The 2018 MENCS season kicks off with the 60th running of the Daytona 500 and it will be a much different season for Fantasy NASCAR players. Yahoo and Fox pulled their games and most fantasy players thought… “Well, at least we still have Fantasy Live.” NASCAR decided to squash that thought as they redesigned the Fantasy Live game for the 2018 season.
Points for leading laps and position differential will no longer be awarded. Fantasy teams will score points for finishing the Stage in the top 10 and where they finish the race. Because of this; it is no longer important to select drivers starting in the back. Just pick the best team you can…but there is a catch. You can only use a driver 10 times throughout the 26 race season.
There is also a garage driver this year. Fantasy players can put this driver into their lineup at any time before the end of Stage 2. You will lose the Stage points from the driver you take out of your lineup though. I only plan to make a change if one of my driver crashes and that is likely to happen this week. If I make a change I will post a message on my Twitter account: @MrFantasyNASCAR
Here are my picks for the Daytona…
Driver 1: Denny Hamlin
Driver 2: Joey Logano
Driver 3: Ryan Blaney
Driver 4: Paul Menard
Driver 5: Kurt Busch
Garage Driver: Brad Keselowski
STAGE 1 WINNER: Denny Hamlin
STAGE 2 WINNER: Ryan Blaney
PICK TO WIN: Joey Logano
Lineup: I am using Denny Hamlin and a Ford Stack. Hamlin has been one of the best drivers at Daytona. He has a series-best average running position in the last 6 race (9.8), so he should score a lot of Stage points. Hamlin has also finished 5 of the last 6 races at Daytona on the lead lap so his ability to stay out of trouble gives him a good chance to finish in the top 10.
The Team Penske cars have had the most speed in the pack and the Ford Fussion has an advantage at this track. I think that advantage goes away once we get to the smaller tracks so I plan to use them while I can. Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Paul Menard all rank in the top 10 in average running position in the last 6 races at Daytona. They also rank in the top 10 in average finishing position. So they should score Stage points and have a good chance to finish in the top 10.
The defending Daytona 500 Champion, Kurt Bush is also a good pick. He ranks 2nd to Hamlin in average running position in the last 6 race at Daytona, so he should be up front scoring Stage points. Busch ranks 3rd behind Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano in average finishing position as well. Busch is a great pick this week.
Garage Driver: I planned to use Brad Keselowski in this race and then he went out and crashed his car in the Duel race. I still think he will be a good pick and make his way to the front rather quickly. There is some risk with him starting in the back so I decided to start the safer drivers up front. If Keselowski starts to dominate this race I will pull the trigger and put him into my lineup. Keselowski is the perfect Garage driver this week.
Good luck this week!
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