Fantasy NASCAR NASCAR Fantasy Live


With one more race remaining in the second round of the Chase, NASCAR returns to eastern Alabama for the second time this season. Restrictor plate tracks are a challenge at this time in the season because there is so much on the line. This track type requires vehicles to be close to each other and usually results in a major wreck involving half of the field. Determining who will lead laps is challenging, and it is rare that one driver will stay out front for very long.

Because moving forward and backwards through the field is constant, the best advice for Fantasy Live is to start drivers who qualify at the back of the field and take advantage of pass differential.

One look at the value totals for the budget drivers will show the value available with budget options. This is the best opportunity to gain on the competition, so take chances this week. The suggested drivers below are the preliminary roster suggestions until qualifying. Check back in the comments after qualifying for additional roster advice and hope your team misses “the big one”.

The driver who is a clear choice for restrictor plate tracks in Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior won the May race and led 67 laps. In three restrictor plate races in 2015, Earnhardt Jr. has a 1.7 average finish position and two wins. In these three races, the 88 car has led the most laps and has spend 98% of his laps in the top-15. His history of staying at the front of the field may keep him in front of the inevitable big wreck during the race. In his last five Talladega races, Junior has an average finish position of 15.4 and has led the 3rd most laps of any driver. Expect Dale Earnhardt Jr. to find his way on many lineups; he is not a great options for those needing to gain points in their leagues. My biggest concern is that he needs to win to advance and may take unnecessary risks to try to earn an automatic qualifier.

Due to having the 10th best average finish position of drivers in 2015, I debated the next roster decision. The numbers were too much in the driver’s favor at the track, and I decided to recommend Jimmie Johnson based on track numbers. Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd in the May race and has a 3rd place average in three restrictor plate tracks this year. He has led the most laps of any driver over the last five Talladega races. He has also stayed at the front of the field with 90% of his laps in the top-15. Johnson is not as clear of a roster pick as Junior, and he may be a key to gaining on your competition as he stays under the radar. Johnson is not Chase eligible, but he will still make every effort to win this week’s race. His restrictor plate success is enough to consider him for your roster.

Paul Menard finished in 3rd during the May race and is a sneaky pick for your roster. Although no long Chase eligible, the 27 car has a 15th place average finish position in three restrictor plate races in 2015. Seventy-eight percent of his laps has been in the top-15. Like other drivers, I am hoping that will keep him in front of the big wreck. Over the last five Talladega races, Menard has a 15th place average finish position and three top-10 finishes. With only an 18th place average finish position in 2015, Menard will stay under the radar of many rosters and could be a good play.

Adding Menard to the roster enables additional salary cap to be allocated to the final two roster spots. Casey Mears has a 15th place average finish position for three restrictor plate races in 2015. He did not find much success earlier this year in Talladega and finished 28th. Mears has a 22nd place average so far in 2015, and his salary cap figure is low. David Gilliland finished 20th in the May race. I am slightly fantasy biased against Gilliland because he has a tendency of finishing poorly whenever he has found my roster. Nonetheless, Gilliland has two top-10 finishes in his last five Talladega races and outperforms his average finish position on this track. He will probably be bumped, however, for the lowest qualifier.


Fantasy Live on uses a scoring system that combines laps led, fast laps, finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from starting the top drivers every week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula calculates the average number of Fantasy Live points earned by each driver over the last five Talladega races. Next, we divide that number by the driver’s salary cap figure to determine which drivers provide value at a track. For the first time since early in the season, Kevin Harvick is off my roster. We will use his numbers over the past five Talladega races to further illustrate the formula.


  • Average finish position last five Talladega races: 15.2 equals 28.8 Fantasy Live points
  • Start-to-finish differential: Plus 10.4 equals 10.4 Fantasy Live points
  • Laps led: 19 equals 1.9 Fantasy Live points
  • Fast laps: 17 equals 1.7 Fantasy Live points
  • Fantasy Live points per race: 42.8
  • Salary Cap figure: $28.75
  • Fantasy points per dollar: 42.8 divided by $28.75 equals 1.49 points per dollar

It is important to check on qualifying before setting your roster this week. Once again, this is a week to take risks as the upcoming tracks may not provide you with the same opportunities to gain points on your competition. Below are the Fantasy Live points per dollar for each driver in the series:

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Jimmie Johnson 1.87
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.75
  • Kevin Harvick 1.49
  • Matt Kenseth 1.43
  • Denny Hamlin 1.08
  • Kurt Busch 1.04
  • Kyle Busch 0.91
  • Carl Edwards 0.67
  • Joey Logano 0.64
  • Brad Keselowski 0.61

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Clint Bowyer 1.97
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.65
  • Paul Menard 1.60
  • Jamie McMurray 1.43
  • Ryan Newman 1.30
  • Kyle Larson 1.25
  • Aric Almirola 1.08
  • Jeff Gordon 0.80
  • Kasey Kahne 0.60

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Sam Hornish Jr. 2.98
  • Greg Biffle 1.46

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3.62
  • Justin Allgaier 3.26
  • Cole Whitt 3.17
  • Bobby Labonte 2.65
  • Michael Waltrip 2.55
  • AJ Allmendinger 2.31
  • Ryan Blaney 1.49
  • Danica Patrick 1.30
  • Casey Mears 1.28
  • Austin Dillon 1.19
  • Tony Stewart 0.41
  • Trevor Bayne (-0.34)

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Matt DiBenedetto 7.13
  • Travis Kvapil 6.38
  • Josh Wise 6.10
  • Landon Cassill 5.14
  • JJ Yeley 4.63
  • David Gilliland 4.36
  • Michael Annett 2.57
  • Alex Bowman 2.44
  • David Ragan 2.40
  • Michael McDowell 1.75
  • Timmy Hill 0.84


Post qualifying notes: Truex, at 43rd, should be on your roster. I’m rolling with 78-15-43-1-40 to tackle start-to-finish differential. I liked Gilliland and Labonte as budget options as well. Yahoo picks 11-27-15-21

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