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Cap Considerations

Draft Kings: Food City 500

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: April 5, 2019, 9:40 am ET

Winning the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is going to be about allocation management. This is a track that has been extremely kind to dark horses in the past and anyone who wants to ignore drivers commanding more than $10,000 in salary cap can do so with relative ease.

This is a good week to build your roster from the bottom up. If a driver like David Ragan, Michael McDowell, or Matt DiBenedetto looks fast in practice, trust them.

Once you have found your bargain, look to the middle of the cap values. Last year, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, and Alex Bowman were four of six drivers who swept the top 10 on this track and they are all priced under the $10k mark.

If you’ve budgeted well, you may even be able to take one of the fantasy studs.


Group A: 5 Most Expensive (>=$10,700)

Kyle Busch ($12,900)
It is so hard to ignore Busch each week, especially when one compares him to other drivers at this level on short tracks. Kevin Harvick has a lot of top-10s on this track, but he failed to crack the top five in either race at Bristol last year. The August winner Kurt Busch has been much better under the lights in recent years than the spring. And Brad Keselowski has simply been miserable on the high-banked short track during his career. On the other hand, Busch has five victories and a second-place finish on short tracks since he won the first of back-to-back races at Bristol in 2017.

Group B: (Between $10,300 and $8,300)

Chase Elliott ($8,900)
Given the value ratio in Group A, it’s going to be tempting to drop down to Group B to anchor the roster. Elliott had trouble in this race last year, but that is the only time since the beginning of 2018 that he failed to crack the top 10 on a track less than a mile in length. He rebounded from his spring accident to finish third under the August lights. The No. 24’s short track program was in full song again a few weeks ago with Elliott finishing second to Keselowski in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. One thing to be aware of with Elliott, however, is that he has earned positive place-differential points only once during his career at Bristol.

Aric Almirola ($8,300)
This has not been Almirola’s best track during his career, but we are willing to bet that is not going to make nearly as much difference as his recent momentum. He drew a bad number in the Daytona 500 lottery, but swept the top 10 since. At the end of last year he finished 11th or better in the last five unrestricted races. In the last 45 days (which excludes the plate race), he has earned 293.5 points. That gives him the best points per thousand ratio based on his current price tag.

Group C: (Between $8,000 and $7,000)

Alex Bowman ($7,400)
It’s going to cost player $7,400 to determine if last year was a fluke. Bowman did not have a very good record at Bristol in his early attempts. Driving for another team, he finished 32nd three times and had one top-20 to his credit in four starts. Last year he swept the top 10 on this high-banked concrete oval. This has been a good track for Hendrick Motorsports throughout their history and we’re willing to bet they all contend for top-10s this week.

Jimmie Johnson ($8,000)
Last week’s fifth-place finish in Texas gives us just enough confidence to roll the dice on Johnson at Bristol. It was the first time in practically two years that he looked good from the time they rolled the car off the hauler until the checkers waved. That dovetails with Johnson’s record at Bristol. Even while he has struggled elsewhere, he has run well on this high-banked track with a victory in spring 2017, a third-place finish in this race last year, and eight results of 11th or better in his last nine starts.

Group D: (Between $6,900 and $6,000)

Paul Menard ($6,600)
This is a track that has been remarkably kind to dark horses in the past – and that is good news for anyone who feels they need Kyle Busch on the roster. Last August, Menard retired with crash damage barely 28 laps into the Night Race. He finished 36th. In 2016, he also had crash damage. He was slowed a third time in 2015 and finished 24th. Those are his only incidents in the last seven years on this track. If one discounts those instances, he has an average finish of 12.4 since the beginning of the 2012 season. Anyone can get into trouble on this bullring, so a crash percentage of 21.4% is not at all bad.

Daniel Hemric ($6,000)
Since Bristol is kind to dark horses, fantasy owners can feel a little more at ease picking someone with relatively few laps around this track. Hemric has shown a lot of promise throughout the season only to fade once the green flag waves. That will probably happen again this week and it would be shocking to see him finish on the lead lap. Finishing a lap off the pace on this .5-mile oval does not mean that a top-20 is out of the question, however. Hemric is due a good finish.

Group E: ($5,800 or less)

David Ragan ($5,600)
In his last five races, Ragan has been remarkably consistent at Bristol. He scored a 21st in the 2016 Night Race and was 23rd the following spring. Since then, he has not finished worse than 17th. In this race last year, he was the last driver to finish on the lead lap and banked a 12th-place result. Putting him on the roster frees up a ton of cash at the top of the order.

 

Draft Kings points earned, last 45 days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

Bristol

Points
Per K

Group

Kyle Busch

3.33

512.53

85.42

$12,900

          6.62

A

Brad Keselowski

12.50

435.00

72.50

$12,200

          5.94

A

Kurt Busch

6.17

333.00

55.50

$10,700

          5.19

A

Kevin Harvick

6.17

354.75

59.13

$11,600

          5.10

A

Joey Logano

13.83

258.00

43.00

$11,100

          3.87

A

 

Aric Almirola

8.67

293.50

48.92

$8,300

          5.89

B

Martin Truex Jr.

6.17

338.50

56.42

$9,800

          5.76

B

Chase Elliott

12.33

269.00

44.83

$8,900

          5.04

B

Denny Hamlin

10.33

272.00

45.33

$9,200

          4.93

B

Clint Bowyer

13.17

237.25

39.54

$8,600

          4.60

B

Ryan Blaney

12.83

267.50

44.58

$10,300

          4.33

B

Kyle Larson

16.17

221.00

36.83

$9,500

          3.88

B

 

Daniel Suarez

13.00

227.25

37.88

$7,300

          5.19

C

Ryan Newman

19.00

162.00

27.00

$7,000

          3.86

C

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17.17

171.75

28.63

$7,600

          3.77

C

Austin Dillon

21.50

155.75

25.96

$7,200

          3.61

C

Erik Jones

18.67

167.00

27.83

$7,800

          3.57

C

Alex Bowman

19.67

153.00

25.50

$7,400

          3.45

C

Jimmie Johnson

21.50

154.00

25.67

$8,000

          3.21

C

 

Chris Buescher

16.83

190.00

31.67

$6,400

          4.95

D

William Byron

16.17

193.25

32.21

$6,800

          4.74

D

Paul Menard

17.83

167.00

27.83

$6,900

          4.03

D

Matt DiBenedetto

22.67

134.00

22.33

$6,700

          3.33

D

Bubba Wallace

24.50

112.00

18.67

$6,200

          3.01

D

Ryan Preece

25.17

93.00

15.50

$6,500

          2.38

D

Daniel Hemric

26.33

79.00

13.17

$6,000

          2.19

D

 

Matt Tifft

21.67

130.50

21.75

$5,500

          3.95

E

Quin Houff

24.00

19.00

19.00

$5,100

          3.73

E

Ty Dillon

25.33

112.50

18.75

$5,800

          3.23

E

Ross Chastain

24.50

110.50

18.42

$5,700

          3.23

E

David Ragan

24.67

105.00

17.50

$5,600

          3.13

E

Bayley Currey

29.00

28.50

14.25

$4,800

          2.97

E

Corey LaJoie

26.67

91.50

15.25

$5,200

          2.93

E

Landon Cassill

29.17

82.00

13.67

$5,300

          2.58

E

Cody Ware

30.20

54.00

10.80

$4,900

          2.20

E

Joey Gase

31.50

16.00

8.00

$5,000

          1.60

E

Michael McDowell

29.00

44.00

7.33

$5,400

          1.36

E

Gray Gaulding

 

 

 

$4,700

 

E

 

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.