When the week began, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson were sitting atop the driver rankings for Sunday's race at Texas. After both drivers qualified in the top six Friday and posted excellent practice times Saturday, the two frontrunners for the Cup Series title remain the two top drivers in the final rankings. Kenseth and Johnson also rank first and second in terms of average finish at Texas, and while Kenseth has five top-five finishes in his last six starts at Texas, Johnson is the defending winner of this weekend's race. Fantasy owners can't go wrong with either driver.
Kenseth's points bigger in Texas
Following a top-five effort in qualifying, Kyle Busch remains in the No. 3 spot in the final rankings. Busch is gunning for a season sweep at Texas this weekend after winning the spring race earlier this year. He also finished third at the track last fall, and in his last three starts at the track, he has a 5.0 average finish. For owners that need to gain ground in their leagues, Busch probably has the best shot of any driver to outperform Kenseth and Johnson this weekend.
While Kenseth, Johnson and Busch hold steady in the top three spots, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski both move up into the top five. Edwards snagged the pole for Sunday's race, and after a strong showing in practice, he seems poised add to a Texas resume that includes three career wins and three top-three finishes in his last five starts. Meanwhile, Keselowski finished a career-best second at Texas last fall, and he will join Edwards on the front row for Sunday's race.
Outside of the top five, no driver has helped their value more than Jeff Gordon this weekend. He vaults into the top 10 after an eighth-place effort in qualifying and a solid showing in practice. Gordon has quietly climbed to third in the championship standings following his win at Martinsville last weekend, and in his last four starts at Texas, he has three top-15s, including a pair of top-six finishes. For fantasy owners that have already been enjoying the benefits of Gordon's hot streak during the Chase, continue to roll with the veteran this weekend. For those that haven't jumped on the bandwagon, this weekend's race looks like a good time to start.
Paul Menard's value has also improved throughout the weekend, and he slides inside the top15 in the final driver rankings. He delivered an impressive fourth-place run in qualifying Friday, and he was rock solid in race trim during practice Saturday. Menard has also been solid at Texas lately, logging five top-20 finishes in his last six starts at the track. He has three top-15 finishes at Texas during the stretch, and one of his better runs is likely on tap this weekend. Menard should make a solid addition to fantasy rosters in just about every format.
Fantasy owners looking for a serious sleeper option this weekend may want to consider Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The rookie sneaks into the top 20 in the final driver rankings after qualifying in the top 10 and posting respectable practice times. Meanwhile, Stenhouse has logged seven top-20s in nine starts at 1.5-mile tracks this season so there is a decent chance he will be hanging in or around the top 15 most of the afternoon Sunday.
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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