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Fantasy

Fantasy NASCAR: Jeff Gordon Is Primed For A Victory


*Leads all Active Drivers
DR = Driver Rating
ARP = Average Running Position

 

THE TOP 15

 

1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson did well to finish 19th at Bristol last week, as a shredded right-front tire relegated him to the back of the field early. You know how they say “save your Tiered/Grouping format Johnson starts”? This is the exact type of week you hoard all those starts for. You are seeing all those bolded and asterisked numbers below correctly. On top of all that, since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Johnson leads all competitors in Laps in the Top 15 (3,247), Fastest Laps Run (456) and Average Green Flag Speed (172.084 mph). This one’s a total no-brainer. Get the No. 48 into any and all Fantasy lineups possible.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
119.6* 6.1* 19 5* 12* 14* 1 5.7* 851*

 

2. Kyle Busch: Bad news first – Busch has only one Top 10 through four races this season. The good news is it’s not a matter of if he will turn it around, it’s when. He’s driving extremely well, as evidenced by his DR of 102.5 on the season (99.7 is his lowest) and output regarding laps led (at least 19 in three of four races). And as for the “when” which we just referenced, Fantasy owners won’t have to wait long. Busch has logged three consecutive Top 3s at Fontana (third in 2011, second in 2012, won in 2013), He’s also led at least 80 laps in those three events and carried a DR of 143.0 in that span. Perhaps there’s some value to be mined thanks to the mediocre start (on the surface) to 2014.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
109.2 9.7 16 2 7 77 1 10.7 599

 

3. Jeff Gordon: Gordon is going through a very hush-hush career renaissance in 2014. He’s had his ups and downs the last few seasons, most notably struggling to add Checkered Flags to his mantle. But the biggest issue  in recent years has been consistency. Well, in 2014 it’s no such problem. Gordon has two Top 5s and four Top 10s through four races this season and just keeps getting it done for Fantasy owners who believe in him. The best part is there’s room to grow in terms of laps led (they’re coming) and victories (they’re also coming). He’s a very low-risk option in all formats with tons of upside.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
96.2 10.4 24* 3 10 11 2 8.4 622

4. Matt Kenseth: While the 13th-place finish at Bristol is in line with his quiet-yet-solid start to the season, the 165 laps led is a nice sign. He’s posted an ARP of 8.9 or better in two of his last three starts at Fontana, an indicator that the No. 20 driver is a pretty safe bet. The only caveat here is that his wife is ready to give birth any day. Jeff Burton will fill in if this goes down on the weekend. If you start Kenseth in Tiered/Grouping formats, confirm on Sunday morning Katie Kenseth has not yet begun contractions.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
105.5 9.4 21 3 8 14* 0 10.1 507

 

5. Carl Edwards: Edwards notched his first win of 2014, leading 78 laps in a semi-bizarre-ghost-caution situation at Bristol. He’s now led at least one lap in all four races this season. While he hasn’t led a single lap at Fontana since 2009, he’s logged two Top 5s and three Top 10s in his last three starts at the site. He’s super-consistent and can be trusted across all formats to deliver the Fantasy goods on race day.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
98.5 12.2 16 1 8 13 1 8.4 121

 

6. Brad Keselowski: Generally, all-time stats don’t really favor Keselowski, as he only became a superstar midway through 2011. So typically it’s a tale of two careers, as he’s been on a different level since June 2011. That does not hold true at the Auto Club. His best finish is 18th and he’s never led a single lap in five career starts. All that said, he’s the most consistent driver out there right now and probably would have run his streak of Top 3s an extra week had he not gotten caught up in a wreck he had nothing to do with at Bristol. Fantasy owners will find because of the lousy stats, some value will be attached to the Kez this weekend.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
67.1 19.9 5 0 0 0 0 22.8 0

 

7. Denny Hamlin: One year ago, Hamlin got into it with ex-teammate Joey Logano on the final lap at Fontana andthis happened. He appears recovered, and going by the numbers, Hamlin is a plus start in all formats. He’s led at least two laps in five of his last six Fontana starts. And while the finishes haven’t been there (best in that span is eighth – 2010), before the accident a year ago he was poised to easily finish first or second. His price remains low in Salary Cap formats considering his upside.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
90.7 13.9 13 0 1 4 3* 19.0 76

 

8. Joey Logano: Logano finished 20th last weekend at Bristol, an impressive outing considering he ran at an ARP of 24.8 and was down a few laps most of the race. We all know how this ended last year, but the fact is Logano had arguably the best car on the track in Fontana. Look for the No. 22 to bring the same setup once again. He needs to be in all Tiered/Grouping format lineups.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
78.9 18.4 7 0 2 2 0 15.4 41

 

9. Kevin Harvick: Fontana is a welcome site for Harvick, who finds himself in in a mini-tailspin after 41st (Las Vegas) and 39th-place (Bristol) finishes. His worst finish in his last six starts is 13th, which includes a win in 2011 on the final lap of the race. Luck, or lack of it, has played a major role in Harvick’s two-week slide. Fantasy owners are probably turned off, and for good reason, but the value will be there this weekend in Tiered/Grouping formats.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
95.5 12.0 20 1 4 9 0 15.4 61

 

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: I’m not off the bandwagon because of one bad race (24th at Bristol). Historically, the Auto Club isn’t one of Junior’s best tracks. But he’s posted third (2012) and second-place (2013) finishes in his last two starts. Prior to that he only had four Top 10s in 19 tries. While a quality play in Salary Cap formats, Fantasy owners can probably find safer options this week.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
77.7 19.7 21 0 5 6 0 19.9 28

 

11. Kasey Kahne: He’s now produced back-to-back eighth-place finishes. With one Top 5 and three Top 10s in his last four Fontana starts, I’d expect Kahne’s ceiling this weekend to be a Top 10 with some laps led.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
92.9 14.4 17 1 4 10 1 14.5 268

 

12. Tony Stewart: All he had to do was show us something to move up in the weekly rankings. His Top 5 at Bristol was great to see, especially heading into Fontana – a track Smoke is historically excellent at. Consider him the top value play of the week.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
102.0 9.9 22 2 6 12 0 13.9 332

 

13. Ryan Newman: Two Top 5s and four Top 10s in his last four starts at the Auto Club makes Newman a quality play in Tiered/Grouping formats.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
81.0 16.6 19 0 4 8 1 17.2 19

 

14. Greg Biffle: Finished 12th last weekend at Bristol but remains a risky option until he finds some week-to-week consistency.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
95.8 12.8 19 1 4 7 0 16.6 297

 

15. Clint Bowyer: Zero Top 10s this season. There’s no Fantasy value here right now, especially for the steep price in Salary Cap formats.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
91.4 13.1 13 0 2 7 0 12.7 45

TOP 10 BEST VALUE PLAYS

 

1. Kurt Busch: Got out in front of the pack (28 laps led) at Bristol, but once again couldn’t finish (35th). One Top 5 and two Top 10s in his last two trips to Fontana.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
89.6 15.0 20 1 5 10 3* 12.4 231

 

2. Jamie McMurray: After three straight Top 15s to start 2014, some bad luck at Bristol led to a 38th-place finish. What makes it even more disappointing is McMurray ran at an ARP of 9.2. Serious value here in Tiered/Grouping formats.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
70.8 20.4 18 0 3 5 2 17.8 57

 

3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: A very impressive, not to mention career-best, finish for Stenhouse Jr. (second place) at Bristol. Could be a sign of things to come. He’s a great value in Salary Cap formats.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
66.1 19.2 1 0 0 0 0 20.0 0

 

4. Aric Almirola: Ditto for Almirola in regards to the impressive finish (third at Bristol). Has finished all over the place this season but should come at a nice value in Salary Cap formats.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
48.6 29.7 6 0 0 0 0 29.7 0

 

5. Paul Menard: Finished eighth in this race last season.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
60.3 24.1 11 0 0 1 0 23.2 3

 

6. Brian Vickers

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
87.3 15.3 14 0 1 5 2 16.1 54

7. Marcos Ambrose

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
55.1 8 0 0 0 0 28.8 0

 

8. A.J. Allmendinger

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
69.8 20.6 9 0 0 0 0 20.3 1

 

9. Martin Truex Jr.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
77.2 19.0 13 0 0 3 0 19.9 9

 

10. Casey Mears

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
65.7 23.4 17 0 0 2 0 22.8 1

 

 

TOP 5 SLEEPERS

 

1. Austin Dillon: Logged another impressive finish last weekend (11th at Bristol). Has posted back-to-back Top 5s at the Auto Club in his last two Nationwide Series starts.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

 

2. Kyle Larson: Ran up front all day at Bristol, posting an ARP of 7.5 before ultimately finishing 10th. I’ve been rolling with him in Tiered/Grouping formats just to conserve my Austin Dillon starts.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

 

3. Jeff Burton: Probably won’t even race, but his experience and talent behind the wheel of JGR’s top equipment is too much to ignore in the off chance Katie Kenseth does give birth on Sunday. Put him in provisional Tiered/Grouping format lineups and check back on Sunday morning to see his status.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
83.0 15.1 24* 0 6 7 0 17.1 127

 

4. Reed Sorenson: Again, the cheapest option available when filling out Salary Cap format lineups.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
53.2 28.6 10 0 0 0 0 29.1 8

 

5. Danica Patrick: Coming off a season-best 18th-place finish at Bristol. She finished 26th in this event in 2013.

DR ARP Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Avg. Finish Laps Led
44.2 31.0 1 0 0 0 0 26.0 0

 

2014 NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Lineup for The Auto Club Speedway (Salary Cap)

 

DRIVER SALARY
Jimmie Johnson $27.75
Brad Keselowski $25.50
Denny Hamlin $23.25
Casey Mears $18.50
Reed Sorenson $ 5.00
TOTAL $100.00

 

Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing Picks (Tiered/Grouping Format)

 

A-LIST Jimmie Johnson Kyle Busch
B-LIST Denny Hamlin Tony Stewart Joey Logano Carl Edwards
C-LIST Kyle Larson Jeff Burton

 

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