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Fantasy Insider: Study Intermediate Trends To Help At Texas

Fantasy Insider: Study Intermediate Trends To Help At Texas

The best fantasy owner is always on the lookout for the latest trend. It has been a difficult season to spot these tendencies because of fuel and tire strategy deciding the outcome of many events. Luckily the good folks at NASCAR (can you sense the sarcasm?), have eleven 1.5-mile circuits on the 2011 calendar. Two out of the final three races on the schedule will be at these cookie-cutter tracks, including Sunday's race at Texas. While each intermediate track varies slightly in layout, drivers that usually perform well at one, perform well at another (See *Carl Edwards* below). Take advantage of this by studying the nine races at 1.5-mile layouts before this weekend. Chances are it won’t only assist you on Sunday, but it will help you set your lineup for the final race of the season at Homestead as well. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Don’t Let Chase Standings Impact Your Lineup

Fantasy Insider: Don’t Let Chase Standings Impact Your Lineup

The biggest wild card in The Chase for the Sprint Cup is in the rearview mirror. Fantasy owners are breathing a sigh of relief this week as the series goes from one of its biggest and fastest ovals to one of its smallest and slowest. However, one constant remains: close racing. With tight racing comes impatient drivers and that means more bumper tag. Chase contenders *Kyle Busch* and *Kevin Harvick* were victims at Talladega. There is no telling who it will be at Martinsville. Much like at Talladega, there isn’t a way to play it safe at Martinsville. Only three Chase drivers ended up in the top-10 last Sunday (*Brad Keselowski*, *Tony Stewart*, *Denny Hamlin*). Your best bet is to ignore the standings heading into the weekend and only put drivers in your lineup that have had past success at Martinsville. For example, *Carl Edwards* and *Matt Kenseth* have been the best two drivers in The Chase thus far, but they have sub-par results (see below) at the short track. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Chasing That Talladega Lineup – How To Use The Title Contenders

Fantasy Insider: Chasing That Talladega Lineup – How To Use The Title Contenders

Talladega provides a bigger challenge for fantasy owners than any other race in The Chase for the Sprint Cup for one reason: unpredictability. Some drivers have caught on to the two-car draft faster than others, but that still leaves 25 to 30 possible winners and with 88, 87 and 88 lead changes in the last three races, it is impossible to predict who will cross the line first. Not to mention, that there have been eight different winners in the last eight races at Talladega and last lap passes for the win in eight of the last 12 trips there. Despite all of these staggering numbers, there is still some strategy that can be used in setting your lineup for Talladega. I suggested at the start of the 10-race playoff to map out your Chase. With five of the 10 races down, it is time to re-evaluate how many picks you have left with each driver and where you are going to use those selections. If you have been leaning on hot fantasy drivers such as *Carl Edwards*, *Brad Keselowski* and *Regan Smith*, it might be best to keep them out of the lineup this weekend. Use your top drivers where you know for sure they will be good. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Perfect Time To Take Risks On Saturday Night

Fantasy Insider: Perfect Time To Take Risks On Saturday Night

There are only six races left in the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season. Hopefully, fantasy owners have positioned themselves to make a run at the title. With so few races left on the calendar, it might be time to make a fuel-only pit stop with 50 laps to go, or in other words, take a risk to score big points. There is no better place, except Talladega of course, than Charlotte to take a gamble on some drivers that probably didn’t get you to where you are this season, but could be worth a look in these final races (See *Joey Logano* and *David Reutimann*, below). Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Look Back To The Spring For Kansas Success

Fantasy Insider: Look Back To The Spring For Kansas Success

Fantasy owners who stuck with the strategy of selecting the fastest drivers got rewarded last Sunday at Dover. The wheelmen who were supposed to finish at the front, both in top-level and mid-level categories followed through: *Jimmie Johnson* was second, *Carl Edwards* was third, *A.J. Allmendinger* was seventh and *Marcos Ambrose* was ninth. The Johnson/Edwards combo led over half the race, enjoying success while second-tier RPM backed up their Monster Mile performances from this Spring. Sure, picking the fastest cars each week sounds simple enough, but it is easy to overthink decisions when the majority of races in 2011 have been won by a pit strategy call in the final 50 laps. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Don’t Be Discouraged by Strategy Races

Fantasy Insider: Don’t Be Discouraged by Strategy Races

Strategy has always played a role in the outcome of Sprint Cup races, but in 2011, it's more important than ever. The first two races of The Chase have both been won on strategy. And while *Tony Stewart* had one of the fastest cars, at Chicagoland and New Hampshire, the rest of the finishing order behind him was jumbled to say the least. This phenomenon has been increasingly frustrating for fantasy owners who are selecting the fastest drivers but losing fantasy points on late-race strategy moves. For example, *Matt Kenseth*, *David Ragan* and *Carl Edwards* finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively on Sunday, but they ran around 20th position most of the day. None of these drivers have solid track records at New Hampshire and picking them would seem like a regrettable move, but owners that made that mistake reaped the reward. Meanwhile, with two laps to go, *Clint Bowyer* ran out of fuel while leading the race. Bowyer, a smart fantasy pick at New Hampshire, came home 26th. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Playoffs Must Equal Momentum… Who To Keep In Your Lineup

Fantasy NASCAR is all about picking the right drivers at the right times. It has been harder than ever to that this year. *Tony Stewart* not only became the 16th different winner in 27 races at Chicagoland Monday, but he also has cemented as the newest fantasy stud. This was a driver who couldn’t buy consecutive top-10 finishes in the first two-thirds of the season. Over the last three weeks, he put together three straight top-10s for the first time in 2011. Every driver hits their stride at a different point in the season. *Brad Keselowski* was mired around 25th in the standings after the first one-third of 2011. Over the last eight races, Keselowski’s average finish is 4.8. When drivers hit on something, take notice. The fantasy owners who notice momentum changing directions will have a leg up on the competition in the final nine races. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Start Mapping Out Your Chase Future This Weekend

Fantasy Insider: Start Mapping Out Your Chase Future This Weekend

Whether you participate in a Chase fantasy NASCAR league or not, you have reached the home stretch of the season. The last ten races often make or break the fantasy season. Here is the primary reason why. Fantasy owners who have relied on the same top drivers all year long to accumulate points are starting to run out of picks with those drivers. Don’t be surprised when someone from the top of your league’s standings starts sinking in this final stretch of the season. Hopefully, it is not you. While many of the top-tier Sprint Cup organizations have been storing away some of their best chassis' for the Chase, fantasy owners should have stored away some of their top drivers. With only ten races left in the season, it is time to map out your path to the championship. Start planning now which drivers you are going to start in which Chase races. Chances are there is going to be a conflict somewhere. For example, if you have one selection left with *Kasey Kahne* – a driver who has had a rollercoaster of a year – determine now where you might use that pick. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Can Kyle Busch Lead You To The Promised Land Of Your Chase?

There is only one race left until the Chase for the Cup begins. The pressure will be on drivers such as *A.J. Allmendinger*, *Clint Bowyer* and *Paul Menard* to go for the win on Saturday at Richmond. For fantasy owners in Chase-style leagues, it could mean the same thing. Owners who have felt comfortable with their position in the Chase have been able to lay back and take risks on drivers they might not normally pick, while they save valuable picks with top drivers at each level for the 10-race playoff. For those of you on the edge or the even the outside looking in, Richmond is time to go for broke just like it is for those aforementioned drivers. It’s time to score maximum points to make the Chase cutoff, and here are the drivers who can help you get there. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Keep Rolling With Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman at Bristol

Fantasy Insider: Keep Rolling With Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman at Bristol

*Kyle Busch* made a statement with his win Sunday at Michigan. It wasn’t surprising that he was able to gain his series-leading fourth victory of the season. The manner and place in which Busch was able to perform the feat did speak volumes, however. Rowdy started the race with a mediocre car, but worked with crew chief Dave Rogers to get to the front for his first Michigan victory. In thirteen previous starts at the track, Busch had just four top-10 finishes. Michigan had been a weak point in the schedule for the No. 18 team. In 2011, there have been no weak points. As of late, there have only been strong performances. Busch has recorded top-5 finishes in seven of the last ten races, making him a dependable fantasy pick anywhere. As the Chase for the Sprint Cup approaches, *Denny Hamlin* and *Carl Edwards* are fading and Busch has looked like the driver capable of knocking off *Jimmie Johnson*. Read More »