Charlotte 2 Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Rankings and Strategy Picks

Jordan McAbeeYahoo!

The second 2017 stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway is this weekend, as the Bank of America 500 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon (although the weather might have something to say about that). The first time we were here this year was for the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 back in May, and believe it or not this second stop tends to race a little different than the first. Things will be even more different this time around, as this year’s Bank of America 500 is, as mentioned before, on Sunday afternoon, when in years past this has been a night race.

I will post my official Yahoo! roster for Charlotte 2 on Twitter on Thursday evening before lockdown on Friday morning. Please follow me there: @FanRacingOnline

PLEASE NOTE: We have a similar schedule this weekend as we did at Dover last weekend, with a practice session and qualifying happening on Friday followed by two more practice sessions on Saturday. Be sure to check back to this post on Saturday evening for my final notes and my official starters for Sunday afternoon’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Yahoo! A Group Picks and Rankings for Charlotte 2

Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Matt Kenseth (7 starts remaining) – Despite all of his bad luck earlier this season, Matt Kenseth has been solid on the 1.5-mile race tracks in 2017, with an average finish of 10th. That’s good enough for 4th-best in the series. As far as his record here at Charlotte, Kenseth is a two-time winner at this race track and has finished between 2nd and 7th in six of his last eight starts here. Momentum-wise, this #20 team isn’t doing anything flashy as of late, but they’re not making any mistakes and are racking up a good amount of points. Kenseth isn’t going to win on Sunday afternoon but he could post a top 5.

Martin Truex, Jr. (3 starts remaining) – Yeah, it gets repetitive picking Martin Truex, Jr. almost every week, but betting against this #78 Toyota on a 1.5-mile track is probably one of the worst things you can do in Fantasy NASCAR. On that track length in 2017, Truex has an average finish of 3.3, an average running position of 3.9, and an average of 109 laps led per race. Additionally, the #78 Toyota has led a series-high 756 laps in the last five Charlotte races, although it’s noteworthy that all of those were in the Coca-Cola 600 races. Still, at worst, Truex is a top 5 car on Sunday, and he’s definitely making my roster considering I still have 3 starts left.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Speaking of starts, I’m down to one left with Kyle Busch so he’s probably not going to make my roster this week. If I had 2+ starts left, I’d still roster him, but I want to save my final one for later in the season. With that being said, even if you’re down to one Rowdy start left, he’s absolutely worth a roster spot–it all depends on if you want to save him. Here at Charlotte, Kyle Busch has posted a single-digit finish in 15 of the last 20 races, and although he’s never won here, it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

Kevin Harvick has been solid on the 1.5-mile tracks this season (10.6 average finish) but it’s hard to overlook the bad luck that this #4 team had during the first round of the playoffs. That’s also the reason why I’m leaning toward Matt Kenseth as my other A Group driver this week as opposed to Harvick. Still, “Happy” is a three-time winner here at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has finished 9th or better in eight of his last nine starts here. Even more impressive is the fact that Harvick has wound up 1st or 2nd in five of the last nine Charlotte races.

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Is Jimmie Johnson officially back? Last weekend at Dover, the #48 team came away with their first top 5 finish since early June, and they now have three top 10 finishes in the last four Cup Series races overall. Johnson is an 8-time winner here at Charlotte Motor Speedway and is also the defending winner of this race. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on Jimmie’s ownership percentage as we get close to lockdown time this week; if he dips below 25%, the seven-time Cup Series champion could be a nice off-sequence choice.

I have Denny Hamlin ranked as the 6th-best A Group driver heading into the Bank of America 500 race weekend, but in all reality he could easily end up with a top 5 finish on Sunday afternoon. Denny has never won here at Charlotte Motor Speedway but he has finished inside the top 5 in three of the last four races at this track. Additionally, Hamlin has posted a top 10 result in 10 of his last 12 starts at Charlotte.

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

When it comes to the Penske duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, it’s pretty much the same story as previous weeks. Logano continues to show upside but continues to disappoint. Keselowski, on the other hand, has been good for a top 10 finish but has just one top 5 finish in the last eight Cup Series races overall. Here at Charlotte, BK has just three top 5 finishes in 16 total starts, but it is worth noting that Kez has finished between 5th and 9th in four of the last five.

Pre-Lockdown A Group Rankings: (1) Kyle Busch, (2) Martin Truex, Jr., (3) Kevin Harvick, (4) Matt Kenseth, (5) Jimmie Johnson, (6) Denny Hamlin, (7) Brad Keselowski, (8) Joey Logano, (9) Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Post-Qualifying A Group Rankings: (1) Kyle Busch, (2) Denny Hamlin, (3) Kevin Harvick, (4) Matt Kenseth, (5) Martin Truex, Jr., (6) Brad Keselowski, (7) Jimmie Johnson, (8) Dale Earnhardt, Jr., (9) Joey Logano

Final Notes: Both practices on Saturday were rained out. No notes.

My Starter: Denny Hamlin over Martin Truex, Jr.

Yahoo! B Group Picks and Rankings for Charlotte 2

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Kurt Busch (1 starts remaining) – I’m more than willing to use my final Kurt Busch start of the 2017 season this weekend at Charlotte just to be done with his inconsistency. And who knows, now that this #41 team has been eliminated from championship contention, they’ll get back to their pre-playoffs selves. Anyway, Kurt Busch has actually been one of the best drivers here at Charlotte over the last few years, as he’s currently on a five-race streak of top 10 finishes at this track and has wound up 14th or better in eight of the last nine. And when he hasn’t ran into bad luck or mechanical issues this season, Kurt has been pretty strong on the 1.5-mile tracks.

Jamie McMurray (2 starts remaining) – Jamie McMurray is actually one of the best drivers in Fantasy NASCAR when it comes to the 1.5-mile race tracks, so he’s a no-brainer this weekend at Charlotte. This season, Jamie Mac has averaged a finish of 8.9 on the 1.5-mile race tracks, and that’s actually 3rd-best in the series behind Martin Truex, Jr. and Kyle Larson. Here at Charlotte specifically, McMurray has been solid over the last few years, with five finishes between 3rd and 12th in the last seven races. The #1 Chevrolet came home 10th in this race one year ago and wound up 12th in this year’s Coca-Cola 600.

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Austin Dillon (8 starts remaining) – The last time we were here at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it was Austin Dillon that ended up in victory lane. And while that was more due to a fuel mileage gamble than anything else, a win is a win in Fantasy NASCAR and still noteworthy. Additionally, Austin Dillon is actually pretty good here at Charlotte; over his seven Cup Series starts at this track, Austin has just one finish worse than 16th, and he’s led at least one lap in three of those events. We still need to make the math work in the B Group this season, and Austin Dillon is about as consistent as they come here at Charlotte. If you’re going for max points this race, he’s not the right pick, but as a Start Save option he is.

Ryan Newman (7 starts remaining) – As I said, we still have to make the math work. Ryan Newman has been terrible at the 1.5-mile race tracks this season–he has an average finish of 24.6 on them–but the good news is that he wound up finishing 9th in this year’s Coca-Cola 600 here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Even better news is the fact that “The Rocketman” hasn’t finished worse than 15th at this track since the 2012 season, and seven of the last nine races here have ended with Newman in the top 10. He’s kind of a risky B Group pick this weekend, but at the same time he’s not. It all depends on how you look at it.

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Of course, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are the two best options in the B Group this weekend. If you have 3+ starts left with either (or both), go ahead and roster them and don’t think twice about it. Personally, I’m still trying to hold my final Larson start for Homestead, and while I could roster him this weekend for potential qualifying points, I don’t really want to be tempted to start him. Additionally, I want as much room as possible in my B Group this weekend for ‘alternative’ options, so chances are Larson and Elliott won’t make it onto my team for Charlotte 2.

Ryan Blaney is an interesting option this weekend, as the #21 team tends to run well at the 1.5-mile tracks–in fact, they have an average finish of 12.3 at them this season, which is 9th-best in the series. However, it’s almost as though Blaney hasn’t quite figured out Charlotte Motor Speedway; in five career starts at this track, Ryan has just one top 15 finish and an overall average finish of 18.3. With that being said, that bad history might keep Blaney’s ownership percentage relatively low, so he could be a nice off-sequence Yahoo! start on Sunday.

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One driver to definitely consider this weekend is Clint Bowyer. Believe it or not, this #14 team has the 7th-best average finish on the 1.5-mile tracks this season (11.6), and don’t forget that Clint is a previous winner here at Charlotte Motor Speedway (back in 2012). He started 9th and finished 14th in this year’s Coca-Cola 600, but with how this team ran in the first round of the playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bowyer finish much better than that on Sunday.

Pre-Lockdown B Group Rankings: (1) Kyle Larson, (2) Chase Elliott, (3) Kurt Busch, (4) Ryan Blaney, (5) Jamie McMurray, (6) Ryan Newman, (7) Clint Bowyer, (8) Austin Dillon, (9) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., (10) Kasey Kahne, (11) Trevor Bayne, (12) Danica Patrick, (13) Aric Almirola, (14) Paul Menard, (15) A.J. Allmendinger, (16) Chris Buescher

Post-Qualifying B Group Rankings: (1) Kyle Larson, (2) Chase Elliott, (3) Kurt Busch, (4) Clint Bowyer, (5) Jamie McMurray, (6) Ryan Blaney, (7) Austin Dillon, (8) Ryan Newman, (9) Kasey Kahne, (10) Danica Patrick, (11) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., (12) Trevor Bayne, (13) Aric Almirola, (14) Paul Menard, (15) A.J. Allmendinger, (16) Chris Buescher

Final Notes: Both practices on Saturday were rained out. No notes.

My Starters: Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch over Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson

Yahoo! C Group Picks and Rankings for Charlotte 2

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We’re looking at the same situation in the C Group this weekend as we have had over the last month or so. Ty Dillon and Michael McDowell have completely fallen off the face of the Fantasy NASCAR earth while Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez are thriving. If you saved a good amount of Jones and Suarez starts until this point in the season: good job, keep running them. If you’re like me and you’re down to one start each for those two, you really have two options: (1) start running Ty Dillon or (2) keep running the best option between Jones and Suarez and then hope that one of next year’s rookies gets a couple chances to end out this year and we get some start relief. With each passing week, though, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. The good news is we have Talladega up next, so that’ll be a week where we can use someone other than Jones or Suarez.

Pre-Lockdown C Group Rankings: (1) Erik Jones, (2) Daniel Suarez, (3) Ty Dillon, (4) Michael McDowell, (5) Landon Cassill, (6) David Ragan, (7) Matt DiBenedetto, the rest

Post-Qualifying C Group Rankings: (1) Daniel Suarez, (2) Erik Jones, (3) Michael McDowell, (4) Ty Dillon, (5) Landon Cassill, (6) David Ragan, (7) Matt DiBenedetto, the rest

Final Notes: Both practices on Saturday were rained out. No notes.

My Starter: Ty Dillon over Erik Jones