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!

NASCAR – The Setup – 061220

The Setup – Dixie Vodka 400 Race Preview
By Tyler Miller

Homestead-Miami Speedway will host this weekend’s Dixie Vodka 400 for the NASCAR Cup Series. Homestead will host two double-headers stating with an Xfinity-Truck double-header on Saturday and an Xfinity-Cup double-header on Sunday. If you are interested in playing Xfinity or Trucks on Draft Kings, check out the NASCAR tap on our Discord channel.

This is the first time in the 21 race history of Homestead-Miami Speedway that the track will host a race outside of November. It is the first time since 2001 that NASCAR will not finish its season at Homestead. The weather in South Florida is much different in June compared to November, that, plus the lack of practice and qualifying creates some uncertainty as we look at the track’s recent history. Before this year, Homestead was the focus and determining factor of a driver’s championship hopes. That is not the case this time and I’m not sure how that will impact what we see on Sunday. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 267 laps (400 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 80, Stage 2 ends on lap 160.
Lineup Lock 3:00 pm eastern Sunday
2019 Winner: Kyle Busch (Started 4th)
2019 Pole Sitter: Denny Hamlin (Finished 10th)
Past Winners: (starting position)
2018 Winner: Joey Logano (started 5th)
2017: Martin Truex Jr. (2nd)
2016: Jimmie Johnson (14th)
2015: Kyle Busch (3rd)
2014: Kevin Harvick (5th)

Martinsville Recap
What went right?

Martinsville started out terrible and looked really bad for the first 350 laps, but our guys finished strong and I was able to eek out a win on Fan Duel. Brad Keselowski led 5 laps and finished 3rd (5th in Fan Duel Scoring), Martin Truex Jr. led 132 laps and won the race (2nd in Fan Duel Scoring), Jimmie Johnson led 70 laps and finished 10th with + 11 differential (3rd in Fan Duel scoring), Ty Dillon performed close to expectation with a 22nd place finish, 3 laps down, with + 8 differential, and Michael McDowell stayed on the lead lap all night and finished the race 14th + 15 differential which is an outstanding return on his $4,000 salary.

On Fan Duel, I ended up using Hamlin, Truex, Keselowski, McDowell, and Dillon. That lineup scored 416.1 and cashed in every contest I entered.

What went wrong?
Hamlin was my pick to win the race so there was no way I wasn’t going to play him. Hamlin looked awful from the beginning but fought hard to finish 24th, 3 laps down. Hamlin’s car was overheating, he couldn’t keep it at the bottom of the track in the turn, it was a really bad night for the 11 team which is a head scratcher because of how good his teammate (Truex) was. As bad as the night was for Hamlin, Austin Dillon’s race was much worse. Dillon started the race with a flat tire, went 3 laps down, tore out a crush panel, and ended up parking it after completing 399 laps.

On Draft Kings, I played Hamlin, Truex, Keselowski, Ty and Austin Dillon, and Michael McDowell. That lineup scored 255.25 and I lost money overall but did cash in a single 50/50 contest.

What Vegas thinks (Friday AM lines via Draft Kings Sportsbook):
Kevin Harvick is the favorite at +450. I think the race is going to be difficult to predict a winner so I am personally sitting this one out. However, if you are looking for a long shot I like Matt Kenseth at +6600, he’s also +1600 for a top 3 and +175 for a top 10.

Kevin Harvick +450
Martin Truex Jr. +500
Kyle Busch +550
Chase Elliott +700
Joey logano +900
Denny Hamlin +1000
Brad Keselowski +1000
Ryan Blaney +1200
Alex Bowman +1400
Jimmie Johnson +2000

Driver Ratings at Homestead:
1. Kevin Harvick 108.8
2. Martin Truex Jr. 107.3
3. Matt Kenseth 105.2
4. Kyle Busch 102.3
5. Denny Hamlin 97.4
6. Joey Logano 94.2
7. Jimmie Johnson 93.7
8. Chase Elliott 91.8
9. Brad Keselowski 89.2
10. Clint Bowyer 85.9
11. Ryan Newman 85.5
12. Austin Dillon 83.0
13. Erik Jones 80.6
14. Kurt Busch 78.3
15. Ryan Blaney 72.6

Average Running Position at Homestead:
1. Kevin Harvick 7.886
2. Martin Truex Jr. 8.321
3. Matt Kenseth 8.834
4. Chase Elliott 11.296
5. Denny Hamlin 11.648
6. Joey Logano 11.829
7. Kyle Busch 11.913
8. Jimmie Johnson 12.951
9. Brad Keselowski 12.998
10. Ryan Newman 13.380
11. Austin Dillon 13.966
12. Clint Bowyer 14.469
13. Erik Jones 15.027
14. Daniel Suarez 18.408
15. Kurt Busch 18.589

Laps Led
1. Kyle Busch 463 (11.6% of laps run)
2. Matt Kenseth 449 (12.0)
3. Kevin Harvick 356 (8.9)
4. Martin Truex Jr. 312 (8.3)
5. Denny Hamlin 256 (6.4)
6. Joey Logano 158 (5.4)
7. Brad Keselowski 107 (3.3)

2019 Top 10
1. Kyle Busch
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Erik Jones
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Joey Logano
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Ryan Newman
8. Austin Dillon
9. Alex Bowman
10. Denny Hamlin

2018 Top 10
1. Joey Logano
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Kyle Busch
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Chase Elliott
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Aric Almirola
10. Kurt Busch

2017 Top 10
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Larson
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Chase Elliott
6. Joey Logano
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Ryan Newman

2016 Top 10
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Joey Logano
5. Jamie McMurray
6. Kyle Busch
7. Matt Kenseth
8. A.J. Allmendinger
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Michael McDowell

In my opinion, this is the most difficult race to predict since we have returned to racing. The fact that this race usually determines a champion in November and is now being run under very different circumstances in June creates a lot of uncertainty. We need to get a combination of solid consistency at the top and low hanging fruit in the mid-tier/bottom to build a solid cash lineup. Let’s get started.

Kevin Harvick ($14,500/11,800) Kevin Harvick is my top play for Sunday because he has been incredibly consistent at Homestead. Harvick hasn’t finished outside the top 10 at this track since 2007 and he is currently on a streak of 6 straight top 5s. Harvick has also been consistent this season. His 15th place finish at Martinsville is his worst finish of the year. At intermediate tracks in 2020, Harvick has finished 8th, 9th, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 10th, and 1st. Starting 7th, I think Harvick runs inside the top 10 all day and competes for a top 5 finish.

Joey Logano ($13,000/10,700) Joey Logano has also been very consistent at Homestead. Since moving to Penske in 2013, Logano has finished inside the top 10 at Homestead in 6 of 7 races included a win and top 5s in 5 of his last 6. I think we will see Logano at a lower ownership rate compared to some of the other top drivers and I think he is a really solid play for cash games on Sunday.

Tyler Reddick ($8,300/7,300) Tyler Reddick dominated Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Xfinity Series. Reddick scored 2 wins in 3 races (his other finish was 4th) en route to back-to-back Xfinity championships. I do not expect Tyler Reddick to contend for the win on Sunday, but I think he can run inside the top 10 throughout the race and compete for a top 12 finish at the end. Reddick starts the race 24th which gives you too much upside to pass up.

Matt Kenseth ($7,500/8,200) The combination of Kyle Larson’s success in the 42 car and Matt Kenseth’s success at Homestead has me taking a hard look at Kenseth on Sunday. Homestead was one of Kyle Larson’s best tracks and Kenseth finished top 10 in 8 of his last 9 races at the track (2010-2018). This included a 6th place finish in 2018 when Kenseth was driving an underperforming 6 car for Roush Fenway racing (in place of Trevor Bayne). Starting 20th, Kenseth is too cheap to be ignored. A 15th place finish would make this a good play and I think there is top 10 potential for Kenseth on Sunday.

Christopher Bell ($6,600/9,300) Christopher Bell has a large price discrepancy between Fan Duel and Draft Kings this week. Starting 36th, Bell has the potential for +20 differential which makes him an option, even at his high price on Draft Kings. Unlike Martinsville, I don’t mind using rookies at Homestead. Bell was solid at Homestead in Xfinity and Trucks but not outstanding. I think Bell is a lock on Fan Duel and needs to be strongly considered for DK lineups as well, even at his elevated price.

Cole Custer ($6,400/6,000) In the Xfinity Series, Cole Custer has 3 top 2 finishes in 4 races at Homestead. He also finished 10th in his only truck race at the track. I like Cole Custer, particularly on Draft Kings, as an alternate to Christopher Bell. Custer is starting this race 35th and could easially outscore Bell on Sunday. I also like pairing the two of them together.

Michael McDowell ($5,000/5,200) There will be a lot of focus on Bell and Custer and a lot of people might overlook Michael McDowell. McDowell has exceeded expectations this season with finishes inside the top 25 in 10 of 11 races. McDowell finished 24th at Atlanta, 18th and 25th in the two races at Charlotte, 23rd and 17th in two races at Darlington, and 22nd at Fontana earlier this year. His only bad finish this season was at Las Vegas where he was 36th, 22 laps down. McDowell would need to beat Bell and Custer by 5-6 spots to score more points than them, but he also comes at a much lower price tag which might help a lineup fit together. Don’t ignore McDowell on Sunday.

The obvious Fan Duel cash lineup that I like is Harvick, Logano, Reddick, Custer, and Bell. That lineup doesn’t work on Draft Kings but you can work in McDowell and Kenseth. Good luck to all our subscribers this weekend!

NASCAR – The Setup – 060920

The Setup – Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
By Tyler Miller

Martinsville Speedway will host its first ever night race in the NASCAR Cup Series on Wednesday night. Martinsville is a flat, half-mile race track in Southwestern Virginia; a favorite for close racing, high intensity, and drama. Recently, Martinsville has not had the action up front, with race winners leading as many as 464 of 500 laps (Truex in 2019). Drafting drivers who can lead hundreds of laps will be key. Laps Led will be much more important than differential for this race. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 500 laps (263 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 130, Stage 2 ends on lap 260.
Lineup Lock 7:00 pm eastern Wednesday

2019 Spring Winner Brad Keselowski (Started 3rd)
2019 Fall Winner Martin Truex Jr. (Started 3rd)
2019 Spring Pole Sitter Joey Logano (Finished 19th)
2019 Fall Pole Sitter Denny Hamlin (Finished 4th)

Past Winners: (Starting Position)
2018 Spring: Clint Bowyer (9th)
2018 Fall: Joey Logano (10th)
2017 Spring: Brad Keselowski (4th)
2017 Fall: Kyle Busch (14th)
2016 Spring: Kyle Busch (7th)
2016 Fall: Jimmie Johnson (3rd)

Atlanta Recap
What went right?

I was really happy with the Victory Lane article from Atlanta. Kevin Harvick was my number 1 play, he lead the most laps and won the race. Brad Keselowski was solid, leading 5 laps and finishing 9th (11th in Fan Duel scoring). Kurt Busch led a lap and finished 6th (6th on Fan Duel). Jimmie Johnson finished 7th (7th on Fan Duel). Chase Elliott finished 8th (10th on Fan Duel). Christopher Bell finished 18th, exactly as projected, and Ryan Preece did ok with + 3 differential 1 lap down.

What went wrong?
Alex Bowman ended up being the fly in my ointment. Bowman ran inside the top 5 for a brief time on Sunday but ended up with a 12th place finish and -4 differential. That doesn’t sound that bad, but when you consider that I pivoted off of Kurt Busch and went to Alex Bowman due to Kurt’s pre-race penalties (which included a pass through pit lane under green to start the race) it was a major mistake. Erik Jones also had two late issues that he was unable to recover from and finished the race 28th in Quinn Houff territory.

I missed on Truex, which was frustrating because he was cheaper than Keselowski. I also somehow missed the fact that Michael McDowell started the race 36th and was the chalk value play. I really needed Preece to outscore McDowell, which he didn’t.

My Fan Duel lineup ended up being Harvick, Keselowski, Bowman, Bell, and Preece which scored 326.2 and lost money. If I had stayed with my initial lineup (Kurt Busch instead of Bowman) I would have scored 337.4 and cashed in every contest. If I had kept Kurt Busch and been smart enough to realize that I needed to play Michael McDowell instead of Ryan Preece I would have scored an additional 6.6 points and scored 344.

My Draft Kings lineup was the same as Fan Duel with the addition of Erik Jones, so it did even worse. I scored 254.0 and was completely shut out.

What Vegas thinks (Tuesday morning lines via Draft Kings Sportsbook)
Kyle Busch is the favorite at +450 with Keselowski and Truex right behind at +550. Despite Jimmie Johnson’s strong record at Martinsville, he is +2000. Without practice or qualifying, there is no reason to wait on placing a bet. Since I live in New Jersey, I grabbed Denny Hamlin Monday for +900, he is now down to +650.

Kyle Busch +450
Brad Keselowski +550
Martin Truex Jr. +550
Denny Hamlin +650
Chase Elliott +900
Joey Logano +900
Ryan Blaney +1000
Kevin Harvick +1100
Clint Bowyer +2000
Jimmie Johnson +2000

Driver Ratings at Martinsville
1. Jimmie Johnson 109.8
2. Denny Hamlin 107.2
3. Kyle Busch 104.1
4. Brad Keselowski 99.7
5. Joey Logano 94.7
6. Ryan Blaney 94.2
7. Kevin Harvick 94.2
8. Clint Bowyer 91.6
9. Matt Kenseth 87.9
10. Chase Elliott 87.4
11. Ryan Newman 84.3
12. Martin Truex Jr. 82.2
13. Kurt Busch 80.6
14. Austin Dillon 71.7
15. Daniel Suarez 80.9

Average Running Position
1. Denny Hamlin 9.148
2. Jimmie Johnson 9.413
3. Ryan Blaney 10.430
4. Kyle Busch 10.441
5. Brad Keselowski 11.283
6. Joey Logano 11.679
7. Kevin Harvick 12.696
8. Clint Bowyer 13.419
9. Matt Kenseth 14.230
10. Chase Elliott 15.112
11. Ryan Newman 15.271
12. Kurt Busch 16.322
13. Martin Truex Jr. 16.822
14. Daniel Suarez 18.262
15. Erik Jones 19.244

Laps Led
1. Jimmie Johnson 2691 (17.9 percent of laps run)
2. Denny Hamlin 1566 (11.2)
3. Kyle Busch 1424 (9.8)
4. Brad Keselowski 883 (8.8)
5. Joey Logano 830 (7.5)
6. Martin Truex Jr. 726 (5.2)
7. Matt Kenseth 602 (4.4)
8. Clint Bowyer 572 (4.1)
9. Kevin Harvick 481 (3.2)
10. Chase Elliott 192 (4.3)

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

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

2018 Spring top 10:
1. Clint Bowyer
2. Kyle Busch
3. Ryan Blaney
4. Martin Truex Jr.
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Joey Logano
7. Alex Bowman
8. A.J. Allmendinger
9. Chase Elliott
10. Brad Keselowski

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

This is a 500 lap race. It is important to give yourself every opportunity to roster drivers who can lead 100+ laps. I like having 3 top contenders in a lineup if possible. This race is also about being lucky and having all of your drivers run every lap. On Fan Duel, there are 50 points available for running 500 laps. That makes a driver who finishes 25th on the lead lap immensely more valuable than a driver who finishes 29th and crashes out on lap 30.

Denny Hamlin ($12,000/11,900) Starting in the 12th position, Denny Hamlin is my top pick this weekend. He has 5 wins at Martinsville and is running well enough to be right behind Jimmie Johnson in career driver rating. Hamlin has 28 career starts at Martinsville with 5 wins, 15 top 5s (over 50%), 21 top 10s (75%), and has led laps in 21 of those races.

Brad Keselowski ($13,500/9,500) I was burned a little bit by Brad Keselowski at Atlanta on Sunday, but I’m right back on board for Martinsville. Since 2016, Keselowski has only 1 finish outside the top 5 at Martinsville and that’s a 10th place finish in the spring race of 2018. Keselowski led 446 laps en route to the win in this race last year. Keselowski starts the race 6th.

Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000/10,300) Martin Truex Jr. dominated the fall race at Martinsville last year leading 464 of 500 laps and winning the race. Truex is on a streak of 5 straight finishes of 8th or better including a win, a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 4th. If you look at career stats for Martin Truex Jr., they will always be misleading because of the equipment he was running for the first half of his career. His driver rating and average running position are nothing special, but his recent strength at Martinsville make him a top driver for Wednesday night.

Jimmie Johnson ($10,200/12,500) Jimmie Johnson has outstanding career numbers at Martinsville Speedway. In 36 races he has 9 wins and 24 top 10 finishes. Johnson has the best driver rating, 2nd in average running position, and the most laps led of any active driver. However, Johnson has 6 straight finishes outside the top 10. In fact, he has finished outside the top 10 in 9 of his past 11 races (the other 2 were a win and a 9th place finish). Johnson is worth mentioning because of his strong career numbers. He is starting 21st which might make some people chase differential points, but overall I’m not in on Jimmie Johnson because I think the right lineup build will have 3 drivers who can dominate and win the race and Johnson does not fit that mold.

Ty Dillon ($5,000/6,200) I really like Ty Dillon in this race. In 6 career races, Ty Dillon has finished better than he started 5 times. His career finishes are 22nd, 30th, 22nd, 15th, 13th, and 24th. If Ty can finish 20th or better he would be an outstanding play on Wednesday night, his price is way too low. People are going to be tempted to play Cole Custer and Christopher Bell because of their price and starting position but remember that the Xfinity series does not run at Martinsville Speedway and this is the first cup start at the track for both rookies. Martinsville has a reputation of destroying the hopes and dreams of rookie drivers (see Elliott, Chase). I think Ty Dillon is a good alternate to the rookie drivers on Wednesday night.

Austin Dillon ($7,300/6,100) Austin Dillon has quietly been on a hot streak recently with 4 straight finishes of 14th or better. If he can finish in the top 15 at Martinsville he is a solid play at his salary, starting from the 22nd position. Martinsville has been a mixed bag for Dillon in his career with a couple of top 5s back in 2016 and 2017 but he has been 20th or worse in 3 of his last 4. It’s worth noting that Austin Dillon is on “baby watch” as his wife is pregnant with their first child. If Whitney Dillon goes into labor before the race, AJ Allmendinger will be standing by to fill in.

Michael McDowell ($4,000/5,100) Michael McDowell is not going to light the world on fire at Martinsville. At minimum price, starting 29th, McDowell provides a little bit of stability as a value play given the fact that he has been running at the finish of the past 8 races at Martinsville. I think its possible that McDowell could finish in the top 20, but realistically you are looking at a finish of 22nd-26th, 2-3 laps down. Playing Michael McDowell only makes sense if you are using him to fit Hamlin, Keselowski, and Truex in your lineup.

My core lineup for Martinsville includes Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, and Ty Dillon. If you add Truex to that core you are going to need a low priced value driver. If you want to stay with mid-range guys you can look at a combination of Johnson, Austin Dillon, and a driver starting in the top 3 and hope they get out to a lead and nobody can pass them.

Good luck to all our subscribers!

NASCAR – Victory Lane – 060620

Victory Lane – Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500
By Tyler Miller – @rickybobby_jr

Chase Elliott drew the top starting position for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. This is a 500 mile race on a worn out racing surface that creates exciting action and puts a premium on mistake-free endurance (For a statistical analysis, see The Setup). We need to find the right balance of drivers who have been performing well this season and drivers who have a strong track record at Atlanta for our DFS lineups. Let’s get started.

Kevin Harvick ($14,000/11,700) You can’t ignore Kevin Harvick’s track record at Atlanta. Harvick is the best play and probably the safest play this weekend. This year, Harvick has finished in the top 10 in 8 of 9 races (including a win and 5 top 5 finishes). His worst finish this season is 11th. Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are tied for the best driver rating at Atlanta, though Harvick only has 2 wins in 29 races (those two wins are 17 years apart). Harvick has finished in the top 10 in 8 of his last 9 races at Atlanta, including a win and 4 top 5 finishes with a worst finish of 19th in 2014. Lock Harvick in your lineups.

Brad Keselowski ($13,200/8,900) Last year’s Atlanta winner is carrying some momentum into Atlanta this weekend. It’s worth noting that Keselowski’s two wins this season have been handed to him on a silver platter (see Charlotte and Bristol) but nevertheless, Keselowski is in the right position at the end of the race to take advantage of the opportunity. Keselowski is 4th in driver rating at Atlanta, tops in average running position, and he is coming off 3 straight top 2 finishes at the track (5 straight inside the top 10). I’m locking Keselowski into my lineup with Harvick this weekend.

Kurt Busch ($11,000/9,400) Kurt Busch has been incredibly consistent at Atlanta Motor Speedway since 2008. In that span of time, 13 races, Busch has finished in the top 10 10 times. He crashed in 2009 and finished 38th but otherwise his worst finish is 13th and he has 2 wins in that span (3 wins at the track overall). Kurt is 3rd in driver rating, 8th in average running position, and should be able to move forward from his 12th place starting position.

Jimmie Johnson ($10,000/10,200) Jimmie Johnson is starting 15th on Sunday and has a strong record at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the top (tied with Harvick) driver rating and 2nd in average running position. Johnson has 5 wins at Atlanta including back to back in 2007 and 2015-2016. In the last 3 races however, Johnson has failed to finish on the lead lap and has an average finish of 23rd. Considering the momentum of Hendrick Motorsports right now, I think Johnson is a solid play for Sunday.

Chase Elliott ($12,300/9,900) Chase Elliott is the hottest driver in NASCAR with a cup and truck win at Charlotte and three races that he “should have” won (Charlotte, Darlington, Bristol). There is a lot to like with Elliott on Sunday. He will certainly lead some laps early since he is starting on the pole, but there is a risk of negative differential if Elliott ends up finishing in his average finishing position of 10th. Elliott is 9th in driver rating and 3rd in average running position. If you play Elliott it is because of his current season momentum and the chance for dozens of laps led early in the race. He is a solid play, but I think there are better plays at his price point.

Alex Bowman ($11,400/9,100) Alex Bowman has been lights out at intermediate race tracks in the past year. Bowman won at Auto Club Speedway earlier this year which has a similar track surface to Atlanta (old and worn out, hard on tires) but Bowman has struggled at this track in his career. Bowman’s career statistics at tracks are misleading because he raced for some really bad teams before he came to Hendrick Motorsports, but even in his 2 races at Atlanta for HMS he has finished 20th and 15th. Similar to Elliott, Bowman would be a momentum play based on Hendrick’s current strength, not a play based on track history.

Christopher Bell ($6,000/7,400) Sunday will be Christopher Bell’s first cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bell is starting 27th so he has plenty of room for positive differential points. In two career Xfinity race at Atlanta, Bell finished 3rd and 1st. In two career truck races at Atlanta, Bell crashed (finished 26th) and won. I think Christopher Bell will come into this track with extreme confidence and finish in the top 20, maybe even the top 15.
Erik Jones ($9,000/6,600) I low-key like Erik Jones this week, especially on Draft Kings where he is way too cheap. Jones has been really consistent at Atlanta Motor Speeway in 3 career starts he has finished 14th, 11th, and 7th. Jones starts 14th which is why he is cheap on DK, but he could realistically improve on his starting position by 3-5 spots and get a top 10 finish which is a great return for his salary.

Ryan Preece ($5,000/6,200) Ryan Preece has had a miserable season with only 3 finishes inside the top 20. Preece crashed in his only start at Atlanta last year and finished 35th but his teammate in that race, Chris Buescher, finished 9th. I don’t expece Preece to finish in the top 10, but with a 5k price tag and a 29th place starting position, I like Preece to move up 10-12 places and compete for a top 20 finish on Sunday which would make him a solid play to help your lineup fit together.

My core lineup for Sunday includes Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Christopher Bell. Good luck to all our subscribers this weekend!

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 a Masters’ of Science in Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media, from Liberty University.