NASCAR – The Setup – 110820

The Setup – Season Finale 500
By Tyler Miller

The final race of the NASCAR Cup season is this Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Chase Elliott will compete for the NASCAR Championship. Thirty-five other drivers are racing to end their season on a high note as we head into the short offseason before the 2021 Daytona 500. The Championship Four will start in positions 1-4 with Chase Elliott and Joey Logano on the front row. While Kevin Harvick missed out on the Championship Four, his record at Phoenix cannot be ignored. The key to this race will be finding the right mid-tier and low end value to play the championship four drivers we believe can lead the most laps and win the race. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 312 Laps (500k) Stage 1 ends on lap 75, Stage 2 ends on lap 190.
Lineup Lock 3:00 pm Sunday

Spring Winner: Joey Logano (Started 13th)
Spring Pole Sitter: Kurt Busch (Finished 6th)
Last year’s winner: (Spring/Fall) Kyle Busch (4th)/ Denny Hamlin (3rd)
Last year’s pole sitter: Ryan Blaney (Finished 3rd)/ Kyle Busch (Finished 2nd)

Prior race winners:
2018 Fall: Kyle Busch (6th)
2018 Spring: Kevin Harvick (10th)
2017 Fall: Matt Kenseth (7th)
2017 Spring: Ryan Newman (22nd)

Martinsville Recap:
What went right?

Martinsville went really well. Combining Keselowski, Truex, and Chase Elliott worked really well given some of the unforeseen circumstances surrounding that race. The combination of those three drivers led 366 of the 500 laps at Martinsville. While Truex had a disappointing finish, Chase Elliott was the key to cashing along with Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie who were solid value plays to round out the lineup.

My Fan Duel lineup ended up as Truex, Keselowski, Elliott, LaJoie, and Wallace scoring 420 and cashing in all contests including a 3rd place finish in the NAS Gas Pedal.

My Draft Kings lineup ended up as Truex, Keselowski, Bowman, Wallace, LaJoie, and Yeley scoring 238.25 and lost money overall.

What went wrong?
Not being able to fit Elliott with Truex and Keselowski cost me on Draft Kings. Bowman was a solid play, but you really needed Elliott to cash. In the DK $4k Rainbow Warrior I failed to cash but was only two drivers off of the winning lineup (Truex, Elliott, Logano, Wallace, LaJoie, and Yeley).
Other wrongs included being too high on Jimmie Johnson, JJ Yeley was ok as a value play but Timmy Hill scored a few more points on Fan Duel. Overall, it was a profitable race and now we move on to the grand finale.

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via MGM)
Non-championship contender Kevin Harvick is the favorite to win at 7-2. Championship Four drivers Hamlin and Elliott are 5-2 followed by Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
Kevin Harvick 7-2
Denny Hamlin 5-1
Chase Elliott 5-1
Brad Keselowski 11-2
Joey Logano 13-2
Kyle Busch 8-1
Martin Truex Jr. 11-1
Ryan Blaney 16-1

Driver Ratings at Phoenix:
1. Kevin Harvick 111.2
2. Chase Elliott 105.3
3. Kyle Busch 104.9
4. Jimmie Johnson 104.4
5. Denny Hamlin 97.7
6. Kurt Busch 94.6
7. Brad Keselowski 93.8
8. Joey Logano 91.4
9. Matt Kenseth 89.1
10. Martin Truex Jr. 88.6
11. Ryan Blaney 87.4
12. Ryan Newman 85.7
13. Erik Jones 84.1
14. William Byron 79.9
15. Tyler Reddick 79.1

Average Running Position
1. Kevin Harvick 8.231
2. Chase Elliott 8.930
3. Kyle Busch 9.527
4. Jimmie Johnson 9.724
5. Kurt Busch 11.276
6. Denny Hamlin 11.487
7. Brad Keselowski 12.179
8. Joey Logano 12.205
9. Ryan Blaney 12.869
10. Erik Jones 13.269
11. William Byron 13.665
12. Tyler Reddick 13.668
13. Cole Custer 14.098
14. Martin Truex Jr. 14.172
15. Matt Kenseth 14.456

Laps Led
1. Kevin Harvick 1662 (17.2% of laps run)
2. Kyle Busch 1190 (12.7)
3. Jimmie Johnson 909 (9.4)
4. Denny Hamlin 820 (8.8)
5. Kurt Busch 584 (6.2)
6. Joey Logano 449 (6.3)
7. Matt Kenseth 270 (3.3)
8. Chase Elliott 249 (8.8)
9. Brad Keselowski 248 (3.6)
10. Alex Bowman 194 (6.4)
11. Ryan Newman 128 (1.4)
12. Martin Truex Jr. 123 (1.4)
13. Ryan Blaney 108 (3.8)

Spring Top 10:
1. Joey Logano
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kyle Larson
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kurt Busch
7. Chase Elliott
8. Aric Almirola
9. Cole Custer
10. William Byron

2019 Fall Top 10:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kyle Busch
3. Ryan Blaney
4. Kyle Larson
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Erik Jones
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Joey Logano
10. Brad Keselowski

2019 Spring Top 10:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Ryan Blaney
4. Aric Almirola
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Kyle Larson
7. Kurt Busch
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Joey Logano

2018 Fall Top 10:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Kyle Larson
4. Aric Almirola
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Jamie McMurray
7. Matt Kenseth
8. Autin Dillon
9. William Byron
10. Bubba Wallace

Championship Four Drivers: Choosing the right combination of Championship Four drivers will be key on Sunday. There is an argument to be made for all four which I’ll quickly summarize: Chase Elliott has the most momentum after a dominating race at Martinsville last week. Brad Keselowski dominated Richmond earlier this year which is a similar track with the same tires that they will be racing at Phoenix. If you remember, Keselowski didn’t do a burnout after his Richmond win because he wanted to keep everything in tact to take that car to Phoenix. Joey Logano led 60 laps and won at Phoenix in March, Denny Hamlin led 143 laps and won at Phoenix last fall. I like riding the momentum of Chase Elliott ($12,500/10,600) on Sunday. I would rank Logano ($13,300/10,000) second, Keselowski ($13,500/10,800) a close third and Hamlin ($13,000/10,300) a distant fourth.

Kevin Harvick ($12,300/11,100) No matter what you do with the Championship Four, I think you need to lock in Kevin Harvick. Harvick is starting 11th and has dominated this race track in his career. Harvick has 9 wins at Phoenix which includes a stretch of 7 out of 8 races between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2016. Taking a closer look, Harvick had a string of top 2 finishes in 8 out of 9 races from the spring of 2012 through the spring of 2016. His only non-top-two finish in that stretch was 13th in the spring of 2013. That’s the last time Harvick finished outside the top 10 at Phoenix, SEVEN YEARS AGO. Harvick has had some bad luck in his last two races (Texas and Martinsville) but this is a layup, especially on Fan Duel where he is priced down compared to the Championship Four.

Kyle Busch ($12,000/9,600) Harvick’s impressive record at Phoenix is nearly matched by Kyle Busch. Kyle has top three finishes at Phoenix in 7 of his last 8 races which includes two wins. Kyle’s last five finishes at Phoenix are as follow: 2, 1, 1, 2, 3. Starting 8th and priced down, I like Kyle Busch a lot on Sunday.

Clint Bowyer ($9,600/7,900) Clint Bowyer has a solid record at Phoenix since moving from MWR to SHR in 2017. Bowyer crashed in the fall race of 2018 but otherwise has been in the top 15 since coming to SHR including a 5th in the spring and an 8th in this race one year ago. Bowyer’s price looks good, but starting 9th gives Bowyer limited potential for differential points. I do like him as a top candidate for a top 10 finish for under 10k.

Kurt Busch ($10,800/8,800) The older of the Busch brothers has had solid finishes at Phoneix since occupying the 1 car at Ganassi. Kurt’s last three races at Phoneix included finishes of 7, 11, and 6. Overall, this has been one of Kurt’s better tracks in his career with 20 top 10s in 35 starts.

Chris Buescher ($6,700/7,200) I think a lot of people will look to Jimmie Johnson and William Byron for a big differential day, but I like Chris Buescher better than both of those options. Buescher is starting 31st and has top 20 finishes in each of his last four races at Phoenix.

Ty Dillon ($6,000/6,000) Ty Dillon is going to be massively overlooked because of his 22nd place starting position, but I think he can improve his position Sunday and be a great DFS play. Ty has some positive momentum coming out of Martinsville with a 16th place finish last week. As far as I know, Ty does not have a ride lined up for next season, so he is very much racing for his job, as is his crew chief and pit crew. Ty Dillon finished top 20 in 7 out of 9 career races at Phoenix including the last four in a row.

Ryan Preece ($5,500/5,800) If you need another mid-tier value player to round out your lineup I like Ryan Preece, specifically over the other guys who are similarly priced and all starting around each other. Preece is starting 24th, and in 4 career races at Phoenix he has improved his finish each race (37, 34, 26, and 18). Preece also finished 20th at Richmond which I mentioned is a similar track but more importantly had the exact same tire combination as what they will race at Phoenix this weekend.

In my opinion, I like picking one of the championship four drivers and pairing them with Harvick and Kyle Busch. It’s likely the championship four drivers will run up front for the entire race so it’s going to be key to pick the right driver. Due to pricing differences, I like playing Harvick and Kyle Busch with your favorite championship four driver (I spell out my ranking of the four above). The salary relief with Harvick and Kyle allows you to play two mid-tier drivers without having to hope for a 30th place finish from someone at the bottom of the pricing barrel.

Good luck to all our subscribers in the final race of what was a memorable 2020 season.

NASCAR – The Setup – 110120

The Setup – Xfinity 500
By Tyler Miller

This weekend, NASCAR heads to Martinsville Speedway for the Xfinity 500. This 500 lap race is the penultimate race for the season and the cut off race to determine the four drivers who will race for a championship next Sunday at Phoenix. With 500 laps being run, there is an increased pressure for DFS players to pick the driver who will lead the most laps (and have the most fastest laps run on Draft Kings). Earlier this year, Joey Logano led 234 laps and finished 4th. Even though Truex led 132 laps and won the race, Logano scored more points on Fan Duel. A lineup that used both Logano and Truex would have been nearly unbeatable, regardless of who else they would have used. While Logano won a race earlier this round at Kansas Speedway, Truex finds himself in a must win situation on Sunday. Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski is starting from the pole with Truex alongside. Choosing the right drivers at the top of the sheet who can lead triple-digit laps and contend for the win will be key. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 500 laps, Stage 1 ends on lap 130, Stage 2 ends on lap 260.
Lineup Lock 2:00 pm eastern Sunday
Spring Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (Started 5th)
Spring Pole Sitter: Ryan Blaney (Finished 2nd)
Last year’s winner: (Spring/Fall) Brad Keselowski (Started 3rd)/ Martin Truex Jr. (Started 3rd)
Last year’s pole sitter: Joey Logano (Finished 19th)/ Denny Hamlin (Finished 4th)

Prior race winners:
2018 Fall: Joey Logano (10th)
2018 Spring: Clint Bowyer (9th)
2017 Fall: Kyle Busch (14th)
2017 Spring: Brad Keselowski (4th)

Texas Recap:
What went right?

Overall, Texas was a letdown, but there were some bright spots to take note of. Harvick had an early issue that impacted his performance throughout the 500 mile race but he was highly owned so that didn’t kill our lineup. Kyle Busch won the race, Hamlin was ok but not what we were looking for, Bowman was solid with a top 5 finish and leading some laps, and LaJoie performed to expectation. Ryan Preece ended up being a really good play. I didn’t write him up last week but I used him as my 6th driver on Draft Kings and it helped me to cash (while I lost on Fan Duel). Nearly all of the chalk missed which kept things interesting throughout the race (well, not really because Fan Duel didn’t have live scoring). Overall, as I mentioned, it was a letdown.

What went wrong?
Matt Kenseth was a complete disaster, for the second straight week. Erik Jones failed to meet expectations once again, Jimmie Johnson had engine trouble, and Joey Logano did not turn out to be the strong pivot away from Harvick like I had hoped he would be.
My Fan Duel lineup ended up as: Harvick, LaJoie, Kenseth, Hamlin, Kyle Busch scoring 262.4 and failing to cash.
My Draft Kings lineup ended up as: Harvick, Hamlin, Kyle Busch, LaJoie, Kenseth, and Preece which scored 221 and broke even.

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via MGM)
Vegas apparently thinks Truex has a good shot to win his way into the championship four at Phoenix. Truex, Hamlin, and Keselowski as the top plays makes a lot of sense. I wish I could fit all three of them in a lineup. My longshot play would be Alex Bowman at 20-1. If you can get odds on Bowman to finish top 3 or top 5 I would probably play that as well.

Martin Truex Jr. 7-2
Denny Hamlin 11-2
Brad Keselowski 11-2
Kyle Busch 8-1
Chase Elliott 9-1
Joey Logano 9-1
Ryan Blaney 9-1
Kevin Harvick 10-1
Alex Bowman 20-1

Driver Ratings at Martinsville:
1. Jimmie Johnson 109.9
2. Denny Hamlin 105.3
3. Kyle Busch 102.8
4. Brad Keselowski 99.6
5. Joey Logano 96.5
6. Ryan Blaney 96.3
7. Kevin Harvick 94.4
8. Clint Bowyer 91.3
9. Chase Elliott 90.3
10. Matt Kenseth 86.8
11. Ryan Newman 84.1
12. Martin Truex Jr. 83.5
13. Kurt Busch 81.1
14. William Byron 75.2
15. Tyler Reddick 75.0

Average Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson 9.298
2. Denny Hamlin 9.669
3. Ryan Blaney 10.255
4. Kyle Busch 10.815
5. Joey Logano 11.262
6. Brad Keselowski 11.342
7. Kevin Harvick 12.506
8. Tyler Reddick 13.184
9. Clint Bowyer 13.401
10. Chase Elliott 14.103
11. Matt Kenseth 14.579
12. Ryan Newman 15.212
13. Kurt Busch 16.071
14. Martin Truex Jr. 16.528
15. William Byron 17.679

Laps Led
1. Jimmie Johnson 2761 (17.8% of laps run)
2. Denny Hamlin 1566 (10.8)
3. Kyle Busch 1424 (9.5)
4. Joey Logano 1064 (9.2)
5. Brad Keselowski 888 (8.4)
6. Martin Truex Jr. 858 (5.9)
7. Matt Kenseth 602 (4.3)
8. Clint Bowyer 572 (3.9
9. Kevin Harvick 481 (3.1)
10. Chase Elliott 193 (3.9)
11. Ryan Blaney 179 (4.0)
12. Kurt Busch 158 (1.0)
13. Ryan Newman 138 (0.9)

Spring Top 10:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Joey Logano
5. Chase Elliott
6. Alex Bowman
7. Matt DiBenedetto
8. William Byron
9. Kurt Busch
10. Jimmie Johnson

2019 Fall Top 10:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. William Byron
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Kurt Busch
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Joey Logano
9. Kyle Larson
10. Ryan Newman

2019 Spring Top 10:
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Chase Elliott
3. Kyle Busch
4. Ryan Blaney
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Aric Almirola
10. Daniel Suarez

2018 Fall Top 10:
1. Joey Logano
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kyle Busch
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Kurt Busch
7. Chase Elliott
8. Ryan Newman
9. Daniel Suarez
10. Kevin Harvick

Martin Truex Jr. ($13,500/11,800) Truex is the top play and my pick to lead laps and win the race. Truex has won the last two races at Martinsville, though his driver rating and average running position is not where you would usually see a race favorite. Remember, Truex drove inferior equipment for the first half of his career (DEI and MWR) which skews his career stats at any track. In his last 8 races at Martinsville, Truex has 2 wins, 5 top 5s and 7 top 10s. He has also led 596 laps in his last two races at Martinsville.

Brad Keselowski ($13,000/11,400) I really like using Brad Keselowski this weekend at Martinsville. I think he will be lower owned than most of the other top plays because he is starting 1st and a lot of people will build lineups around Truex and Hamlin. Keselowski has been solid at Martinsville for his entire career: 4th in driver rating, 6th in average running position, and 5th in laps led. Keselowski is ok in points but if Truex, Elliott, Bowman, or Kurt Busch win the race he would stand to be the odd man out of the championship four. I like Keselowski to lead laps early and run towards the front for the entire race. Keselowski has top 5s in 8 of his last 9 races at Martinsville including two wins. The only race where he didn’t finish top 5, he finished 10th. He has also led laps in 6 of his last 7 races at Martinsville including a dominating performance in the spring of 2019 where he led 446 laps and won the race.

Chase Elliott ($12,300/10,400) Chase Elliott is my third favorite driver for Martinsville on Sunday. On Fan Duel I think it makes a lot of sense to use Elliott with Truex and Keselowski, I don’t think you can make that happen on Draft Kings. Elliott is 25 points below the cut line coming into the race so this is nearing must-win territory depending on how many stage points Elliott scores during the course of the race. Elliott’s career numbers at Martinsville are skewed because he ran poorly in the first race of his cup career at Martinsville back in 2015 finishing 38th and he had issues last fall and finished 36th. Otherwise, Elliott has been strong, scoring top 10s in 5 of his last 7 races including 3 top 5s.

Alex Bowman ($10,300/8,700) I like using Bowman as a pivot from Elliott or really any of my top 3 guys at Martinsville. Bowman has been rock solid in the playoffs with top 10s in 6 of 8 races including 3 top 5s. Bowman is in the same position as Chase Elliott, 25 points below the cut line which makes this nearly a must win scenario. Starting 3rd, Bowman could run up front most of the day and finish top 5 which would make him a solid play in DFS, particularly on Draft Kings where he is much cheaper than other drivers with top 5 potential. You won’t see much by way of differential points and I doubt he will lead many laps, so the ceiling is limited for Bowman.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,700/9,300) Starting 27th, Jimmie Johnson is going to be popular on Sunday. Johnson has had an incredible career at Martinsville and this will be his last race as a full-time driver at the track. In 37 career races at Martinsville, Johnson has 9 wins, 2,932 laps led, 19 top 5s and 25 top 10 finishes. Johnson had a stretch between the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2009 where he won 5 out of 6 races, including 3 in a row. My issue with Johnson is that he has had 1 top 10 in his last 7 races at Martinsville. His 10th place finish came earlier this year when drivers like Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick all had bad days and finished behind him. I think Johnson has top 15 potential for Sunday but this is a riskier play than people think. I think there are good odds that he could be stuck in the 20s for most of the race, maybe even fall a lap down if Truex or Keselowski get out to a big lead.

Bubba Wallace ($7,000/7,200) I think Bubba Wallace is the better play (than Johnson) for differential points on Sunday. Wallace is starting this race 32nd and the team should have a solid notebook to go off of from earlier in the year when he finished 11th at Martinsville. Wallace is on a run of 3 straight top 20 finishes at Martinsville. Anything inside the top 20 makes Wallace a good play on Sunday, something top 12 or top 15 would make him a great play.

Corey LaJoie ($4,000/5,500) If you are going to build around 3 top tier drivers on Sunday you are going to need some cheap value that you can trust. Out of all the <$5k drivers on Fan Duel, I trust Corey LaJoie the most. LaJoie is starting 26th, so there will be limited differential potential, but I think he can run in the mid-20s for most of the race within 1 or 2 laps of the leaders. If he can stay out of trouble, I could see him getting on the lead lap late and making a run to the 18-22nd position. JJ Yeley ($3,000/5,100) This is probably a DK only play, but if you need a second low cost value play then I would go with JJ Yeley. Don’t expect him to lead laps and contend for a top 10 like he did in the Xfinity race on Saturday, but from the 38th starting position there is very little risk by using Yeley who should attempt to run the entire race. Yeley finished 31st, 7 laps down in the spring. I would expect a performance similar to that on Sunday and if there are multiple crashes with drivers knocked out early, Yeley could see a finish in the 20s which would make him an outstanding play. I also prefer Yeley on DK because DK doesn’t award points for laps run, so even if he has an issue and gets knocked out of the race at half-way, he won’t kill your lineup like he would on Fan Duel but not running the entire race.

I like building around Truex, Keselowski and Elliott on Fan Duel; Truex, Keselowski, and Bowman on Draft Kings. I think Bubba Wallace is probably a must play. Don’t be afraid to mix it up in single entry or limited entry tournaments with Johnson and Bowman, I would even include Logano and Hamlin in my player pool when building multiple lineups.

Good luck!

NASCAR – The Setup – 102520

The Setup – AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500
By Tyler Miller

This weekend, NASCAR heads to Texas for a 500 mile race at Texas Motor Speedway. Earlier this year, Austin Dillon was able to stay out front after using pit strategy to win the race and earn an entry into the NASCAR playoffs. Track position will be key, as it was last Sunday at Kansas where it was nearly impossible to pass the leader once they were cleared after a restart. Kevin Harvick starts on the pole position and has won the last three fall races at Texas. Will he lead every lap en route to four straight on Sunday? Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 334 laps, Stage 1 ends on lap 105, Stage 2 ends on lap 210.
Lineup Lock 3:30 pm eastern Sunday
Spring Winner: Austin Dillon (Started 21st)
Spring Pole Sitter: Aric Almirola (Finished 10th)
Last year’s winner: (Spring/Fall) Denny Hamlin (Started 6th)/ Kevin Harvick (Started 1st)
Last year’s pole sitter: Jimmie Johnson (Finished 5th)/ Kevin Harvick (Finished 1st)

Prior race winners:
2018 Fall: Kevin Harvick (3rd)
2018 Spring: Kyle Busch (8th)
2017 Fall: Kevin Harvick (3rd)
2017 Spring: Jimmie Johnson (24th)

Kansas Recap:
What went right?

Kansas was a complete debacle. From last week’s article, Kyle Busch was the best play, followed by Alex Bowman, John Hunter Nemechek, and Michael McDowell. Busch scored the 3rd most points on Fan Duel with his 5th place finish. Bowman finished 3rd in the race, 5th in Fan Duel scoring. Nemechek and McDowell were 17th and 19th which was solid, given their starting positions and salary. Matt Kenseth was highly owned and finished dead last. Avoiding him last week was the right move.

What went wrong?
It seemed like Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin took turns having issues and killing my lineup. Jones had a problem, rebounded to get on the lead lap and then Hamlin had a problem and just as Hamlin was able to get back on the lead lap, Jones had another problem. It was messy, but both cars showed top 5 speed at times during the race. Jones finished stage 1 5th before having problems in stage 2. Hamlin finished stage 1 3rd and won stage 2 before having problems in the final stage. Jimmie Johnson also had problems late and completely killed any hopes of cashing last week.

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via MGM)
No surprise, Harvick is the odds on favorite to win Texas for the 4th consecutive fall race. If I’m betting this, I’m looking long and hard at Kyle Busch at 12-1. This has been a good track for Busch over the years and 12-1 seems like too good of odds for Kyle who is super motivated to win his first race of the year and continue his streak of winning in every season of his career.

Kevin Harvick 13-5
Denny Hamlin 5-1
Joey Logano 7-1
Chase Elliott 10-1
Martin Truex Jr. 10-1
Ryan Blaney 11-1
Kyle Busch 12-1
Brad Keselowski 16-1
Erik Jones 18-1
Kurt Busch 20-1

Driver Ratings at Texas:
1. Kyle Busch 102.4
2. Matt Kenseth 102.3
3. Jimmie Johnson 101.3
4. Kevin Harvick 97.8
5. Erik Jones 94.3
6. Martin Truex Jr. 93.4
7. Ryan Blaney 91.4
8. Kurt Busch 90.5
9. Joey Logano 90.0
10. Chase Elliott 88.6
11. Denny Hamlin 88.6
12. Tyler Reddick 88.1
13. Brad Keselowski 85.6
14. Clint Bowyer 84.5
15. William Byron 82.3

Average Running Position
1. Matt Kenseth 9.727
2. Erik Jones 10.865
3. Kyle Busch 10.915
4. Kevin Harvick 11.947
5. Jimmie Johnson 12.270
6. Martin Truex Jr. 12.463
7. Chase Elliott 12.777
8. Kurt Busch 13.156
9. William Byron 13.454
10. Denny Hamlin 14.456
11. Joey Logano 14.624
12. Tyler Reddick 15.246
13. Clint Bowyer 15.286
14. Ryan Blaney 15.690
15. Brad Keselowski 16.430

Laps Led
1. Jimmie Johnson 1152 (11.1 percent of laps run)
2. Kyle Busch 959 (9.9)
3. Matt Kenseth 733 (8.5)
4. Brad Keselowski 654 (8.2)
5. Kevin Harvick 652 (6.3)
6. Martin Truex Jr. 620 (6.2)
7. Joey Logano 465 (5.8)
8. Ryan Blaney 383 (10.5)
9. Kurt Busch 383 (10.5)
10. Denny Hamlin 288 (3.0)
11. Clint Bowyer 124 (1.2)
12. Erik Jones 110 (4.1)
13. Aric Almirola 100 (1.6)

Spring Top 10:
1. Austin Dillon
2. Tyler Reddick
3. Joey Logano
4. Kyle Busch
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Erik Jones
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Kurt Busch
9. Brad Keselowski
10. Aric Almirola

2019 Fall Top 10:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Aric Almirola
3. Daniel Suarez
4. Joey Logano
5. Alex Bowman
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Kyle Busch
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Kurt Busch
10. Erik Jones

2019 Spring Top 10:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Daniel Suarez
4. Erik Jones
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. William Byron
7. Aric Almirola
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Kurt Busch
10. Kyle Busch

2018 Fall Top 10:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Joey Logano
4. Erik Jones
5. Kyle Larson
6. Chase Elliott
7. Kurt Busch
8. Aric Almirola
9. Martin Truex Jr.
10. Austin Dillon

Kevin Harvick ($14,000/11,000) With wins in each of the last three fall races at Texas, Harvick is the top play. Starting first, I expect Harvick to lead a lot of laps and be competitive throughout the day. There is some risk here because of the first starting position, but I anticipate Harvick to be highly owned which will bode well in the rare event that he has an issue (Not counting Daytona and Talladega, Harvick hasn’t had a bad finish since he finished a lap down, 26th at Homestead on June 14th).

Kyle Busch ($11,300/9,300) I’m high on Kyle Busch this week. I think this team wins a race before the end of the season and I think he has a great chance at Texas. Kyle has 3 wins at Texas but they all came in the spring (2013, 2016, and 2018). He led 11 laps and finished 4th in the spring. This team has been running well of late (not counting Talladega or the Roval) finishing 7th at Darlington, 6th at Richmond, 2nd at Bristol, 6th at Las Vegas, and 5th last Sunday at Kansas. I think Kyle leads some laps and finishes top 5, maybe even top 3 with a chance to win.

Denny Hamlin ($13,300/10,800) I’m torn on Hamlin because his issue ended up really costing me at Kansas last weekend. Hamlin has shown strength at intermediate tracks this year but he finished a lap down in 20th position earlier this year at Texas. Hamlin had a good car last week at Kansas, winning a stage and leading 58 laps. I think he can do well at Texas, but the stats don’t really back him up.

Matt Kenseth ($7,200/7,100) We avoided a bullet last week by fading Kenseth at Kansas. Kenseth started 30th and was highly owned (over 50% in cash games). He got in a wreck early, not of his own doing, and finished last. This week he starts 32nd and I am in on it, particularly in cash games where if he is 50% owned again, he has to be played because he has top 15 potential. Unlike Jimmie Johnson, Kenseth’s salary enables you to use him and still play 3 top guys that have a chance to win the race.

Joey Logano ($13,000/9,800) I think Logano is a nice alternate to Harvick if you are looking to be contrarian. I wouldn’t do it in cash, but in a single entry contest, or a limited multi-entry environment, I like using Logano and the next three guys I have listed (Bowman, Jones, Johnson), because they will be lowered owned and if everybody plays Harvick and Kenseth and you play Logano, Bowman, and Johnson, you could have a clear path to the top of the board.

Alex Bowman ($10,000/9,100) Bowman has been solid all year long. I like him this week, though it’s a little bit risky since he is starting 5th and he finished 30th at Texas earlier this year. For what it’s worth, Bowman started 5th and finished 5th in this race a year ago. He is also coming off a 3rd place finish at Kansas last week. I like Bowman to run inside the top 10 and if he can stay out of trouble, he could be a solid contender for a 5th-8th place finish Sunday.

Erik Jones ($10,700/8,900) Texas has been a good track for Erik Jones in his career with 6 straight top 10s coming into Sunday’s race. Jones has completed all but 1 lap in his career at Texas and led 110 laps in 8 races (leading laps in 4 of his last 5 races). Starting 17th, Jones could be a solid play on Sunday.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,800/9,400) I’m not sure what to do with Jimmie Johnson. Starting 26th, Johnson seems like he’d be a good play at a track where he has dominated in the past. Johnson has 7 wins at Texas, most recently in the spring of 2017. However, these are his Texas finishes since his last win: 27th, 35th, 15th, 5th, 34th, 26th. If Johnson was the same price as Kenseth I’d probably play him over Matt, but since he is 2k more expensive, I like Matt over Jimmie, but if you are doing multiple lineups, you need some exposure to him.

Corey LaJoie ($4,000/5,6000) Corey Lajoie is way too cheap on Fan Duel. LaJoie finished 16th at Texas earlier this year. I don’t expect a top 20 finish, but I would take any positive differential from a 4k driver and be happy. If you are looking for value, I like LaJoie, Yeley, or Preece (DK only). I think LaJoie can score more points than Yeley. I think Preece scores more than both of them, but his salary on Fan Duel makes him less attractive.

I like a lineup build with 3 guys who have a chance at leading the most laps and winning the race, one super value, and Matt Kenseth. Good luck to all our subscribers today!

NASCAR – The Setup – 101820

The Setup – Hollywood Casino 400
By Tyler Miller

This weekend NASCAR heads to Kansas Speedway for a triple header playoff weekend with the Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup series in action. Kansas Speedway is an intermediate, 1.5 mile, track. After a wild couple of weeks at Talladega and the Charlotte ROVAL, we are back to a “normal” race where I recommend playing mostly cash games and single entry tournaments. Chase Elliott will start from the pole on Sunday as Denny Hamlin will try to win his third straight race at Kansas from the 7th starting position. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 267 laps, Stage 1 ends on lap 80, Stage 2 ends on lap 160.
Lineup Lock 2:30 pm eastern Sunday
Spring Winner: Denny Hamlin (Started 10th)
Spring Pole Sitter: Kevin Harvick (Finished 4th)
Last year’s winner: Denny Hamlin (Started 23rd)
Last year’s pole sitter: Daniel Hemric (Finished 31st)

Prior race winners:
2019 Spring: Brad Keselowski (4th)
2018 Fall: Chase Elliott (13th)
2018 Spring: Kevin Harvick (1st)
2017 Fall: Martin Truex Jr. (1st)
2017 Spring: Martin Truex Jr. (3rd)

Roval Recap:
What went right?

I would summarize the Roval by saying “So close, yet so far away.” Chase Elliott was my top play on Sunday. He led 27laps, won the race, and scored the second most points on Fan Duel behind Ryan Blaney. Clint Bowyer was a solid play, leading 9 laps and finishing 10th. Jimmie Johnson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were good plays, finishing 8th and 9th respectively in Fan Duel scoring. It was close, but it wasn’t a good day overall.

What went wrong?
I should have written up Ryan Blaney. My most difficult decision in my personal lineup on Sunday was between Bowyer, Blaney, and Michael McDowell. I ended up writing Bowyer and McDowell up in the article, and I played McDowell which completely killed my lineup. I needed to play Blaney. It was almost too obvious. I also completely missed on Cole Custer which would have been a fantastic play in tournaments. I thought McDowell was a must play and he was doing well until he spun out twice on the same lap late in the race.

My Fan Duel Lineup was Elliott, Johnson, Bell, Stenhouse, and McDowell which scored 203.3 and failed to cash.
My Draft Kings Lineup was Elliott, Johnson, Bell, Stenhouse, McDowell, and Buescher which scored 228.5 and also failed to cash.

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via MGM)
Hamlin and Harvick are tied atop the list at 17-4. I prefer Hamlin over Harvick, in fact, I would bet Truex over Harvick on Sunday. My favorite longshot for Sunday would be Alex Bowman at 22-1. Bowman made the round of 8 and knows that wining a race is probably his only hope of racing for a championship at Phoenix. Bowman has been solid at times at 1.5 mile tracks over the past two seasons. Clint Bowyer at 50-1 would also be a great storyline as this is his last race at his home track.
Denny Hamlin 17-4
Kevin Harvick 17-4
Martin Truex Jr. 5-1
Chase Elliott 13-2
Brad Keselowski 8-1
Ryan Blaney 11-1
Joey Logano 14-1
Kyle Busch 14-1

Driver Ratings at Kansas:
1. Kevin Harvick 108.6
2. Matt Kenseth 101.4
3. Jimmie Johnson 100.9
4. Martin Truex Jr. 100.7
5. Chase Elliott 95.2
6. Ryan Blaney 95.0
7. Brad Keselowski 92.8
8. Kyle Busch 92.6
9. Denny Hamlin 90.4
10. Erik Jones 89.4
11. Kurt Busch 88.6
12. Joey Logano 87.4
13. Tyler Reddick 83.3
14. Cole Custer 80.9
15. Clint Bowyer 80.3

Average Running Position
1. Kevin Harvick 8.906
2. Ryan Blaney 9.750
3. Matt Kenseth 11.009
4. Martin Truex Jr. 11.215
5. Jimmie Johnson 11.289
6. Erik Jones 12.294
7. Chase Elliott 12.294
8. Brad Keselowski 12.645
9. Denny Hamlin 13.004
10. Kyle Busch 13.056
11. Tyler Reddick 13.870
12. Kurt Busch 14.196
13. Joey Logano 15.234
14. Cole Custer 16.026
15. Clint Bowyer 16.995

Laps Led
1. Kevin Harvick 816 (12.3% of laps run)
2. Martin Truex Jr 803 (12.6)
3. Matt Kenseth 760 (13.0)
4. Jimmie Johnson 581 (8.8)
5. Joey Logano 431 (7.3)
6. Kyle Busch 380 (6.0)
7. Denny Hamlin 284 (4.5)
8. Kurt Busch 267 (4.0)
9. Brad Keselowski 247 (4.4)
10. Ryan Blaney 171 (5.8)

Spring Top 10:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Erik Jones
6. Aric Almirola
7. Cole Custer
8. Alex Bowman
9. Kurt Busch
10. William Byron

2019 Fall Top 10:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Chase Elliott
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kurt Busch
5. William Byron
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Erik Jones
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Jimmie Johnson

2019 Spring Top 10:
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Alex Bowman
3. Erik Jones
4. Chase Elliott
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Kurt Busch
8. Kyle Larson
9. Tyler Reddick
10. Chris Buescher

2018 Fall Top 10:
1. Chase Elliott
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Larson
4. Erik Jones
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Joey Logano
9. Alex Bowman
10. Aric Almirola

Denny Hamlin ($13,500/10,600) Hamlin is my pick to win the race. I’m not going out on much of a ledge, Hamlin has ran well at intermediate tracks dating back to the first race at Kansas this summer (which he won). Hamlin is starting 7th, I’d expect a strong showing from all the Gibbs cars on Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr. ($12,500/11,000) Truex’s pricing is interesting because he is cheaper than Hamlin on Fan Duel and more expensive on Draft Kings. Truex has had success at Kansas with laps led in each of his past two races at the track including a 3rd place finish in the first race this year. I think Hamlin is a solid pivot away from Hamlin, but I like Hamlin over Truex.

Kyle Busch ($11,200/9,900) Kyle Busch is a must play on both sites for Kansas. Busch is starting 20th and despite the lackluster season he is experiencing (he was eliminated from the playoffs last week), he is still motivated to go after wins. Busch has one win at Kasnas (Spring of 2016) and 9 top 10 finishes in his past 11 races at the track. I like Kyle to compete inside the top 5 and be a top 3 points scorer in DFS on Sunday.

Erik Jones ($10,200/8,400) Kansas is a really good track for Erik Jones. Jones is close to announcing plans for the 2021 season as he will not be back in the 20 car next year (probably heading to the 43 to replace Bubba Wallace). After missing the playoffs, Jones has put together really good finishes during the playoffs: 4th at Darlington, 22nd at Richmond, 3rd at Bristol, 8th at Las Vegas, 2nd at Talladega, and 3rd last week at the Roval. Jones has finished inside the top 10 in his last 5 races at Kansas, including 3 top 5 finishes. Starting 11th, I think so DFS players will overlook Jones on Sunday. There is limited potential for differential points, but I like Jones to finish 4th-8th on Sunday.

Alex Bowman ($11,000/8,600) I would put Alex Bowman in the same boat as Erik Jones but with more risk of negative differential. Bowman is starting 6th and could easily run inside the top 10 all race long. Bowman has finished 11th or better in his last 4 races at Kansas, including a runner up finish in the spring 2019 race where he led 63 laps. There is a part of me that thinks Bowman could find his way to victory lane on Sunday at seriously change the complexion of the championship 4 at Phoenix. I don’t know if he fits in a cash game lineup, but I think the possibility is there for Bowman to compete for the win.

John Hunter Nemechek ($5,500/6,100) In my opinion, John Hunter Nemechek is the only value driver that should be considered on Sunday. Nemechek finished 19th at Kansas in July. In two Xfinity races at Kansas he won and finished 8th and in three truck series races at Kansas he has 2 top 5 finishes. I don’t know if Nemechek can finish inside the top 20, but I think a finish in the low 20s is a possibility which would make him a solid value play on Sunday.

Michael McDowell ($7,200/5,700) Michael McDowell is too expensive to play on Fan Duel, but I think he makes sense as your 6th guy on DK to finish out a lineup. McDowell is starting 26th and he finished 16th at Kansas in July. I don’t expect McDowell to finish top 15, but on DK, he could get a couple differential points and finish in the top 25. I might be suffering from recency bias because McDowell cost me a lot of money last week at the Roval.

There are two drivers that I think are locks for Sunday, Kyle Busch and John Hunter Nemechek. I like Hamlin to win the race. I like the current hot streak that Erik Jones is on plus his solid record at Kansas. That leaves me with one spot to fill on Fan Duel. I am likely going to play Jimmie Johnson. This is one of those tracks that Johnson was really good at before 2017 but he hasn’t done much in the past 7 races at the track. Johnson finished 32nd in July due to the damaged vehicle policy. That’s where I am at, good luck to all our subscribers this weekend!

NASCAR – The Setup – 101020

The Setup – Bank of America ROVAL 400
By Tyler Miller

NASCAR heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 on Sunday afternoon. Rain is in the forecast and if the Cup race turns out to be anything like the Xfinity race on Saturday you can expect the unexpected. This is only the third race at the ROVAL, which combines the infield road course with the traditional oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This track takes drivers out of their comfort zone and creates an unpredictable type of racing, comparable to what we see on superspeedways like Talladega last weekend. This fact is accentuated by the threat of rain and NASCAR’s affinity for wet weather racing on road courses. From a DFS perspective, my approach is the same as my approach to Daytona and Talladega, no cash games and larger entry fee single entry contests. Playing cash games on Sunday doesn’t make any sense because the risk outweighs the reward. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 109 laps, Stage 1 ends on lap 25, Stage 2 ends on lap 50.
Lineup Lock 2:30 pm eastern Sunday
Last year’s winner – Chase Elliott (Started 19th)
Last year’s pole sitter: William Byron (Finished 6th)
Prior race winners:
2018: Ryan Blaney (Started 9th)

Talladega Recap:
What went right?

First of all, I love Talladega. I enjoyed every second of the race last Sunday. My write-up last week only included one driver in the top 5 of Fan Duel scoring (Tyler Reddick) but I still cashed in my biggest payday to date with a second place in the $1K Sun NAS Gas Pedal ($25 single entry) on Fan Duel. My top plays were Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott. Elliott worked out the best with 41 laps led, a 5th place finish and scoring the 7th most points on Fan Duel. Blaney and Logano both led laps but had issues late. Blaney ended up being the better play scoring 30.7 points on Fan Duel compared to Logano’s 29.3, but that was basically a wash. My best play from The Setup was Justin Haley. Haley finished the race 11th with +24 differential which was good enough for 8th in Fan Duel scoring at $5.5K and low ownership. Avoiding Stenhouse (I wrote him up but said I wouldn’t play him) was also a really good move. Stenhouse was highly owned (51% in my single entry contest) which led to a clear path to cashing on Sunday. I had Bubba Wallace and Matt Kenseth written up and they were both solid plays, scoring more points than Blaney/Logano, but they didn’t really light the world on fire. The combination of using Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, and Justin Haley and avoiding Stenhouse led to a big payday on Sunday.

What went wrong?
I was high on Brendan Gaughan and he got collected in the Kurt Busch crash. Gaughan really wasn’t that big of a deal because he was so highly owned, especially on Fan Duel where his price was much lower compared to Draft Kings. I wrote William Byron up but didn’t get him enough consideration for my lineup. Overall, it was a great race and I’m not going to complain.

What Vegas thinks (Saturday PM lines via Draft Kings Sportsbook)
Chase Elliott is favored at +275. I would be willing to bet that one of the top four favorites (Elliott, Truex, Hamlin, or Harvick) will win this race. If you are looking for a longshot, go with Jimmie Johnson at +2000.

Chase Elliott +275
Martin Truex Jr +500
Denny Hamlin +800
Kevin Harvick +800
Ryan Blaney +1200
Clint Bowyer +1400
Kyle Busch +1400
Brad Keselowski +1500
Joey Logano +1600
Alex Bowman +2000
Jimmie Johnson +2000

Driver Ratings at the ROVAL:
1. Chase Elliott 122.0
2. Kevin Harvick 111.7
3. Jimmie Johnson 105.0
4. Clint Bowyer 103.5
5. Martin Truex Jr. 101.3
6. William Byron 98.6
7. Brad Keselowski 97.6
8. Ryan Blaney 96.1
9. Kurt Busch 85.9
10. Joey Logano 85.9
11. Alex Bowman 84.9
12. Kyle Busch 79.0
13. Aric Almirola 77.0
14. Michael McDowell 73.3
15. Matt DiBenedetto 72.0

Average Running Position
1. Kevin Harvick 6.390
2. Chase Elliott 8.188
3. Martin Truex Jr. 8.862
4. Jimmie Johnson 9.385
5. Clint Bowyer 10.977
6. William Byron 11.590
7. Brad Keselowski 11.966
8. Ryan Blaney 12.803
9. Joey Logano 13.966
10. Kurt Busch 15.188
11. Kyle Busch 15.541
12. Daniel Suarez 16.142
13. Michael McDowell 16.606
14. Aric Almirola 16.706
15. Alex Bowman 17.656

Laps Led
1. Chase Elliott 35 (16.1% of laps run)
2. Kevin Harvick 34 (15.6)
3. Brad Keselowski 32 (14.7)
4. William Byron 23 (10.6)
5. Ryan Blaney 16 (7.3)

2019 Top 10:
1. Chase Elliott
2. Alex Bowman
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Brad Keselowski
6. William Byron
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Joey Logano

2018 Top 10:
1. Ryan Blaney
2. Jamie McMurray
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Alex Bowman
5. Kurt Busch
6. Chase Elliott
7. A.J. Allmendinger
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Joey Logano

Chase Elliott ($13,500/10,600) Chase Elliott is the top play. He is the favorite to win, he has a ridiculious driver rating in his two races at the ROVAL and he has won three road course races in a row including the Daytona road course earlier this year, the ROVAL a year ago, and Watkins Glen in the summer of 2019. Starting second, Chase is a bit of a risk. In the even he has an incident or wipes out in the rain he could kill a lineup, but I think he leads a lot of laps on Sunday and finishes in the top 3.

Kevin Harvick ($13,000/9,900) Kevin Harvick is the natural pivot away from Chase Elliott. Harvick has been really solid in his two races at the ROVAL finishing 3rd last year and 9th in the inaugural event. I don’t think you can fit Harvick and Elliott together on Fan Duel, but in a multi-entry situation, I like him slightly less than Elliott on Sunday.

Clint Bowyer ($11,300/8,800) I really like Clint Bowyer on Sunday. Bowyer has been outstanding at the ROVAL with two top 5 finishes and a driver rating of 103.5. I think Bowyer is a great play, but its difficult to play him because I don’t think the laps led will be there and there are so many other drivers that are going to get huge positive differential. Overall, Bowyer is a solid play on either site.

Jimmie Johnson ($10,600/9,100) Starting 30th, Jimmie Johnson is a no brainer for Sunday afternoon. While 2020 has not been the year Johnson had hoped for, this is a track where he could compete for the win and come away with some positive feelings about his last full-time season in the sport. I would play Jimmie Johnson with confidence on Sunday.

Michael McDowell ($9,000/8,100) Michael McDowell is a solid mid-tier play for the ROVAL on Sunday. McDowell is starting 31st and has the potential for a top 15, maybe even a top 10 finish on Sunday. My only issue with McDowell is that he is priced up significantly from his typical salary. If you can fit McDowell, particularly on DK, you should seriously consider him for a top 15 and +15 differential.

Chris Buescher ($7,000/6,900) Chris Buescher is my money maker on Sunday. I expect him to be very low owned and starting 21st, he can get a solid +5 differential and a top 15 finish at a value price. Buescher has solid road course stats in his young career. Buescher has finishes of 17th and 18th in two races at the ROVAL, he finished 5th at the Daytona road course earlier this year, he has 3 top 20 finishes in his last 3 races at Watkins Glen, and he has finished on the lead lap in each of his 4 races at Sonoma with 3 top 20 finishes. Nobody talks about him, but Buescher is a solid road racer and I think he is a great contrarian play on Sunday if you want to get away from Stenhouse and/or Christopher Bell who will be chalk.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,600/7,700) As soon as I saw the starting lineup, I knew this would be a thorn in my side. Since Stenhouse wrecked early at Talladega he is starting last at the ROVAL. I do not trust Stenhouse to run a clean race on Sunday, but his ownership will be too high and there is too much upside for you to fade him on Sunday. Stenhouse could easily finish the race 20th, get +18 differential and be highly owned to the point where it is nearly impossible to cash without him. I don’t like it, but you probably have to play him on Sunday.

Christopher Bell ($7,600/7,500) Christopher Bell is starting 35th, which makes him difficult to fade on Sunday. I think Bell will be lower owned on Fan Duel because of his salary, but he should be seriously considered on both sites due to the potential for positive differential.

Some quick math (using Fan Duel scoring): If Bell finishes 19th (Matt DiBenedetto finished 11th in this car a year ago) he will score 22 points for the position, 8 points for differential (+16) and 10.9 for 109 laps run (assuming he finishes on the lead lap). That total would be 40.9. If Chase Elliott finishes 10th, he would score 31 points for the position, -4 for differential (-8) and 10.9 for 109 laps run. That total would be 37.9. Under this scenario, even if Chase Elliott led 25 laps he would still score fewer points than Christopher Bell.

My strategy for this race is to pick the winner and then load up on drivers who are starting 30th or worse and have a realistic shot at a top 15 finish. Chase Elliott was so much faster than everyone else last year that he crashed in turn 1 as the leader, pitted, restarted at the back, and then passed everyone in the final stage to win the race. I think Elliott could dominate this race but the weather could play a huge factor. Good luck!

NASCAR – The Setup – 100420

The Setup – YellaWood 500
By Tyler Miller

This weekend, NASCAR heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the YellaWood 500. Talladega is a 2.66-mile-high banked race track which used to be classified as a restrictor plate race track before NASCAR began using different means for slowing the cars down. Talladega features pack racing, plenty of excitement, lead changes, and usually one or two large wrecks that take out multiple cars. Talladega and Daytona are my favorite tracks for DFS contests. I like to play larger than normal entry fees in single entry contests. I do not advise playing cash games for Talladega because the risk is so much higher than the reward. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 188 laps, Stage 1 ends on lap 60, Stage 2 ends on lap 120.
Lineup Lock 2:00 pm eastern Sunday
Last year’s winner: Ryan Blaney (Started 9th)
Spring Winner: Ryan Blaney (Started 12th)
Last year’s pole sitter: Chase Elliott (Finished 8th)
Spring Pole sitter: Martin Truex Jr. (Finished 23rd)

Prior race winners:
2019 Spring: Chase Elliott (Started 11th)
2018 Fall: Aric Almirola (4th)
2018 Spring: Joey Logano (9th)
2017 Fall: Brad Keselowski (6th)
2017 Spring: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1st)

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via BetMGM)
Due to Talladega’s unpredictability, the favorite is at 10-1 with a large group of drivers clumped between 10 and 15-1. If I would bet this, I would go for a longshot and a big payday. Someone like Stenhouse (14-1), Bowman (20-1), or Bowyer (25-1). DiBenedetto at 40-1 seems like a typo, but he is probably the best longshot if you want to lay a $20 down and potentially walk away with an $800 payday from someone who will likely run up front all race long.

Ryan Blaney 10-1
Brad Keselowski 11-1
Denny Hamlin 11-1
Chase Elliott 11-1
Joey Logano 11-1
Aric Almirola 14-1
Kevin Harvick 14-1
Kyle Busch 14-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 14-1
Kurt Busch 16-1
Alex Bowman 20-1
Martin Truex Jr. 20-1

Driver Ratings at Talladega:
1. Ryan Blaney 91.7
2. Joey Logano 91.1
3. Kurt Busch 90.3
4. Chase Elliott 90.3
5. Brad Keselowski 89.5
6. Jimmie Johnson 86.5
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 86.2
8. Matt Kenseth 85.3
9. John Hunter Nemechek 84.1
10. Denny Hamlin 83.8
11. Kyle Busch 82.0
12. William Byron 81.5
13. Kevin Harvick 80.8
14. Aric Almirola 80.1
15. Clint Bowyer 79.8

Average Running Position
1. Cole Custer 11.990
2. Chase Elliott 12.015
3. Ryan Blaney 12.465
4. Tyler Reddick 13.476
5. William Byron 13.509
6. Kurt Busch 13.511
7. Joey Logano 13.649
8. Brad Keselowski 14.951
9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 14.961
10. Christopher Bell 15.435
11. Matt Kenseth 15.477
12. Jimmie Johnson 15.608
13. Daniel Suarez 17.021
14. Kevin Harvick 17.120
15. Denny Hamlin 17.171

Laps Led
1. Matt Kenseth 463 (9.0% of laps run)
2. Joey Logano 352 (8.0)
3. Jimmie Johnson 325 (5.5)
4. Denny Hamlin 320 (5.8)
5. Brad Keselowski 293 (6.7)
6. Kyle Busch 250 (4.4)
7. Kurt Busch 228 (3.9)
8. Kevin Harvick 226 (3.8)
9. Ryan Blaney 153 (6.7)
10. Chase Elliott 128 (7.5)
11. Clint Bowyer 123 (2.2)
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 94 (3.5)

Spring Top 10:
1. Ryan Blaney
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
3. Aric Almirola
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Erik Jones
6. Chris Buescher
7. Alex Bowman
8. John Hunter Nemechek
9. Kurt Busch
10. Kevin Harvick

2019 Fall Top 10:
1. Ryan Blaney
2. Ryan Newman
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Aric Almirola
5. Michael McDowell
6. Austin Dillon
7. Corey LaJoie
8. Chase Elliott
9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
10. Ty Dillon

2019 Spring Top 10
1. Chase Elliott
2. Alex Bowman
3. Ryan Preece
4. Joey Logano
5. Daniel Hemric
6. Kurt Busch
7. Ryan Newman
8. Brendan Gaughan
9. Aric Almirola
10. Kyle Busch

My strategy at Talladega has been to avoid Toyota drivers and I think I am going to stick with that. As a manufacturer, Toyota has the fewest cars in the field and we have seen recently where the Fords and Chevys team up and leave the Toyotas in the dust. Talladega is wide enough (wider than Daytona) to allow this to happen and it puts the Toyotas at a disadvantage. The goal at Talladega is to select top end drivers who will run up front, lead laps, stay out of trouble, and be on the lead lap at he end of the race. If all of your drivers (5 on Fan Duel, 6 on DK) are on the lead lap with 5 laps to go, you have a chance to take down a tournament. It should be no surprise that Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott are at the top of my list. These drivers have a history of leading laps and finishing well at Talladega.

Ryan Blaney ($12,000/9,100) I think Ryan Blaney is a lock, particularly on Draft Kings where he is priced down. Blaney has the highest driver rating and is 3rd in average running position. Blaney has won the last two races at Talladega, led laps in 5 of the last 6 races and finished on the lead lap in 5 straight at Talladega.

Joey Logano ($11,600/10,300) I think Logano, Blaney, and Keselowski run up towards the front all race long. This is going to be a race where you can play 2 of the 3 and just hope that you have the guy that leads most of the laps. Logano is second behind Blaney in driver rating and has double digit laps led in 8 of his last 10 races at Talladega.

Chase Elliott ($11,800/10,500) Talladega is all about avoiding a crash for Chase Elliott. We haven’t talked about the playoff picture, but there are a group of drivers, including Elliott, that need to stay out of trouble and finish well at Talladega on Sunday. I think Elliott has less pressure when compared to some of the other playoff drivers because he runs so well at the Charlotte ROVAL (which is next week). In nine career starts at Talladega, Elliott has one win, he has led double digit laps four times, but he has failed to finish on the lead lap four times. I like Elliott, but I certainly like Blaney and Logano more.

I like locking in 2 of the 3 drivers listed above and then get creative with the rest of your lineup. There are a lot of great options in the mid to lower tier. Look for guys who embrace and enjoy what was formerly known as “plate racing” (they don’t use restrictor plates anymore so I refer to this as superspeedway racing). I will list several options here with some thoughts but ultimately you could make an argument for using nearly every driver in the field.

Justin Haley ($5,500/5,400) Justin Haley is driving for Spire motorsports in the number 77 car on Sunday. Haley got a deal together to run this race with sponsorship from Parts Plus and I believe (not 100% sure) that they bought a car from Ganassi to run this race. Even with the sponsorship, I would expect Haley to run in a pack at the back of the field for 90% of the race in order to be there at the end after the final caution. Haley is a solid superspeedway driver with wins at Daytona and Talladega in the Xfinity Series (including yesterday) and a cup series win at Daytona in a rain shortened July race a year ago. Haley is not going to win this race, but a top 20 finish at minimum price from the 35th starting position makes him a good play.

Brendan Gaughan ($5,000/9,500) If you have read any of my stuff in the past at Daytona and Talladega, you know that I’m usually high on Brendan Gaughan. Gaughan is starting 39th, he has a solid track record of racing smart at these tracks and moving forward at the end of the race. Gaughan drivers for Beard Motorsports or some such organization that nobody’s heard of, but he has an ECR engine and an RCR chassis. Draft Kings recognizes the increase scoring potential of Gaughan and significantly priced him up compared to Fan Duel. Either way I really like him in this race on Sunday. Gaughan isn’t going to lead any laps or run up front in either stage, but if he stays out of trouble he can score a lot of points at the end of the race as he’s shown with finishes of 21, 27, 8, 12, 22, and 19 in his past 6 races at Talladega.

Tyler Reddick ($9,600/7,900) I really like Tyler Reddick in this spot at Talladega. Reddick was aggressive in the first Talladega race this year leading 19 laps and finishing 20th. I like him to improve on that Sunday as he is starting from the 30th position.

Matt Kenseth ($6,200,5,900) Matt Kenseth had a solid career at Talladega before retiring in 2018. Kenseth has the 8th best driver rating, 11th in average running position, and he has lead more laps at Talladega that anyone else in the field. Kenseth has the added motivation that comes along with his teammate winning at Las Vegas last week, so I’d look for Kenseth to push towards the front from his 20th place starting position. Kenseth is also way under-priced for this race.

Bubba Wallace ($6,600/7,700) Starting 27th, Bubba Wallace has some upside on Sunday. I would compare Wallace to Stenhouse to this race but with less risk. Wallace has had some solid finishes at superspeedways and to his credit, he has largely stayed out of crashes. I like using Bubba on Sunday.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($11,000/8,800) Starting 26th, Stenhouse is going to be a popular play on Sunday. Stenhouse has a history of being aggressive, leading laps, and running up front at Daytona and Talladega. Stenhouse finished 2nd at Talladega in the spring leading 5 laps. He also led laps in this year’s Daytona 500 before having issues late and he crashed at Daytona a month ago. I’m about 50/50 on Stenhouse. I think it’s a solid play and I think he will be popular, but I personally will not play him on Sunday.

William Byron ($8,800/8,900) William Byron has turned into a solid superspeedway racer as we saw when he won at Daytona a month ago. In five career starts at Talladega, Byron’s best finish of 11th came earlier this year but his other four finishes are lackluster at best (33, 21, 20, 29). I think there is some upside here as Byron starts the race 21st.

These are my thoughts on Talladega. Remember, anything can happen at Talladega and one crash could literally wipe out every driver I listed above. The beauty of this race is that most of the big DFS players that we compete against in the summer are focused on football. Last season we had a really good run during the NASCAR playoffs and I’m convinced that a big reason why was because the guys we play against are more focus on NFL than NASCAR during this time of the year. Good luck to all our subscribers on Sunday!

NASCAR – The Setup – 070520

The Setup – Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at the Brickyard
By Tyler Miller

NASCAR and Indy Car head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for three races in two days at the Brickyard. The NTT Indy Car Series and the Xfinity Series raced on the road course on Saturday. The NASCAR Cup Series will race on the oval Sunday afternoon. Last year Kevin Harvick won from the pole position, leading 118 of 160 laps. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 160 laps, Stage 1 ends on lap 50, Stage 2 ends on lap 100.
Lineup Lock 4:00 pm eastern Sunday

Last year’s winner – Kevin Harvick (Started 1st)
Last year’s pole sitter: Kevin Harvick

Prior race winners:
2018: Brad Keselowski (Started 6th)
2017: Kasey Kahne (19th)
2016: Kyle Busch. (1st)
2015: Kyle Busch (9th)
2014: Jeff Gordon (2nd)

Pocono Recap:
What went right?

Pocono was a tale of two races from a DFS perspective. I did really well in the first race on Saturday and then really bad in the race on Sunday. On Saturday, Kevin Harvick was my top play and won the race, Truex finished 7th in Fan Duel scoring, Christopher Bell was the top scoring driver on Fan Duel, Michel McDowell was written up and exceeded expectations, and Clint Bowyer was also written up. Overall, I had positions 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 in Fan Duel scoring written up in The Setup.

My Fan Duel lineup for Pocono 1 was Harvick, Truex, Bell, Jones, and McDowell which scored 235.2 and cashed in every contest.

My Draft Kings lineup was not as successful due to pricing differences I didn’t play McDowell or Bell. My lineup included Harvick, Truex, Hamlin, Ty Dillon, Jones, and Custer which scored 220.75 and delivered mixed results but cashed overall.

On Sunday, I had some good plays in Victory Lane, but overall I was burned by Joey Logano and Tyler Reddick. I had Jones, Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Aric Almirola as top plays and they finished 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Fan Duel scoring. The problem is that I only played Jones and Elliott.

What went wrong?
I’m not sure what I was trying to do in playing Tyler Reddick on Sunday. There was potential there from a 30th place starting position, but mechanical issues pinned him several laps down and he was unable to recover. I’m really mad about Joey Logano. He was chalk in cash games and it would have been so easy to avoid his lackluster performance by playing either Harvick or Hamlin. I think the lesson to be had here was to consider guys with the potential for massive differential but you also can’t ignore drivers when you know they have a fast car. Harvick and Hamlin showed their strength on Saturday, I should have at least played one of them on Sunday.

On Sunday, My Fan Duel lineup included Elliott, Logano, Jones, Ty Dillon, and Tyler Reddick which scored 218.3 and was shut out.

My Draft Kings lineup did better with Elliott, Logano, Reddick, Jones, Almirola, and Ty Dillon. That lineup basically broke even.

What Vegas thinks (Saturday AM lines via Draft Kings Sportsbook)
Kevin Harvick is favored at +400. Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Keselowski, and Logano are all inside of 10-1 to win the race. My longshot pick for the Brickyard would be Clint Bowyer at +2800.

Kevin Harvick: +400
Denny Hamlin: +500
Kyle Busch: +600
Brad Keselowski: +700
Joey Logano: +700
Chase Elliott: +1000
Ryan Blaney +1200
Martin Truex Jr: +1400

Driver Ratings at Indy:
1. Kyle Busch 104.8
2. Kevin Harvick 102.1
3. Matt Kenseth 98.9
4. Jimmie Johnson* 98.8
5. Denny Hamlin 94.1
6. Joey Logano 92.5
7. Brad Keselowski 89.8
8. Ryan Blaney 89.3
9. Clint Bowyer 87.3
10. William Byron 84.9
11. Erik Jones 84.5
12. Ryan Newman 79.2
13. Kurt Busch 77.8
14. Martin Truex Jr 76.4
15. Daniel Suarez 76.2

Average Running Position
1. Kevin Harvick 11.066
2. Matt Kenseth 11.402
3. Kyle Busch 11.501
4. Ryan Blaney 11.766
5. Jimmie Johnson* 12.144
6. Joey Logano 12.190
7. William Byron 12.950
8. Denny Hamlin 13.540
9. Clint Bowyer 14.275
10. Brad Keselowski 14.924
11. Daniel Suraez 16.091
12. Erik Jones 16.624
13. Ryan Preece 17.681
14. Ryan Newman 17.818
15. Kurt Busch 18.317

Laps Led
1. Kyle Busch 324 (13.4% of laps run)
2. Jimmie Johnson* 306 (12.7)
3. Kevin Harvick 270 (11.2)
4. Denny Hamlin 112 (5.0)
5. Brad Keselowski 108 (6.7)
6. Joey Logano 66 (3.7)
7. Matt Kenseth 55 (2.4)
8. Ryan Newman 45 (1.9)
9. Clint Bowyer 43 (1.9)

* Jimmie Johnson will not race this weekend

2019 Top 10:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Joey Logano
3. Bubba Wallace
4. William Byron
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Ryan Newman
9. Chase Elliott
10. Paul Menard

2018 Top 10:
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Erik Jones
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kurt Busch
7. Jamie McMurray
8. Kyle Busch
9. Paul Menard
10. Ryan Newman

Justin Allgaier will replace Jimmie Johnson this weekend due to Johnson’s positive Covid-19 test. I think the hardest decisions are at the high priced drivers. Harvick and Hamlin have been on fire but playing Joey Logano could pay off as he will likely lead laps early from the pole position. Last year’s results can be misleading as only 23 cars finished on the lead lap. There were 9 cautions in 2019 which meant that nearly a third of the race was run under the yellow flag. I do not expect the race to be like that on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick ($14,200/11,000) Harvick is my top play at Indy. Starting 11th, he is almost guaranteed positive differential. If he can keep everything clean, he should be in contention for a top 3 at the end of the race.

Joey Logano ($12,500/9,200) I have gotten Joey Logano wrong for at least the last four races but I’m right back to him. Indy is a notoriously difficult track in which to pass. If Logano starts the race strong, he could lead a lot of laps early before pit strategy shuffles things up. Logano has finished top 10 in 6 of his last 7 starts at Indy which include 4 top 5 finishes. However, this season Logano has 4 straight finishes of 20th or worse.

Kyle Busch ($13,000/10,400) Kyle Busch has been feast or famine at Indy with two wins and two finishes 30th or worse in his last 5 races. While Busch hasn’t won a race this season, his DFS salary is still high which will detract some ownership but overall I would expect Kyle to be a candidate for a top 5 finish at Indy on Sunday. Kyle is atop the board in driver rating and laps led and 3rd in average running position. Indy might be just what Kyle needs to get back on track for the 2020 season.

Denny Hamlin ($13,700/10,100) Hamlin has been running really well as of late and has a solid track history at Indy with the 5th best driver rating. Hamlin finished 6th in this race last year and in the 5 races before that (2014-2018) he finished in the top 5 4 times. I think Hamlin is a solid choice for Indy and should compete for a top 5, maybe even a top 3 finish on Sunday.

Clint Bowyer ($9,500/9,000) Bowyer isn’t my top play for Sunday but he is the driver that I feel the best about playing. Bowyer is starting 22nd and is 9th in driver rating, 9th in laps led, and 9th in average running position. Bowyer has finished 5th in each of his last two races at Indy. I like Bowyer to compete for a top 10 finish on Sunday afternoon.

Ryan Blaney ($12,000/9,400) Indy has been a solid track for Ryan Blaney in his short career. Blaney is 4th in average running position and 8th in driver rating. Blaney led 19 laps last year and finished 7th. If he can replicate his efforts from a year ago, he could be a good alternate to Harvick, Hamlin, Logano, and Kyle Busch.

Christopher Bell ($8,400/11,500) Christopher Bell is a must play on Fan Duel and I really think he is a must play on Draft Kings, even as the highest priced driver. Bell showed his value last Saturday when he started at the back and finished 4th at Pocono. I wouldn’t expect Bell to finish in the top 5, but a top 15 finish is certainly possible which would make him a great play on both sites because of differential.

For my value plays, I like Michael McDowell ($5,500/5,700), Ty Dillon ($5,500/6,800), and Daniel Suarez ($5,000/6,100) in that order. Suarez performed well at Indy in the past with much better equipment than he has currently. Suarez has a very low ceiling because that team isn’t capable of finishing in the top 25 unless 10 or more drivers fall out of the race. Michael McDowell showed his strength last Saturday at Pocono but followed it up with a crash on Sunday. Ty Dillon has run well at Indy in 3 career starts he has finishes on 19, 21, and 13 last year. McDowell and Dillon have the potential for top 20, maybe even top 15 finishes if things go right, but Suarez has the advantage of a 37th place starting position which gives him some value for differential and he saves $500 on Fan Duel.

My core lineup is Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, and Christopher Bell. I think Harvick is safe, but I like Kyle Busch a little bit more. I think McDowell and Ty Dillon are solid value plays and you can include Suarez if you have to. Good luck to all our subscribers this weekend!

NASCAR – Victory Lane – 062820

Victory Lane – Pocono 350
By Tyler Miller – @rickybobby_jr

NASCAR will race 140 laps (350 miles) at Pocono Raceway this afternoon in the second half of the double header for the Cup Series. Kevin Harvick won on Saturday and will start Sunday’s race from the 20th position. Several drivers had issues on Saturday and will start at the back of the field on Sunday which makes them valuable from a DFS perspective. I like all of the drivers I wrote up for Saturday, but we can’t ignore the potential for massive differential from guys like Erik Jones, Joey Logano, and Tyler Reddick. Finding the right balance is key. Let’s get started.

Erik Jones ($10,000/7,400) In my opinion, Erik Jones becomes the top driver for DFS on Sunday. Jones crashed on Saturday, not because his car was handling poorly but because of the circumstances created by the drivers around him. The 20 team will unload a backup car and Jones will start from the 38th position. Before this weekend, Jones finished in the top 5 in 4 of 6 races at Pocono.

Joey Logano ($12,000/9,400) Joey Logano does not have stellar numbers at Pocono. I don’t expect him to contend for the win, but you can’t ignore the potential for massive differential in a really short race. Using Fan Duel scoring, there are only 14 points available for laps led (0.1 points per lap led multiplied by 140 laps). Joey Logano could score 14 differential points just by finishing 10th. I think you have to look at playing Logano, particularly in cash games on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick ($14,000/10,700) Starting 20th, Harvick would be a no brainer for my top play if Jones and Logano weren’t starting from the back. Harvick’s salary is a bit prohibitive, particularly if you are looking to focus on differential points. I think we see a similar performance from Harvick with a top 5 finish, potentially another win.

Chase Elliott ($12,200/10,400) Similar to Logano, Chase Elliott has to be considered for Sunday’s race at Pocono. Elliott is starting in the 25th position and has the potential for a top 10 finish with +15 differential. I like Harvick over Elliott, but Elliott’s salary allows you to stay away from scraping the bottom of the barrel for a value driver.

Aric Almirola ($9,000/7,200) We saw Aric Almirola shine on Saturday, leading 61 laps and finishing 3rd. I don’t expect the same performance from Almirola on Sunday, but at his salary, starting 18th, I think this is a good play. On Fan Duel, my toughest decision is between Almirola and Tyler Reddick.

Tyler Reddick ($8,400/7,600) Reddick is starting 30th on Sunday because he was involved in the Erik Jones incident. Reddick is too cheap to pass up. I would look for Reddick to score positive differential and finishing in the range of 12th-17th which would make him a solid play with very little risk.

Ty Dillon ($6,000/7,000) Ty Dillon is a sneaky play for Sunday because he finished Saturday much worse than he was running. Dillon stayed out too long in the final pit cycle and lost a lot of track position late in the race. Dillon is starting the race 26th and has the potential to finish top 20, maybe even top 15 if he stays out of trouble and doesn’t try the same pit strategy on Sunday. Ty Dillon is as far down the sheet as I want to go for Sunday. I am not into Michael McDowell starting the race 13th, though I think that will be a popular play because of his price tag. I don’t think McDowell has the equipment to run in the top 10 all day, I think it’s more likely that McDowell and Ty Dillon finish within 5 positions of each other which would make Dillon a better play, unless you really need the extra $1k in salary.

My cash lineup will be built around Erik Jones and Joey Logano. I think you have three decisions to make. 1: between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick, 2: between Tyler Reddick and Aric Almirola, and 3: between Ty Dillon and Michael McDowell. I think any lineup you build using those guys would be solid. I’m leaning towards Elliott, Logano, Jones, Dillon, and Reddick and adding Almirola as my 6th driver on DK. Good Luck!

Tyler Miller is a lifelong NASCAR enthusiast who spent five years as a producer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2008-2013). Upon meeting his wife in Washington DC, Tyler became an Army spouse and left his career to move all over the country and help raise their two children. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Communication and Electronic Media Production from Ashland University and is currently pursuing a Masters’ of Science degree in Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media, from Liberty University.

NASCAR – The Setup – 062720

The Setup – Pocono Doubleheader Race Preview
By Tyler Miller

The NASCAR Cup series will race a doubleheader at Pocono Raceway this weekend with a 130 lap (325 mile) race on Saturday and a 140 lap (350 mile) race on Sunday. Unlike other races since returning from the public health crisis, this Pocono weekend was originally scheduled this way when the 2020 season schedule was announced last year. Drivers drew for starting position for race 1 and then the finishing results of the first race will determine the starting positions for the second race (top 20 invert, 21st on back will start where they finished). The drivers will race the same car for both races. If they wreck and need a backup car for Sunday they will start from the back. Unlike the Xfinity double header at Homestead, the exact same drivers will be competing both days at Pocono.
Race Distance: Race 1: 130 laps (325 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 25, Stage 2 ends on lap 77.
Race 2: 140 laps (350 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 30, Stage 2 ends on lap 85.

Lineup Lock 3:30 pm eastern Saturday and 4:00 pm eastern Sunday

2019 Pocono 1 Winner: Kyle Busch (Started 2nd)
2019 Pocono 1 Pole Sitter: William Byron (Finished 9th)
2019 Pocono 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin (Started 9th)
2019 Pocono 2 Pole Sitter: Kevin Harvick (Finished 6th)

Prior race winners: (Pocono 1, Pocono 2)
2018: Martin Truex Jr. (4th), Kyle Busch (28th)
2017: Ryan Blaney (4th) , Kyle Busch (1st)
2016: Kurt Busch (9th), Chris Buescher (22nd)
2015: Martin Truex Jr. (3rd), Matt Kenseth (7th)
2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (9th)

Talladega Recap
What went right?

I wrote last week that Homestead was a nightmare. Talladega might have been worse. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ty Dillon were really good plays. Brendan Gaughan and Ryan Preece were solid, but I missed on the top end guys. I do take some solace in the fact that Logano and Elliott both led laps and there is no question that Logano and Keselowski were two of the fastest cars on the track. At the end of the day, Talladega was a big loss for me, so we move on to Pocono.

What went wrong?
Elliott crashing and scoring the second fewest points really hurt my chances but Logano killed any chance I had of cashing when he couldn’t move forward after pitting under the final caution of the race. I also wrote up Keselowski, who was under a similar circumstance as Logano. DiBenedetto and Christopher Bell also failed to perform for various reasons. I’m not that disappointed in myself for missing on the top performers. I obviously wish I would have played Ryan Blaney, but I had all of his teammates and it felt a little cheap to write up every Penske driver. I thought Keselowski and Logano were better plays and that’s what I went with.

My Fan Duel lineup was Logano, Elliott, Ty Dillon, Stenhouse, and Gaughan which scored 221 and was shut out.

My Draft Kings lineup was Logano, Elliott, Ty Dillon, Stenhouse, Gaughan, and Preece which scored 225 and was also shut out.

What Vegas thinks (Opening Lines for Pocono 1 via Penn National Gaming):
Kyle Busch has won 3 of the last 5 races at Pocono and is the favorite at 9-2 despite not winning a race this season. Erik Jones and William Byron make a rare appearance inside 20-1.

Kyle Busch 9-2
Kevin Harvick 7-1
Martin Truex Jr. 7-1
Chase Elliott 8-1
Denny Hamlin 8-1
Brad Keselowski 8-1
Ryan Blaney 10-1
Joey Logano 11-1
Erik Jones 16-1
Kurt Busch 20-1
William Byron 20-1

Driver Ratings for Pocono
1. Denny Hamlin 105.1
2. Erik Jones 103.6
3. Kurt Busch 100.7
4. Jimmie Johnson 99.1
5. Kevin Harvick 98.6
6. Chase Elliott 98.2
7. Kyle Busch 95.4
8. Brad Keselowski 94.7
9. Joey Logano 89.3
10. William Byron 89.0
11. Ryan Newman 88.3
12. Matt Kenseth 87.7
13. Martin Truex Jr. 87.1
14. Ryan Blaney 85.9
15. Daniel Suarez 83.9

Average Running Position for Pocono
1. Erik Jones 8.880
2. Denny Hamlin 10.288
3. Chase Elliott 11.098
4. Kurt Busch 11.553
5. Jimmie Johnson 12.012
6. William Byron 12.023
7. Kevin Harvick 12.356
8. Daniel Suarez 12.880
9. Ryan Newman 12.946
10. Brad Keselowski 13.091
11. Kyle Busch 13.133
12. Joey Logano 13.813
13. Matt Kenseth 14.126
14. Ryan Blaney 14.953
15. Martin Truex Jr. 15.735

Laps Led
1. Denny Hamlin 726 (15.1 % of laps run)
2. Kurt Busch 545 (10.8)
3. Jimmie Johnson 468 (9.0)
4. Kyle Busch 460 (8.9)
5. Joey Logano 275 (7.5)
6. Kevin Harvick 249 (4.8)
7. Martin Truex Jr. 197 (4.1)
8. Brad Keselowski 183 (5.6)

2019 Pocono 1 Top 10:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Erik Jones
4. Chase Elliott
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Joey Logano
8. Daniel Suarez
9. William Byron
10. Aric Almirola

2019 Pocono 2 Top 10:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Erik Jones
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. William Byron
5. Kyle Larson
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Daniel Hemric
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Kyle Busch
10. Ryan Blaney

2018 Pocono 1 Top 10:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Ryan Blaney
7. Aric Almirola
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Joey Logano
10. Chase Elliott

2018 Pocono 2 Top 10:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Daniel Suarez
3. Alex Bowman
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Erik Jones
6. William Byron
7. Chase Elliott
8. Ryan Newman
9. Kurt Busch
10. Denny Hamlin

Here are the drivers I like for Pocono 1. I will post a Victory Lane Article specific for Pocono 2 on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick ($14,000/10,100) Harvick is my top play for Saturday. Starting 9th, Harvick will move forward and compete for a top 5 position, maybe even the win at the end of the day.

Martin Truex Jr. ($12,500/9,700) I am going to propose Martin Truex Jr. as an alternate to the otherwise obvious play of Denny Hamlin at the top of the sheet. Truex is starting 11th and has been much more consistent this year compared to his JGR teammates. Hamlin and Kyle Busch certainly have strong numbers at Pocono, but in a short race where differential might matter more than laps led, I like pairing Truex with Harvick.

Erik Jones ($10,000/7,100) Jones has finished in the top 5 in 4 of 6 races at Pocono in his career. In his other two races he finished 8th and 29th, 1 lap down (in 2018). I don’t understand why Jones is priced so low on Draft Kings, $7,100 makes him a must play in that format. On Fan Duel, I like him if you can fit him in. I think Jones, Byron, and Bowyer are all in the same boat here, I like them in the order given, it all comes down to who you can fit in your lineup.

William Byron ($10,400/8,400) Pocono has been a great track for William Byron. Byron has finished in the top 10 in 3 of his 4 races at Pocono including a top 5 in the second Pocono race last year. Byron is starting this race 16th, but is priced up for the occasion. If you can fit Byron into your lineup, I like the play, but there are certainly other options.

Clint Bowyer ($9,400/9,500) Bowyer has been incredibly consistent at Pocono, finishing on the lead lap in every race since Pocono 2 of 2008. In his last 5 races, Bowyer has finished 6th, 20th, 22th,, 5th, and 11th. I think that something just outside the top 10 is realistic for Bowyer, anything inside the top 10 is great considering his price compared to Jones and Byron.

Cole Custer ($6,900/6,400) In 3 career Xfinity Series races at Pocono, Cole Custer won, finished 5th, and finished 7th. Custer is starting 25th which will deter ownership, but I like him in a multi-lineup tournament environment. I don’t think he’s safe enough for cash games, but if he finished in the top 15 and you have him at less than 10% ownership, you could do well playing Cole Custer on Saturday.

Christopher Bell ($8,000/11,100) Bell is going to be chalk on Fan Duel, but on DK he is the highest priced driver which makes this a more difficult decision. Bell starting off the year terrible but has improved. In 2 Xfinity starts at Pocono he crashed and finished 5th. In 2 truck starts at Pocono he won and finished 10th. Starting 36th, there is no reason not to play Bell on Fan Duel.

Michael McDowell ($5,000/5,500) If you start to do the math, you realize that Michael McDowell is probably a better play than guys like Daniel Suarez and Corey LaJoie as a value play. McDowell’s team is over performing in 2020 and I like him to gain a few spots from his 25th place starting position and finish somewhere in the range of 18th-22nd on the tail end of the lead lap. For an extra $1k in salary, Ty Dillon could do the same thing with a few more differential points, again, this is going to be about who fits in your lineup the best. I like both of these guys.

The only driver I’m completely sold on is Kevin Harvick. I think Christopher Bell is a must play on Fan Duel and Erik Jones is a must play on Draft Kings. Denny Hamlin is also way too cheap on DK to ignore. Good luck to all our subscribers and look for some updated content in Victory Lane for Sunday’s race.

NASCAR – The Setup – 062020

The Setup – GEICO 500 Race Preview
By Tyler Miller

The best drivers in NASCAR will race 500 miles at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. Talladega is my favorite track and I love playing DFS twice a year at Talladega. The racing is unpredictable, anybody can win, and anybody can crash. While virtually any lineup could end up being a good lineup in a tournament, there are a few things I look for when I build a lineup, particularly for single entry contests. I like going after larger prizes with higher entry fee single entry contests compared to my typical weekend of playing cash games. Picking the winner is often not enough, as I saw in the Xfinity race on Sunday where I had Justin Haley at 10% owned and narrowly missed cashing. Luck has to be on your side at Talladega. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 188 laps (500 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 60, Stage 2 ends on lap 120.
Lineup Lock 3:00 pm eastern Sunday

2019 Fall Winner: Ryan Blaney (Started 9th)
2019 Fall Pole Sitter: Chase Elliott (Finished 8th)
2019 Spring Winner: Chase Elliott (Started 11th)
2019 Spring Pole Sitter: Austin Dillon (Finished 14th)

Prior race winners: Spring, Fall
2018: Joey Logano (started 9th), Aric Almirola (started 4th)
2017: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1st), Brad Keselowski (6th)
2016: Brad Keselowski (7th), Joey Logano (16th)
2015: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4th), Joey Logano (10th)
2014: Denny Hamlin (34th) , Brad Keselowski (5th)

Homestead Recap
What went right?

Homestead was a nightmare. My top two guys ran into each other on pit road (Harvick and Logano) and finished 26th and 27th. Tyler Reddick was my best play with +20 differential, 3 laps led and a 4th place finish. Christopher Bell performed even better than expectation with an 8th place finish and +28 differential. Reddick and Bell were 3rd and 4th in Fan Duel scoring. Michael McDowell also ran well with +15 and a 15th place finish. Cole Custer was solid finishing 22nd with +13 differential. My mid-tier and value guys were solid, but it couldn’t make up for Harvick and Logano.

What went wrong?
Harvick and Logano destroyed my lineup but I’m really not that upset about it. Logano led 27 laps and Harvick was running in the top 10 before their issue on pit road. This was a solid lineup that didn’t work out. Playing instead of either Harvick or Logano would have made a big difference, but that’s not what I did.

My Fan Duel lineup was Harvick, Logano, Custer, Bell, and Reddick which scored 262.6 and was shut out.

My Draft Kings lineup was Harvick, Logano, Kenseth, Reddick, Custer, and McDowell which scored 188.5 and was also shut out.

What Vegas thinks (Saturday PM lines via Draft Kings Sportsbook):
Chase Elliott is the favorite at +700. Keselowski and Logano are also better than 10-1 for Talladega. I’m not betting this race, but if I wanted to take a shot at a long-shot I would look at Matt DiBenedetto at +4000

Chase Elliott +700
Brad Keselowski +800
Joey Logano +900
Denny Hamlin +1000
Ryan Blaney +1100
Kyle Busch +1200
Kevin Harvick +1400
Kurt Busch +1800
Aric Almirola +2000

Driver Ratings at Talladega:
1. Chase Elliott 94.1
2. Joey Logano 90.6
3. Kurt Busch 90.4
4. Brad Keselowski 89.3
5. Ryan Blaney 89.0
6. Matt Kenseth 86.9
7. Jimmie Johnson 86.4
8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 84.4
9. Denny Hamlin 82.8
10. Kyle Busch 82.2
11. Kevin Harvick 80.9
12. Aric Almirola 80.4
13. William Byron 78.6
14. Martin Truex Jr. 76.9
15. Clint Bowyer 76.4

Average Running Position at Talladega:
1. Chase Elliott 10.791
2. Ryan Blaney 13.097
3. Kurt Busch 13.566
4. William Byron 13.835
5. Joey Logano 14.079
6. Matt Kenseth 14.957
7. Brad Keselowski 15.276
8. Daniel Suarez 15.297
9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 15.327
10. Jimmie Johnson 15.799
11. Kevin Harvick 17.182
12. Denny Hamlin 17.371
13. Kyle Busch 17.708
14. Aric Almirola 17.866
15. Ty Dillon 18.398

Laps Led
1. Matt Kenseth 463 (9.4% of laps run)
2. Jimmie Johnson 324 (5.7)
3. Joey Logano 319 (7.6)
4. Denny Hamlin 302 (5.7)
5. Brad Keselowski 293 (7.0)
6. Kyle Busch 245 (4.4)
7. Kevin Harvick 224 (3.9)
8. Kurt Busch 228 (4.0)
9. Chase Elliott 125 (8.2)
10. Clint Bowyer 123 (2.3)

2019 Fall Top 10:
1. Ryan Blaney
2. Ryan Newman
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Aric Almirola
5. Michael McDowell
6. Austin Dillon
7. Corey LaJoie
8. Chase Elliott
9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
10. Ty Dillon

2019 Spring Top 10:
1. Chase Elliott
2. Alex Bowman
3. Ryan Preece
4. Joey Logano
5. Daniel Hemric
6. Kurt Busch
7. Ryan Newman
8. Brendan Gaughan
9. Aric Almirola
10. Kyle Busch

2018 Spring top 10:
1. Joey Logano
2. Kurt Busch
3. Chase Elliott
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
6. David Ragan
7. Aric Almirola
8. Alex Bowman
9. Ryan Newman
10. Daniel Suarez

2018 Fall top 10
1. Aric Almirola
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Joey Logano
6. A.J. Allmendinger
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Erik Jones
9. Paul Menard
10. Regan Smith

Last week I said that Homestead was the most difficult race to predict since we came back from break. That was true last week and it is true again this week because Talladega is completely unpredictable. In multi-entry tournaments you will see lineups with starting positions 36-40 and all kinds of crazy combinations which is basically just someone throwing a dart. I like using 2 or 3 drivers who have the potential to lead laps and finish in the top 3 and pairing them with 2 or 3 drivers who are starting at the back of the pack and have a history of being on the lead lap at the end of the race. If you have all of your drivers (5 on Fan Duel, 6 on Draft Kings) on the lead lap with 10 laps to go, you have a chance at taking down a tournament. That’s the goal.

Since this race is so different, I will write up more drivers in each category (top-end, mid-tier, value) with less written about each. Here are the guys I like.

Top End
Chase Elliott ($13,300/10,400)
Chase Elliott has to be the top play for Sunday. He is the favorite to win the race, he has the highest driver rating, average running position, and average finish. Elliott also won this race last year and has led laps in 5 of 8 career races at Talladega. Starting 11th, Elliott will likely be chalk on Sunday.

Joey Logano ($13,000/10,200) and Brad Keselowski ($12,400/9,600) I grouped these two together because I like them for the same reason and I like pairing them together in lineups. Logano and Keselowski run up front at Talladega, lead laps, and are usually a factor at the end of the race. Logano had led laps in 8 of the last 9 races at Talladega. Those 9 races include 3 wins and 6 top 5 finishes. Brad Keselowski has led laps at 8 straight races at Talladega. In those 8 races, Keselowski has won twice and finshed 7th. The other 5 finishes were outside the top 10 including 4 races with finishes of 25th or worse.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.($10,100/8,400)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has led laps in 10 of his 13 career starts at Talladega. He has 1 win, 5 top 5s, 8 Top 10s, and has completed over 99% of the laps run. I have a good feeling about Stenhouse on Sunday. I am usually quite hesitant to play Stenhouse because I don’t trust him, but his career numbers at Talladega speak for themselves. Stenhouse is starting 20th so the risk is mitigated. If he can lead laps and finish in the top 10 he is a great play on Sunday.

Matt DiBenedetto ($8,100/7,200) I think Matt DiBenedetto deserves some consideration for lineups on Sunday. Playing DiBenedetto with Logano and Keselowski makes sense if you think the Fords are going to be up front at the end of the day. This is going to be the best car DiBenedetto has ever had at Talladega and I would expect to see him improve on his 23rd place starting position.

Christopher Bell ($8,900/9,700) I have not mentioned any of the Toyotas to this point and overall I am avoiding them like the plague, however, starting 35th, Christopher Bell deserves some consideration. There are only 7 Toyota’s in the field on Sunday (4 from JGR, Bell, Suarez, and Timmy Hill). For the sake of comparison, there are 15 Fords and 18 Chevys. I think the manufacturers will all work together which will put the Toyotas at a large disadvantage. I would consider Christopher Bell, but I’ll let 20-30% of my opponents play him, and I will go a different direction in single entry contests.

Brendan Gaughan ($5,000/7,600)
I love Brendan Gaughan at this price point, starting 39th. My only hesitation is the fact that there is no practice or qualifying and this team hasn’t been at a race track since Daytona in February. If something is wrong with the car there is no way to catch it before the race starts. I think I’ll take that gamble and roll with Gaughan. He’s going to run towards the back of the pack for most of the day but I’m looking for him to make a push into the top 20 in the closing laps.

Ryan Preece ($7,200/6,200) Preece is starting 31st and I think it makes sense to pair Preece with Stenhouse, particularly on Draft Kings where you need an extra driver. Preece has had a couple memorable finishes on restrictor plate tracks including a top 10 in the 2019 Daytona 500 and a 3rd place finish in this race one year ago. Preece has also stayed out of trouble, finishing on the lead lap in both of his career races at Talladega.

I like using Chase Elliott with either Joey Logano or Brad Keselowski. I was not able to use all three and build a lineup that I liked. I like Brendan Gaughan as a value play on Fan Duel and on Draft Kings I like Ty Dillon and Ryan Preece as my low end plays. Stenhouse is my favorite mid-tier play on both sites and it’s really not close. Good luck, Happy Father’s Day, and enjoy Talladega!