After winning at Kansas Speedway last fall and earlier this year, Matt Kenseth was an easy choice for the top spot in the driver rankings heading into the weekend. After qualifying seventh and practicing in the top five all weekend, he was also an easy choice to remain in the top spot. In addition to the back-to-back wins at the track, Kenseth has reeled off six straight finishes of seventh or better and has posted a 3.8 average finish during the stretch. Fantasy owners need to get him in their starting lineups this weekend.
Menard looks like Kansas sleeper
The lone mover in the top five of the rankings heading into Sunday's race is Kevin Harvick. He snapped a 254-race drought by winning the pole at Kansas Friday, and when he qualifies anywhere near the front, it is often bad news for the competition. With six straight finishes of 12th or better at Kansas, he already figured to be one of the safer options available to fantasy owners. Throw in the pole-winning run Friday and solid practice times Saturday and Harvick could be much more than just a safe pick this weekend.
Another driver moving up in the final rankings is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fresh off a second-place run at Dover last weekend, he slides up into the top 10 in the final rankings at Kansas on the strength of a sixth-place effort in qualifying and a solid showing in Saturday's practices. Granted, Junior has never been dominant at Kansas, but he has compiled a 9.8 average finish in his last four starts at the track and has a pair of top-seven runs during the stretch. Fantasy owners should consider him a solid addition to their rosters in all formats this weekend.
Outside of the top 10, Joey Logano is suddenly looking like a viable fantasy option. Despite a dismal 26.1 average finish in eight starts, he vaults into the top 15 of the final rankings thanks to a fifth-place run in qualifying and respectable practice times. Granted, it takes some guts on the part of fantasy owners to trust a driver that has never had a top-10 at Kansas, but those willing to take the risk could see a big reward. At the very least, Logano is a perfect option for those owners that need to try to gain ground in their leagues.
In terms of sleeper options, Paul Menard and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. appear to be the best of the bunch. Both drivers head into Sunday's ranked in the top 15 of the driver rankings, and both will start inside the top 10 after strong qualifying efforts. Menard has also finished in the top 12 in four of his last six starts at Kansas, including finishes of third and 10th in his last two starts. Meanwhile, Stenhouse finished a solid 11th in his Kansas debut earlier this year.
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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