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Fantasy NASCAR: Top 25 Rankings For This Weekend’s STP 400, In Kansas

ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 25 FOR KANSAS

1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson finished sixth at Texas Motor Speedway, upping his Average Finish for 2013 to 7.1. In 13 starts at Kansas Speedway, Johnson has two wins (2008, 2011), five Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 8.0. He’s led at least two laps in each of his last three starts. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Johnson leads all competitors in Driver Rating (119.5), Average Running Position (7.2), Laps Led (527), Fastest Laps Run (403), Average Green Flag Speed (164.270 mph) and Quality Passes (453). He hasn’t finished worse than ninth in his last eight starts at the site (Average Finish of 4.4). Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Kansas is one of Johnson’s best tracks. He’s the top option in all formats and even if you’re saving Tiered/Grouping format starts, he should be in all provisional lineups for his qualifying proficiency.

2. Kyle Busch: Busch posted his second win of 2013, leading 171 of 334 laps in a dominant performance at Texas. In 11 starts at Kansas, Busch has two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 21.0. He’ led at least eight laps in two of his last four starts. He’s qualified fourth or better in three of his last four starts. Busch ranks 17th in DR (81.8) and 16th in ARP (16.8). Over his last five starts, Busch has five Top 5s and with a staggering Average Finish of 2.6. He’s the hottest driver on the planet right now and is a must-start in all formats.

3. Brad Keselowski: Despite pre-race inspection shenanigans and an ARP of 20.8, Keselowski finished ninth at TMS. In six starts at KS, Keselowski has one win (2011), two Top 5s and three Top 10s with an Average Finish of 9.8. He’s led at least one lap in four of his six starts. Keselowski ranks 10th in DR (90.1) and seventh in ARP (12.8). He hasn’t led a lap for three straight races after leading at least 12 in each of the first four. His crew chief, Paul Wolfe, has been suspended for six races but will appeal and be available for this weekend’s race. The No. 2 team will remain strong through this even though it’s a major blow.

4. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. ran his best race of 2013, leading 142 of 334 laps with a second-place finish last time out. In nine KS starts, Truex Jr. has two Top 5s with an Average Finish of 20.9. He’s led at least two laps in four of his starts. Truex Jr. ranks ninth in DR (90.5) and 10th in ARP (13.8). He’s finished in second place in each of his last two starts at Kansas, leading 173 laps in the April 2012 race. Truex Jr. is currently on a 210 race winless streak and will definitely be in the mix when the Checkered Flag drops.

5. Greg Biffle: Biffle posted his best finish of 2013 by coming in fourth at Texas. In 13 Kansas starts, Biffle has two wins (2010), seven Top 5s, nine Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 9.5. He’s led at least two laps in seven of his starts. Biffle ranks second in DR (113.0), ARP (7.6), Fastest Laps Run (202), Average Green Flag Speed (163.872 mph) and Quality Passes (435). He leads all drivers in Laps in the Top 15 (2,354). He’s been ultra-consistent this season with no finish worse than 17th. He’s not racking up many laps led but his place differential of +44 over his last two starts leads all drivers. He’s a must-start Tiered/Grouping format driver this weekend.

6. Carl Edwards: Edwards finished third at Texas, giving him four Top 5s in seven 2013 starts. In 11 KS starts, Edwards has four Top 5s and eight Top 10s with an Average Finish of 10.8. He’s led at least one lap in five of his last seven starts. Edwards ranks sixth in DR (95.1) and eighth in ARP (13.0). He’s not blowing anyone away with bonus points, but Edwards has proven he’s back from the disaster that was 2012. He’s worth a serious look in Tiered/Grouping formats.

7. Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished 11th at TMS while spending 89.5% of his Laps in the Top 15. In 11 starts at KS, Kahne has two Top 5s, five Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 15.0. He led one lap in the October 2012 race. Kahne ranks 11th in DR (89.8) and 12th in ARP (14.3). He’s finished eighth or better in each of his last three Kansas starts with an Average Finish of 4.7. Being in the top tier, Kahne sometimes gets buried behind bigger names, meaning he will be an excellent value play at Kansas.

8. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished 12th despite running an extremely sound race with an ARP of 6.7. In 14 starts at Kansas Speedway, Kenseth has one win (2012), five Top 5s, eight Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 15.8. He’s led at least one lap in seven of his last eight starts. Kenseth ranks third in DR (106.4) and fourth in ARP (10.1). Kansas has been one of Kenseth’s better tracks, as he’s posted a Top 5 in each of his last three starts and finished seventh-or-better in his last five. He’s another value play across the board.

9. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished in 15th-place with three Fastest Laps Run at Texas last weekend. In nine starts at KS, Bowyer has one Top 5 and four Top 10s with an Average Finish of 14.0. He led five laps in the October 2012 event. Bowyer ranks 13th in DR (88.9) and 14th in ARP (16.1). He’s led just one lap (Daytona) all season and has an Average Finish of 14.4, but has run an ARP better than that in six of seven races. He has two Top 10s in his last three Kansas starts and will post a respectable finish.

10. Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished 13th for the third consecutive race last weekend at TMS. In 14 KS starts, Harvick has one Top 5 and six Top 10s with an Average Finish of 12.9. He led 16 laps in the October 2010 race. Harvick ranks eighth in DR (90.6) and ninth in ARP (13.2). He leads all drivers in Green Flag Passes (782). He’s finished outside the Top 11 just once in his last eight starts at Kansas and has posted six-straight Top 15s this season. He’s consistently mediocre but has enough upside to be worth a look in most formats.

11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: One Top 5, six Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 16.5 in 13 starts at KS. 86.4 DR.
12. Jeff Gordon: Two wins (2001-02), eight Top 5s and 10 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 11.0 in 14 Kansas starts. 101.5 DR.
13. Brian Vickers: One Top 10 with an Average Finish of 17.9 in seven starts at Kansas. 71.6 DR.
14. Mark Martin: One win (2005), two Top 5s, five Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 15.3 in 14 starts at KS. 91.3 DR.
15. Joey Logano: Two Top 5s in his last three Cup starts (Texas, Auto Club). 61.6 DR.
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: DR N/A.
17. Tony Stewart: 100.8 DR.
18. Ryan Newman: 67.4.
19. Kurt Busch: 88.5.
20. Aric Almirola: 85.5.
21. Paul Menard
22. Jamie McMurray
23. Marcos Ambrose
24. Juan Pablo Montoya
25. Jeff Burton

Sleepers and Bargains

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: He is listed above in the Top 25, but after a 40th-place disaster at Texas Fantasy owners will be turned off. He has one win (2012) and three Top 5s with an Average Finish of 4.0 in three Nationwide starts at Texas.
Regan Smith: The No. 51 team has come back down to earth over the past couple of races but Smith remains a solid choice. He finished seventh at the Kansas 2012 October event.
Danica Patrick: Place differential of +61 over her last four Cup starts.
Casey Mears: Will bounce back after a 31st-place finish at Texas. He finished eighth (2005), second (2006) and fourth (2007) in a three-race span at Kansas.
David Reutimann: Finished back inside the Top 25 at Texas and does have one recent Top 10 at Kansas (eighth in 2009).
2013 NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Lineup for Texas (Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson $27.75
Kyle Busch $27.25
Martin Truex Jr. $24.50
Casey Mears $10.00
Regan Smith $9.50
Total: $99.00

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