After taking last weekend off, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back, with drivers set to compete in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The 2017 season is nearing the quarter pole, and races have been pretty unpredictable, to say the least. Fantasy owners have watched young drivers surge and veterans slump, which has made it difficult to set lineups with confidence.
However, we’re here to help provide some clarity.
You might have a budget, or you might have a limit to the amount of times you can pick a given racer. Whatever your league’s format, we’ve got you covered in determining which drivers to give seats to Sunday, and which ones to stay away from.
Must pick: Joey Logano
Despite not yet making a trip victory lane this season, Logano has been one of the most impressive drivers in the field, as he’s finished in the top six in all but one of the seven races. More importantly, Logano always has raced well at Bristol since joining Team Penske in 2015, earning two wins, two top-10 finishes and one top-five. Make sure he’s in your lineups Sunday.
Stay away: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt had his best finish of the season April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, but we don’t expect him to carry that success into Sunday’s race. The main reason being Bristol isn’t the track where he’s had the most success. He only has won once at the track, and it came back in 2004.
Earnhardt might be worth starting at some point this season, but this isn’t the time.
Sleeper pick: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
If Stenhouse wasn’t so inconsistent, we’d probably have him as our top pick this week. The Roush Fenway Racing driver has the best average finishing position at Bristol of anybody else in the Cup field with a minimum of three starts there, including a career-best second-place finish at the track in August. Furthermore, he’s finished in the top six in four of his last six races at the track.
For the most part, Stenhouse has raced well this season, and has earned the right to, at the very least, be considered as a fantasy play.
Value pick: Erik Jones
Jones has been one of the best value plays in fantasy all season long, and we expect that to continue Sunday. He’s never competed at Bristol at the Cup level, but the the Furniture Row Racing driver has earned three poles in four Xfinity Series races at the track. Start him with confidence Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images