By KFFL Staff on March 10, 2011
NASCAR is taking a week off prior to a trip to Bristol Motor Speedway, but that doesn't mean fantasy owners can afford do the same. If you play in a league that allows trades, the bye week is the perfect time to try to improve your roster. With three races in the books, there is decent a chance you can catch some other fantasy owners in panic mode and get your hands on some big names that are off to slow starts at a discount price. Now is also the best time to sell high on some drivers that have been strong out of the gate.
Drivers to Trade For
Greg Biffle sits atop the list of drivers that are worth trading for. He is sitting 32nd in the standings and has yet to finish higher than 20th, but his luck won't be this bad all season. After being involved in wrecks at Daytona and Phoenix, an issue fueling the No. 16 at Vegas cost him a potential top-five run. During the last three seasons, Biffle's worst average finish was a 15.4 mark, his fewest number of top-10s was 16, and his fewest number of top-five finishes was nine. In other words, he is much better than his dreadful start indicates. As long as you aren't giving up a driver that made the Chase last season, Biffle is worth inquiring about.
Like Biffle, Jeff Burton has been miserable in 2011. He sits 31st in the standings heading to Bristol, and he has yet to finish in the top-20 this season. While I am a firm believer that Burton's best years are long gone, he isn't nearly as bad as he has been thus far. He hasn't finished a season with an average finish worse than 19.6 since 1995, which means his current 27.7 average isn't going to last. I wouldn't give up the talent for Burton that I would for Biffle, but he is still a top-15 driver in the long run.
Another driver to target that owners are probably the most willing to part with is Brian Vickers. After missing most of 2010 with a medical issue, there were already plenty of question marks, and finishes of 30th or worse at Daytona and Phoenix have him buried in the standings. However, he had a quiet 10th-place effort at Las Vegas that was very encouraging. Since joining Red Bull Racing, Vickers has made a name for himself at the intermediate ovals. His performance at Vegas was a good indication that he can still get the job done. With a majority of the races being held at intermediate tracks, he can be a key contributor to any fantasy team the rest of the way. Take advantage of short-sighted owners that have already written him off as a bust.
Drivers to Trade Away
Let me start by saying that I think Paul Menard is going to have the best year of his Cup career in 2011. That being said, I don't see him sticking inside the top-10 in points all season either. Menard currently sits sixth after posting career-best finishes at Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas to open the year, but we are talking about the same guy that has just two top-five finishes in 150 career Cup starts. He has been the most consistent Richard Childress Racing driver through three races, but I'd still rather own Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer or Jeff Burton in the long run. Why not take advantage of Menard's hot start and trade him for a traditionally more reliable option?
Three top-20 finishes to open the year have Martin Truex Jr. sitting seventh in the standings. While I do expect his sophomore season with Michael Waltrip Racing to go better than last year, I would still be running to the trading block to try to move him as soon as possible. For his career, Truex Jr. has just 14 top-five finishes compared to 29 DNFs, and he managed just a single top-five finish in 2009 and 2010. History tells us he has nowhere to go but down from his current position. If you can swap Truex for the likes of Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray or Brian Vickers, make the move.
Becoming Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 1 driver has suited A.J. Allmendinger nicely, but he isn't likely to hang in the top-10 in points for the long haul. The good news for fantasy owners looking to make a move is that Allmendinger got plenty of hype this offseason after recording 26 top-20 finishes in 2010. That hype coupled with his strong start could help you land a big name in return for Allmendinger. I think he will provide plenty of fantasy production in his own right, but if Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne or Clint Bowyer is up for grabs, I'd have no problem parting with Allmendinger.