Saturday, March 17, 2018

2018 Fantasy Nascar Update (Cali)

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Fantasy Nascar Update -

1. Kevin Harvick - Harvick is starting 10th, but he has the car to beat for a 4th straight week. Not only does, he have the car to beat but he also has led the most laps in the last three races. Of course, he won each of those races, too. Last week at Phoenix, it was much more challenging for Harvick to win than the previous two races. This weekend, I think it will be a lot like last weekend. I think Harvick will get to the front, but believe me those guys will make it tough on him. I do believe that he will end up winning. However, once he get to the lead, I do think it is Harvick's race. The question is how long can they hold him off?

2. Kyle Busch - Rowdy will start 2nd and not too long ago he was considered ''the man'' here at Cali. This weekend, he is fast again. He topped final practice and was ranked 3rd in terms of best 15-lap average. He only trailed Harvick, and Dillon according to FS1. Rowdy always shows up fast to these intermediate tracks and has been top 3 good in every race this season. No reason why the 18 car won't challenge for the win. If there is a driver that can knock off Kevin Harvick, then the driver of the No.18 car is my first choice.

3. Kyle Larson - Larson has won the last four races at Michigan and Cali, so he is definitely someone you have to watch out for. He had a tough go around last weekend at Phoenix, but I have faith that he will rebound here at his hometown racetrack. He has been fast on the intermediate tracks this season (and last season). This weekend, Larson has been pretty happy with his car and has displayed legit speed on both days. He will start 3rd and had the 4th-best 15 lap average in final practice. Larson was one of the heavy favorite entering the weekend and nothing has changed after on-track activities.

4. Martin Truex Jr - Truex Jr will start on the pole, but he didn't sound too confident after final practice about his car on the long run. That is typically a bad sign when it comes to the race, you need good long run speed at a place like Cali. He hinted around that they some work to do with that. I kinda felt like the 78 team has been missing a step this year and that is the vibe I am getting this weekend. He is good enough to be a top 5 driver, but not good enough to be included in possible winner discussion. Of course, he could easily improve throughout the race and change all of that. So, we will see!

5. Erik Jones - Jones has been very fast all weekend and has been near top of the charts all weekend long. I could drop him down a few spots, but I think this is the best he has looked during a race weekend this year. We all know what he is capable of when he can put together a whole weekend. He has half of it down already. He qualified 4th and looked pretty fast in practice. The question is now can he translate that practice speed into race speed. We will see about that! I am very high on him here at Cali.

6. Joey Logano - I don't know if Joey has great long run speed this weekend, but he is off to a great start this season. He has finished well at the other two intermediate tracks this season and has some really strong finishes of late at this track. For whatever reason, the Penske cars just don't look as strong as the other Ford teams. But in the race, they are usually close to the top 5 or at the very least somewhere in middle of the top 10. They won't jump off the page with their speed throughout the weekend, but they will get the job done. Expect, Joey to be a top 10 driver on Sunday afternoon.

7. Brad Keselowski - I don't really love Keselowski or anything, but he has a habit of getting the results. He looks top 10 good this weekend and he will roll off from the 11th position. Cali use to be a terrible track for Keselowski, but he has posted back-to-back top 10 finishes in the last two seasons. I think Keselowski is one of those drivers that hang around and then take advatnage of other misfortunes. He is so good at that, he is someone who does not make many mistakes. On top of that, he is very good at getting off-sequence and taking advantage that way, too. On pure speed, expect Keselowski to be anywhere from 5th to 9th place range. I see him running most of the race in that area. 

8. Chase Elliott - Elliott has been good this weekend overall, but he will start from well outside of the top 20. He is one of the drivers that I fully expect to move forward and contend for at least a top 10 finish. He has been awesome here so far in his young career and has ran very well on other two intermediate tracks this season. I thought he looked really strong in the earlier session on Saturday, but in the later session he didn't make any strong long runs during final practice. I am not too worried about. Maybe the 9 team was just trying something. Elliott is one of those drivers that you can count on to be top 10 good pretty much every time we come to this type of track. He will be just fine on Sunday afternoon.

9. Ryan Blaney - I am just not super high on Blaney, but I am not down on him, either. To me, Blaney haven't blown me away this season or this weekend. But at the same time, he haven't been terrible. He has been good enough, but not to the point where I am convinced that he will be special. For this weekend, he is probably good enough to be in the latter part of the top 10 with some upside. He started on the pole at Vegas and finished 5th. He started 25th and finished 12th at Atalanta. I will split the difference and put him in the top 10. He is solid choice to go with as a fantasy pick.

10. Denny Hamlin - I think outside of Harvick, I think the JGR cars are gonna be really strong. Both of Denny's teammates has been fast. And so has he. Hamlin is starting outside of the top 25, but he has legit top 10 speed with obvious upside to do some serious damage. I don't think he will have many problems getting to the front (top 10), but after that it is hard to say. On pure speed, I thought at least 5 or 6 drivers were better than him. That would include Harvick, Larson, Busch, Jones, Truex Jr, etc off top of my head. And there may be more. It will be interesting when he get to the top 10 on Sunday.

Other options -

Kurt Busch
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Newman
Jamie Mac
Austin Dillon

****All stats are from and

Twitter - @JeffNathans18