Dan Beaver

NASCAR Fantasy Live Preview

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Fantasy Live: South Point 400

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


The playoffs begin this week with the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – and with them, there are substantial changes to the NASCAR Fantasy Live game. The most notable of these is that players need to keep a balanced roster of playoff contending drivers and those outside of contention.

A complete explanation of the rules changes and some strategies can be found in “Changes Coming to NASCAR Fantasy Live.” [http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nas/81811/538/changes-coming-to-fantasy-live]

In Round 1, that means fantasy owners are going to have to go deep in the standings and look for dark horses they would not normally consider. There are some solid teams that missed the playoffs and some who are conditionally strong on certain track types. The rules changes will force players to learn a little more about this level of driver, who will make the difference between winning and losing in the next six – nine weeks,

Playoff Drivers

All but one of this spring’s Pennzoil 400 top-10 finishers made the playoffs. Kevin Harvick won over Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Blaney so it’s a fair assumption that the contenders will dominate the top of the order again.

Brad Keselowski
The Big 3 seems to be losing some of their momentum. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski is gaining his with back-to-back Crown Jewel wins in the Southern 500 and Brickyard 400. It couldn't happen at a better time as the series rolls onto a track that he has dominated in the past half-decade with wins in 2014 and 2016. His last six attempts on this progressively-banked track ended in results of seventh or better and he should be able to earn another this week.

Kevin Harvick
While the Big 3 have lost some of their aplomb, they have had such a dominant season that it is impossible to say they won’t contend for this week’s victory. This spring in the Pennzoil 400, Kevin Harvick whipped the field by winning both stages and the race. Last year, Martin Truex Jr. did the same thing. Keep an eye on practice and if Harvick lays down quick 10-lap averages, he should be this week’s starter.

Non-Playoff Drivers

Daniel Suarez
Daniel Suarez still has a lot to prove. Rumored to lose his ride with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019, he needs to put his best foot forward until an official announcement is made about where he will drive. He is too talented to fall out of the series and Gibbs has shown their greatness by placing the remainder of their drivers in the Chase. He could easily be the best among the non-Chasers. He has not yet cracked the top 10 on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year, but he’s been in the top 15 in his last three tries. He also has a pair of top-10s on this track type last year.

Jamie McMurray
Like Suarez, Jamie McMurray needs to make a statement regardless of whether he decides to race next year or take the managerial role offered by Chip Ganassi Racing. He has not shown the same speed as teammate Kyle Larson in 2018, but he has a knack for this type of track with seven top-10s and a 12th in 10 similarly-configured, 1.5-mile races last year. In 2018, he finished third at Texas and sixth at Charlotte.

Garage Pick

Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr.
Hedge your bets. While Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch seem to have lost a little momentum in recent weeks, no one is foolish enough to doubt they can find the right setup. Truex was the class of the field on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks last year and has been among the best in 2018. Busch is the only driver to sweep the top 10 on this track type so far in 2018 he has wins at Texas Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Chicagoland Speedway.

Red Flag

The Bottom Four Contenders
The makeup of the NASCAR Fantasy Live playoff game insures that Playoff contenders with the least momentum should be left on the garage. With his restrictor-plate win and limited success on all other track types, Austin Dillon will probably not advance to the Round of 12. Likewise, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, and Jimmie Johnson are highly unlikely to contend for a top-10 this week so they should be parked until they become available as non-contenders.



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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