The strategy for this week’s race in FOX Fantasy Auto is pretty cut and dry. During qualifying on Friday, Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, and Trevor Bayne were all unable to make it through qualifying inspection, which means they’ll all start 34th or worse on Sunday. And with high scores in this FOX Fantasy NASCAR game being so reliant on place differential points, there’s no argument that those four drivers are the best options–by far–on Sunday. With that being said, what happens if one (or more) of those guys has problems during the race? Deploying a contrarian strategy could be the best course of action this weekend, especially if you’re looking to make up some points on your competition. As far as my personal place in this game right now, chances are I’m going to play it safe and move on to Phoenix.
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My team points last week (Martinsville 2): 171
Overall team standings: 12th
Total team points for the season: 6,022
FOX Fantasy Auto Picks for the 2017 AAA Texas 500 Race
Kyle Larson ($10,600) – It seems like every week there’s at least one really surprising driver price in FOX Fantasy Auto, and this week it’s Kyle Larson. Add in the fact that the #42 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 11th on Sunday and that actually makes him one of the better options in this game. Larson finished 2nd here at Texas back in April after starting in the rear of the field, and there’s no reason to think that he can’t contend for the win once again this weekend as well. The #42 Chevrolet was 4th-fastest in Practice #2 on Saturday and then wound up 6th-fastest in Happy Hour. Larson has an average finish of 11.2 on 1.5-mile tracks this season, which is tied for 5th-best among all drivers. Additionally, Kentucky is considered the closest track to Texas now after the repave and reconfiguration, and the #42 team came home 2nd in that race earlier this year.
Chase Elliott ($12,000) – Unlike Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott’s salary in FOX Fantasy Auto is quite high this weekend, but really it makes sense: this #24 team has been knocking on the door of getting to victory lane ever since the playoffs started, and there’s no reason to think that they won’t contend here at Texas on Sunday as well. Yes, even after missing qualifying on Friday; don’t forget that Jimmie Johnson won here at Texas back in April after starting in the back. As far as Chase goes, this is actually one of his best race tracks on the circuit, and he has had plenty of speed this weekend, ending up 5th-fastest in Practice #2 on Saturday and 14th in Happy Hour. It’d be surprising if Elliott didn’t end up inside the top 10 on Sunday, which means he’ll have a big score in FOX Fantasy Auto.
Ryan Blaney ($9,100) – Ryan Blaney doesn’t have the opportunity for a lot of place differential fantasy points on Sunday–he qualified 8th for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500–but that doesn’t make him a bad pick in this FOX Fantasy Auto game. If you remember back to the first Texas race this season, Blaney had the best car in the field for the first two Stages, but a couple of mistakes by the #21 team relegated him to a 12th-place finish. Still, the speed was there in the first race, and it’s there this weekend as well: Blaney was 8th-fastest in Practice #2 on Saturday and 3rd-fastest in Happy Hour. Overall, Ryan has an average finish of 10.8 on 1.5-mile tracks this season, and that’s good enough for 4th-best in the series.
Trevor Bayne ($8,500) – Keep an eye on Trevor Bayne’s ownership percentage on Sunday. On Saturday evening, only 8% of FOX Fantasy Auto teams had him on their roster, which is surprising considering the #6 Ford will start from 37th in this year’s AAA Texas 500. Now obviously we’re probably not going to see a top 10 finish out of Bayne this weekend–although he did wind up 13th in the first Texas race this year–but, at the same time, it’s not like he’s going to be terrible. On the 1.5-mile tracks this season, Trevor has an average finish of 17.4 with just one result worse than 22nd. With his starting spot this weekend, a 22nd-place finish out of Bayne on Sunday will net FOX Fantasy Auto owners 41 fantasy points.
Other viable options: Martin Truex, Jr., Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Clint Bowyer
FOX Fantasy Auto Fade Option
Joey Logano ($9,000) – If you’re going to take a chance and not pick one of the drivers that didn’t make it through qualifying on Friday, Joey Logano is probably the one most likely to struggle. Yes, the #22 Ford did come home 3rd here at Texas back in April, but this team is completely different now than they were back then. Additionally, the Penske Fords have struggled more than normal over the last couple of races at 1.5-mile tracks, so that’s something worth considering. As of Saturday evening, just under 40% of FOX Fantasy Auto teams had Joey Logano picked for the Texas 2 race, which puts him as the 3rd-highest-owned driver. That’s another reason for taking a chance and fading him.