Denny Hamlin ($10,200) is arguably at his most dominant at Martinsville Speedway, with that dominance on particular display in the March race at the site. Hamlin went from last place to victory lane, leading 91 laps with a +14 place differential. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Hamlin ranks third in Fastest Laps Run (687). Overall, Hamlin has five wins, 10 Top 5s and 15 Top 10s in 19 starts, leading at least 12 laps in 14 of those races. His DFS price tag is aggressive, but his downside here is incredibly limited. As for Tiered/Grouping formats, I recommend plugging Hamlin into your A-List lineup and not looking back.
Of the elite plays out there – and by elite I mean a Top 8 driver still alive for the Sprint Cup title – Martin Truex Jr. ($8,500) is the only one who’s priced at a bargain value. In the March edition of this race, the No. 78 driver posted a sixth place finish with 23 laps led. Looking at his more recent stats, he’s averaging the sixth-most Fantasy points in DFS over the last three races, a good indication that his hot streak will extend into Martinsville. I like Truex Jr. in all formats this weekend.
Since 2011, Clint Bowyer ($7,300) has not finished worse than 19th place at Martinsville and has finished outside the Top 10 just twice. He’s led at least 16 laps in three of his last four starts with a place differential of +27, all four being positive. He’s coming off an eighth-place finish at Talladega and will keep the trend of strong races alive this weekend. Fire Bowyer up in all formats as a top value play with immense upside.
The Tony Stewart ($6,900) trap game is back for another round! Focusing only on the Fall races over the past three years, Stewart has one win (2011) and two Top 5s with an Average Finish of 10.7. That win wasn’t the most impressive of his career, but Checkers are Checkers. He led eight laps in the March race. But the leading factor here is Smoke’s Top 25 finish from a week ago at Talladega, showing he might have a little left in the tank after all. The good news is he’s not a major investment, with his price tag 18 percent below the average price per player. The only format I’d caution Fantasy owners against taking this big a risk is in Tiered/Grouping formats, where the B-List has far safer options.
Let’s just erase that 43rd place (dead last!) performance A.J. Allmendinger ($6,100) gave Fantasy owners in March at Martinsville. Instead, let’s focus on the seven races prior to that nightmare, in which he posted one Top 5, two Top 10s and six Top 15s with an Average Finish of 12.4. He also led at least one lap in three of those starts. That is major consistency, further proving the bad luck DNF in March is an outlier. Allmendinger is a risky play in Tiered/Grouping formats, but can safely be fired up as a low-floor option in DFS and Salary Cap leagues.
I was on the Austin Dillon ($5,900) DFS bandwagon back when he was moderately priced, but 30 percent below average value is an absolute steal. In the 2014 set at Martinsville, Dillon finished 15th (March) and 12th (October) with a place differential of +26. He did post an ugly DNF (41st place) in March, but that can be attributed to electrical issues. He can be considered in Tiered/Grouping formats and Salary Cap leagues, but DFS is where the real value is.
David Ragan ($5,800) has been trending down since a solid start to 2015. But back during the time when his arrow was pointing up, he finished 10th at Martinsville (March 2015) with a +15 place differential. He’s run 25.1 percent of his Laps in the Top 15 at MS and owns a 14.3 Average Finish in his last three starts there. He’s a nice option for Fantasy owners building a top-heavy lineup and has some quality Salary Cap value attached to him as well.
Here are my Fantasy NASCAR lineups for this week:
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||$9,200|
|Martin Truex Jr.||$8,500|
|NASCAR Fantasy Live|
|Martin Truex Jr.||$18.25|
|David Ragan||$ 9.00|
|Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing|
|A-List||Denny Hamlin||Joey Logano|
|B-List||Clint Bowyer||Martin Truex Jr.||Carl Edwards||Kurt Busch|
|C-List||Danica Patrick||Jeb Burton|