Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
This weekend's stop on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is Martinsville Speedway, and if tackling the first short track race of the year wasn't difficult enough, Mother Nature dealt another curveball by washing out qualifying and setting the field by owner points.
The bad weather doesn't change my strategy much in the Yahoo game. I like to use short track events to utilize sleeper-type drivers in each of the three tiers, especially the B-List where reliable options can get thin over the course of the year.
In the NASCAR.com game, the rainout makes for some difficult decisions. In a 500-lap race, you need to go after all the points available in dominator categories. However, several big names are starting unusually deep in the field, so there are also a decent amount of points to be had in the place differential category. With that in mind, I recommend going with a punt play to round out your roster to free up money to go after both the dominator stats and place differential points.
For the FOX game, setting the field by owner points means that there will be no bonus points available through place differential. Instead of looking for the drivers who can gain a bunch of spots, you simply need to chase the best finishes possible. As a result, I'll be building a balanced roster top to bottom, focusing on drivers with a history of success at Martinsville.
Check out a complete look at all my season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing
Kyle Busch (A)
I haven't used Busch yet this season, so I have no hesitation starting him this weekend. He is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and he has reeled off eight straight Top 15 finishes at the track, including three straight Top 5s. Busch also has a series-leading 10.4 average finish over the last ten races here, so he has arguably the safest floor to go along with his high ceiling.
Jamie McMurray (B)
I'll be leaning on the short track specialists in the B-List, and McMurray has been rock solid at Martinsville. He has three Top 10s in his last four starts at Martinsville and five in his last eight. He will roll off sixth after the field was set by points, and the great track position should only boost his chances of a solid finish.
Clint Bowyer (B)
He is off to an excellent start with Stewart-Haas Racing, and Bowyer hasn't finished worse than 13th since Daytona. I expect the run of Top 15s to continue Sunday at Martinsville where he has seven Top 15s in his last ten starts, including six Top 10s. He will roll off eighth, and I expect him to challenge for a Top 10.
Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez have both shown more upside than Dillon, but I don't know how either driver will hold up at a short track. Rather than risk wasting a start from either Jones or Suarez, I'll go with Dillon, who has shown a stable floor. He has finished between 15th and 21st in every race since Daytona, and I think he should stay out of trouble and come away with a Top 20.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Kyle Busch ($26.75)
Scoring points in the dominator categories will be crucial in a 500-lap race, and Busch was untouchable in the spring race last year. Not only did he lead 352 of the 500 laps on his way to the win, but he also ranked first in fastest laps run. Busch ranks third in laps led and fourth in fastest laps run at Martinsville overall, and starting in the Top 10, he could be at the front in short order and spend plenty of time out front.
Jimmie Johnson ($26.25)
Johnson is shaping up to be the total package this weekend in this scoring system. He leads all drivers with a 7.3 average and nine wins at Martinsville, so he should be near the front and earning stage points. He also ranks first in both dominator categories by a wide margin, so he has those two areas covered, too. To top it off, the bad weather has him starting 17th, so there is upside through place differential. A big point total seems inevitable, and Johnson could easily be the top scorer.
Matt Kenseth ($25.25)
Like Jimmie Johnson, Kenseth is in perfect position to be score points in a variety of categories this weekend. He has to start back in 25th, so he should be among the biggest movers. Meanwhile, he has led the second-most laps here since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013, and he has finished sixth or better five times in eight starts in that span.
A.J. Allmendinger ($15.75)
I paid up a bit for my No. 4 driver, but I think Allmendinger is worth it this weekend. Setting the field by points has him starting 30th, but he has been excellent at Martinsville. He was the runner-up in this race last year, and he has finished 11th or better in five of his six starts here with JTG Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger could be a sneaky Top 10 scorer in this format.
Reed Sorenson ($5.00)
Affording A.J. Allmendinger while still rostering three studs means I have to punt my final roster spot completely. Sorenson starts back in 32nd, so at the very least, he can't lose many points through place differential. Ideally, he will gain a few spots and finish with a modest score. His biggest asset is his price tag.
FOX Fantasy Auto Racing
Kyle Busch ($11,300)
With place differential points out the window, I just need solid finishes. Busch is the defending winner of Sunday's race and has the best average finish in the last ten races at Martinsville. He also has three straight Top 5s. I want dependability and upside, and Busch offers both.
Brad Keselowski ($11,100)
Keselowski is another driver who offers a safe floor and plenty of upside. He has seven Top 10s in his last ten starts at Martinsville, and he has three Top 5s in his last four starts, including a pair of second-place finishes. Keselowski starts in the Top 5, and he looks like one of the main contenders for the win.
Denny Hamlin ($10,800)
His record at Martinsville is one of the best in the series, and in 22 starts, Hamlin has managed 17 Top 10s, including five wins. He has finished third or better in three of his last four starts here, so it's not like he's slowing down. Expect him to contend for a Top 5 Sunday.
Clint Bowyer ($9,200)
Bowyer has always been one of the best short track drivers, and now that he is with Stewart-Haas Racing, he has the equipment he needs to live up to his potential. Bowyer has been a Top 15 machine all year, and he has six Top 10s in his last ten starts at Martinsville. Another Top 10 should be in the cards, and a Top 5 wouldn't shock me.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($6,500)
It has been a slow start to 2017 for Junior, but Martinsville has been kind to him and his Hendrick Motorsports team. He has five Top 15s in his last six starts at the track, and he has three Top 5s in that span, including a win. Junior has Top 10 potential this weekend, and there aren't many drivers in this price range that you can say that about.