DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: New Hampshire

I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission.

Last race’s results: Played $4 Brake Pad contest and finished 1,400th out of 2,900. Won $0.

Season results: $51 wagered, $64 won in 14 contests.

This week’s contest: $4 Brake Pad game (single entry).

New Hampshire picks:

— Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300): It’s always dangerous to take the polesitter because of a potential big drop in position differential, but Truex had the fastest 10-lap average in final practice — so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him lead a ton of laps early in the race. And with 301 laps available to lead, that will be a major factor in fantasy this week.

— Kyle Larson ($9,700): I mean, duh. Larson has been one of the fastest cars all weekend and starts 39th after having his pole-winning time disallowed. Even though Larson will be on everyone’s team, that doesn’t mean you should pass on him.

— Matt Kenseth ($9,300): I needed another driver who could lead a bunch of laps, and the decision at this price range was between Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. Kenseth qualified third and was seventh-fastest in 10-lap final practice average; Hamlin qualified eighth and was fifth-fastest in 10-lap average. So it’s a hard decision, but Kenseth has the best overall driver rating in the last two years here (and costs $500 less), so I decided to let that break the tie.

— Daniel Suarez ($7,500): He’s relatively underpriced considering the potential here. You just have to take a risk that he won’t make a rookie mistake. Suarez qualified 14th but was sixth-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice, ahead of drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick. If he puts together a solid race, it could be a nice top 10 for the price. My alternate pick here was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,600).

— Ryan Newman ($7,300): Newman loves New Hampshire (he ran two Modified races here this weekend) and should be able to rally despite starting 24th. In the last three July races at this track, Newman has started 24th, 26th and 25th — and finished fifth, 11th and seventh, respectively. The downside is all of Richard Childress Racing has struggled this weekend.

— Cole Whitt ($5,700): This is an extremely tough call and I really agonized over how to handle this slot. It was tempting to take Matt DiBenedetto, who is only $5,000, because he qualified 16th. But that’s the very reason you shouldn’t take him, because if he finishes 30th, you’re going to lose 14 points right there. Plus, DiBenedetto was slowest of the 32 drivers in 10-lap average for final practice. So I settled for Whitt, who starts 33rd. I mainly just need him to not lose points; a top-25 would be great.

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Kentucky

I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission. Disclosure No. 2: I might be America’s worst daily fantasy player.

Last race’s results: Played $9 Firecracker contest and finished 9,770th out of 45,800; won $15.

Season results: $47 wagered, $64 won in 13 contests.

This week’s contest: $4 Brake Pad game (single entry).

Kentucky picks:

— Kyle Busch ($10,200): A very expensive choice and it’s scary to pick the polesitter, but I envision him getting the lead at the start of the race and leading a chunk of laps early en route to a solid finish. I need a hammer, and I’m banking on Busch for that.

— Kyle Larson ($10,000): Duh, right? Everyone will pick Larson because he starts 40th (didn’t qualify) and has a huge upside for position differential. However, that doesn’t mean he’s the wrong pick just because everyone else will have him, too.

— Clint Bowyer ($8,400): He starts 16th and could easily get a top-10 finish, so that’s a positive. The price point isn’t terrible, and I needed a driver who wasn’t super expensive but still capable of a very good race.

— Kurt Busch ($8,100): Of the 15 drivers who ran 10 or more consecutive laps in final practice, Busch was ninth. While that’s not amazing, he was ahead of similar drivers at this range (like Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and starts 15th, so there’s some room for position gains there.

— Ryan Newman ($7,300): This pick is MAJORLY sketchy because Newman will drop to the rear due to an engine change (and you won’t get credit for him starting there). However, he technically starts 29th and I think he can rally for a top-15 finish even after starting in the rear. I need those points if so.

— Michael McDowell ($5,900): I don’t feel great about this one at all, but the price was right. Maybe McDowell (starting 21st) can pull out a top-15 finish and make the gamble pay off with my top-heavy lineup.

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR Advice For Daytona Coke Zero 400

Restrictor-plate races are so freaking hard to predict, which makes them fun to watch but agonizing when there’s money on the line.

So for those playing DraftKings this weekend — and there’s a $350,000 total payout contest, so that includes me — a bit of extra strategy is needed. I hopped on the phone with DraftKings’ Pearce Dietrich on Friday morning to go over some lineup ideas for the race.

“What I’m going to suggest is going to make people throw up a little bit,” Dietrich said. “Don’t even worry about the drivers or track history. If you look at the past leaderboards, you just pick guys from the back. It sounds crazy, stupid, ridiculous, but the best starting position on the optimal lineup in the Daytona 500 was 26th.

“You’ve got to take the guys at the back. It happens at every plate race. But no one wants to do it.”

Dietrich is right: It’s not exactly appetizing, but the best bet is to rely heavily on place differential. DraftKings scoring is plus or minus one point for every position gained, and laps led (0.25 points) and fast laps (0.5 points) just aren’t going to matter as much at Daytona. So it’s banking on drivers who qualify poorly but end up surviving the wrecks and finishing well.

The best possible lineup in the Daytona 500 was Ryan Blaney, AJ Allmendinger, Paul Menard, Michael Waltrip, Brendan Gaughan and Kasey Kahne. At last summer’s Daytona race, it was Michael McDowell, Cole Whitt, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Trevor Bayne.

Those lineups involved leaving lots of salary cap money on the table ($10,000 for the 500), but it doesn’t matter. Dietrich said to resist the urge to take drivers who start in the top half of the field.

“It’s like, ‘Yeah, right, you’re crazy, I’m picking Denny Hamlin because he’s good at the plate tracks,'” Dietrich said. “But that’s not going to win you $50,000.”

That’s why my lineup for Daytona is Landon Cassill, Ty Dillon, David Ragan, Elliott Sadler, Martin Truex Jr. and Cole Whitt — all of whom start 25th or worse. And even that might be a little too high in the lineup.

My lineup of Daytona drivers was $11,900 under the salary cap — which seems nuts, but that’s supposedly the right call.

“Even when people read this, it’s still going to be hard to leave money on the table,” Dietrich said. “But the facts are there. This is how you win. Do this for just one week only and go back to the normal strategy next week.”

 

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I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission. Disclosure No. 2: I might be America’s worst daily fantasy player.

Last race’s results: Played $8 MEGA Beast and finished 9,600th out of 47,000; won $12.

Season results: $38 wagered, $49 won in 12 contests.

This week’s contest: $9 Firecracker ($350,000 total payout).

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Sonoma

I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission. Disclosure No. 2: I might be America’s worst daily fantasy player.

Last race’s results: Played $4 Brake Pad single entry game; finished 50th of 1,500, won $20.

Season results: $30 wagered, $37 won in 11 contests.

This week’s contest: $8 MEGA Beast (with $50,000 to the winner!).

Sonoma picks:

— Kurt Busch ($9,800). He’s had six straight finishes of 12th or better at Sonoma, including four top-five finishes and a win. He starts 17th, so the chance for points gained through position differential — which is going to be huge for fantasy players at Sonoma, given the low number of laps — is very strong.

— Jimmie Johnson ($9,600). Even if Chad Knaus’ setup notes got stolen, Johnson is still excellent at Sonoma (seven top-10s in the last eight races) and the team will probably be on top of the complicated pit strategy. Plus, Johnson starts 24th — a major opportunity for place differential.

— Joey Logano ($9,000). The fact he starts 22nd is very attractive for fantasy players, particularly because this is a strategy race with the stages — and Logano crew chief Todd Gordon is always looking for outside-the-box ways to put his driver in a good spot. Logano has also finished fifth and third the last two races here.

— Kasey Kahne ($8,000). Another play with the position differential opportunity. Kahne starts 21st but has four straight top-10 finishes at Sonoma. Those points could be quite valuable if he can have another good run.

Matt Kenseth ($7,500). Sonoma is one of Kenseth’s worst tracks and he’s never had a top-five finish here in 17 starts. But he’s starting 38th, and the prospect of even a top-20 finish would provide major points from position differential.

— Michael McDowell ($6,100). The fact he starts 16th is slightly concerning, because there’s a low ceiling for points differential even if he gets a top-10. But the road racing ace comes at a very low price and seems like a better option than Boris Said at $5,100, which was the other option I was considering here.

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Michigan

I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission. Disclosure No. 2: I might be America’s worst daily fantasy player.

Last race’s results: Didn’t play last week.

Season results: $26 wagered, $17 won in 10 contests.

This week’s contest: $4 Brake Pad single entry game.

Michigan picks:

Kyle Larson ($10,200). Taking the polesitter and the most expensive driver seems like a bad idea, but I’m counting on Larson to be the hammer and control the race. After all, he’s won the last two races at the big 2-mile tracks (Michigan and Fontana) and his confidence isn’t higher anywhere else.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000). Like Larson, not much of ceiling for a guy starting second. But I’m banking on Truex leading a lot of laps at some point during the race and having the points add up that way. Yes, there are fewer available laps to lead at Michigan than other tracks, but those points can still add up if a driver dominates (which has been the case at times in recent Michigan races).

Jamie McMurray ($8,200). This seems like a steal at the price, because the Chip Ganassi Racing cars are both looking quite strong at Michigan. McMurray qualified eighth, so there’s not a huge upside for positions differential — but he could still end up in the top three by the end.

Erik Jones ($8,000). I’ve picked Jones a lot this year, but it seems like another tempting opportunity this time. He qualified 14th with one of the best cars there, has extra motivation racing at his home track and is coming off his career-best finish last week at Pocono (third). All that adds up to a great bargain for the price.

Daniel Suarez ($7,500). For a moderate price, you get a rookie who has finished on the lead lap of six straight Cup races. Suarez takes care of his equipment, which is reason for optimism he can use a fast car to make some nice gains from his 20th starting position as Joe Gibbs Racing continues to show improvement.

Ty Dillon ($6,100). After having his qualifying time disallowed, Dillon starts 37th. Even if he only finishes in the 20s, that’s still a lot of positions to be gained.

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Dover

I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission. Disclosure No. 2: I might be America’s worst daily fantasy player.

Last race’s results: Played the $3 Beginner Slingshot game. Finished 18th out of 200; won $10.

Season results: $26 wagered, $17 won in 10 contests.

This week’s contest: $0 free game due to Delaware state law restriction.

Dover picks:

— Kyle Busch ($10,400). It’s always dangerous to take the polesitter, but there are a lot of available laps to lead at Dover — and I want the people who are going to hog most of them. That would seem to fit Busch, among others.

— Martin Truex Jr. ($9,900). I’m going with Truex as my hammer. Last fall, Truex led 187 of the 400 laps — and I could see him with a similar performance on Sunday. He starts second, so he’ll have a good shot to pile up the laps led early in the race.

— Joey Logano ($9,200). This is pretty much a “He’s starting 26th and I want the position differential” play. It’s been a rough weekend for Logano, who seems to be lacking speed. But that team is capable of rebounding quickly. Maybe it’s not worth the high price to take the risk, but we’ll see.

— Ryan Newman ($7,200). I took Newman for one reason: He was the best driver remaining I could afford. Yes, I picked Newman to plug a hole — choosing him over similarly-priced Paul Menard, Ty Dillon and Trevor Bayne. There aren’t a lot of stats to back this up, other than Newman was faster than those drivers in practice. But this allowed me to take drivers like Busch, Logano and Truex — so that makes it worth it.

— Daniel Suarez ($7,100). I’m going with a value play here for a couple reasons. First, the Toyotas look fast this weekend — and this is a way to get one for cheap. Second, Suarez was 12th-fastest in 10-lap averages — so he clearly has a fast car. The downside (and a big one, perhaps) is he starts third.

— AJ Allmendinger ($6,200). A good value for a driver who was 14th in 10-lap average for final practice. Allmendinger starts 24th, but has been strong here in the past (he’s led more laps at Dover than he has at any other track).

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Coca-Cola 600

I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission. Disclosure No. 2: I might be America’s worst daily fantasy player.

Last race’s results: No race last week.

Season results: $23 wagered, $7 won in nine contests.

This week’s contest: $3 Beginner Slingshot contest.

Coke 600 picks:

— Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700). I have no expectations he can repeat last year’s performance — where he led the most miles in NASCAR history — but he often seems to find the front on 1.5-mile tracks. Maybe he can lead a bunch of laps again; if so, I want to capitalize on his hammer potential.

— Kyle Larson ($10,100). He didn’t make it through tech inspection in time to qualify, so Larson will start 39th. Take the position differential he’s sure to get, even if everyone else has him on their teams, too.

— Jamie McMurray ($8,400). McMurray was fastest in 10-lap average for final practice and starts 11th. That’s a pretty good value for a driver who could get a top-five, and you know those Chip Ganassi cars will be strong all race.

Austin Dillon ($7,600). He now has a new crew chief, so maybe that will mark a fresh start for the No. 3 team. But Dillon also starts 22nd and had the 12th-fastest 10-lap average in final practice, offering a good chance to move up during the race.

— Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,500). I really wanted to pick Kasey Kahne here, but I didn’t have enough money (I was $400 short). So I’ll just take a chance and ride with Stenhouse and the Roush resurgence, although he wasn’t overly impressive in final practice (19th-fastest single lap, 16th-fastest 10-lap average) and starts 13th.

— Regan Smith ($5,600). An excellent value play here with Aric Almirola’s substitute. He’s cheaper than JJ Yeley and Matt DiBenedetto, but you could easily get a top-20 finish out of Smith (who starts 25th). The downside: The No. 43 car didn’t look very good in practice (second-slowest of the 25 cars who tried 10-lap runs in final practice).