Now that the 2015 Chase for the Cup field is set, we’re really only going to hear about the 16 drivers fighting for the championship. With that being said, however, it’s still advantageous to look into sleeper options for your fantasy NASCAR teams during these playoff races. With that being said, underdog picks are going to be few and far between in these upcoming weeks because at Chicagoland, Loudon, and Dover, its mostly the “top tier” drivers that finish up front.
Fantasy Sleepers for Chicagoland
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. – I’ve been pretty hard on Roush-Fenway Racing this year, and for good reason. However, Chicagoland has to be circled on Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.’s calendar because he’s pretty good here. In two career starts at this track, Ricky has qualified 5th and 4th and ended up finishing 8th and 17th in those races (respectively). So it’s no surprise that Chicagoland ranks 2nd in terms of Stenhouse’s best tracks. Looking at similar tracks, Kentucky ranks high on the list, and the #17 team came home in 11th at that race this season. Now, keep in mind that we ran that low drag package in that race, and that helps an organization like Roush-Fenway. I’m in no way saying Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. could go out and win the MyAFibRisk.com 400 on Sunday but a top 15 is within reach.
Aric Almirola – Well, Aric was on my list of sleepers to watch at Richmond last weekend and he went out and finished inside the top 5. Now obviously this is a very unlikely occurrence, but it’s nice when your sleepers go out there and perform. Now if only I would have put the #43 Ford on more of my fantasy rosters! Anyway, with the way this team has been running as of late, it wouldn’t surprise me to see another good run out of them here at Chicagoland on Sunday. Aric has made three starts at this track and has actually led at least one lap in all of them. He had engine issues here last season but finished 13th here in 2013 and 17th in 2012. Momentum-wise, Aric Almirola has an average finish of 13.3 over the last six Sprint Cup races, which is better than quite a few big name drivers, including Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex, Jr.
Jamie McMurray – Here’s where we get to see what Jamie McMurray and this #1 team is really made of. They have been a great example of consistency during the 2015 season but haven’t been able to get over the hump–meaning, McMurray can usually be counted on for a top 15 finish, but not so much a top 10. He’s going to need to start finishing in the top 10 if he wants to make it to the next round of the Chase. Making the playoffs usually gives drivers a boost of confidence and that is shown by performance on the track, so we’ll see if the same holds true for Jamie Mac. The good news? He finished 9th here last season, one of three top 10s in twelve career starts at Chicagoland.