The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Richmond Raceway this weekend for the second short track race in as many weeks. The low-banked, three-quarter-mile oval will host Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400, and for fantasy owners, we have yet another opportunity to get a little creative with your season-long lineups.
Don’t get me wrong. There are still going to be plenty of big names at the front of the field at Richmond, just like there were last weekend at Bristol. However, we also saw guys like Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman come away with Top 10s. We also saw Matt DiBenedetto and Ty Dillon end up in the Top 15.
Big names are going to deliver more often than not. That’s why they are considered elite options. The trick with most season-long fantasy formats, especially Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game, is to figure out when you can maximize the production of the rest of the drivers. Short tracks like Richmond usually provide an opportunity to do just that.
1.Kyle Busch, #18 M&M’s, Joe Gibbs Racing
His career numbers at Richmond are outstanding, and in 27 starts, Busch has six wins, 17 Top 5s and a 6.9 average finish. He also ranks second in laps led and third in fastest laps run at the track. Busch swept both races at Richmond a year ago, and he should be able to anchor a lineup in any fantasy format this weekend.
2.Kevin Harvick, #4 Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer, Stewart-Haas Racing
He’s always been strong at Richmond, but Harvick has shown an impressive blend of consistency and upside here since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He has a 6.9 average finish in 10 starts in the No. 4, piling up a series-best seven Top 5s and cracking the Top 15 in every race. Harvick actually has five Top 5s in the last six races at Richmond, including a runner-up finish last September.
3.Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing
The Virginia native is a three-time winner at his home-state track, and Hamlin heads into Saturday’s race with six finishes of sixth or better in his last seven starts here. He also leads all drivers in both dominator categories at Richmond, so he should be an elite option in both season-long and DFS contests this weekend.
4.Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske
Logano has been the model of dependability at Richmond, and over the last 10 races here, he leads all drivers with a 5.4 average finish and nine Top 10s. He also has a couple of wins and six Top 5s in that span, so he has plenty of upside, as well. Logano should be an excellent play in any and all formats.
5.Martin Truex, Jr., #19 Bass Pro Shops, Joe Gibbs Racing
While a win at Richmond has eluded him, Truex has certainly left his stamp on the recent races here. He has led over 120 laps in four of the last five races, leading more than 190 laps twice. For a variety of reasons, he hasn’t closed the deal, but you have to love his dominator potential for DFS contests.