Loading scores...
Statistically Speaking

Update: Charlotte (Spring)

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

Unless players have been sitting in a bubble since Thursday night, they know Martin Truex Jr. is the fantasy favorite this week. He won the pole Thursday night, posted the fastest single lap in final practice, and had the quickest 10-lap averages in both of Saturday’s session. Similar showings in the prelims for Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway foreshadowed his earning the most points despite a failure to visit Victory Lane. It’s time to go all in with Truex again, because even if he stumbles, he will be such a popular pick that he will take everyone’s lineup down with him.

For players who want to play an oppositional strategy, however, there are two good options. Jimmie Johnson is likely to be best on long runs. Joey Logano will climb several positions if there is a late-race green and he has managed to stay in touch with the leaders due to his short bursts of speed.

Johnson had the second-best ranking in terms of 10-lap averages on Saturday. In fact, he had the second-quickest times in both of those sessions behind Truex. He starts a little deeper in the field with a seventh-place qualification effort and that could make him a better value overall if he challenges the No. 78 for the lead. Climbing to first will provide six place-differential points to his fantasy total and he is likely to post some fastest laps since he was second-fastest in both of Saturday’s sessions as well.

Logano was also fast in the combined practice sessions. He was only 12th-best in the morning, but fourth-best in Happy Hour and sixth fastest in Thursday’s session. He won the first two rounds of qualification before getting pushed to the outside pole in the final round. He will sniff the lead early. If Truex gets the balance off just a little in the opening minutes, Logano is more likely to challenge in the first 25-50 laps because Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, and Greg Biffle either lack enough current momentum, or struggled in at least one of the practice sessions.

About the only thing Kurt Busch did wrong this week was qualify. He had the fastest single lap in Thursday’s practice and then again Saturday morning. He “slipped” in practice two—if falling one position to become second-fastest can be counted as slipping. Busch has the longest active streak of top-10s and there is no reason to think he will not challenge for another. He is unlikely to dominate in such a way that he demands to anchor rosters, but he is going to be attractive if one can afford him after filling most of his or her roster.

Chase Elliott should be the best-mid-range pick this week. He qualified well and advanced to the final round of time trials, but he may have used up his equipment early and rolls off the grid 12th. He was not uniformly quick in practice, but he made long runs in both the morning and afternoon. His best time came in the morning when he was third-best behind Truex and Johnson.

The choice for a bargain-basement driver could come down to Casey Mears or Chris Buescher.

Mears has shown improvement from his qualification attempt in a majority of races this year and he is on track to finish better than 17th again this week. As the clock ticked down toward the green flag, he got increasingly fast and posted the seventh-best time in final practice.

Chris Buescher surprised the field by advancing into the second round of qualification and rolls off the grid 22nd. He could lose a spot or two before the checkers wave, but his is much cheaper than Mears in most games and will help stretch the salary cap dollar. A result in the low- to mid-20s still makes him a good value. 

 

Start

Driver

Qual

Speed

Practice
1

Rank

Practice
2

Rank

Final
Practice

Rank

Avg.
Rank

                   

1

Martin Truex Jr.

      192.328

    190.496

7

                190.061

3

           186.387

1

3.0

2

Joey Logano

      192.007

    190.584

6

                187.820

12

           185.109

4

6.0

3

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      191.428

    190.416

8

                189.414

5

           184.824

6

5.5

4

Denny Hamlin

      191.388

    189.980

14

                185.848

25

           184.175

13

14.0

5

Brad Keselowski

      190.968

    189.600

18

                186.156

23

           183.723

19

16.3

6

Greg Biffle

      190.503

    189.747

17

                186.677

20

           184.938

5

12.0

7

Jimmie Johnson

      190.282

    191.252

2

                190.617

2

           185.401

3

3.5

8

Kevin Harvick

      190.268

    190.772

4

                189.301

7

           183.150

24

10.8

9

Carl Edwards

      189.853

    191.042

3

                189.887

4

           184.363

11

6.8

10

Trevor Bayne

      189.587

    190.054

13

                187.767

14

           183.842

17

13.5

11

Paul Menard

      189.162

    188.640

24

                186.181

22

           184.489

9

16.5

12

Chase Elliott

      187.963

    190.087

12

                189.381

6

           183.767

18

12.0

13

Kurt Busch

      190.114

    192.843

1

                191.002

1

           185.733

2

4.3

14

Ryan Newman

      189.927

    190.107

11

                188.252

9

           183.424

22

14.0

15

AJ Allmendinger

      189.853

    189.421

20

                187.272

17

           182.704

27

19.8

16

Kyle Busch

      189.820

    190.255

10

                184.281

32

           184.024

15

18.3

17

Casey Mears

      189.820

    188.712

23

                184.508

29

           184.653

7

19.0

18

Ryan Blaney

      189.807

    189.853

16

                188.383

8

           184.489

9

12.8

19

Danica Patrick

      189.527

    188.022

30

                185.052

28

           183.630

20

24.3

20

Aric Almirola

      189.274

    189.600

19

                186.002

24

           183.861

16

19.8

21

Tony Stewart

      189.188

    188.048

28

                187.559

15

           182.778

26

22.5

22

Chris Buescher

      188.673

    188.390

25

                187.065

19

           184.156

14

20.0

23

Jamie McMurray

      188.508

    190.369

9

                187.305

16

           182.933

25

18.3

24

Kyle Larson

      187.931

    190.745

5

                188.239

10

           183.256

23

15.5

25

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

      188.851

    188.199

27

                187.084

18

           183.574

21

22.8

26

Clint Bowyer

      188.659

    187.793

31

                186.290

21

           182.045

30

27.0

27

Matt Kenseth

      188.534

    188.291

26

                185.510

26

           184.634

8

21.8

28

Austin Dillon

      188.515

    189.135

21

                187.990

11

           184.344

12

18.0

29

Kasey Kahne

      188.376

    189.095

22

                187.813

13

           182.205

29

23.3

30

Brian Scott

      188.016

    189.947

15

                183.580

33

           182.562

28

26.5

31

Regan Smith

      187.480

    187.195

33

                183.057

35

           181.257

34

33.3

32

Michael McDowell

      187.266

    186.599

35

                183.436

34

           181.299

33

33.5

33

Landon Cassill

      187.201

    187.474

32

                184.326

31

           181.574

32

32.0

34

Matt DiBenedetto

      186.955

    186.838

34

                185.350

27

           180.042

35

32.5

35

David Ragan

      186.780

    188.029

29

                184.489

30

           181.622

31

31.3

36

Cole Whitt

      185.586

    183.849

37

                179.940

37

 

 

36.7

37

Josh Wise

      183.181

    180.626

39

                179.188

38

           177.995

37

37.8

38

Michael Annett

      183.088

    184.037

36

                180.487

36

           178.725

36

36.5

39

Jeffrey Earnhardt

      180.717

    180.917

38

                178.843

39

           176.655

38

38.5

40

Reed Sorenson

      179.432

    175.461

40

                176.154

40

 

 

40.0

 

10-Lap Averages

 

10-Lap Averages

Avg

Practice 2

 

Final Practice

Rank

               

1

Martin Truex Jr.

      186.625

 

1

Martin Truex Jr.

  182.923

1.0

2

Jimmie Johnson

      186.076

 

2

Jimmie Johnson

  182.713

2.0

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 

 

6

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

  182.245

6.0

3

Chase Elliott

      185.855

 

11

Chase Elliott

  181.799

7.0

7

Kyle Larson

      185.184

 

 

Kyle Larson

 

7.0

11

Greg Biffle

      184.325

 

4

Greg Biffle

  182.513

7.5

 

Casey Mears

 

 

8

Casey Mears

  181.933

8.0

4

Kurt Busch

      185.782

 

12

Kurt Busch

  181.781

8.0

15

Brad Keselowski

      181.528

 

3

Brad Keselowski

  182.587

9.0

 

Matt Kenseth

 

 

9

Matt Kenseth

  181.823

9.0

5

Kevin Harvick

      185.773

 

17

Kevin Harvick

  181.452

11.0

6

Ryan Newman

      185.202

 

18

Ryan Newman

  181.391

12.0

20

Austin Dillon

      179.670

 

5

Austin Dillon

  182.395

12.5

19

Denny Hamlin

      180.269

 

7

Denny Hamlin

  182.159

13.0

 

Danica Patrick

 

 

13

Danica Patrick

  181.705

13.0

12

Ryan Blaney

      183.965

 

14

Ryan Blaney

  181.673

13.0

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      180.644

 

10

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

  181.810

13.5

13

Kyle Busch

      183.570

 

15

Kyle Busch

  181.579

14.0

14

Aric Almirola

      183.437

 

16

Aric Almirola

  181.575

15.0

10

Tony Stewart

      184.339

 

20

Tony Stewart

  180.965

15.0

8

Trevor Bayne

      185.166

 

26

Trevor Bayne

  178.472

17.0

16

AJ Allmendinger

      181.435

 

21

AJ Allmendinger

  180.000

18.5

 

Kasey Kahne

 

 

19

Kasey Kahne

  181.028

19.0

9

Paul Menard

      184.497

 

31

Paul Menard

  175.767

20.0

18

Carl Edwards

      180.473

 

23

Carl Edwards

  179.581

20.5

 

Chris Buescher

 

 

22

Chris Buescher

  179.798

22.0

 

Joey Logano

 

 

24

Joey Logano

  179.872

24.0

 

Brian Scott

 

 

25

Brian Scott

  178.538

25.0

22

Jamie McMurray

      178.760

 

28

Jamie McMurray

  178.372

25.0

21

Michael Annett

      179.458

 

30

Michael Annett

  176.561

25.5

 

Landon Cassill

 

 

27

Landon Cassill

  178.458

27.0

 

Clint Bowyer

 

 

29

Clint Bowyer

  177.231

29.0

 

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.