NASCAR FANTASY LIVE PICKS, 2015 DOVER, AAA 400

With one race until the initial playoff cuts, there are some unexpected drivers facing elimination. As usual, the best strategy is to front-load your lineup with your top three drivers and round out your roster with budget options. I tried to find a balance between risky and conservative drivers in a week where anything goes for some of the top teams in the series.

From a Fantasy NASCAR perspective, the results will be more unpredictable than average results at Dover. Drivers will take more risks than average behind the wheel, with their fuel strategies, and with their setups. Know if you want a conservative or risky approach this week and choose the drivers whose Chase standings match your strategy.

FRONT-LOAD YOUR LINEUP

As usual, the first spot of my lineup is dedicated to the driver who has earned 22 top-10 finishes in his first 25 races in 2015. Kevin Harvick has found success at the Monster Mile. With three top-10 finishes in his last five Dover races, Harvick has found consistency at the track. During the same time span, Harvick is second in fast laps and laps led so he has a good chance to take advantage of those numbers. In May’s race, Harvick led 91 laps on his way to a 2nd place finish. In five steep tracks in 2015, four have resulted in a top-5 finish. With the most laps led and fast laps in 2015, Harvick has a combination of track success, track type success and 2015. That translates to a high probability of success in this week’s race. Harvick needs to win to qualify for the next round of the playoffs. He will be taking risks to win the race. This can be helpful or detrimental to your lineup. If you want a conservative approach, I would suggest another driver like Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, or Brad Keselowski.

My next lineup recommendation is not due to 2015 success. Jimmie Johnson has 16 top-10 finishes in 2015 and a 12.2 average finish position, but has struggled in stretches. Anything short of a championship team is a disappointment for the #48 car. His track success is the reason that he gets my roster recommendation. Although he only led 23 laps during the race, Jimmie Johnson won the Dover race earlier this season. Over the last five races at the track, Johnson has earned three victories. He is first in laps led and fast laps by a wide margin during this time period. Johnson has an impressive 13 top-5 finishes at the since since 2005. Jimmie Johnson should be near the top when the checkered flag flies. With a solid run, Johnson will qualify for the next round so I can see Chad Knaus playing it safe with this team.

Kyle Busch had a forgettable race in Dover earlier this year. He was running 3rd with 25 laps left in the race when a collision with Brian Scott sent him to a 36th place finish. We are hoping for a better result this time around. Kyle Busch has earned three top-10 finishes in his last five Dover races. During these five races, Busch is 3rd in fast laps and laps led. He has seen long-term success at the track with the 2nd-most laps led at the track since 2005. In fourteen races in 2015, Kyle Busch has eight finishes inside the top-10. Unless someone changes my mind in qualifying, I will go with the 18 car for my 3rd team. Kyle Busch is at the cut line for the next round. Like Harvick, the Chase standings increase your risk, but Kyle Busch is not in the desperate situation that we see in the 4 team.

FILLING OUT THE BOTTOM

With a front-loaded lineup, there is little room for the remaining roster spots. David Ragan finished in 13th in the May race. He has a 24th place average finish position in 2015. He looks like he has the speed for most weeks, but cannot get the breaks to fall his way. Over the last five Dover races, he has a 25th place average. He provides upside as a budget option. Landon Cassill looks to be improving slightly as the season progresses. Cassill finished 23rd during the May race and has a 30th place average in 2015. Both drivers should provide value this week.

FANTASY NASCAR LIVE SALARY CAP

Fantasy Live on nascar.com uses a scoring system that combines fast laps, laps led, finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from starting the best drivers each week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula calculates the average fantasy live points earned by race by each driver over the last five Dover races. Next, we divide that number by the salary cap figure. The end result is a number that will dictate which drivers are expected to provide the most value this week. Brad Keselowski has earned three top-10 finishes over the last five races. He missed my lineup spot to Kyle Busch. As a consolation prize, we will use his numbers to further illustrate the formula.

KYLE BUSCH AT DOVER

  • Average finish position last five Dover races: 11.6 equals 32.4 Fantasy Live points
  • Start-to-finish differential: Negative four equals (-4) Fantasy Live points)
  • Laps led: 109 laps led equals 10.9 Fantasy Live points
  • Fast laps: 109 fast laps equals 10.9 Fantasy Live points
  • Total Fantasy Live points earned by race: 50.2
  • Fantasy Live Salary cap figure: $27.25
  • Fantasy points per dollar: 50.2 divided by $27.25 equals 1.84 points per dollar

Below you will find the Fantasy Live points for all drivers entered in this week’s race. Good luck as you make a push to the top of your league standings.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Jimmie Johnson 5.50
  • Kevin Harvick 2.90
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2.03
  • Kyle Busch 1.84
  • Brad Keselowski 1.84
  • Joey Logano 1.47
  • Denny Hamlin 1.29
  • Matt Kenseth 1.28
  • Kurt Busch 1.06

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Jeff Gordon 2.88
  • Clint Bowyer 2.18
  • Martin Truex Jr. 2.08
  • Kasey Kahne 1.95
  • Kyle Larson 1.88
  • Aric Almirola 1.64
  • Paul Menard 1.62
  • Carl Edwards 0.99
  • Jamie McMurray 0.93
  • Ryan Newman 0.80

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Sam Hornish Jr. 2.00
  • Greg Biffle 1.10
  • Austin Dillon 0.67

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • Tony Stewart 3.40
  • Danica Patrick 2.23
  • Cole Whitt 1.81
  • AJ Allmendinger 1.64
  • Casey Mears 1.43
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1.17
  • Justin Allgaier 0.74
  • Trevor Bayne (-0.79)

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Jeb Burton 3.80
  • Brett Moffitt 3.21
  • Travis Kvapil 2.89*
  • Alex Kennedy 2.73*
  • JJ Yeley 2.55
  • David Ragan 2.39
  • Matt DiBenedetto 2.22
  • Alex Bowman 2.22
  • Timmy Hill 2.06
  • Travis Kvapil 1.93
  • Josh Wise 1.84
  • David Gilliland 1.75
  • Landon Cassill 1.75
  • Michael Annett 0.39

* Driver has no track data, and we are using his 2015 numbers.

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