this year. He not only failed to add to a fantasy player’s total, he cost them 20 markers; he lost 28 points at Bristol Motor Speedway this spring when he got swept into his teammate Brad Keselowski’s accident. Still, it is impossible to be too tough on the driver because he has earned the most points on four occasions and top-five points more than half the time. Currently he is equal to Kevin Harvick as the most expensive driver in the game at $28.50.

There is a reason the phrase “sophomore slump” is in the NASCAR lexicon. Second-year drivers tend to push too hard and when they do, they often push themselves into a wall. Kyle Larson lost two tires last week at Texas, but the straw that broke his salary cap’s back was the failure to finish. His lowered price tag and a good Phoenix record has him on this week’s optimal lineup, but if he has another disappointing finish, expect the No. 42 to cost less than $21.50 next week.

Tony Stewart teased fantasy owners momentarily with a 10th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway that scored the 15th-most points in that race; he banked 40.5 for the few fantasy owners that still had him on their roster, but if they made the mistake of leaving him active he cost them half that much at Texas. Slowly but surely he is becoming a bargain basement driver at $12.75 as the series heads to another short, flat track. If one is inclined to take risks, starting the No. 14 could be the move that allows a player to win this week’s league. 

 

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s cap

Gainers

Erik Jones

 $     0.50

 |

 $    18.00

Brian Scott

 $     0.50

 |

 $      8.50

Kyle Busch

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.25

Carl Edwards

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.50

Jeff Gordon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    25.50

Martin Truex Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    24.50

Jamie McMurray

 $     0.25

 |

 $    24.00

Aric Almirola

 $     0.25

 |

 $    21.75

Sam Hornish Jr.

 $     0.25

 |

 $    16.25

Landon Cassill

 $     0.25

 |

 $      7.25

Travis Kvapil

 $     0.25

 |

 $      5.00

Losers

Denny Hamlin

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.25

Ryan Newman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    23.25

Clint Bowyer

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.75

Kasey Kahne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.00

Greg Biffle

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    18.75

Trevor Bayne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.50

Ryan Blaney

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.25

Tony Stewart

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.75

David Ragan

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      9.00

Michael McDowell

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.50

Matt DiBenedeto

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      7.50

Alex Bowman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.50

JJ Yeley

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.75

Joey Gase

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      5.00

Reed Sorenson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      4.75

Joey Logano

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    28.50

Kyle Larson

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    21.50

 

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.