Matt Kenseth finally gets a chance to highlight a lineup. Last week after announcing he would not return to Joe Gibbs Racing and with that pressure off his shoulders, he drove onto the track and had one of the performances of his season. He stayed in the top 10 until the final lap until he was involved in an incident that was not of his making. Slipping to 17th, he must still wonder what he has to do to get the monkey off his back and the answer just might be going to New Hampshire where he has two wins and a second-place finish in his last three starts. Kenseth is valued at $9,300
Ryan Newman is $2,000 cheaper than Kenseth largely because of the difference in the perceived strength of the two organizations. Richard Childress Racing has not been nearly the powerhouse that JGR has laid claim to in the past few years, but they have a couple of wins this year because of strategy runs. One of these came on the sister track of Phoenix International Raceway, but Newman followed that up with a pair of top-10s at Martinsville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.
Consistency is also the reason Jamie McMurray earns his position on the roster also because of consistency, but his is season-wide instead of being focused on the short, flat tracks. McMurray has only a few sub-15th-place finishes to his credit and while one of them came at Martinsville, it was because of a problem during the race and not as a result of a lack of speed.
This is a good week to take risks on dark horses. The reason for that is because short, flat tracks are widely considered drivers’ tracks where their skill is a bigger part of the equation than raw horsepower. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with a price tag of $7,400 is one of only three drivers to sweep the top 10 on this track type in three races this year with a fourth at Phoenix and Richmond as well as a 10th at Martinsville.
The other driver to sweep the top 10 is Brad Keselowski and he is the marquee driver fantasy players should turn their attention to. He has been suffering a streak of bad luck in recent weeks that really does not show much sign of ending, but he is strong enough to sporadically score top-fives as his pair of wins attests. His record on this track type is also superlative with six top-fives in his last seven short, flat track races. One of these was a victory at Martinsville. Keselowski is priced at $9,900.
That leaves a player with $7,500 to spend. Daniel Suarez fits perfectly in that niche. The book on Suarez is thin, but the first of his four career top-10s came at Phoenix in the Camping World 500 this spring. All but two of his last 16 attempts this year have ended in the front half of the pack with an average finish of 15.5 and that is about where fantasy players can expect him to land at the end of the Overton's 301 this weekend.