If you look at the current Sprint Cup standings, you will find Brad
Keselowski clinging to the final spot in the top 10, while Kasey
Kahne is 12th. This late in the year, drivers battling just to make the
top 10 aren't usually elite fantasy options, but I said usually for a reason.
Incredibly slow starts still have both drivers buried in the standings, but
make no mistake about it. Kahne and Keselowski have been top-five fantasy options
for more than two months now. Don't believe? Let's look at the numbers.
Six races into the year, Kahne was 31st in points and had yet to crack the
top 10. Heck, Mark Martin was ahead
of him and had sat out two races. A seventh-place run at Texas ended the drought,
and since then, Kahne has been on a tear. He has 10 top-10 finishes in the last
13 races, compiling a 9.8 average finish during the stretch. He also has five
top-five finishes, including a pair of wins. Erase the slow start, and Kahne
is probably in the top five in points. In fact, he has scored the fifth-most
points in the series in the last 10 races. He may end up needing a wild-card
spot just to make the Chase, but Kahne is producing championship-caliber numbers
and has been since early April.
Keselowski's start to the year wasn't nearly as terrible. He actually finished
in the top five at Phoenix and won at Bristol all within the first four races.
However, consistency was tough to come by, and Keselowski finished outside the
top 30 three times in the first seven races and outside the top 15 four times.
He is just starting to recover from the three disastrous runs, but he has finished
outside the top 15 only once in the last 12 races. He doesn't have a single
finish outside the top 20 during the stretch, and he has also picked up two
more victories, tying him with Tony
Stewart for the most in the series. Perhaps the most important stat to think
about is that in the past 10 races, only Matt Kenseth has scored more points
than Keselowski. After catching fire in the middle of last season and helping
many fantasy owners win their leagues, it appears Keselowski could be headed
for a repeat performance.
The scary thing is that both drivers might be getting better. Kahne and Keselowksi
rank first and second in points scored in the past three races, and both drivers
have a win and three top-10s during the stretch. Kahne has an impressive 3.3
average finish in the three starts, and Keselowski isn't far behind with a 4.7
average finish. While neither driver is going to be able to maintain that type
of a pace, they are certainly capable of producing the same numbers they have
been for the last two and a half months. Chop off the first seven races of the
year, and Kahne and Keselowski have been consistent top-five fantasy drivers.
If you haven't been taking full advantage of both drivers in recent weeks, it
is time to start.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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