It began way back in February at Daytona, and the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will come to an end this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 1.5-mile oval with progressive banking will host Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, and when the checkered flag waves, a champion will be crowned.
While Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano will all be competing for the Cup Series crown, fantasy owners have championships of their own to focus on. Of course, history says that the four drivers competing for the Cup title will also be among the best fantasy options this weekend at Homestead. After all, these four made it to the championship race for a reason, and most of their competitors are going to give them a ton of respect and room to race on Sunday.
Building around the Championship 4 to some degree is definitely going to be the safest strategy, and if you are happy with where you are positioned in your fantasy leagues, it is the strategy I recommend following. That being said, you can adjust this strategy as needed depending on how you stack up in your leagues.
If you are just a couple of points out of the top spot, you could swap in someone like Kyle Larson for one of the Big 3 as your Group A play in the Driver Group Game, hoping the little change will make the difference. If you are way down in the standings and have nothing to lose in any of the season-long formats, you could roll the dice on a totally contrarian lineup and hope that several of the popular picks have trouble.
It’s been a great 2018 season. I hope my rankings have been helpful, and I appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read them. Let’s close out the year on a high note.
He has three straight finishes of sixth or better at Homestead, including his win in 2015 that secured him his first championship. Busch probably had the car to beat here last year, as well, but an ill-timed caution forced him to settle for second. I expect all four title contenders to be fast this weekend, but Busch’s ability to nail restarts and his pit crew give him the slight edge.
2. Kevin Harvick, #4 Jimmy Johns / Busch Beer
In terms of overall numbers, nobody has been better at Homestead than Harvick. He has 10 straight Top 10s here, posting a 4.4 average finish in that span. Harvick has finished fourth or better in all four of his starts at the track with Stewart-Haas Racing, leading more than 40 laps in three of those starts.
3. Martin Truex Jr., #78 Furniture Row
Truex led 78 laps and won the race and the championship last year at Homestead, so there is no doubt that he can win here. He has also been a Top 5 machine at the 1.5-mile tracks all year. That being said, he has been just a tick behind Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick most of the season, and I’m not sure that changes Sunday.
4. Kyle Larson, #42 CreditOne / DC Solar
I’m not sure anyone navigates the high line at Homestead better than Larson, and he has reeled off three straight Top 5s here, leading more than 130 laps in each of the last two races. There is a good chance that he differs to the title contenders in crunch time as he did last year, but Larson is still an excellent Group A alternative in the Driver Group Game and a no-brainer non-playoff option for Fantasy Live.
5. Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil
Logano has been the model of consistency at the 1.5-mile tracks this year, and perhaps more importantly, he has been getting stronger as the years goes on. He also has three straight finishes of sixth or better at Homestead. I expect him to have a Top 5-caliber car this weekend.