The complete breakdown of this past week’s fantasy racing action by salary level. Who did what? What did you miss? What do you need to consider when making next week’s Texas picks? Who’s dead to you? (I’m looking at you, Montoya.)
Jimmy Johnson – 1st: Won the pole (set a track record in doing so) and dominated the entire race just as he has done all year. Once again, Johnson is expensive in daily fantasy, but he is worth every dollar.
Clint Bowyer – 2nd: Coming off some bad luck at Fontana, Michael Waltrip Racing has resumed their steady climb to the top. Bowyer was fastest in practice and was able to pull himself through the field late in the race.
Brad Keselowski – 6th: The Blue Deuce battled at Martinsville for a solid top-10 performance. Keselowski rebounded well from a rough race at Fontana two weeks ago. Unfortunately, at Keselowksi’s price, you expect wins.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 24th: Once again overcame a bad qualifying position, but similar to Kenseth, his car just did not have enough at the end. If you paid the hefty $23,500 for Junior this week, you probably lost.
Kasey Kahne - 4th: Another dominant performance by a Hendrick car. The only negative is that Kahne’s salary will surely rise, pushing him to the same level as Jimmy Johnson. Which is where he deserves to be, as Kahne is averaging a 4th place finish over the last 4 races.
Kyle Busch - 5th: Rowdy is in contention for a win each week and almost always finishes in the top 5. As long as his fantasy salary stays below the upper tier drivers, he is a must-play.
Greg Biffle - 9th: Under the radar this year. He’s not Kahne or Kyle, but he has strung together three good starts and his salary will probably remain the same.
Kevin Harvick - 13th: Another top-15 finish for Harvick, but much more is expected. 2013 has been pretty disappointing for Happy and the fantasy drivers that have started him. However, he did finish higher than Kenseth for those Pit Crew listeners scoring at home.
Matt Kenseth - 14th: The 20 car looked great all day and it appeared that Joe Gibbs Racing was going to win their third race this year, but Kenseth fell apart late in the race.
Carl Edwards - 15th:Carl has never raced very well at Martinsville. His top-15 finish is acceptable; no one was expecting Carl to earn his fourth top-5 finish this year. He is quietly having a good bounce back year but was not a mid-high salary play this week.
Tony Stewart - 17th: We wrote him off, and we were right. Stewart was a bad play in his salary tier. The question the Pit Crew has been debating at The Daily Fantasy Radio is whether Tony Stewart’s ownership obligations are affecting his driver responsibilities.
Jeff Gordon - 3rd: A must-pick at fantazzle.com with his cheap $20,500 salary. Statistically, Gordon is the one of the best drivers at Martinsville, second to only Jimmie Johnson. Had there not been a late race caution, Gordon may have passed the 48 Lowes Chevy at the end.
Jamie McMurray - 7th: Jamie Mac was a mid-level sleeper this week based on his relatively quiet season, but McMurray’s finish should not be a surprise based on his past Martinsville performances.
Marcos Ambrose - 8th: Good price. Great qualifying position. The Aussie fell back early, but battled through the race and stayed out of real trouble. He is one of the prime examples of how road course drivers can excel at the Paperclip.
Mark Martin - 10th: This was the first week subbing for Denny Hamlin while his broken back heals. Some are disappointed by Martin’s 10th place finish in the typically good #11 FedEx Toyota, but based on his practice and qualifying struggles, Martin should be satisfied.
Jeff Burton - 18th: The hometown hero (South Boston, Virginia – close enough) seemed like a decent mid-level pick. At times during the race he looked good, but in the end there were better mid-level plays.
Paul Menard - 19th: A decent week for Menard. We predicted that he would begin to come back to reality and race like the Paul Menard of old. With Menard, there is always better and safer mid-level plays.
Joey Logano - 23rd: Didn’t get intentionally wrecked, but didn’t race well either. There were much better mid-level plays out there for Martinsville.
Ryan Newman - 31st: He was the worst of the Stewart-Hass Chevrolets. He appeared to be a decent mid-level play based on his past at Martinsville. The big question mark was that Newman has been inconsistent in 2013. At Martinsville, his up and down season went down again.
Martin Truex Jr. - 40th: Early damage ruined this Michael Waltrip Toyota’s day.
Brian Vickers - 11th: Vickers is good on short tracks, and Michael Waltrip’s Toyotas have been strong this season. He remains the best play in his price range.
Danica Patrick - 12th: Big surprise, I’ll eat some crow on this one. Danica did not look good in practice or qualifying, and this is one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. Inexplicable.
Aric Almirola - 20th: In a word, disappointing. Leading up to race weekend, Almirola seemed like a great play: Richard Petty Racing; good record at Martinsville; cheap salary. On paper, Almirola was a great pick, but at practice, qualifying, and the race, Almirola just didn’t have it.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - 25th: The rookie wasn’t bad at Martinsville, but he’s not a fantasy play just yet.
Juan Pablo Montoya - 26th: Our sleeper pick never woke up. JPM tried to move his way through the field, but it just never happened. In last week’s Fontana race recap, we said wait until a road course to start Montoya. If you read that, then you were good; but if you were like us and said, “Martinsville is similar to a road course,” then you lost.
Kurt Busch - 37th: The Pit Crew was adamant that fantasy players stay away from Kurt at Martinsville, and we were right. He was involved in several cautions, and his car turned into a fireball late in the race.
Casey Mears - 16th: Mears is always a bargain, but this week he seemed like too much of a stretch to be a sleeper pick. However, somehow Mears worked his way through the field and survived Martinsville for a solid finish. Some fantasy players took a chance on Mears again this week, and it paid off. Big question: How much longer will Mears remain a bargain?
Sneak Peak: NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
Kyle Busch – At this point, it does not matter where the Sprint Cup race is. If they’re racing on the moon, you still must start Kyle Busch. If you don’t, your opponent will.
Jimmie Johnson – If you can afford him, start him. Johnson rarely disappoints; coming as no surprise, Johnson has the second most top-10 finishes among active drivers.
Matt Kenseth – His record at Texas Motor Speedway is freakish. Top-10 finishes in 11 of his last 13. An unheard of top-5 rate of 57%.