The races at Bristol are events of attrition, and this can open up the door for sleeper picks to really thrive. Does that mean you should go all out and put all dark horse picks on your roster this weekend? Of course not. However, if one or two of the middle-tier drivers qualify up front and look good in practice, you should definitely consider them. “The Bullring” is just a half-mile race track so starting position means a lot–as does pit selection.
Fantasy Sleepers for Bristol
A.J. Allmendinger – After starting off the 2015 season with a couple of top 10s, A.J. Allmendinger and his #47 team have really fallen off the map. This situation offers a great opportunity for fantasy racers when they’re targeting a sleeper pick because the driver is flying well under the radar. On the flip side, this also means that not many people will be picking the sleeper, so if they wreck out or have a bad race, it’s going to hurt you majorly. Anyway, I really like the engine package that Allmendinger has this year and he has quite a bit of talent when it comes to attrition races like this. Here at Bristol, A.J. has never posted a top 10 finish over 13 career starts but he does have three finishes inside the top 15 over the last five events here. The other results have been 17th and 25th. Not too bad for a driver like Allmendinger if you ask me. In The Showcase, “The Dinger” will receive 8 handicap points for the first race in “Thunder Valley.” Although this is a decent value, you have to look at the other options and notice that guys like Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Carl Edwards are all getting a similar amount of points. A.J. might still be a nice sleeper pick in other leagues, though.
Jamie McMurray – Don’t look now but Jamie McMurray has finished 11th or better in four of the last five Sprint Cup races this season. His year thus far looks pretty much the exact opposite of A.J. Allmendinger’s season. This #1 team started getting hot to end the 2014 Sprint Cup season and it looks like they’re starting to pick up right where they left off, which is a great sign for fantasy owners looking to find options other than the “top tier” drivers. At Bristol, Jamie Mac finished 8th in the fall race here last season and has ended up inside the top 10 in four of the last seven events ran at this track. You could do a lot worse than statistics like that. In The Showcase, Jamie will receive 7 handicap points this weekend at Bristol, which opens the door to put him on your roster if the #1 Chevrolet has the potential to end up around 8th or better on Sunday afternoon–which wouldn’t be totally out of this world. Remember, McMurray led 148 laps in the fall race here last season.
Paul Menard – Here’s the guy that could be a huge pick for many people across all fantasy leagues this weekend. The first half of the season is always the best time to pick Paul Menard, and although he’s had some bad finishes over the last two Sprint Cup races, the #27 Chevrolet has had speed–which is encouraging. Remember, in the four races from Atlanta to Fontana, Paul never finished worse than 14th in Sprint Cup action. And now for the really good stats: Menard has been one of the best drivers here at Bristol lately, amassing five top 10s over the last six races. His one hiccup was this race last season where he ended up 21st, but nobody is perfect. A lot of eyes (more than normal anyway) will be watching Paul Menard and the #27 Chevrolet this weekend. In The Showcase, Paul Menard will only receive 3 handicap points for Bristol, which should signify just how solid of a sleeper pick he is. In my personal opinion, Menard isn’t a very good pick this week at Fantasy Racing Online, but he should be on more rosters than normal throughout the rest of the fantasy racing world.