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Cap Considerations

Caps After Texas (Spring)

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

Week seven is in the books and NASCAR has now visited four similarly-configured, 1.5- or two-mile tracks. Patterns are beginning to emerge, but there are still some racers with a few surprises up their sleeves.

Salary cap games can be volatile. Fantasy owners who were savvy enough to start Martin Truex Jr.and Carl Edwards last week cleaned up in their various games, but only one of those drivers was awarded a bump in cap value in the NASCAR Fantasy Live contest.

Truex was absolutely dominant with the most laps led, a great place-differential, and some fastest laps—but he finished only sixth in the final rundown. Also notable was the fact that this was his first top-10 finish in five weeks and it came on the heels of a four-race streak in which he averaged nearly a 19th-place result. It is going to take a little longer before he shows enough consistency to climb above the $26 because that is almost precisely where the cap formula would place him given the amount of points he has earned at the start of the season.

On the other hand, Edwards has run consistently well all season, but he entered the Duck Commander 500 with a price tag of $27 that rivaled the top-earning drivers. He eased a quarter up the scale based on both consistency and strength.

In fact, most of the drivers are getting close to their natural level. Of the nine drivers who increased in value this week, only Chase Elliott took a greater than 25 cent increase. Elliott scored his first career top-five in the Duck Commander 500 and briefly looked like he could win the race. That was his fourth top-10 of the season and he has run modestly in only one race this year. Even though he increased in value, he might not be one of the drivers to start this week because his worst effort to date came on the short track of Martinsville Speedway; he could struggle just as greatly on the progressively-banked Bristol Motor Speedway, but owners may want to lock him in before the series returns to a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track next month.

One of the drivers who earned only a 25 cent increase this week was impressive nonetheless. Ty Dillon took the No. 95 to a 20th-place finish and while this was not the same car Michael McDowell has been running to limited success most of the year, it does not have the same consistent support of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing ride that Dillon occasionally wheels. Dillon’s third consecutive top-20 made him a steal at $12.50 and he is still incredibly cheap at $12.75. Without a fulltime ride, however, it is difficult to increase him much more.

Rarely do drivers drop by more than 75 cents to $1, but it was going to take too long to get Aric Almirola to his natural level in the mid-teens. Richard Petty Motorsports has shown some promise, but the No. is not ready to consistently challenge for top-15s and that is what he needs to do in order to command a price tag of more than $20. He dropped considerably to $19.75 and that will allow fantasy owners to get some use out of the prince of The King.

When anyone thinks of Roush-Fenway Racing showing improvement, they assume Greg Biffle will lead the charge. Even before he was swept into an accident late in the going, he was being upstaged by teammates Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He is also not yet prepared to challenge for top-15s, but the Roushketeers finally showed some signs of life at Texas. They will adjust according to the Fantasy Power Rankings formula after Bristol and Richmond International Raceway—and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen at Talladega SuperSpeedway—but once the series rolls onto Kansas Speedway and then Dover International Speedway, all three drivers should be close to their natural level.

Jamie McMurray is another high-profile driver who took a minor pay cut. His inconsistency is effecting his desirability and caused him to drop to $21.75. His natural level would be about $20 based on his average number of points, but the Chip Ganassi Racers appear to be on the cusp of improving. Teammate Kyle Larson actually advanced 25 cents to $21.50 and both should be watched in practices and qualification on unrestricted, intermediate speedways.   

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s Cap

Gainers

Chase Elliott

 $     0.50

 |

 $    18.25

Kyle Busch

 $     0.25

 |

 $    28.25

Jimmie Johnson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.25

Carl Edwards

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.25

Kyle Larson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    21.50

Austin Dillon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    21.00

Ty Dillon

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.75

Danica Patrick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.25

Landon Cassill

 $     0.25

 |

 $      8.25

Losers

Kurt Busch

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.00

Brad Keselowski

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.75

Denny Hamlin

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.25

Ryan Newman

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    22.00

Paul Menard

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    22.00

Jamie McMurray

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    21.75

Ryan Blaney

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    17.00

Brian Scott

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.00

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    13.75

Brian Vickers

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.75

Casey Mears

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.25

Chris Buescher

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.25

Reed Sorenson

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      4.75

Greg Biffle

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    20.25

Clint Bowyer

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    16.75

Aric Almirola

 $    (2.25)

 |

 $    19.75

 

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.