NASCAR Fantasy Live Picks, 2014 Homestead-Miami, EcoBoost 400

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Four

This week’s championship race at Homestead will have a difficult time matching the excitement generated by the Phoenix race. When the dust settled in Arizona, we are left with four drivers who could win the title this week.

While he has been out of my Fantasy Live lineup most of the season, Carl Edwards has a track history that makes him a front-runner this week. Edwards has 5 Top Five finishes in his last 9 Homestead races. His lap-to-lap performance is the best in the series as evidenced by 86% of his laps in the Top 15 and an average running position of 7.9 since 2005. He is also on top of the series in laps led and fast laps. Over his last five Homestead races, Edwards has the best average finish position in the series and will be a contributor in my lineup.

The second choice for my lineup is one of the four drivers vying for a championship. Kevin Harvick has 4 Top Five finishes in his last 9 Homestead races. With 75% of his laps in the Top 15 and an average running position of 10.9 since 2005, Harvick is the fourth-best driver in lap-to-lap performance. Considering his dominant effort at Phoenix, Harvick is a great choice for your roster this week.

I had a difficult time deciding between Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin for the third roster spot. While Kenseth has better numbers at the track, Hamlin will be my pick due to his chance to win the season title. Picking contenders will make the race more exciting to watch from a fantasy perspective. Hamlin has a ninth place average finish position over the last five races and the fourth-most laps led. With 4 Top Five finishes in his last 9 races, Hamlin could easily find a way to win the championship. Cases can also be made to start Martin Truex Jr. if you need to gain points on the leaders. He has excellent track data.

For Fantasy Racing, your strategy should reflect your position in the standings. Leaders should take a conservative approach and start the drivers with the highest probability for success. Those of us behind in the standings should take risks with drivers in order to gain points on the other players. Your level of risk should coincide with how many points you are behind the leaders. Whatever your strategy, we will have champions this time next week in NASCAR and in our fantasy leagues. Good luck as you try to capture your league title.

There was not a ton of salary cap room available after selecting the top three drivers. Hamlin and Edwards have a salary cap figure that is a little lower than some of the top drivers I have been recommending. As a result of the extra space, I had enough cap room to afford Justin Allgaier this week. While Allgaier does not have any track data, he has a 26th place average finish position in 2014. He was a slightly better option than some of the other budget options. With the remaining salary cap, the fifth selection will be Brian Scott. While Scott only has a 33rd place average in 2014 races, he should provide decent value at a $7.25 salary cap figure.

FANTASY NASCAR LIVE SALARY CAP

Fantasy Live on NASCAR.com uses a scoring system that combines laps led, fast laps, finish position, and start to finish differential. In order to prevent us from simply starting the best drivers every week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula simply calculates the average number of Fantasy Live points accumulated by each driver over the last five Homestead races and divides that number by the salary cap figure. The end result is a number that indicates how many points to expect from each salary cap figure. Matt Kenseth has some of the best track data at Homestead and is one of the best drivers in the series in 2014, but he missed the cut for my lineup. As a consolation prize, we will use his Homestead data to illustrate the formula.

MATT KENSETH AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI

  • Average finish position last five Homestead races: 9th place equals 35 points
  • Start-to-finish differential: Plus 4 equals 4 points
  • Fast laps: Cannot be calculated with 100% accuracy
  • Laps Led: 162 laps equals 16.2 points
  • Average Fantasy Live points per race: 55.20
  • Fantasy Live Salary Cap Figure: $27.75
  • Fantasy Points per dollar: 55.20 divided by 27.75 equals 1.99

Since this is the first race at Homestead this season, several rookies have not raced at the track. For these rookies, we will use their 2014 data to give you an idea how many points to expect from them. See the Fantasy Live points per dollar figures below with this week’s suggestions in bold.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Carl Edwards 2.82
  • Kevin Harvick 1.99
  • Matt Kenseth 1.99
  • Clint Bowyer 1.75
  • Ryan Newman 1.37
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.36
  • Jeff Gordon 1.33
  • Brad Keselowski 0.97
  • Jimmie Johnson 0.88
  • Joey Logano 0.73

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Denny Hamlin 2.65
  • Martin Truex Jr. 2.44
  • Tony Stewart 2.36
  • Aric Almirola 2.05
  • Brian Vickers 1.66
  • Kyle Larson 1.48
  • Austin Dillon 1.41
  • Kasey Kahne 1.33
  • Greg Biffle 1.04
  • Paul Menard 0.94
  • Jamie McMurray 0.84
  • Marcus Ambrose 0.69
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0.10

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Danica Patrick 1.78
  • AJ Allmendinger 1.53
  • Justin Allgaier 1.20
  • Casey Mears 1.12

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • David Gilliland 1.42
  • David Ragan 0.89
  • Trevor Bayne 0.43
  • Cole Whitt (-0.09)

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Reed Sorensen 2.18
  • Michael Annett 2.10
  • Alex Bowman 1.33
  • Michael McDowell 1.33
  • Brett Moffitt 1.17
  • Landon Cassill 1.09
  • JJ Yeley 0.18
  • Blake Koch 0.00
  • Josh Wise (-0.15)
  • Brian Scott (-0.41)

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