Regardless of what fantasy sport you play, knowing when you can get maximum production out of a particular player is the ultimate trump card.
This is an especially valuable skill in fantasy NASCAR because of the variety of different tracks that make up the schedule and because of the variety of fantasy formats that exist. Let's face it. Anyone can get a top-five finish out of Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski or Kyle Busch these days, but being able to get solid finishes out of the drivers that aren't as consistent from week to week separates average fantasy players from championship-caliber ones.
With that in mind, I have highlighted a couple of drivers for several of the main track types that fantasy owners need to take advantage of going forward.
1.5-Mile Tracks (Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Homestead-Miami, Kansas, Kentucky, Las Vegas & Texas)
Martin Truex Jr.: After underachieving for much of his career, Truex has turned things around the last year or so, especially at the 1.5-mile tracks. In fact, he has been the best driver in the series in the last 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks. Truex has a series-leading 372 points scored during the stretch to go along with a series-high nine top-10 finishes. Granted, he hasn't won a race during his hot streak, but his 6.6 average finish and hefty point total speak for themselves. Until he slows down, Truex deserves to be on fantasy rosters whenever the series visits a cookie-cutter track.
Kasey Kahne: After a slow start to his career at Hendrick Motorsports, Kahne has emerged as a fantasy stud. He has been particularly valuable at 1.5-mile tracks, posting five top-five finishes and six top-10s in the last 10 races at the cookie-cutter ovals. During the stretch, his 10.1 average finish is the fourth best in the series, and his 343 points scored are the sixth most. Kahne doesn't have a win during the 10-race span, but he does have three second-place finishes. Yes, he can make a solid fantasy option almost anywhere, but his bread and butter are the 1.5-mile tracks.
2.0-Mile Tracks (Auto Club & Michigan)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Plain and simple, Junior has been phenomenal at the 2.0-mile ovals since the start of last season. He has finished in the top five in all four races during the stretch, piling up a series-leading 172 points along with a series-best 2.5 average finish. Not to mention the fact that his 120 laps led are the second most during the span. Junior has salvaged his fantasy value the last couple of years by becoming one of the more consistent drivers in the series, but at the 2.0-mile tracks, he has been at another level. He may not be an all-around elite option, but he is a must-start driver at the 2.0-mile tracks right now.
Greg Biffle: Since the start of the 2012 season, Biffle is one of two drivers that have finished in the top 10 in all four races at 2.0-mile tracks. He has been dominant from start to finish in the races, posting a 5.5 average starting position and a 4.2 average finish. His average finish is the second best in the series during the stretch, and the same goes for his 164 points scored. Biffle also has a win during the four-race span and hasn't finished worse than sixth in any start. When the series heads to a 2.0-mile track, Biffle should be heading to your fantasy roster.
On to the unique courses....
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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