The least surprising thing at the end of qualifying here at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday was that the Toyotas were fast, as Joe Gibbs Racing took three of the first four starting spots for Sunday’s Bank of America 500, with Denny Hamlin on the pole. With that being said, there were quite a bit of surprises, as Martin Truex, Jr. didn’t make the final round, and Jimmie Johnson didn’t even make the second round. Finally, Erik Jones didn’t even make it on the track. That means that there’s an opportunity for some big scores in FOX Fantasy Auto here on Sunday, but that also means we’re looking at a chalk week. Check out the “Fade Option” section below for more on that.
Give me a follow on Twitter: @FanRacingOnline
My team points last week (Dover 2): 220
Overall team standings: 58th
Total team points for the season: 5,182
FOX Fantasy Auto Picks for the 2017 Bank of America 500 Race
Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,000) – The FOX Fantasy Auto crew finally got their head somewhat out of their ass this weekend and bumped up Martin Truex, Jr.’s salary. He’s still lower than he should be, but still, it seems like we’re heading in the right direction. As far as the Bank of America 500 goes, though, Truex qualified back in 17th for Sunday’s race, and that pretty much makes him a must-own in any league that awards points based on place differential. This #78 Toyota is, hands down, the best car on the 1.5-mile tracks, and this season Martin has an average finish of 3.3 at tracks of that length (and, no, that’s not a typo). Truex has dominated the last three Coca-Cola 600s, but he hasn’t quite figured out this fall race here at Charlotte. In fact, he hasn’t led a lap in this race since 2008. Still, he’s one of the top options in FOX Fantasy Auto this weekend and definitely needs to be on your roster.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,300) – Jimmie Johnson is an 8-time winner here at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the #48 team is finally starting to build some momentum. Add in the fact that he qualified back in 25th this weekend–as well as Johnson’s low price of $10,300 in this FOX Fantasy Auto game–and he makes a no-brainer pick here. As if you needed another reason to take the 7-time champion, Johnson is also the defending winner of this Bank of America 500 race. Truex and him are going to be the highest-owned drivers this weekend, but their potential for huge points days make it almost impossible to go against them. If you were going to go against one of them, though, Johnson is the choice, as he is averaging a finish of 17.1 on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. With that being said, I still see the #48 Chevrolet as a top 10 car on Sunday.
Erik Jones ($9,500) – As mentioned earlier, this weekend’s race is going to be pretty chalky. Erik Jones didn’t even get to lay a lap down during qualifying on Friday, and because of that he’s going to have to start back in 38th when this year’s Bank of America 500 goes green. That means that, in FOX Fantasy Auto, a finish of 18th by Erik Jones is going to net the same amount of fantasy points (43) as a race win would by pole sitter Denny Hamlin. So, yeah, Jones is a pretty good value this weekend, and his sub-$10,000 price is just the cherry on top. Overall, Erik has an average finish of 17th on the 1.5-mile tracks this season but don’t forget that he did finish 7th in this year’s Coca-Cola 600 here at Charlotte earlier this season. The only concern I have about Jones this weekend is that in every race this season that he has started 20th or worse, he has just one finish better than 22nd–and that was a 14th-place finish at Atlanta.
Jamie McMurray ($10,300) – For the second week in a row, Jamie McMurray and this #1 team had a bad qualifying effort, but once again it just makes him a viable option here in this FOX Fantasy Auto game. Believe it or not, Jamie Mac has been one of the most consistent drivers on the 1.5-mile tracks this year, as he has an average finish of 8.9 on this track length–which is 3rd-best in the series. Here at Charlotte Motor Speedway specifically, McMurray hasn’t finished worse than 19th since the 2012 season, and he has finishes of 12th or better in five of his last seven starts here. Spending $10,300 of your cap space on a driver of Jamie McMurray’s caliber may not be the most efficient use of funds, but at the same time, he’s pretty damn reliable. Also, McMurray is kind of flying under the radar in FOX Fantasy Auto this weekend, as less than 10% of players had him on their roster as of Saturday afternoon.
Other viable options: Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson
FOX Fantasy Auto Fade Option
Unfortunately, we’re looking at a chalk week in FOX Fantasy Auto this weekend, especially with the way the driver ownership percentages are trending right now (Saturday afternoon). Currently, Martin Truex, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are over 60% owned, and the next highest there is Chase Elliott at 35.8%. I fully expect Erik Jones to end up in the 3rd-highest-owned spot on Sunday, but the fact still remains: most FOX lineups this weekend are going to have at least two–or even three–of Truex, Johnson, and Jones. Sometimes we get into situations like this, and often times the best thing to do is go with the crowd. I’m personally sitting in 58th overall right now and I’m okay with going with the crowd this weekend–I’m confident that I will make up points in the final six races. Any real ground that you make up will be in the final two or three spots of your lineup. Good luck!
If I had to pick one driver to fade, it’s going to be Chase Elliott ($10,200), as he qualified 7th for Sunday’s Bank of America 500 and, while Chase will probably finish around there as well, it’s hard to imagine him gaining any place differential points. Additionally, Elliott is going to be a little over-owned this weekend simply because of his performance at Dover last weekend.