DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Chicago

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. Finished 1,080th of 2,100. Won $0.

Season results: $84 wagered, $95 won in 21 contests.

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

Chicago picks:

— Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700): I expect him to lead laps and have a top-three finish, as he’s done so often this season. There’s no reason to think anything will change now, so Truex is being chosen as a hammer here.

— Kyle Busch ($10,600): Fastest in final practice. Fastest qualifying lap in relation to the rest of the field in years. Second-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice. Busch figures to dominate much of the race, perhaps leading every lap in the first stage, for starters. Take the points.

— Daniel Suarez ($7,800): I’m going with another Toyota, because it’s an intermediate track and there’s no reason to think their performance will suddenly drop off. Suarez is the cheapest top-running Toyota car; qualified 13th and had the 11th-fastest 10-lap average in final practice.

— Kasey Kahne ($7,700): The Hendrick cars don’t look great so far this weekend, and it’s not a good sign to see Kahne qualify 25th. However, that gives you an opportunity for place differential should he move up into the top 15 — which, let’s face it, needs to happen for his continued playoff chances.

— Austin Dillon ($7,300): Dillon is looking strong this weekend. He had the second-fastest single lap in final practice and was sixth in 10-lap average, which makes him a great bargain for this price. He starts a little high for fantasy purposes — ninth — but top-10 finishes at Darlington and Michigan show that he is running better lately.

— Michael McDowell ($5,800): Having Kyle Busch and Truex in the same lineup requires a deep cut somewhere. The good news for picking McDowell here is he qualified 30th, but has an average finish of 21.2 this year. Yes, he was slowest among all drivers in 10-lap average for final practice — NOT GOOD! But there’s a lot of potential positions to be picked up, which makes this a reasonable selection to help you with an expensive lineup.

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Darlington Southern 500

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. Won $0.

Season results: $76 wagered, $80 won in 19 contests.

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

Darlington picks:

— Kyle Larson ($10,300): As you’ll see with these picks, I’m leaning heavily on 10-lap averages from Darlington practice. Single-lap speed doesn’t tell us much here — since the tires fall off so dramatically — so I want to pick cars that are good on the long run. Even though Larson hits the wall a lot at Darlington, he was fastest in 10-lap average for final practice (out of 26 cars), which I will take as a good sign.

— Denny Hamlin ($9,900): Hamlin was fastest in 10-lap average for the first practice and then dropped to fifth in final practice — but it was notable that his fastest run was from laps 21-30 during that session. That shows his team made positive changes and was getting faster. Hamlin also happens to be excellent at Darlington: His average finish is 6.3, which is the best of any driver and his personal best at any track.

— Jamie McMurray ($8,500): McMurray was eighth-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice and has been a pretty consistent top-10 car all season long. He looks like a solid choice for another good run on Sunday. This was a tough call, as Clint Bowyer ($8,400) also seems like a solid pick at this price range (Bowyer was ninth-fastest in 10-lap average and starts 16th, which is 11 spots further back than McMurray).

— Kurt Busch ($8,200): Aside from winning the Daytona 500, it hasn’t been a very good season for Busch (only two top-five finishes since then). So why would Darlington be any different? Well, Busch had two solid practices — he was third-fastest in 10-lap average for both sessions — before qualifying seventh. That could translate into a good Southern 500 performance.

— Kasey Kahne ($7,500): I’m not sure if I’m talking myself into this one or it’s really true, but the Hendrick Motorsports cars looked pretty decent in practice despite a poor team-wide qualifying effort (the top qualifier was Jimmie Johnson in 18th). So although Kahne starts 23rd, he was the fastest Hendrick car in final practice (ninth in single-lap speed) after being sixth in the first practice. That’s good speed for this price, although Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($7,600) is another viable option in this range if you’re willing to gamble that his slump will suddenly end.

— David Ragan ($5,600): If you’re looking for a bargain, I’m going with Ragan this week. Ragan’s 10-lap average was 16th of 26 cars in final practice, which puts him just behind Joey Logano and ahead of drivers like Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon. He starts 26th, which is three spots higher than his season average. Compared to other options in this price range, Ragan’s prospects appear pretty decent.

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Pocono

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 $9 Brake Pad contest and finished 17,400th out of 50,400. Won $0.

Season results: $64 wagered, $72 won in 16 contests.

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

Pocono picks:

— Kyle Busch ($10,700): The polesitter seems to have the fastest car in Pennsylvania. He’s going to lead a bunch of laps early in the race and could be your hammer overall.

— Matt Kenseth ($9,200): With the Toyotas looking fast at Pocono, why not go with a guy who starts 15th and could pick up some positions en route to a top-five finish?

— Kurt Busch ($8,500): He starts 18th and should finish better than that. Again, I’m going heavy on position differential here because there aren’t many laps available to lead at Pocono, so it could make a big impact.

— Ryan Newman ($7,600): Once more, I’m looking for value picks who can offer upside in position differential. Newman fits the bill because he starts 20th but may be the best of the Richard Childress Racing group today.

— Daniel Suarez ($7,200): This is the riskiest pick of the bunch, and it came down to Suarez or Kasey Kahne. The reason I went with Suarez is the Toyotas look to be strong today, although it makes me nervous he qualified so high (eighth) and doesn’t have much of a high ceiling. Kahne qualified 12th, if you’re thinking of going that direction.

— Ty Dillon ($6,600): Dillon’s average finish this year is 20th. He starts 30th. Take the potential gain from position differential at an affordable price and don’t tell anyone.

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 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: 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).