The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are in full swing, and and some fantasy owners are along for the ride.
Drivers are set to compete in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Speedway, as only three races remain in the NASCAR season. All eyes will be on Martin Truex Jr., who finished second at Martinsville on Sunday, and still sits first in the standings with a 17-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
But with so much on the line at this 1 1/2-mile track, drivers could try just about anything, which could make life difficult for fantasy owners. That’s where we come in, however.
Whether you need help picking an A-List driver who has a shot at winning or an up-and-coming C-List racer who could help steal you some points, we’ve got you covered for the first round of your NASCAR fantasy playoffs. Here are the drivers you should give seats to, and the ones you shouldn’t, for Sunday’s race at in Texas:
Must pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Sure, Kyle Busch is racing like a man possessed, but you have to start Truex this week.
In nine races at 1 1/2-mile tracks this season, the Furniture Row Racing driver has six wins and an astonishing 2.8 average finishing position. Furthermore, Truex has finished in the top 10 in his last five starts at Texas. You can’t afford to keep him out of your lineup.
Stay away: Matt Kenseth
If you’re out of Truex starts and need to pick another A-List driver, we’d go with someone other than Kenseth.
It’s not that the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has been bad on 1 1/2-mile ovals this year, it’s just that he hasn’t been all that good, either. In nine such races, Kenseth has just two top-fives, and generally operates just outside the top 10. Look elsewhere.
Sleeper Pick: Ryan Blaney
Blaney’s talent is obvious, but he hasn’t had as good of a season as you might think. We like his chances in Texas, however.
The Wood Brothers Racing driver has finished 12th in consecutive races at TMS, and was among the best performers in the field at the track earlier this season. He’s also cracked the top 12 in seven of nice races at 1 1/2-mile ovals this year. Blaney makes for a fine B-List play Sunday.
Value pick: Daniel Suarez
While fellow rookie driver Erik Jones might seem like the safe bet, we actually think Suarez could be the best C-List play this weekend.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has seven top-20s in nine races on 1 1/2-mile tracks this year. He’s also been doing some of his best racing of the season as the year winds down. Start him with confidence.
Thumbnail photo via Michael Shroyer/USA TODAY Sports Images