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NASCAR Fantasy Live Picks, 2014 Michigan, Pure Michigan 400

Once the red flag cleared and the dust settled at Watkins Glen, we saw some exciting action in the closing laps between AJ Allmendinger and Marcus Ambrose. Allmendinger’s win translates to one less available spot for drivers without a 2014 victory. They only have four races to secure their spot in the playoffs. Michigan is a fast track and a challenging one to pick a fantasy lineup. There are many good drivers here, but no great ones. There are multiple directions to choose from, and there will be an opportunity to gain points this week.

My two favorite drivers this week, Kenseth and Harvick, are two of the favorites. Kenseth has not led many laps at Michigan, but has run in the top 15 for 79% of his laps since 2005. Over the last ten August races at Michigan, Kenseth has an eighth place average. Harvick’s team has been one of the best throughout the 2014 season, and he averages a 12th place average over the last ten August races. His team received penalties from Watkins Glen, but should not have much impact on the results. His average finish position is the sixth-best of all drivers at Michigan. As previous stated, there are many directions you can go this week, and starting Keselowski, Logano, Gordon, or Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not hurt your chances.

The third pick on the weekly roster has a great history at Michigan, but has experienced a mediocre season. Greg Biffle was initially off my roster due to his mediocre June performance. I chose Biffle narrowly over Larson or Vickers. Ultimately, Biffle’s performance was too tempting to pass. Biffle has the best average running position and loop data since 2005. He is also second in fast laps and laps led. My expectations for Biffle are to finish between 10th and 15th place with the potential for upside.

There is phenomenal value with some of the budget drivers this week. Justin Allgaier and Danica Patrick should provide value. I like both drivers, and could not choose them due to the salary cap. David Ragan only carries a salary cap value of $10.50. With a 19th place average over the last five August races, Ragan will not be a top driver. However, he will provide great value if gets close to his average. Michael Annett finished in 21st place back in June, and seems to be improving over the summer. Keep an eye on the status of Tony Stewart and Regan Smith. From a pure fantasy perspective, Regan Smith has a $7 valuation and a 21st place average at the track. If Stewart sits, you can substitute Smith and Keselowski for Ragan and Biffle and stay under the salary cap.


Fantasy Live on combines fast laps, laps led, final position, and start-to-finish position differential. In order to prevent us from simply picking the top drivers every week, Fantasy Live utilizes a salary cap format. The goal is to find value in your picks.

The salary cap formula for this article basically determines how many fantasy points to anticipate from each fantasy dollar you spend. Fantasy Live on has a scoring system that includes final position, start-to-finish differential, laps led, and fast laps. With a salary cap format, the system makes sure that we cannot simply start the top drivers every week. In order to identify the value drivers, this formula basically calculates the total number of points earned and divides by the salary cap figure. The final number is the number of fantasy points to expect from each fantasy dollar. Dale Earnhardt Jr. barely missed my roster this week, and we will use his Michigan data for further clarification.


  • Laps Led during last five August Michigan races: 51 = 5.1 fantasy live points per race
  • Start-to-Finish Differential: Plus 3 = 3 fantasy live points per race
  • Final position: 15th place average = 29 fantasy live points per race
  • Fast laps: Cannot be calculated with 100% accuracy
  • Total number of points per race: 37.1
  • Salary Cap Figure on Fantasy Live: 28
  • Final ranking: 37.1 pointes / 28 dollars = 1.33 points per fantasy dollar

For rookies who have not raced at Michigan in August, we are using their performance for the June race. Ryan Truex and Alex Kennedy have never raced here, so we are using their 2014 season averages to help give you an idea what to expect from them. See this week’s rankings below with highlighted picks in bold:

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Clint Bowyer 1.81
  • Kevin Harvick 1.72
  • Kasey Kahne 1.59
  • Carl Edwards 1.57
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.33
  • Joey Logano 1.28
  • Kurt Busch 1.28
  • Jeff Gordon 1.26
  • Matt Kenseth 1.17
  • Brad Keselowski 1.16
  • Jimmie Johnson 0.89

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Greg Biffle 2.30
  • Brian Vickers 2.16
  • Austin Dillon 2.02
  • Kyle Larson 1.84
  • Aric Almirola 1.62
  • Marcus Ambrose 1.44
  • Denny Hamlin 1.38
  • Tony Stewart 1.32 **
  • Ryan Newman 1.32
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.30
  • Paul Menard 0.98
  • Jamie McMurray 0.87
  • Kurt Busch 0.14

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Justin Allgaier 1.90
  • Danica Patrick 1.73
  • AJ Allmendinger 1.71
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1.42
  • Casey Mears 1.24

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • David Ragan 3.09
  • Cole Whitt 2.86
  • Trevor Bayne 1.25
  • David Gilliland 1.11

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Travis Kvapil 4.06
  • Michael Annett 4.00
  • Regan Smith 3.00 **
  • Alex Kennedy 2.80
  • Reed Sorensen 2.29
  • Dave Blaney 2.17
  • Landon Cassill 0.84
  • Alex Bowman 0.59
  • Josh Wise 0.27
  • Ryan Truex 0.11
  • Joe Nemecheck 0.11

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