Weekly Fantasy Favorites: Bristol

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Denny Hamlin leads the field past the green flag at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2015.

By Zachary Lange
Staff Reporter
April 16, 2016

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Sprint Cup action is back at Thunder Valley for the eighth race of the season. Often called the “Fastest Half-Mile”, track position and an optimal pit stall are keys to doing well.

Here are some drivers you’ll want to take a look at and avoid this week.


Matt Kenseth
In Matt’s past five races at Bristol, he’s claimed victory twice. A top-ten in first practice and qualifying second, the No. 20 Toyota has shown speed since they unloaded and with how well the JGR trio has performed this season, Kenseth is almost a must have for fantasy owners this week.

Cost: $10,000

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/TheRacingExperts.com

Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr.
The single-car Furniture Row Racing team has picked up where they left off in 2015, racing competitively week-in-and-week-out. Troubling, is that Truex Jr. hasn’t picked up a top-ten in his last five races at Bristol, but other race factors such as crashes has set him back statistically.

Look for Martin to break the streak on Sunday, as he was second in first practice and qualified eighth.

Cost: $8,900

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
For the 88 crew, Bristol has been a track of success and mishaps. While notching two top-tens in his last five races, he also has one DNF and the only two lead lap finishes were his top-tens. Finishing seventh in first practice, Junior ended up not making the final round of qualifying and will start 20th. However, the points gained for place differential (1 point for every position you finish above where a driver starts) is intriguing, and is why you should start Earnhardt Jr. this week.

Cost: $9,100


Photo by Brian DeGruchy/TheRacingExperts.com

Clint Bowyer's No. 15 car.

Clint Bowyer
It’s been a rough go of things for the HScott Motorsports team in 2016. For Bowyer, Bristol has been a strong suit having one the best average finishes among active drivers in the past five races. However, the car has failed to show speed this week, finishing 32nd in first practice. Even worse, Bowyer will take the green flag Sunday in 36th position.

At Bristol, he has the risk of falling down a lap early with that starting spot, fantasy players should stay away this week.

Cost: $6,100

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/TheRacingExperts.com
Aric Almirola

Aric Almirola
For the Richard Petty Motorsports 43, this season has so far been quite a struggle. Almirola has yet to score a top-ten this season, and found himself mid-pack in first practice. He’ll take the green flag 22nd, and hasn’t given fantasy owners a reason to play him yet. Until the results begin to trend upward, don’t look to start Almirola in your lineup.

Cost: $6,400

Kurt Busch
Busch is a tough call to not start. With his aggressive driving style and successful first practice, some may look to play the 41 this Sunday. But Busch’s average finish the past five races is only 20th, which is one of the worst among average drivers.

Also noteworthy, in two of his past five races he has found himself finishing dozens of laps down finishing 31st and 35th respectively.

Busch will also take the field 26th, having lots of ground to make up to get to the front.

Cost: $9,400


Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
This is a definite stretch to start this week, but if past trends continue, Stenhouse Jr. may be a very smart decision to start. Among active drivers, the Roush Fenway Racing driver has the best average finish in the past five races at Bristol with an average finish of tenth.

He didn’t look sharp in first practice, finishing 26th. He will also take the green flag in 32nd, which runs the risk of going down a lap early. But the Ford driver comes at a cheap cost, and may make his way up to the front and end up scoring a top-ten finish.

Cost: $6,400

A.J. Allmendinger

For JTG-Daugherty Racing, racing up at the front of pack is becoming the rule instead of the exception this season. And Allmendinger is running the best he has in his entire career this season, having an average finish of 15th through the first seven races.

By finishing 9th in both qualifying and first practice, and coming at a cheap cost, Allmendinger would be the perfect play for owners looking to meet the salary cap threshold.

Cost: $6,600

Zach’s Draft Kings Lineup

No. 18 Kyle Busch-$10,700
No. 11 Denny Hamlin-$9,600
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.-$8,900
No. 5 Kasey Kahne-$7,800
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger-$6,600
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-$6,400

Total Cost: $50,000/$50,000

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/TheRacingExperts.com

A.J. Allmendinger

Which driver will finish highest at Bristol Sunday?
Kyle Busch
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr.
Kasey Kahne
A.J. Allmendinger
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
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