Last week was a mixed bag as far as my fantasy predictions went. You did well if you picked my mid-pack duo of Joey Logano (sixth) and Scott Speed (22nd, plus five bonus points for a lap led). Hopefully, you also followed my advice of avoiding Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished 37th. Unfortunately, Montoya got to the 37th position by tangling with my third mid-pack pick, Jamie McMurray, in a wreck which relegated him to 31st.
My studs weren’t much help, either, coming home 11th and 15th, which is not good for your two top guys. Hopefully, you picked my Plan-B studs who finished third and fifth. Guess they should have been my Plan-A guys. But hey, everyone has a bad week! We’ll rebound this Sunday at Atlanta, selecting five picks sure to put you atop the leaderboard for Week 4 in the 2010 Sprint Cup season.
Jeff Gordon – In the spring race at Atlanta, Gordon had 12 top-10 finishes. Of those 12, nine are top fives – with a pair of wins and three runner-ups. His only poor finishes were the result of a blown engine and a wreck. Basically, if Gordon keeps it in one piece, he’s got a top-10 finish.
Tony Stewart – In the last eight spring events, Stewart has seven top-eight finishes and a 17th. He’s finished second two of the last three years and won the race in 2002. Stewart is also coming off a pair of top 10s, giving him some momentum heading to Atlanta Sunday.
Who Will Carry You
AJ Allmendinger – The ‘Dinger doesn’t have a lot of history at Atlanta, but what he has is good for what he’s valued at in most fantasy leagues. He’s never finished better than 14th, but never worse than 20th, either. For the price you pay to get him, he’s worth it if you get a top-20 effort.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Another mid-pack driver to grab this week is Earnhardt Jr. He has an 11th-place average finish in the spring race in Atlanta with five top fives and a win. He rebounded nicely last week with a 16th-place run and can easily post a top 15 – if not a top 10 – this Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. – Finally, you can expect a nice little boost to your team by adding Truex Jr. Martin has never finished worse than 21st in this event, has a pair of top 10s and an average finish of 15th. With the exception of the blown engine at California, Truex has run well with his new team… so look for another solid top-20 run this Sunday.
Who Will Bury You
While it’s been a nice little run to start of the season for Speed (16th in points) and Paul Menard (17th), you can expect the coach to turn back into a pumpkin this Sunday in Atlanta. Since a seventh-place effort in 2006, Menard had yet to crack the top 15 and has two finishes outside the top 25. As far as Speed goes, his average finish at Atlanta is 31st. If you grabbed these two early with a buy low, sell high mentality, it’s time to cash in on them.
Recap and Advice
Again, if you can’t get Stewart or Gordon this week, you may want to take a good long look at Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch. Busch dominated this event last year and was 11th in each of the previous two spring events. Kenseth has finished in the top eight in five of the last seven spring races down in Georgia, and is coming off a solid top five in Vegas.
After three events, my studs have produced an average finish of 12th, which to be honest needs some work. But my mid-pack drivers have posted average finishes of 20th, which isn’t too bad for guys you are getting on the cheap. And my duds have been right on, with an average finish of 28th. Keep in mind my dud picks have been guys like Jimmie Johnson and Montoya, too – not Kevin Conway and Travis Kvapil.
So there you have it, race fans – enough information to go set your lineups and win the week in your fantasy racing league. We’ll see you back here in a few weeks with who you want and who you want to avoid at Bristol Motor Speedway.