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Cap Considerations

Draft Kings: QuikTrip 500

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: March 13, 2020, 11:36 am ET

Until this year, Atlanta Motor Speedway was the first similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track on the schedule. It was moved three weeks to allow for slightly better weather and give the West Coast swing a little more prominence.

Perhaps in part because of its place on the schedule, this track is host to some long streaks of top-10s. Drivers tend to calm down the week after the aero-restricted superspeedway chaos.

Three drivers enter the week with five-race top-10 streaks. Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. will all contend for top-fives this week, but since they are among the most expensive drivers in the field, it will be difficult to take more than one of them. One other driver, Kurt Busch has a four-race top-10 streak and he is imminently more affordable.

Hometown favorite Chase Elliott had a three-race Atlanta streak end last year, while the most expensive driver in the field Kyle Busch has three top-10s in his last five races on this track. Only one of these was a top-five.


Group A: Most Expensive (>=$10,000)

Brad Keselowski ($10,800)
Four drivers have back-to-back top-fives in their last two Atlanta starts. Only one has three consecutive and that places Keselowski at the top of this list. And those three results have been as close to perfect as a fantasy player can hope for with a pair of wins in 2017 and 2019 plus a second-place finish in 2018. In the two races prior to this three-race streak, he finished ninth in back-to-back races. Tack on another pair in the early 2010s and Keselowski has a top-10 percentage of 63.6%.

Group B: (Between $9,800 and $8,600)

Ryan Blaney ($9,200)
We’re not sure why Blaney is having such a run of bad luck. Occasionally it seems that a driver simply can’t stay out of trouble even when they do nothing wrong. We were prepared to avoid him this week just because it’s uncertain if fickle Fate has forgiven him. That is until we logged on and saw that he was $700 cheaper than last week. If Blaney stays out of trouble, he will earn as many points as any of the drivers listed in Group A.

William Byron ($8,600)
Hendrick Motorsports is on the rise and it is likely they will all finish inside the top 10 this week. Given the solid showing by Chevrolet in the first three unrestricted speedway races a case could be made for any of the three drivers at this level, but we will lean toward Byron because he is the cheapest option. Those few hundred dollars could open up some opportunities at the other levels. Last year Byron had five top-10s in 11 starts on 1.5-mile tracks and swept the top 20 until his trouble at Homestead.

Group C: (Between $8,400 and $7,300)

Kurt Busch ($8,400)
Frankly, we were shocked to see Busch this cheap. His cap value dropped after back-to-back hardships in Daytona and Las Vegas, but he was the ninth-most productive driver at Auto Club and 11th-best last week at Phoenix. As a result we expected his price tag to challenge the $9,000 mark on a track where he has two top-fives and a four-race streak of top-10s.

Tyler Reddick ($7,300)
Reddick was not looking forward to racing at Phoenix. He though he would struggle on what is essentially a short track, but he was in contention for a top-10 until he experienced tire failure. Reddick has been even better on unrestricted, intermediate speedways. He scored 41 points (10th-most) at Auto Club and 33 (16th-most) at Las Vegas. He has even more confidence entering this week and should be able to pick up where he left off in the FanShield 500k.

Group D: (Between $7,100 and $5,800)

Chris Buescher ($6,700)
Buescher did a great job on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks in modest equipment last year with four top-10s to his credit. One of these was a ninth at Atlanta. In his new Roush Fenway Racing ride, we expected another top-10 from him at Vegas. He missed, but not by a wide enough margin to cause concern and with his 14th-place finish in that race he banked 40 points (13th-most). If you want a top-heavy marquee driver, that is an acceptable cost-per-thousand.

Cole Custer ($6,500)
We waved a green flag over Cole Custer last week and he rewarded us with a top-10 finish. It’s unlikely that he will do so again at Atlanta, but this is a track that was kind to this team with Daniel Suarez ($5,800) behind the wheel last year. Suarez finished 10th in the No. 41 and was 15th in 2018. Custer is more than capable of earning a result in the low to mid-teens.

Group E: (Less than or equal to $5,600)

JJ Yeley ($5,200)
Yeley’s lead lap finish last week caught our attention. There was some skepticism when car owner Rick Ware decided to make the jump to fulltime drivers in most of his cars – especially when he relegated Yeley to a points-less team for the Daytona 500. The No. 52 seems to be fully committed to competing at the highest level possible and that has allowed them to earn top-20 points in two of the last three races. That’s not bad for a driver who commands the sixth-lowest salary cap this week.

 

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group

Chase Elliott

8.3

223.00

55.8

$10,100

          5.52

A

Kevin Harvick

7.5

233.25

58.3

$11,500

          5.07

A

Joey Logano

14.3

181.00

45.3

$11,100

          4.08

A

Brad Keselowski

14.5

158.00

39.5

$10,800

          3.66

A

Kyle Busch

15.3

136.50

34.1

$11,900

          2.87

A

Martin Truex Jr.

25.5

70.75

17.7

$10,400

          1.70

A

 

Denny Hamlin

15.8

174.25

43.6

$9,500

          4.59

B

Alex Bowman

17.5

173.25

43.3

$9,800

          4.42

B

Ryan Blaney

14.5

142.25

35.6

$9,200

          3.87

B

Jimmie Johnson

16.0

119.75

29.9

$8,800

          3.40

B

Kyle Larson

18.0

120.00

30.0

$9,000

          3.33

B

William Byron

19.8

73.75

18.4

$8,600

          2.14

B

 

Matt DiBenedetto

14.5

141.50

35.4

$7,500

          4.72

C

Clint Bowyer

16.5

145.00

36.3

$8,100

          4.48

C

Austin Dillon

18.5

123.25

30.8

$7,800

          3.95

C

Tyler Reddick

20.3

100.00

25.0

$7,300

          3.42

C

Aric Almirola

20.3

93.50

23.4

$7,900

          2.96

C

Kurt Busch

21.0

96.00

24.0

$8,400

          2.86

C

Erik Jones

22.3

93.50

23.4

$8,200

          2.85

C

 

Chris Buescher

13.8

155.25

38.8

$6,700

          5.79

D

Bubba Wallace

17.8

127.50

31.9

$6,000

          5.31

D

Ty Dillon

17.5

116.50

29.1

$6,100

          4.77

D

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19.5

119.00

29.8

$7,100

          4.19

D

Daniel Suarez

20.0

72.50

24.2

$5,800

          4.17

D

Ross Chastain

23.5

82.00

20.5

$6,900

          2.97

D

Cole Custer

21.3

74.00

18.5

$6,500

          2.85

D

Christopher Bell

31.5

28.00

7.0

$6,300

          1.11

D

 

Corey LaJoie

17.0

138.75

34.7

$5,300

          6.54

E

JH Nemechek

18.5

113.00

28.3

$5,600

          5.04

E

Brennan Poole

21.8

94.50

23.6

$5,100

          4.63

E

Michael McDowell

23.0

90.75

22.7

$5,200

          4.36

E

Joey Gase

23.5

84.00

21.0

$5,000

          4.20

E

JJ Yeley

22.3

63.00

21.0

$5,200

          4.04

E

Reed Sorenson

27.3

62.00

15.5

$4,700

          3.30

E

Timmy Hill

30.5

44.00

11.0

$4,800

          2.29

E

Ryan Preece

29.0

41.00

10.3

$5,500

          1.86

E

Quin Houff

31.0

32.00

8.0

$5,300

          1.51

E

 

Atlanta Coverage

Fantasy Live: QuikTrip 500
Fanshield 500k Cheat Sheet
Power Rankings after Auto Club
Four to Watch at Atlanta: Alex Bowman
Four to Watch at Atlanta: Clint Bowyer
Four to Watch at Atlanta: Kurt Busch

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.