This weekend is a curve ball to everyone who plays fantasy. Qualifying was rained out. For the second time this year the field is set off of points and not speed. All three practices were run on a relatively green track. The young guns showed a ton of speed in all three practices, but can they be trusted? Choosing a rookie a few weeks ago at Martinsville proved to be detrimental. Can a young driver stay composed on a short track for 500 laps? I think this is the week to bring a few of the rookies out of the shed. Why? Because the Toyota’s are showing serious speed this weekend.
These are the guys that are the cornerstone of your roster. Chances are you can only afford one, so you have to choose wisely! Who will have the most fast laps, laps led, and lead the last lap? That is your main concern with this group.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has been the best car this weekend, hands down. He’s consistently been top two through all three practices. In practice 1 he finished second fastest. In practices 2 and 3 he was at the top of the charts. Kyle Busch is going to have to make a few serious mistakes to lose this race.
Denny Hamlin: Denny is always a contender on the short tracks. In my opinion he is the best all-around short track racer in the sport right now. He has been consistently fast in practices finishing 6th and 3rd before testing long race runs in practice 3 and finishing 17th. Denny will be up front today and will contend for the win.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: Dale Jr. looks really good this weekend. His car has had speed all weekend long and Bristol has found a way to get the cars back on the bottom of the track with their innovative VHT compound. This allows for a throwback Bristol experience! Dale Jr has begged for a low line at Bristol for years and finally gets his wish – nostalgia mixed with a deadly fast car. Dale Jr. May easily be sitting in victory lane this afternoon.
The Role Players
These drivers are the bulk of your lineup. The mid range drivers are the ones who are going to win you your league. The best strategy with these guys is to pick the drivers who are starting back in the pack, but ones you know don’t belong there and are unlikely to finish there. Every car they pass is worth valuable points to your overall total.
Erik Jones: I feel like a broken record with Erik Jones. He has been so impressive this year and continues to show promise. Not only has he been extremely solid in practice, he also won yesterdays Xfinity Race. He was fastest in practice 1, 2nd fastest in practice 2, and 6th fastest in practice 3. He is also starting 14th which should help with place differential. I look for Erik Jones to be Kyle Busch’s biggest threat for the race win.
Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been impressive this weekend. He’s shown great speed finishing 13th in practice 1, 6th in practice 2, and 3rd in practice 3. He starts 17th which is a big plus because I highly doubt he finishes that low. Kasey Kahne is a little pricey at $22.75 on Fantasy live but if he fits into your lineup, it could pay huge dividends.
The Value Drivers
These are the guys who are below $18. They help you afford the Contenders and give you breathing room with your Role Players. These drivers still play a huge role and can make the difference in a solid points day vs. a victory.
A.J. Allmendinger: 17th in practice 1, 8th in practice 2, 16th in practice 3. AJ is starting 25th and I like the upside of Allmendinger. He keeps the cars safe while still driving the wheels off of the car. He will can a few points on your roster today.
Daniel Suarez: Suarez is on the threshold of even qualifying to be a value driver. I know he didn’t fare well at Martinsville and I’m nervous about having him on my roster this week, but speed cannot be denied! He finished well in yesterdays Xfinity race. He starts 23rd. He finished 27th in practice 1 and I expect he still had bitter memories of tearing up his primary car at his last short track race. He was 16th in practice 2, and finished practice three with the 2nd fastest time. I like the upside and potential that Suarez can bring to the roster. If he keeps the car clean, he’ll be the car that gives you the boost to win your fantasy league today.
Paul Menard: Paul Menard is a 100% roster filler. He’s $15, He qualified 26th, finished 19th fastest in practice 1, 22nd in practice 2, and 15th in practice 3. Menard keeps his cars safe and will most likely earn a few points. He’s on my roster because he reduces the risk of losing me points on a dangerous track.
What do you think about the lineup prospects this week?