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Power Rankings

Power After: Martinsville

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: November 14, 2018, 7:25 am ET

Martinsville was not exactly a wild card race, but it had a major impact on the playoffs. For most of the year, it has been generally believed that the Big 3 would have an easy path to Homestead because of the massive amounts of bonus points they accumulated before the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Erik Jones victory in that race changed the course of the season. Since then, the vast majority of races have been won by “The Others” including all but one of the playoff races. If Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick or Martin Truex Jr. fail to win this week while another unique driver below them in the standings does – one of the Big 3 will be eliminated. If they fail to win again at Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway (Phoenix) in two weeks while another contender does, only one will make it to Homestead in playoff contention.

1. Joey Logano (Last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 23
FPR#: 5.63
Last week fantasy players saw a different side of Logano than the one that is normally portrayed. Yes, he knocked Matt Kenseth out of the way at Kansas Speedway two years ago, but that is not typical; his aggression is usually kept in check. At Martinsville, he let the beast out and that makes him a greater fantasy value.

2. Brad Keselowski (Last week: 2)
Weeks in the top 10: 29
FPR#: 6.76
While his three consecutive victories at the end of the regular series and first race of the playoffs are starting to age out of the Fantasy Power Rankings formula, they are still recent enough to factor into Keselowski’s handicap. They are now supported by a sixth at Kansas and fifth at Martinsville. Keselowski raced Logano hard at the end of the First Data 500 and would have denied his playoff-eligible teammate the victory if he had been able.


3. Kurt Busch (Last week: 6)
Weeks in the top 10: 34
FPR #: 7.07
He finished only sixth last week, but that actually says volumes about the strength of this team and Busch’s ability to continue recording top-10s. That was his second top-10 on this track in the last 26 races and only the 11th time that he completed all the laps at Martinsville in that span of time.

4. Kevin Harvick (Last week: 4)
Weeks in the top 10: 33
FPR#: 7.10
A series of mistakes during Round 2 of the playoffs kept Harvick from scoring a top-five, but he could at least be encouraged by the way the team ran. Last week, he didn’t have that luxury as he barely had a top-10 capable car for most of the afternoon. Harvick finished 10th in the First Data 500 and it has now been five weeks since he scored a top-five.

5. Kyle Busch (Last week: 7)
Weeks in the top 10: 32
FPR #: 7.16
In practice and qualification, Busch looked like he was going to have a dominant car. He led early from the pole, but eventually began to slip back through the field. He did not go far and hovered inside the top five for most of the race, but could never seriously challenge for the win. His stage points and fourth-place finish continued to make him one of the top fantasy values, however.

6. Chase Elliott (Last week: 5)
Weeks in the top 10: 18
FPR#: 7.32
Like Harvick, Elliott achieved a good finish with a mediocre run. He started mid-pack, raced into the top 10 for a while in Stage 1 but could not earn points, then finished seventh in Stage 2. That is where he wound up at the end of the race. Since Logano won, the remainder of the field – other than the Big 3 – is practically in a must-win situation. The news would be worse for Elliott if he had not already scored three victories this year.

7. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: 8)
Weeks in the top 10: 28
FPR #: 8.56
Last year when Elliott was bumped out of the lead at Martinsville, the incident became a galvanizing force. The same thing could happen to Truex who has a reputation for being a little too nice on the track. Only time will tell.

8. Kyle Larson (Last week: 3)
Weeks in the top 10: 31
FPR#: 8.63
Larson’s blown engine last week came early enough in the race to keep him from scoring a good Driver Rating or Average Running Position. It is also eerily reminiscent of how his season began to unravel last year when another blown engine eliminated him at Kansas. Larson is likely to overcome and score some more top-fives this season and will be a good value at Texas and Homestead.

9. Denny Hamlin (Last week: 12)
Weeks in the top 10: 24
FPR#: 9.47
Hamlin nearly capitalized on the last lap contact between Logano and Truex at Martinsville. He managed to nip the No. 78 at the finish line and was coming with a head of steam to get the No. 22. He has three opportunities remaining to visit Victory Lane in 2018 and extend a streak of winning at least once per year to 13 seasons.

10. Ryan Blaney (Last week: 9)
Weeks in the top 10: 27
FPR#: 10.23
Blaney has developed a tendency toward inconsistency. In the last seven races, he has earned three top-10s and finished 19th or worse three times. He is slowly making his way down the grid. If either Clint Bowyer or Aric Almirola has a much stronger run than Blaney next week, he will probably drop off of this list.

Dropped from the Top 10

11. Clint Bowyer (Last week: 10)
Weeks in the top 10: 30
FPR#: 10.26
Bowyer’s spin and 21st-place finish last week at Martinsville was the fourth time in the past 60 days that he has finished in the back half of the pack. Until now, top-fives at Indy, the Roval, and Talladega have been enough to keep him in the Fantasy Power Rankings top 10, but the accumulation of bad results have finally taken a toll.

Big Movers outside the Top 10

14. Ryan Newman (Last week: 16)
Weeks in the top 10: 2
FPR#: 14.03
Newman finished eighth at Martinsville, which was his first top-10 in his last six attempts. Going so long between a ninth at Vegas and last week’s run left us questioning the chemistry of this team. A single strong showing is not going to completely reverse that opinion, but he has become a person of interest in the final three races.

27. Ty Dillon (Last week: 30)
Weeks in the top 10: 0
FPR#: 25.28
For the second time in the last 60 days, Dillon scored a top-15 at Martinsville. Those are his only results in the front half of the pack, but he has come close on three other occasions with results of 21st or 22nd. Even though his finishes are not great, he has been fantasy relevant ever since the Southern 500 by earning positive place-differential points in eight of nine races. 

 

This
Week

Driver

Power
Avg.

Last
Week

Difference

1

Joey Logano

5.63

1

0

2

Brad Keselowski

6.76

2

0

3

Kurt Busch

7.07

6

3

4

Kevin Harvick

7.10

4

0

5

Kyle Busch

7.16

7

2

6

Chase Elliott

7.32

5

-1

7

Martin Truex Jr./p>

8.56

8

1

8

Kyle Larson

8.63

3

-5

9

Denny Hamlin

9.47

12

3

10

Ryan Blaney

10.23

9

-1

 

11

Clint Bowyer

10.26

10

-1

12

Aric Almirola

10.28

11

-1

13

Erik Jones

13.38

13

0

14

Ryan Newman

14.03

16

2

15

Alex Bowman

14.95

14

-1

16

Jamie McMurray

15.15

15

-1

17

Jimmie Johnson

15.41

17

0

18

Austin Dillon

16.65

18

0

19

Paul Menard

17.32

19

0

20

Daniel Suarez

18.73

20

0

21

Ricky Stenhouse Jr./p>

19.78

21

0

22

AJ Allmendinger

21.15

23

1

23

Matt Kenseth

21.40

22

-1

24

Chris Buescher

22.53

24

0

25

Trevor Bayne

23.77

26

1

26

William Byron

24.12

25

-1

27

Ty Dillon

25.28

30

3

28

David Ragan

25.75

27

-1

29

Michael McDowell

26.22

28

-1

30

Regan Smith

27.21

29

-1

31

Daniel Hemric

27.22

32

1

32

Matt DiBenedetto

29.88

31

-1

33

Corey LaJoie

30.79

33

0

34

Cole Custer

30.85

34

0

35

Cole Whitt

30.88

36

1

36

Bubba Wallace

30.91

35

-1

37

Ross Chastain

32.78

37

0

38

DJ Kennington

33.20

 

NA

39

Landon Cassill

33.63

38

-1

40

Justin Marks

33.75

40

0

41

JJ Yeley

33.86

39

-2

42

Jeffrey Earnhardt

34.93

42

0

43

Joey Gase

35.73

41

-2

44

Kyle Weatherman

35.88

43

-1

45

Reed Sorenson

36.00

44

-1

46

BJ McLeod

36.11

45

-1

47

Jeb Burton

37.25

 

NA

48

Harrison Rhodes

38.00

46

-2

49

Alon Day

38.75

47

-2

50

Timmy Hill

38.87

48

-2

51

David Starr

39.75

49

-2

52

Gray Gaulding

40.00

50

-2

53

Hermie Sadler

40.00

 

NA

54

Stanton Barrett

40.00

51

-3

 

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.