With Raheem Mostert wanting out of San Francisco, let’s dive in and discuss some trade scenarios that best fit his needs.
#1 Will he start?
Currently, almost every team in the NFL has a starting running back or is pretty much running back by committee. However, that doesn’t mean there’s not a good landing spot for him.
#2 Who is Raheem Mostert?
Coming out of Purdue, Mostert wasn’t highly thought of. Also, his first couple of years show him playing on five different teams just in that time span. He finally settled in with the 49ers in 2017 as a special teams player, and had a career year in 2019 for a combined 952 yards on the ground and in the air all at age 27.
#3 Teams looking to take a risk:
A)The Bears – fantasy owners just sighed heavily. What about David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen? Nothing the Bears have done over the last couple of years has made sense, but Cohen has been strictly a passing-down running back for the last two years and David Montgomery is still looking to hit his stride as an every-down back.
B)Atlanta – We all know Atlanta went out and signed Todd Gurley this off-season, but what we don’t know is how good the running backs are behind him. Yes, there’s Ito Smith as well as Brian Hill, but neither men are proven threats. Teaming Mostert with Gurley in the Atlanta system could make both Gurley and Mostert huge money going in the next season as FAs!
C)San Francisco – Listen, this guy was the reason you were in the Super Bowl last year, he carried the team throughout the playoffs! Give the man a raise! You just traded Matt Breida this off-season to Miami. So, you went from a three-headed monster down to a two-headed monster. Tevin Coleman can’t carry the load by himself, we figured that out his last year in Atlanta. They need him.
Surprise Candidates- New England, Buffalo, & Los Angeles Chargers
Some of our best ideas aren’t always our own. If you surround yourself with positive like minded people the only options are to learn and grow. You are the company you keep. When you’re in a situation or have a platform such as this to provide content and opinions, you find success working with others.
Take advice, be kind, share ideas and be open to change. Acting like the smartest person in the room won’t get you very far. Don’t make the mistake of succumbing to your own ego. I’m just a spoke on the wheel of fantasy sports content. Sure I have fun and cool ideas but what about long term success? I’ve found that this entire format can dry up quick and what am I left with? Recycling ideas with little to no support.
I’ve long been into the mindset of supporting others and being a soundboard for ideas that are not my own. Ever evolving and building long lasting relationships. As an only child I’ve been told that it’s in my nature to be selfish and not good at sharing. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Especially in this case. I’m only as good as the people around me. I cannot do this alone. I need the advice, respect and support from all of you.
Together we are stronger, together we are unbroken, together we can do anything. The idea for this article came from a friend of mine, Adam. He supports my ideas, I support his! Create an atmosphere around you where people feel comfortable sharing ideas and telling you their thoughts. It’s a two way street that demands respect. Thank you Adam! I support you and I respect you.
Let’s get into IDP (individual defensive player) trade values in comparison to the offensive skill positions. I have seen a slew of questions across all social media platforms. “In a dynasty start up with IDP what’s a good round to start drafting IDP?” Or trade questions like this, “I was sent an offer to trade away Bobby Wagner (SEA LB) for my RB2 or 3, what do I do?” Let me help you!
As you can see in the graphic above, this is my top-20 IDP for dynasty formats headed into the 2020 season. With all the mock drafts going on and rookie drafts which are already completed, when and where do I start grabbing defensive players?“ It’s a legitimate question which I plan on answering in full below!
In comparison to the IDP top-20 above is my personal super-flex top-20. You don’t have to be an IDP fan to notice the stark difference in lists. Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffery and Lamar Jackson are all NFL super-stars. So the point of this article is to describe where we should make our first IDP selection and what to expect with trading. It always seems to be confusing. So much so it’s turning people away from IDP! We can’t have that!
I’ve long said in the right scoring format our defensive players can score just like our offensive players. I don’t like talking and/or writing about topics I don’t personally know about. Would make no sense for me to tell your story and vice-versa. As recent as last season I was involved in a full blown IDP dynasty start up. I was told the scoring format would be equal across the board. Meaning, you could build a championship defense just as well as an electric offense.
As you can see above this is the scoring format for my IDP league. Let’s discuss the differences and similarities! The first thing that should jump out to you is how fantasy friendly the IDP’s are to your team. Mind you this is custom setting and a custom format for my league. Nonetheless still close to a default scoring system. A sack is 6 points. Same a rushing TD for a RB or a receiving TD for a WR. A passing TD for your QB is 6 points pretty standard but on the IDP side an interception is 5.5 points. Almost a wash. One of the more important statistics for our starting RB’s is total yards right? Here you can see that 1 rushing yard equals 0.25 points. On the defensive side a solo tackle is 3.25 points. Hopefully I haven’t lost you! Lets talk about what I just mentioned step by step!
In the right scoring format, such as this, you can see that a stud RB can accumulate points at the same clip as a stud LB. TD’s, sacks, interceptions, receptions and assisted tackles are all basically the same in terms of points. That’s an important factor when drafting your team. So at what point do we start drafting defensive players? As we all know not all players are created equal. Why is that? Why are the top-ranked linebackers not being drafted among the top-ranked running backs? It’s quite simple. Guaranteed workload and opportunity!
Anyone can sit down pre-draft and/or Sunday morning and know what to expect from a first round talent and consensus #1 overall pick like Christian McCaffrery. In 2019 CMC averaged 17.9 rushing attempts a game, 7.3 receptions a game for an overall average of 60.8 rushing yards a game and 52.6 receiving yards a game. 60.8 x .25 = 15.2. 52.6 x .25 = 13.15. 15.2 + 13.15 = 28.35. So before even stepping on the field you could pencil CMC in for 28.35 points per game. As I’m sure you’ve noticed I didn’t factor TD’s into the equation. If you didn’t know, projecting TD’s is the hardest and most violate statistic there is.
Lets do the same breakdown but with a stand-out stud and consensus first overall IDP, Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard! Leonard had 121 total tackles in 2019, 71 solo and 50 assisted, 5 sacks and 5 INT‘s. Meaning Leonard made on average 10.08 tackles a game. So we’re looking at about 24.48 fantasy points per game. 71 solo tackles x 3.25 = 230.75. 50 assisted tackles x 1.75 = 87.5. 230.75 + 87.5 = 318.25/13 (total games played) = 24.48. Much like TD statistics for offensive players turnovers and sacks are hard to judge.
For the sake of this comparison you have CAR RB Christian McCaffrery at around 28 fantasy points a game while IND LB Darius Leonard comes in around 24 fantasy points per game. What does that tell us? Numbers aside, it tells me that you can personally build a championship defense on your roster just as easily as stacking offensive talent! Personally I would draft an IDP like Leonard, Nick Bosa or Roquon Smith as early as the 3rd or 4th round. Maybe I’m partial to IDP but drafting Leonard in the 3rd makes sense given the scoring format. Below is a photo of my personal IDP roster. Earlier I mentioned being open and honest and only speaking on topics that I know. I can’t tell your story! I don’t know it that well! So looking at my roster you can clearly see I have a few heavyweight defensive players.
When it comes to playing with a full compliment of defensive players, I only have a few rules:
1. Collect linebackers!
In most IDP scoring formats tackles are the name of the game. Linebackers accumulate tackles, sacks and turnovers. They make your IDP roster go-round! I’ve said it several times but LB’s are the RB’s of your defensive roster. When drafting fantasy players build entire stables of running backs. Handcuffs, rookies and safe veterans. You should do the same with your linebacking core. Build a stable of LB’s that can be interchangeable, impressive and pack a punch!
2. Don’t fade defensive backs!
In some IDP leagues cornerbacks and safeties are not separate positions. Just a general DB roster spot. If that’s your case then I wouldn’t even consider CB’s! Roster and start as many top-notch safeties as you can. For example, Jamal Adams, Landon Collins and Budda Baker. As stated above tackles are the point getters for you team! What better way to accumulate points then having a collection of ball hawking active safeties? If your league is like mine CB’s and S are two separate positions. If you look at any IDP ranking list you have to scroll and scroll until you get to the highest ranking cornerback. If a CB is really good at what he does the opposing QB avoids him. Meaning a stud CB is a better real life player then a fantasy player.
3. Don’t overlook the importance of a good defensive lineman!
D-line and the position as a whole has been very scarce the last few years. Until recently, 2019, it’s been a very tough position to dial into. In the more advanced IDP settings defensive end and defensive tackle are separate slots on your rosters. If your DL spot encompasses BOTH DE and DT then have no fear! Plenty of options there! Like the Bosa brothers or Watt brothers. If your league is set up to split the defensive line then your playing with the big dogs! Meaning looking week to week for a start-able defensive tackle can be a long and arduous process!
I never want to lie and mislead any of you. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss trade values and the art of trading in an IDP league. What to expect and what to do! This just in! I have no ground breaking advice. Nothing that’s going to knock off your socks! Only years of personal experience. Which, some would say is the best option. I’ve been sent several messages and emails all in relation to trades in IDP leagues. Much like anything we do in life it helps to be informed! More importantly, know the scoring format in your league. Do your research! Don’t be afraid to tell the other team you need time! Crunch numbers and take notes! There is no rush. Use a trade calculator if need be. My most important advice when it comes to trading is be mindful and smart. Don’t sell yourself short. It’s ok to decline or send a counter offer. It’s business 101 to reject the first offer. Just a personal opinion of mine.
Look, I’m not the end all be all for fantasy sports. Just a passionate guy who likes discussing all things fantasy. Just so happens I’m very interested in IDP content. Only reason I prefaced things this way is due to all the negative and negligent advice now-a-days on social media. Never a concern of mine seeing how if you’re reading this then you look upon fantasy sports as a fun hobby and don’t take it too serious!
We’re not quite into the dog days of summer yet, but close enough! I’d like to keep it strictly business and just about fantasy football but we all know that’s tough. Not how I operate!
We got word early this week about baseball resuming with, “summer camps” at each teams respective ball park. In turn, multiple athletes are opting out. The dominoes will soon fall in my opinion. Before you rake me over the coals and ask, “why is Chris being such a pessimistic jerk?” just know I want ALL sports to resume in a safe and orderly fashion.
Turning our attention back to football, fantasy football, more importantly! The thought of a full NFL schedule this fall really tickles my fancy! The older I get the more thankful I am for the past. Let me explain. As I sit here it’s 90 degrees and sunny, not a cloud in the sky here in Michigan. Yet I can picture, very vividly, being outside early October. The air is crisp, I’m raking leaves and trying to get it all done in advance of the Lions game at 1p.
This excitement is a top-10 feeling to me. Looking ahead to the NFL schedule is more than just the compliment of games. It’s a mindset that evokes pleasure and causes an incontestable feeling of joy. Some of you, on the West Coast, don’t experience fall and winter like we do in Michigan and the East Coast. It’s a season and feeling better suited for another time.
As we prepare to draft, make waiver claims or do some off-season trading I think we should look ahead to the 2020 NFL schedule! More importantly, fantasy stuffed games! I look at fantasy sports the same way the weather man looks at his forecasts. You have some legit numbers and facts but the meat of it all is guessing mixed with opinions. Here are some personal favorite NFL games heading into the 2020 season week by week!
WEEK 1 (9-13-20)
HOU @ KC
Lets be honest with each other. It would’ve been very easy to put Kansas City in this article each week. We all know what Pat and the boys will be up to this season! I’m more excited to see what Watson, Cooks and DJ have in store.
TB @ NO
Week 1 at 4:25p in New Orleans all eyes will be on this game. We get the heavyweight match-up between Tom Brady and Drew Brees! So many offensive weapons on both sides! I’m preparing you now, get used to seeing a lot of NFC South divisional games ahead in this article!
WEEK 2 (9-20-20)
BAL @ HOU
Another favorite option by all football fans and fantasy players alike, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Just so happens they are in HOU week 2. We know Watson can keep pace. What we don’t know is how bad the Texans defense will be early in the season. My guess is bad.
ATL @ DAL
I’ve heard a lot about Matt Ryan on even numbered years. I’ve actually discussed it a time or two. If Ryan holds true to form he should put up a frenzy of statistically positive points in 2020. What I find most intriguing about this early season contest is how in sync will the Cowboys be? Dak and his contract discussion all off season should be in the rear-view by now but at what cost?
WEEK 3 (9-27-20)
KC @ BAL
I sat and watched my blinking cursor for about ten minutes thinking of adjectives and how I wanted to mention this game. Lamar vs. Mahomes, what can I say that would get you even more excited then you are now? I’m guessing nothing! Is it possible the best game of the entire season is in week 3? What a time to be alive!
WEEK 4 (10-4-20)
CLE @ DAL
The Cleveland Browns? Really? Yes! Let’s say CLE really puts it all together in 2020 week 4 sounds like big enough buffer to get it all going! In Dallas shocking all of us and becoming the powerhouse team they are built to be! Eh, what do I know?
ARZ @ CAR
For some odd reason this game stood out to me on the week-4 schedule. The Cardinals are going to Carolina and they will put an absolute beat down on Teddy and the Panther faithful.
LV v BUF
Mark my words, this week-4 match-up will be the best game on the schedule early October. A Buffalo Bills team on the rise in Vegas vs. an offensive grouping of very young studs! Look for this one to go back and forth, touchdown after touchdown. I don’t know who wins and I don’t really care. All I care about are the glorious fantasy points that will accumulate!
ATL @ GB
As a fan of the NFC and more importantly the NFC North I always love when these two teams get together. Ryan vs. Rodgers has been a top-notch head-to-head for years yet no one really talks about it. Second week into October in Green Bay at 8:15p, Sunday Night Football! Gather round and watch two fantastic QB’s duel it out!
WEEK 5 (10-11-20)
BUF @ TEN
If Tennessee can re-capture any of magic they had late last season then this team should be fun to watch! I mentioned Buffalo earlier so this might just be my favorite game on the week 5 schedule!
WEEK 6 (10-18-20)
ARZ @ DAL
I have an odd feeling Dallas takes it on the chin at home a few times this season. This is one of those times! By this time in the season we should know if Kyler is legit or not. We should also know how Hopkins and Kenyan Drake are getting along. I think just fine, the final score will tell us that!
NYJ @ LAC
Maybe it’s just me but I’m looking forward to this game! Darnold, Bell and Mims v Herbert, Ekler and Keenan Allen. The only reason why I’m point this game out is because I firmly believe Herbert finally gets his first official start of the season here and doesn’t look back!
WEEK 7 (10-25-20)
CLE @ CIN
The battle for Ohio! As a Michigander you’re brought up to dislike Ohio early and often. I’m going to set that aside for this match-up. I’ve always been partial to bad teams. What are the chances both of these teams have winning records ahead of this week 7 battle in Cincinnati?
WEEK 8 (11-1-20)
IND @ DET
I’m not a fortune teller and I surely don’t have a crystal ball but what if this game is one of those sneaky out of no-where really good fantasy games? Who knows? Would you agree at least we will get Stafford and Kenny G? The rookies Jonathon Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr.?
LV @ CLE
The more I’ve been reading and discovering the NFL schedule the more I’m starting to like Vegas and Cleveland for fantasy purposes. So week 8 is a perfect storm! Mind you, this entire article is all my own opinion! All these games and personal thoughts could go up in flames or I could look like genius!
WEEK 9 (11-8-20)
NO @ TB
I’m a sucker for a good sequel! Especially horror movies! While I don’t see this being a bloody slasher flick I do see it comparable to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Better then the original! Tompa Bay vs. Brees part 2!
DEN @ ATL
Denver will be in Atlanta week 9 and although I don’t expect DEN to have a stellar record at this time I envision Atlanta’s defense to be exhausted and beat up at this point. Very leaky while Drew Lock to Jerry Jeudy have career games.
WEEK 10 (11-15-20)
SF @ NO
I didn’t notice until right this moment how many times I’ve mentioned New Orleans! Wasn’t done on purpose! This time it’s in favor of the 49ers, slightly! Again, I don’t care who wins. Only points and fireworks! Week 10 in the bayou should have plenty.
HOU @ CLE
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. CLE is playing well, they’ve won a few games and are in the hunt still (within reason). Home game in week 10, stadium is completely packed and they get absolutely blown-out. Sound familiar? Watson throws for 3 TD’s while rushing for one. Baker lays an egg and throws a few INT’s. Classic Cleveland!
WEEK 11 (11-22-20)
TEN @ BAL
I might be in the minority here but I really am a fan of the Titans and the fantasy studs on their roster. Plus they are in Baltimore which means Lamar Jackson. How could you go wrong with this one?
LAC @ DEN
Lets say I was wrong with my assessment of Justin Herbert taking over and not looking back in week 6. This is the week they give him the starting gig and he doesn’t look back!
WEEK 12 (11-29-20)
KC @ TB
Ah Kansas City again! This time in Tampa Bay! With it being week 12 safe to say most teams know where they stand. Playoffs, in the hunt or already too far behind? Who knows but this game is going to fantastic! Does Tom still have what it takes? Anybody feeling a 2 minute drill for the win in this one?
SEA @ PHI
End of September in Philly! Seattle comes to town and absolutely wails on the Eagles here. Is Wentz still the starting QB? What’s going on with rookie WR Jalen Reagor? Only two things I know for certain in this one, Miles Sanders is a RB1 and DK Metcalf is a WR1.
WEEK 13 (12-6-20)
DAL @ BAL
Remember earlier how I mentioned Dallas taking it on the chin a few times this season? This is one of those times. Although five months away would you agree that Baltimore winds up being 11-2 or 10-3 at this point? A win here at home clinches the division for the Ravens? I tend to agree and it’s a beat down. Don’t be that upset! Dallas players get some garbage time points and we all leave happy!
WEEK 14 (12-13-20)
KC @ MIA
Week 14 in MIA? Kansas City players can single handily win you your week here. Don’t get cute! Start your studs people!
BAL @ CLE
Week 14 in CLE? Baltimore players can single handily win you your week here! Don’t get cute! Start your studs! See what I did here! Man oh man do I love copy and paste!
WEEK 15 (12-20-20)
KC @ NO
Most people might find this game among their favorites of the entire season and I wouldn’t blame them! Another heavyweight match-up! What projects as one of the best teams in the NFC vs. the cream of the crop in the AFC. For the sake of the article and our fantasy teams lets say both teams still have a thing or two to play for here!
WEEK 16 (12-27-20)
Let’s hope at this point your fantasy season is over and you’ve done what we all expected of you, champ!
TB @ DET
For selfish reasons I’m hoping to attend this game to see some live action Tampa Bay action. Who knows what to expect? Seriously? Are the Bucs sitting their studs after already clinching a playoff spot? Are my Detroit Lions still in the hunt? These late season games are so hard to judge! Not only are they six months away but its Tampa and Detroit!
WEEK 17 (1-3-21)
NYJ @ NE
Let’s expect both teams are already eliminated from playoff contention. That being said, it’s still an AFC East divisional game against two teams who hate each other. I’m not expecting a ton of fantasy points, well not from the regular guy, just an all out slobber knocker of a game that’s fun to watch!
Thank you for reading and humoring me! Trust me I know it’s a ridiculous idea but what else are we to do in July? Again, thanks for all the support and all the great interactions on social media!
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
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
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!
Well friends, we’ve reached the summer! More importantly, the end of June and start of July! Where do we go from here? To be honest go outside! Enjoy the summer! Feel the sun on your skin, grass on your feet and jump in a lake!
Look, I didn’t assemble you all here to tell how to spend your summer time. I wanted to open on a lighter note, it kind of my thing. Realistically I wanted to chat with all of you.
When it comes to opinion pieces and fun article ideas a lot of what you read are my thoughts. Plain and simple! Nothing more nothing less. I can write for hours on end spouting off statistics and percentages but that’s not always fun. That’s not always interesting. Since day one I’ve hung my hat on witty conversations and my outlandish opinions.
When the idea for this article arose those were my thoughts exactly! Give my personal opinion in a fun and interesting way. True to form, my process! As we spend the day outdoors, in the sun, swimming, grilling and lighting off Roman candles lets remember why we celebrate this day. Independent Day. Our country is very divided at this time and your thoughts and reasoning are your own. Although we celebrate being free today lets carry the love for ourselves and others over to tomorrow as well. Just an additional day is all I ask.
As we get into the article Tim and I will go back and forth on each combo! Tim has the first word! Shout out to Sideline Squib for letting Tim and I get together for some fun!
Sam Darnold and Denzel Mims
Sam Darnold is a 23 year old who had a horrid offensive line for his first two seasons in the NFL, but the Jets have significantly upgraded the line in the draft, by taking Mekhi Becton in the first round and Cameron Clarke, a great value in the fourth round. Becton should have an immediate impact and start from day 1 allowing Darnold to have more time to scan the field and find an open teammate. Darnold lost his deep threat in Robby Anderson to free agency this off-season and added Denzel Mims with some high draft capital in the second round. Mims broke out in his sophomore season at Baylor University with a stat line of 61/1087/8 at the age of 19.9 according to playerprofile.com Expect Mims to have a great rookie season with him being the target leader on the team, only competing with Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Le’veon Bell, all three of which might not be on the team after this season, due to contract years and potential trade rumors. He should be able to step into the number one role fairly easily and early on in his career. – Tim
Sam Darnold and Denzel Mims New York Jets
As the summer heat intensifies so does my love for this duo in New York. These two kids (23 and 22 years old) are now the corner stones for Jets, along with Bell on offense. I’ve been on the Darnold train for a few months now. Which puts me in the minority. Sam had his second professional season derailed by mono last season but was on pace for career numbers. Is it wrong of me to think Sam breaks out in a big way this coming season? Which makes Denzel Mims a very attractive option at WR. – Chris
Drew Lock and Cortland Sutton
Drew Lock now entering his sophomore season with the Denver Broncos, Lock gets some added offensive weapons in the NFL draft with his new wide receiver two and three, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler and the addition of his former Missouri teammate Albert Okwuegbunam, tight end. The Broncos also added Melvin Gordon in free agency to pair with Phillip Lindsay in the backfield. Gordon and Lindsay are both good pass catching backs and should be utilized by the young, talented quarterback. Lock only appeared in five games in his rookie campaign and averaged just 204 passing yards per game with a 7/3 touchdown to interception ratio completing 64.1% of his passes which would be middle of the road. Lock has no excuses for this season with the amount of weapons the Broncos now have. Along with the new rookies, Cortland Sutton is the Broncos young wide receiver number one at age 24 entering his third season with the team and took a really big step forward last year, establishing himself as an up and coming star at the position. Sutton has large frame and should be a red zone machine this year with the newly acquired weapons helping to move the ball down the field a little easier. Expect the chemistry between Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton to only get stronger and see them both grow this season and beyond. – Tim
Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton Denver Broncos
Let me be honest here, a lot of the chatter around Lock hasn’t been so much about him but the young stud weapons around him. No matter how you explain it Drew Lock is the guy quarterbacking this team. Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Melvin Gordon, Philip Lindsay, Noah Fant and Coutland Sutton are all at Lock’s disposal. The issue here is his lack of real game action. Only starting five games at the end of the 2019 season, Lock make the most of his time on the field. Throwing for 1,020 yards on 100 completions with 7 TD’s. With Lock at the helm and the potential of these positional players the combo of Lock/Sutton is sky high! – Chris
Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin
Dwayne Haskins is entering his sophomore season as well just turning 23 years old this off-season. Haskins improved over his last three games of his nine games played with the Redskins last season, finding his footing with fellow college teammate Terry McLaurin who was a breakout player in his rookie season with the Redskins. McLaurin’s first five NFL games were a great start to a very talented young wide receiver with a stat line of 23/408/5. With Haskins and McLaurin already having that chemistry from Ohio State and now one year in the NFL, Mclaurin will be Haskins’ safety blanket this season and feed McLaurin the ball. Expect these two to take a step forward in becoming a great tandem for years to come! – Tim
Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin Washington Redskins
I’m not a fan of Dwayne Haskins. Has nothing to do with his character or where he played college ball. As a fantasy sports writer it would be negligent of me to write bad or criticize a guy based solely on my opinion. So in turn I’ve done my due diligence and I must admit, Haskins long term prospects aren’t as grim as I once thought. The college football connection Dwayne and Terry have can’t be dismissed. I’m going to start slow with this combo, let it develop over time and be patient. Plus 1,000+ WR’s with 5-6 TD’s a season don’t grow on trees right? – Chris
Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton
Daniel Jones showed a promising rookie campaign with the Giants and was able to put together a good season in 13 games played. Jones showed his arm strength and big play ability while also showing off his legs a little bit which is a plus for fantasy purposes. It’s always a plus when a rookie quarterback and rookie wide receiver, both flash in their first season together, it shows they trust one another and have that chemistry of being in that same draft class. Darius Slayton is that rookie for the Giants. Slayton showed his ability to have stud games with two 30+ point fantasy point performances. Expect Slayton to be a little more reliable with his second year in the system with Daniel Jones behind center, making this tandem breakout potentials this season. – Tim
Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton New York Giants
Would I look foolish if I told you how excited I am for this young QB/WR combo? Didn’t think so but I just wanted to see where we stand. Danny dimes and a big arm and this coming season, 2020, Daniel Jones is going to break out in a big big way! Get as many shares as you can, telling you now! 550+ passing attempts in addition to 25+ total TD’s for Jones this season is a real possibility! Any team with a stud RB like Saquon will always have a chance to put up massive yards through the air. The biggest beneficiary here is Slayton. I’m hopeful Darius can learn from a PPR monster like Golden Tate and be the WR1 for the Giants in 2020 and beyond! – Chris
Baker Mayfield and Donovan Peoples-Jones
Baker Mayfield set the record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 27 in 2018. Mayfield was not able to improve on his rookie season, even with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt, in fact Mayfield took a big step backward throwing five less touchdowns, seven more interceptions and completion percentage dropped from 63.7% to 59.9%. Mayfield gets even more weapons added to his team this off-season in Austin Hooper, Donavon People-Jones and OT Jack Conklin. If Mayfield can’t perform like he did his rookie season with the weapons now surrounding him, then the Browns should probably look for a new face of their franchise. Donavon Peoples-Jones needs to prove himself in pre-season to earn his role as the number three receiver but will have to compete with fellow teammate Rashard Higgins. Even if Peoples-Jones beats out Higgins for that spot, he will still be behind Beckham Jr., Landry, Hooper, Hunt and possibly Chubb for target share. Everyone previously mentioned, except for Hunt, is set to be on the team for the 2021 season as well leaving Peoples-Jones in the shadows for yet another season following his rookie campaign. – Tim
Baker Mayfield and Donovan Peoples-Jones Cleveland Browns
Where do I begin? There are a lot of opinions in relation to the Browns already. Opinions lead to questions. The biggest concern I’ve seen so far are all the mouths to feed. Which is fine, not a deal breaker but do you think Baker can support all these talented positional players? Glad you asked, I do not believe he can. As we just saw young TE David Njoku has requested a trade? Has Njoku given a reason? Is he nervous about Hooper taking targets and touches away? Or is he scared about the competition? I know this isn’t a glowing endorsement for Peoples-Jones but here me out. I doubt DPJ makes much noise this season but I’m investing in dynasty formats. Something doesn’t feel right to me in Cleveland. It’s only a matter of time before OBJ freaks out and requests a trade right? Or let’s say Hooper doesn’t live up to the huge contract? Again, something feels off to me in Cleveland and I firmly believe DPJ gets a shot sooner rather than later! – Chris
Tua Tagovailoa and Preston Williams
Tua Tagovailoa played his college ball at Alabama where he came on to the scene in the 2017-2018 season when he came into the National Championship game to replace Jalen Hurts and led the Crimson Tide on a comeback to win the national championship. Tagovailoa might have the most upside of the incoming rookie class at quarterback, but is definitely a question mark with all of his previous injury history. Tagovailoa has had five injuries in his three year career at Alabama. Those injuries being a broken index finger, Sprained right knee, high ankle sprain in each ankle, and the most recent, a dislocated right hip that came with a wall fracture, the ankle sprains and hip dislocation all required surgery. After the hip dislocation, there were doubts that Tagovailoa would ever be able to play football again. Before the devastating injury, Tagovailoa was being considered as the number one overall pick in the 2020 draft until his hip injury occurred , which caused him to drop to the number five overall pick behind fellow quarterback Joe Burrow who went number one to the Bengal’s. Tagovailoa might be eased into the starting role, where he sits behind the veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, to learn the ropes of the offense and have a little more time to rest his hip. Whether Tagovailoa sits an entire year or starts week one, he has crazy upside and is destined to shine in the NFL if he can stay healthy. Fellow teammate Preston Williams is coming off of his own season ending injury of an ACL tear in week 9 of 2019. Williams was off to a great start for a rookie, especially an un-drafted free agent. Williams would have been on pace for a stat line of 64/856/6, which would’ve been among the other top rookie wide receivers in 2019. Williams is on track to be back in action fully healthy week 1 and should be a great target for Tagovailoa once he is the starting quarterback. Expect these two to have a strong connection as the dolphins did not address any skill positions in the draft, showing complete faith in Williams. – Tim
Tua Tagovailoa and Preston Williams Miami Dolphins
Another interesting topic in terms of playing time. Wouldn’t you agree? With it only being the start of July we really have no idea how the starting QB snaps are going to shake out. All we know is that Miami is trending in the right direction and they didn’t draft Tua 5th overall to sit on the sideline. Preston is also an interesting topic for discussion. Williams is also a popular breakout candidate given his age and skill set. Who am I to argue? This combo has all the makings of a long term connection on a young up-and-coming franchise! – Chris
Patrick Mahomes and Mecole Hardman
Patrick Mahomes is, well Patrick Mahomes. That’s all that needs said about him. Mecole Hardman is entering his sophomore season with the Chiefs and is a playmaker. The Chiefs originally drafted Hardman to replace Tyreek Hill due to his off the field issues last off season, but instead, now the Chiefs have two of the fastest offensive players in the NFL. Hardman showed off his speed having multiple breakaway touchdown scores. Hardman will be battling Sammy Watkins for the number two wide receiver role on the team, but still behind Hill, Travis Kelce, and possibly newly drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire for targets. The speedsters usually last a long time in the NFL for example Ted Ginn Jr. and DeSean Jackson, So don’t expect him going anywhere anytime soon, which means Hardman and Mahomes have quite a while to get their connection down to be on a more consistent pace. Hardman might not be a great week in, week out play for fantasy, but his big play ability always helps if you need a guy in a pinch. It also doesn’t hurt when you have Mahomes throwing the ball around for three to five touchdowns a game. – Tim
Patrick Mahomes and Mercole Hardman Kansas City Chiefs
Hardman is a 22 year old kid with some wheels who racked up 538 receiving yards and 7 total TD’s in 2019 on only 26 receptions. That’s 20.7 yards/reception. I find that mind blowing! So sky’s the limit. Mercole’s potential is to the moon and back right? Given the other offensive positional players in KC I can see almost the exact same stat line for Hardman in 2020. Hill, Kelce, Clyde Edwards and Damien Williams are all other members of this offense and will more then likely touch the ball more often and at a better pace with Hardman. Let’s say Hill gets hit with the injury bug early on in 2020. Who is the biggest benefactor? To be clear, I’m not wishing harm on any football player along with anyone else on this earth but we must think about these types of things when building a fantasy football team. Personally, Hardman could and should be the WR1 in KC if an unfortunate situation were to arise. Also, I know it’s silly to talk and/or assume this way but again, it’s a legitimate thought. Oh, I failed to mention Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes here! Go Google him and report back. – Chris
Gardner Minshew and DJ Chark Jr.
Gardner Minshew is more of a game manager than anything, with only having 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions across 14 games played last season. Minshew needs to work on his accuracy of 60.6% completed passes. Being a game manager isn’t bad, it just doesn’t produce a lot of fantasy points and doesn’t help the weapons around Minshew that much. Being a game manager only helps the team when the team is in a close game, winning, or relying on a great defense. None of those examples helping towards Fantasy production. Minshew and DJ Chark Jr. had a very good connection last year where Chark Jr. broke out hauling in 73 catches for 1008 yards and 8 touchdowns. Chark Jr. has not dropped a catch able pass since 2018, so he is a reliable target to throw the ball to, but will it be in his range to haul it in with Minshew at quarterback is the question. – Tim
Gardner Minshew and D.J. Chark Jr. Jacksonville Jaguars
I find this QB/WR combo very interesting for a few reasons. Let me explain. As it stands now both guys couldn’t be farther apart in ADP (average draft position). Minshew’s ADP sits at 167.7 while Chark’s ADP is holding firm at 55.2. Chark also checks in as WR22 while Gardner is all the way down as QB25. Meaning at their respective draft day price tag Minshew is basically free while Chark is rather cheap for his upside. I see both kids putting up almost mirror images of their 2019 season. So much so that it’s basically a no-brainer to draft each player in 2020. – Chris
Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins
Joe Burrow, the transfer from Ohio State to LSU had an unforgettable season last year, leading the Tigers to a title. Burrow was the number one overall pick in the draft in April and is going to be the Bengal’s starting quarterback from day one. The Bengal’s are a weird team to evaluate because they have a lot of talent in AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Joe Mixon, Auden Tate, and now throw Tee Higgins into the mix. The Bengal’s needed to add depth on the offensive line this off season which they added two guards in the draft, and they’re getting their first round draft pick from 2019 offensive tackle Jonah Williams back from an injury. Burrow should thrive in this offense. Higgins and Burrow have been working out together this off season, another reason to love the tandem. Higgins is the future of the Bengal’s wide receiving core. Expect AJ Green to either be injured at some point in the season, be dealt by the trade deadline or leave in free agency after this season. Tyler Boyd is not the kind of receiver to take over as a number one, he needs the attention drawn away from him, leaving Higgins primed for the number one role when Green is gone. This is a crucial piece to the Bengal’s franchise, the last time the Bengal’s drafted a quarterback to be their starter and wide receiver in the same year it was in 2011 when the Bengal’s took AJ Green number four overall and Andy Dalton number 35 overall, and we know how those two have been in the NFL together with that chemistry. – Tim
Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins Cincinnati Bengals
Not much I can say in comparison to what Tim has said above. The most important thought that has popped up time and time again to me is the idea of growing together. Imagine drafting a national championship QB and pairing him with a 22 year old 6’4 WR who had massive success in college (SEC)? It’s a match made in heaven! Correct me if I’m wrong but Cincinnati has seemingly put together a very young and strong offense. One that will be the envy of the league for years to come! – Chris
Justin Herbert and Mike Williams
Justin Herbert had a lot of question marks while at Oregon with his accuracy issues and decision-making ability, so it will be interesting to see how he translates and improves those to the NFL. Herbert has the weapons to succeed with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler but his decision making will be his deciding factor when it comes to his NFL success. Mike Williams is entering his fourth year of his career and has only had one year of 1,000+ yards which was this past season when he had 1,001 yard,. Williams showed as a red zone threat in 2018 hauling in 10 touchdowns but disappeared last season with only two touchdowns. If Williams can combine those two statistics he can be a top 12 wide receiver in the NFL. – Tim
Justin Herbert and Mike Williams Los Angeles Chargers
What rookie QB are you most excited about long term? I’m going to take this opportunity to answer my own question, Justin Herbert! I’m head over heels with this kids long term outlook! I mean what’s not to love? 6’6 22 year old kid with an absolute cannon for an arm. Let me give you fake scenario, tell me what you think? Say Herbert was drafted by Miami, Cincinnati or a team like the Vegas Raiders or even Indianapolis? A team where he was drafted to be the QB1 right off the bat. How much higher would his ADP be right now? Or his seasonal projections? You’re probably wondering why I’ve mentioned all this since the draft didn’t go down this way. Well, I said all that nonsense to express how special Herbert is going to be in the NFL for years on end. Tyrod Taylor is currently on top of the QB depth chart in LA. Tyrod is a serviceable NFL QB, personally I’m a fan of his but there’s just no chance the Chargers keep Justin down for any length of time in 2020. Even Tyrod will succumb to Herbert’s talents sooner rather then later. The cheery on top? Keenan Allen, Austin Ekler and Mike Williams! – Chris
Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk
Kyler Murray is entering his sophomore season with the Cardinals and is electric with the ball in his hands. He can make something out of nothing with his legs and his arm strength. Murray won NFL offensive rookie of the year last year with a very impressive stat line throwing for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing 12 interceptions. Murray also added another 544 yards on the ground to go with four rushing touchdowns. Murray gained Demander Hopkins this off-season and now has Kenyan Drake for a full season, to go with his weapons of Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Kirk and Kyler have had a full season together now and Kirk is due for a positive touchdown regression only coming away with three last year, all three coming from the same game. That game showed the chemistry that Kirk and Murray were building and will only grow stronger, Fitzgerald is getting older and Kirk is a great option to be a wide receiver two. These two should take a big step forward in their second year together. – Tim
Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk Arizona Cardinals
How crazy are mock drafters going over Kyler Murray? Top-3 QB crazy! I’m not denying the kids talent and the player making studs around him but I could argue both sides. Both sides being he is a top-3 QB and no Kyler isn’t a top-3 QB. That’s not the reason and idea behind this article. I will leave that up to you. In terms of a young QB/WR combo, Kyler Murray and Kirk are exactly what this idea is all about! DeAndre Hopkins is now a Cardinal. That should free up Kirk quiet a bit in Arizona! – Chris
Josh Allen and Gabriel Davis
Josh Allen is entering his third season in the NFL and has still yet to find his accuracy to go along with his strong arm. Allen improved his completion percentage from his rookie season (53%) to his sophomore season (58%), but it is still not good. Allen gets the addition of Stefon Diggs(trade) and Gabriel Davis(draft) this off-season which will help him in gaining more yards and probably touchdowns, but that doesn’t help his accuracy issues. Gabriel Davis doesn’t have much draft capital invested in him, and is second string wide receiver at best, possibly even third string. I don’t see Davis having a significant NFL career, and being washed out of the league within his first three seasons. – Tim
Josh Allen and Gabriel Davis Buffalo Bills
When it comes to fantasy football QB’s their rushing yards are extremely important! Josh had one heck of a 2019 season and I’m expecting the same out of him in 2020! More passing yards and more rushing yards with a few less total TD’s. Another long term patient investment is Gabriel Davis. Davis was drafted by Buffalo in the 4th round out of UCF. I’m not expecting much from Davis in 2020 but I do expect a few highlight reel plays downfield this season laying the foundation for success in 2021 and beyond! – Chris
Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown
Lamar Jackson now entering his third season with the Ravens and has had insane value for fantasy with the rushing upside he brings to the table. Jackson is not known as one of the most accurate passers in the league, however he had a 66% competition percentage last year, taking a big step forward. Jackson’s touchdown rate per pass attempt was crazy high last year at 8.97% which the average rate is typically around 4.5%-5.5%. Expect that number to go down this year just due to it being unsustainable. Brown is now entering his sophomore season with the Ravens and should be fully healthy now. Brown was battling a foot injury for the majority of his rookie campaign and wasn’t able to get steady reps with Jackson. Brown has the talent to be a teams wide receiver one and should be able to live up to the hype. These two should find more chemistry this season and Jackson should be able to find Brown a little more and rely on him more. – Tim
Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown Baltimore Ravens
I’m quiet sure if you’re reading this then you know how special Lamar Jackson is. He was the 2019 MVP for heavens sake! When it comes to “Hollywood” Brown he is the definition of boom-or-bust. That being said if Lamar is going to have long term success in the NFL he’s going to have sit back in the pocket more instead of instantly running. It wont hurt his numbers too much in 2020 as they should settle in to an above average elite level. It will however benefit Brown very much. More targets, receptions, yardage and TD’s. This young QB/RB combo is as easy as it gets for an article like this. – Chris
Jalen Hurts and Jalen Reagor
Jalen Hurts won’t have much if any impact when it comes to throwing the ball until probably the 2022 season unless an injury comes about to Carson Wentz. Jalen Reagor has a lot of upside for big play ability and creating yards after the catch, but the Eagles head coach, Doug Pederson, has already came out and said that Reagor will learn from behind DeSean Jackson as a deep threat. If this is the case then Reagor won’t hold much fantasy value unless Jackson goes down, or Reagor learns a different position. – Tim
Jalen Hurts and Jalen Reagor Philadelphia Eagles
I would have liked to slot in the combo of Carson Wentz and Reagor but that wouldn’t be true to my 25 and younger QB/WR combos. I mentioned it earlier in the article and it’s not a good move to assume and/or hold out of injuries but if walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then more then likely it’s a duck! Hopefully you’re understanding what I’m getting at. No ill will towards Wentz but he has missed major time. To be fair, he’s also put up some impressive numbers! I want to see Carson succeed! I want us all to succeed! Any good fantasy football player is looking 2-3 steps ahead. Adding Hurts and stashing Hurts is winning move. It’s a preemptive move that could pay dividends in the long run. Ask yourself this, if Carson Wentz does miss any time in 2020 what player would be the biggest and hottest commodity? I’m going to say Jalen Hurts! Agree or disagree? – Chris
Jacob Eason and Michael Pittman Jr.
The earliest, the rookie Jacob Eason will see the field is his sophomore season if Phillip Rivers retires, even if he retires, Eason is not guaranteed the starting spot. Eason was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft this off season. Eason comes from Washington University where he was a great high school prospect who committed to Georgia, but then transferred to Washington where he had to sit out the 2018 season and declared for the draft after an impressive junior season. Eason has the skills of being a competent quarterback in the NFL. It really just depends on if he gets the opportunity or if the Colts will continue to work with current backup to Rivers, Jacoby Brissett. The colts loaded up on offensive weapons in the draft this year with their first pick in the second round being Michael Pittman Jr., son of former NFL running back for the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Pittman Sr. Pittman has the athletic genes to succeed in today’s NFL and his size of 6’4” and 223 lbs. Pittman is an outside threat which is exactly what the Colts offense needs to pair with Parris Campbell and TY Hilton. Eason and Pittman should be able to grow together in the Colts system, with Pittman gaining early playing time in his rookie season, as the teams wide receiver number two. – Tim
Jacob Eason and Michael Pittman Jr. Indianapolis Colts
Along the lines of a preemptive move and being patient this is just that! Phil Rivers is the QB1 in Indy this season. I love the idea of Eason learning and growing from Rivers and Brissett with the goal of being the Colts QB1 in 2021 and beyond. When it comes to Pittman Jr. look for him to be a force right out of the gate in 2020. The 6’4 223lb USC product is going to be a big time WR in the NFL for years to come. Pittman takes his first step towards that dream in 2020! – Chris
Jared Goff and Van Jefferson
Jared Goff is set for a big season this year especially at a cheap price. Goff needs his offensive line to step up this year for him to boom. Last season in the last 5 weeks, the Rams increased their 12 personnel sets by a significant amount which allowed for two tight ends to be on the field, one would stay in and block, Tyler Higher, Robert Woods and Cooper Krupp all thrived during this timeframe. Goff gets the addition of a rookie sleeper that could have a big impact to the offense right away, in the name of Van Jefferson. Jefferson the talented wide receiver out of Florida is in competition with Josh Reynolds for the third wide receiver in the Rams offense, which should be competing for a top offense this season. Goff and Jefferson might have a rough start to the season when it comes to chemistry, but should be able to find their path mid way through the season or early next year. -Tim
Jared Goff and Van Jefferson Los Angeles Rams
I think Van Jefferson is able to pass Josh Reynolds on the depth chart. It won’t be easy but the work he puts in and the knowledge gained during that battle will carry into a successful rookie season for Van. Moving along to Goff where do we go? What happened? All that aside I’m on board with Tim here and I also believe Goff bounces back in a big way in 2020. If that’s the case his WR’s and rookie RB Cam Akers are the biggest winners. I have this weird feeling Woods is traded away in 2020. I have this scenario in my head where Kupp, Van and Akers all play lights out and the Rams get rid of Woods to sure up some sort of their defense or add draft picks. I know it’s far fetched and it’s only the start of July but I’m an abstract thinker! What can I say? – Chris
Deshaun Watson and Keke Coutee
Deshaun Watson has proved himself over and over again every season he’s been in the league, but that was with DeAndre Hopkins catching passes from Watson. This year the Texans parted ways with Hopkins and acquired Brandin Cooks and David Johnson. Watson will definitely see his stats drop some this year without Hopkins catching the impossible passes, but keep an eye on Keke Coutee as a sleeper for this Texans team. Coutee is a sneaky grab in dynasty with him being only 23 years old and Cooks is potentially one concussion away from the end of his career and Will Fuller constantly dealing with injuries. Fuller is a high injury risk and it would not be surprising to see him sidelined again this season at some point. Expect Coutee to step into either of their places with ease, already having some chemistry with Watson. – Tim
Deshaun Watson and Keke Coutee Houston Texans
I’ll admit, this one is stretch. A stretch Arm-Strong type stretch. Deshaun Watson is just that young and good. The credibility of the article and my work would’ve suffered if I didn’t mention Watson here! Expect 4,000+ passing yards, 27+ total TD’s and 500+ rushing yards in 2020. Deshaun is a star and can carry this entire team on his back. That’s it! That’s the paragraph! – Chris
This week the PGA Tour returns to Detroit Golf Club (North) which will be hosting the second edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. It is a 7,334-yard par 72. Last year had a surprising but great story of Nate Lashley running away with the win after being the last guy in the field. The course played possibly the easiest on tour last season. The 5-under cut line was the lowest cut on tour since 2016. It is expected that the rough will be grown out to make the course play a little more difficult this year.
The fairways will be lined with trees pretty much tee to green. With the rough being lengthened, it will be tough for players to stop the ball on relatively small quick greens. Last year, the thought was that the players would have a hard time hitting the green from the rough but players just picked this course apart. I would expect that this will come into play a little more this year. This means that hitting fairways and greens will be important this week. Look for guys who rank high in categories like Driving accuracy, SG:Tee-to-Green, SG:Approach, GIR%, and rough proximity. I would expect the champion this week to be an average or better putter but I don’t think putting will be as important this week as hitting fairways and greens.
Although it is a bit of a drop off as far as field strength, there are some big names playing this week. Amongst them are guys like: Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Jason Day, Tony Finau, and Webb Simpson.
Webb Simpson: The guy is just a stone-cold killer. Nothing flashy. Just a beautiful, fundamental, solid, all-around golfer. Accurate off the tee. Solid on approach. Great putter. There is nothing keeping me from putting him in my lineups.
Tyrrell Hatton: If Simpson is option 1A, Hatton is 1B. He has been playing so well as of late. His Tee-to-green game is almost unbeatable. Combine that with being one of the best putters on tour this season and you’ve got a recipe for a win.
Bryson DeChambeau: With as much as he has been playing since the restart, and how hard he swings it, you wonder if fatigue will catch up with him at some point. You also wonder if there will be a course that just doesn’t fit his game. So far, the answer to those questions is no. He has 6 consecutive top-10 finishes. With a weaker field this week, I’d say his chances of winning this week are the highest they’ve been since the restart. His game projects well in Detroit.
Top-End Maybes: Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed
Viktor Hovland: T23, T21, T11 in the 3 loaded events since the restart. Very solid from tee to green. Putting is just barely below average. Notched a T13 last year in just his second start as a pro.
JT Poston: T11 at the inaugural event last year. Was coming off consecutive top 10 finishes before just missing the cut at The Travelers. Top 10 putter who showed that when his approaches get relatively close, he can convert them into birdies in bunches.
Doc Redman: Redman’s value gets a major lift this week, probably for good reason. He has made all 3 cuts since the restart, 2 of which resulted in top 25 finishes. This week projects to be his best when you consider he placed 2nd last year after a Monday qualifier. 13th in driving accuracy and 17th in SG:approach.
Rory Sabbatini: The resurgence of Sabbatini’s career continues. He continues to place inside the top 25. He finished T3 at this event last year where he led the field in driving accuracy
Brenden Todd: It’s been 2 days since DJ raised the trophy at The Travelers and Todd is still hitting fairways. He couldn’t miss a fairway and rarely missed a green. If he could have converted on his 12 chances at birdie, his story could have been much different. I fully expect to see more fairways and greens hit this week. A few more made putts could have him in contention.
Will Gordon: The pressure is off Gordon to secure his tour status. He can play with less pressure this week. Coming off his impressive T3 at the Travelers. His last 5 starts on the PGA tour have resulted in 4 top 25s, 2 of which were top 10s. Ranks 13th in GIR%. Very cheap mid-tier play this week.
Mid-Tier Maybes: Sungjae Im, Adam Hadwin, Brandt Snedeker
Value Play Loves:
Brian Stuard: Stuard has made all 3 cuts since the resume which is quite an accomplishment considering the field strength. Coming of T20 last week. 5th in driving accuracy. T5 at 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Value Play Likes:
Cameron Tringale:T5 in 2019. 28th in SG: Approach, 37th in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Harry Higgs: 27th in rough proximity. 2 of 3 cuts made since restart. In all honesty, I think Higgs is trending up and could find himself knocking on the door of the top 50 within a year or so.
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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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)
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
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.
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!