DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Phoenix playoff race

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: Did not play in Texas due to it being blocked at the track.

Season results: $102 wagered, $104.50 won in 26 contests.

This week’s contest: Cannot play due to Arizona state law.

Phoenix picks: 

— Kyle Busch ($11,100): You need a hammer to rack up the laps led, and whoever you pick is likely going to make or break your day. I’m betting on Busch because he had the second-fastest 10-lap average in final practice — as well as the second-fastest single lap — which makes him perhaps the best of the Toyotas.

— Clint Bowyer ($8,700): He’s awfully expensive for the value, but he starts far back (20th) and seems to have a decently fast car (11th-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice).

— Jamie McMurray ($8,500): McMurray was fifth-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice, and he could move up from his 13th starting position to get a couple position differential points in the process.

— Ryan Blaney ($8,200): He doesn’t have the fastest car, but whoever wins the pole has often gotten enough laps led to make it worth picking them this season. Plus, Blaney comes at a lower price than other polesitters. If he can lead a bunch of laps early in the race, it could be an easy pick for you.

 Kasey Kahne ($7,400): He had the eighth-fastest 10-lap average in final practice and has shown decent speed throughout the weekend. He should contend for a top-10 finish, so you could pick up a few points after he starts 17th.

— Michael McDowell ($5,800): This is a pure money/position differential play. He’s cheap and might be able to improve from his 28th starting position, plus he has extra motivation racing in front of friends and family in his hometown. That’s about it, although Chris Buescher ($6,600, starts 31st) is another good candidate for that strategy.

DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR picks: Charlotte playoff race

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 850th of 1,200. Won $0.

Season results: $93 wagered, $104.50 won in 24 contests.

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

Charlotte strategy: Without reliable practice results to use for the race (both practices were washed out on Saturday), I’m relying heavily on position differential to get points. So that’s where most of these picks come from.

Charlotte picks:

— Martin Truex Jr. ($10,900): Picking Truex here this week works two different ways. First of all, he’s the best car every week and gives you a great chance to have fast laps and laps led. Second, he had an uncharacteristically mediocre qualifying spot — 17th — which offers an opportunity for easy place differential points.

— Joey Logano ($9,600): The decision here came down to Logano or Jimmie Johnson ($10,000). I couldn’t afford both. So I picked Logano because he’s $400 cheaper and has a slightly worse starting spot (28th compared to 25th for Johnson).

— Jamie McMurray ($8,800): Making this pick solely based on place differential opportunities compared to similar drivers at this price. McMurray qualified 18th and I figure he might get a top 10, so that’s worth the cost.

— Erik Jones ($7,900): Jones seems like the biggest no-brainer pick of the bunch this week, since he didn’t make a qualifying lap and will start 38th with one of the fastest cars.

— Ty Dillon ($6,700): This pick is just to make my lineup work. I looked for the cheapest driver who starts the furthest back with the most reasonable chance to gain spots. So that fell to Dillon, who starts 27th and is capable of a top-20 (his average finish this season is 20.9).

— Michael McDowell ($5,900): McDowell probably starts too high to make this a smart pick (16th), but the price is tough to beat. And compared to other drivers at this price range, it seems like the safest pick.

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.

Last race’s results: Played $1 Happy Hour contest. Finished 2,500th of 14,700. Won $1.50.

Season results: $89 wagered, $104.50 won in 23 contests.

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

Dover picks:

Martin Truex Jr. ($11,000): How can you leave Truex off your team these days? He piles up the laps led — which will be a big factor at Dover — and starts from the pole on Sunday. Oh, and he’s good here — he led 102 laps in the spring and 187 laps last fall en route to a win. Obviously, the other choice (and just as worthy) is Kyle Busch ($11,000).

Erik Jones ($8,600): I want as many of the top Toyotas on my team as possible, and Jones almost had a top-10 finish here in the spring until a last-lap wreck left him in 15th. I would have liked to pick Dover master Jimmie Johnson ($9,400), but he was too expensive for a No. 2 slot if I pick Truex.

Jamie McMurray ($8,100): McMurray has a favorable starting position for fantasy purposes (26th) and a good car to help you with place differential points. Plus he’s scrambling for a Round 2 playoff spot, so the team is going to be giving it everything they have after being fourth-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice. Another option at this price range is Ryan Blaney ($8,300).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($7,900): It’s scary to pick Dale Jr. because something always seems to go wrong for him this season, but he has a strong car and is feeling optimistic about a strong run. He starts seventh, which may be too high for fantasy purposes, but he offers a decent value at this spot for someone who could pull a top-10 finish.

Austin Dillon ($7,400): I’m shaky on this pick because Dillon doesn’t seem to have a great car this weekend. He was 24th of 32 drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps in final practice — and this after qualifying 23rd. Still, Dillon is on the cut line for the next round, so I assume he’s going to give it his best shot at a place where he has finished eighth and 13th the last two races.

Daniel Suarez ($6,900): This feels like a steal for another strong Toyota that could get a top-10 finish. Even though he starts too high (fifth) for place differential reasons, you’re not going to find another driver at this price with a better chance of turning in a solid fantasy points day.

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. Finished 185th of 1,200. Won $8.

Season results: $88 wagered, $103 won in 22 contests.

This week’s contest: $1 Happy Hour contest.

New Hampshire picks:

— Kyle Busch ($10,700): I’m pretty much in the habit of picking the polesitter every week now. It seems like the polesitter drives off and leads a large chunk of laps — sometimes the entire first stage — which will really add up with the amount of laps available at New Hampshire.

— Joey Logano ($8,700): Expensive pick, but he starts last and will gain you a lot of points as he works his way up through the field. Even if he finishes 15th, that’s a lot of points from position differential.

— Ryan Blaney ($8,000): Though his starting position is too high (fourth), there’s a chance he could lead a chunk of laps. He had the fastest 10-lap average in final practice — which was closest to race conditions — and has shown good speed all weekend.

— Erik Jones ($7,800): Toyotas still seem fast every week, so I like to try and get them into the lineup however possible. Jones was the second-fastest non-playoff driver in 10-lap averages for final practice (12th overall); his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez was the other one (sixth overall). So I picked both.

— Daniel Suarez ($7,500): See above.

— Austin Dillon ($7,000)I only had $7,300 left, so it was a tough choice here. I would have loved to pick Kasey Kahne ($7,400), since it seems like he is having a good weekend — but I was $100 short. So it was tempting to go with Ryan Newman ($7,200), since he’s had a lot of success at a track where he also runs the Modified race. But Dillon has seemed to have speed lately and was 19th in 10-lap average for final practice, so perhaps he can provide decent value here.

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.