Welcome back for our fifth and BIGGEST week of DFS NASCAR! This article will once again focus on the rules of fantasy NASCAR on DraftKings and breakdown what’s important to pay attention to. Following that, we will dive into strategy for this week. Our goal is to pick the drivers who we anticipate will perform strong, regardless of where they finish. This weekend features the BIGGEST contest in NASCAR DFS history with DraftKings offering the $250K Pedal to the Metal with $100K going to first place!! At only a $3 entry fee, how can you NOT afford to have a chance at $100,000? If you’re argument is: “I know nothing about NASCAR,” do not fear! This week features I rundown of ALL 43 drivers in the field so you can get statistics and analysis on every single option you’ll have this Sunday night.
Official Rules can be found here
What’s important to know:
Final Position: This is the easy one. The higher your driver finishes, the more points you receive. A 1st place finish receives 46 PTS, while 43rd will receive 1 PT.
Fastest Laps: Each time your driver runs the fastest lap, you will receive +0.5 PTS. Your driver, while unlikely, will have the potential to earn a maximum of (0.5) X (# of laps in the race) PTS.
Laps Led: For each lap your driver leads, you will receive +0.25 PTS. It’s as simple as that.
Pass Differential: This one will be a bit tricky. For each pass your driver makes, he/she will receive +0.25 PTS. In turn, for each time your driver loses a position, he/she will lose -0.25 PTS. This will NOT be scored on a lap-by-lap basis but on a pass-by-pass basis. So, if your driver goes back and forth battling for a position multiple times during a lap, the scoring WILL account for that. I don’t see this category having a major impact on which drivers you should select, however, it’s something we have to be aware of.
Place Differential: Place differential will be determined by the difference from where your driver starts, to where he/she finishes. So, if your select driver starts 1st, he/she cannot have a positive place differential. (Example: if your driver qualifies 20th and finishes 10th, he/she will have receive +10 PTS for a positive 10 in the place differential category). Note: If your selected driver has to go to the back at the start of the race for any reason (backup car, engine change) he/she will still maintain the position he/she qualified, for fantasy purposes.
Odds for the Coke Zero 400 @ Daytona Intl’ Speedway
Odds courtesy of: http://www.examiner.com/
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 8 to 1 odds
Jimmie Johnson – 9 to 1
Kevin Harvick – 10 to 1
Kurt Busch – 12 to 1
Jeff Gordon – 12 to 1
Matt Kenseth – 12 to 1
Brad Keselowski – 12 to 1
Kyle Busch – 14 to 1
Carl Edwards – 14 to 1
Kasey Kahne – 14 to 1
Joey Logano – 14 to 1
Martin Truex Jr. – 14 to 1
Denny Hamlin – 16 to 1
Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart – 25 to 1 odds each
Jamie McMurray – 28 to 1
Paul Menard, Ryan Newman – 35 to 1
Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle – 40 to 1
Danica Patrick, A.J. Allmendinger, David Ragan – 50 to 1
The Field – 100 to 1
(NOTE: Qualifying has been rained out. The starting order will be set by the first practice speeds.)
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Austin Dillon
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Paul Menard
5. Trevor Bayne
6. David Gilliland
7. AJ Allmendinger
8. David Ragan
9. Jamie McMurray
10. Kasey Kahne
11. Sam Hornish Jr.
12. Jimmie Johnson
13. Kyle Busch
14. Brett Moffitt
15. Casey Mears
16. Kyle Larson
17. Ryan Newman
18. Michael Annett
19. Matt Kenseth
20. Martin Truex Jr.
21. Justin Allgaier
22. Landon Cassill
23. Jeff Gordon
24. Carl Edwards
25. Greg Biffle
26. Brian Scott
27. Danica Patrick
28. Kurt Busch
29. Cole Whitt
30. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
31. Tony Stewart
32. Brad Keselowski
33. Joey Logano
34. Kevin Harvick
35. Denny Hamlin
36. Aric Almirola
37. Alex Bowman
38. Bobby Labonte
39. Josh Wise
40. JJ Yeley
41. Jeb Burton
42. Matt DiBenedetto
43. Brendan Gaughan
ALL 43 drivers are broken down below descending from highest salary to lowest
The most expensive driver starts first. That’ll make ownership levels interesting. He’s the top-priced for a reason with an average finish of 5.6 over his last 5 races at Daytona, 4 of which are top 10 finishes. Pricing has definitely gone soft for the big contest this Sunday night so 12.3K really isn’t that bad especially considering the top-priced driver has been around 14K in all DFS NASCAR contests up to this point. Normally we’d be worried about place differential with a driver on the pole. However, JR has averaged a 5.2 average place differential over the last 5 here even with an average starting position of 10.8 which is pretty incredible. Obviously there’s no way for him to get a positive place differential here but this certainly eases some concern provided he can avoid the “Big One” (for those who don’t know, Daytona is infamous for usually one big crash collecting several cars).
Johnson comes in as the second biggest favorite on the board and an average finish of 10.8 over his last 5 @ Daytona. I’d rather spend up for JR. if I’m picking one, but Johnson is certainly a solid pick. I expect him to go under-owned with the majority of people paying up for #88.
Three Hendrick Motorsports drivers are the highest-priced this week, which really serves as no surprise as the team as a whole has the 2nd highest average finish since Feb. of 2013. Gordon has the most wins, top 5’s, and laps led (among other categories) at Daytona of all active drivers but told Fox Sports this week: “I would say it’s one of my worst chances to win” — which throws me for a loop. The stats all point to a solid play and the narrative of it being his final season makes him an intriguing play because why not him? He’s got to make the Chase right? The 24th starting position definitely puts him in a position for a positive place/pass differential and I think he’s a real solid play today.
Harvick has two wins in 28 tries @ Daytona with 12 top 10’s. His last 5 though haven’t been too spectacular with a 19.8 average finish and no top 10’s. Those who may not dive deep into research may look onto the surface and see his domination this season and automatically pencil him in. It’ll be tough to fade him, especially with his 34th starting position almost guaranteeing a positive place differential. I’m on the fence here but I’m almost certain of one thing: fading or starting him could be the key to taking home the $100K Sunday night.
Over his last 5 here, he’s averaged a 14.5 finish with 2 top 10’s and a top 5. The 28th starting position is great for DFS purposes and his average place differential over the last 5 is in the green at 5.8. I expect him to go under-the-radar here, although I could be wrong with his recent success. Look for him to be a nice GPP play Sunday night.
Kahne is priced like a top option for Sunday night but his last 5 races has led to a 27th average finish and 3rd worst place differential among all drivers in the field. The 10th starting position leads much to be desired and I won’t be touching him on Sunday.
See: Kasey Kahne. No top 10’s in the last 5 for Truex Jr. with an average finish of 26.2 and -11.6 place differential with an average start of 14.6. Sorry, a lot of stats I know. Bottom line: he’s a very risky play, one that I would not recommend.
See: Martin Truex Jr with an average place differential that’s worse and no top 10’s in the last 5. The place differential is skewed a bit with a pretty high average start of 11.6 but I’m still not too wild over him.
All this talk of averages and Logano has been…well…just average. Nothing really special here, besides the fact that he has not had a did-not-finish (DNF) here since 2012. He does start 33rd and has the potential for a strong place differential with an average finish of 17.6 over his last five. I certainly see him being under-the-radar on Sunday and a real sneaky GPP play with some nice upside as he did win at this track to begin the season.
Hamlin’s last 3 races at Daytona have led to a worst finish of 6th. He’ll start 35th and may be one of the safest plays on the board today (as safe as a pick can get). Most of his success here has been in the last 3, as he’s only notched 5 top 10’s in 19 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races but maybe he’s figured something out? I love him on Sunday and I think his price could lead to low ownership–a perfect recipe for taking home $100K at the end of the night.
Keselowski is another driver who has had success here as of late with 2 top 10’s in his last 5 races. His career numbers are not great, with an average finish of 21.75 in 12 races. I see Keselowski as another driver who is GPP only, though his low starting position (32nd) certainly catches my eye. If you’re doing multiple entries in Sunday’s big GPP, definitely get him in one of them as the upside is always there.
Coming off a nice win at Sonoma last weekend, Kyle Busch will look to go back-to-back. He’s had some success at Daytona with a win and 5 top 5’s in 20 races which is not bad, but not overwhelming either. Busch was 13th quickest in the first practice and will therefore start 13th. His price remains reasonable and could be a nice driver to build your team around, although his upside is limited with the starting position.
An average finish of 27.8 over his last 5 here and a negative place differential of -8.8 in those 5. His last top 10 here came 3 years ago in this race. I’ll be avoiding Edwards Sunday night.
Despite being very unlike what we’ve come to expect of Stewart, he’s started to turn things around a bit with an average finish of 19.6 in his past 5 races this season compared to an average of 27.9 in his first 11. He’s trending in the right direction and has 4 wins in 33 races here. He’s worth a flier if you’re entering several GPP’s but certainly not someone you can count on. GPP ONLY for #14.
23.68 average finish in 25 NSCS races at Daytona although he does have 3 top 10’s in his last 5. Another driver who has been more successful lately at the track compared to his overall career numbers. He’ll start 9th when the green flag drops which makes him a bit too risky for me.
Bowyer has yet to win here in 19 tries but has an average finish of 15.47 and 3 top 10’s in his last 5. There’s also a lot of risk here with the 2nd position to where I will have very limited exposure to Bowyer. His only saving grace will be getting out front early, leading laps, and hopefully posting some of the quickest lap times. It definitely could happen but Bowyer is GPP only for me.
In 3 career NSCS races here, Larson has averaged a 36th place finish. Yikes. All three of those races, Larson either DNF or completed a lesser number of laps due to car trouble / an accident. HOWEVER, in 5 career XFINITY Series races at Daytona, Larson’s worst finish was 13th–his first ever at the track. He’ll go unnoticed this week but is probably my favorite GPP play with serious upside and likely a very low ownership percentage.
Biffle has 8 top 10’s in 20 tries and is yet another driver who’s been more successful in the recent past compared to his career numbers at the track. Biffle’s last 5 here include a 14th place average finish with 3 top 10’s. He’s slated to start 26th but had to go to a backup car, meaning he’ll start at the rear of the field when the green flag drops Sunday night. That should mean a solid positive pass differential and a likely chance of a positive place differential despite his starting position to be 26th for DFS purposes. I don’t necessarily love him here, but I won’t argue against you should you choose to roll with Biffle on Sunday.
In 13 of 16 starts this season, Newman has finished 18th or better. His last five races here put him with an average finish of 23.8 but I do think that he’ll continue his run of strong runs on Sunday. He hasn’t had a DNF here since 2010 and should post a top 20 with ease. The only problem here is his limited upside. Newman does have 1 win in 27 starts but only 6 top 10’s. Keep your exposure to Newman limited and expect him to be solid–just not for DFS purposes.
Ugh. STOP STARTING NEAR THE FRONT. I love Ragan as a driver, but bias aside? His starting position of 8th is scary. That also aside, he has had success here with 1 of his 2 NSCS wins coming here in 2011. His only other win? Also at a Restrictor Plate track @ Talladega in 2013. There’s definitely some upside but even more downside so be careful. Multiple GPP’s= make sure he’s in one of them. Otherwise, it’s probably best to fade the 29 year-old.
This will be interesting. Dillon won the Xfinity Series race Saturday night and now has finished 5th or better in 5 of his 6 career XFINITY Series races @ Daytona. He’s still yet to sustain any success at the NSCS level but he’s done well at Daytona with 2 top 10’s in 4 tries. You’re definitely taking a risk with his 2nd place starting position but wouldn’t it be cool to see the #3 in Victory Lane again? Especially here. BOLD CALL: Austin Dillon WINS at Daytona. You heard it here :).
In 16 NSCS races here, Menard has managed only 3 top 10’s. He starts 4th on Sunday and for DFS purposes, I’m avoiding him all together. There’s just not a whole lot here.
See: Paul Menard — except A.J. will start 7th. An average finish of 37th over his last 4 leaves much to be desired. I’m staying away here.
I’ve been burned by continuing to fade Almirola, and I won’t be making that mistake again. His last 5 here are a bit all over the place with 2 DNF’s and a win. His downside is limited with a 36th starting position and I’ll have a decent amount of exposure to Almirola. Little risk, medium/high reward at a nice price.
Two 8th place finishes are Danica’s best finishes here and she’ll start 27th providing a decent chance for a positive place differential. I think she’s worth a GPP flier for those who will have multiple entries. She’s averaged a 18.2 finish over her last 5 races @ Daytona.
Stenhouse Jr. has a solid average finish of 20th over his last 5 here yet none of those finishes include a top 10. Just not a whole lot here even with the increased potential of a positive place differential.
N/A (did not qualify)
Want to know which team has been more successful than Hendrick at Daytona? That would be Germain Racing, thanks mostly to Mr. Mears. Mears has the 3rd best average finish over the last 5 races at Daytona, including 4 top 10’s. He’ll start 15th which limits his upside a little bit but I still think he’s a solid play, with a top 10 finish on the horizon. Maybe a little pricey for the lack of upside in my opinion, but he could surprise some people.
Bayne won at Daytona in 2011 and his best finish since then? 20th. I’d like to see Bayne and the #6 Ford back to successful times but it’s not going to come Sunday. His 5th starting position screams negativity for DFS purposes and you’re safe to fade Bayne on Sunday.
Combining his finishes from the XFINITY Series and the NSCS Series since 2012, Hornish Jr. has averaged a 14th place finish with 3 top 10’s. For the second straight week, it’s hard to find better value than Hornish. He’ll start 11th, which certainly limits his upside so I won’t be having as much exposure to him as last week. He’s finished in the top 25 in 6 out of his last 9 races this season and he’s definitely one my favorite drivers in the $7000-$7900 range.
I’ll have one team with David Gilliland, out of 10. I’m not wild about him simply because of his starting position. His average finish here over his last 5 is 27th with an average -7.6 place differential. He does have 1 top 5 here but that’s in 14 NSCS races. Deep, deep flier but nothing more.
In 10 XFINITY Series races at Daytona, Allgaier has 5 top 10’s which is certainly respectable. In 3 NSCS races, Allgaier’s best finish is 25th. He’s got a couple top 15’s this season and is viable if you’re in desperate need of value but otherwise, I’d avoid him.
Cassill’s best finish on the season is 21st. He starts 22nd. Red flag.
DiBendetto has only 1 start at a Restrictor Plate track which was Talladega earlier this season. He started 43rd and finished 18th. He’ll start 42nd on Sunday which means it’ll be very unlikely he’ll have a negative point total. There’s very little risk here making DiBendetto one of the top value plays out there.
Yeley’s actually done surprisingly well here over his last 5 races with an average finish of 21st and an average place differential of 11.7. He’s worth a look if you’re entering multiple entries as he’ll start 40th on Sunday.
In 3 career NSCS starts at Daytona, Whitt’s best finish was 22nd earlier this season. He’ll start 29th on Sunday and while I may sprinkle him in a GPP, I like the above two options better.
In five career NSCS races @ Daytona, Wise has averaged a 30th place finish. He did finish 24th earlier this season but again, I’ll be looking at other value options.
Best finish on the season? 29th. Not worth the risk.
Since returning to the #34 car after subbing in the #55 for Brian Vickers earlier this season, Moffitt’s best finish has been 28th. He’ll start 14th on Sunday and can safely be avoided.
Bowman will start 37th on Sunday and in 2 career NSCS starts here, his worst finish was 23rd. Now, this is way too small of a sample size to go on so don’t get too excited but he’s worth a look as a dark horse in GPP’s.
Gaughan’s best finish on the season is 28th back in March. His next best is 34th. Ever seen Family Guy? Consuela would not approve… “No…No…You no use him.” 🙂
Yay! Labonte is back! He’s been racing here since 1993 and is tied for the most experience here with Jeff Gordon (45 races). His average finish is is 21.38 over those 45 races. His last 5 here have been with teams with lesser equipment yet he’s still managed a 20.7 average finish. He’ll start 38th and have plenty of room to improve and will be in at least one of my GPP entries Sunday.
Scott will start 26th but has only 1 career NSCS start at Daytona. He did finish 25th which is respectable but I still think there are better value options on the board. If he was starting further back he might be worth a look but as it is right now, I’ll be avoiding him.
N/A (did not qualify)
In Annett’s 3 NSCS career starts at Daytona, he’s managed a 21st or better 2 of those 3 races. However, his 18th starting position is worrisome and limits his upside. There are better value options for Sunday night’s race.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to read this, as we put a lot of work into it this weekend. My buddy Tyler Salisbury (@TSals23) has been feverishly working all week to have all of the stats you see in this article ready for Sunday night’s race in an effort to help YOU win some big money this weekend. I can guarantee you that you won’t find a harder working DFS NASCAR team than him and I, and I encourage you to continue to check us out every Sunday here on DFS Report. Currently, DraftKings $250K Pedal to the Medal ($3 entry) has some major overlay and is under 50% full. If you’ve been on the fence about trying DFS NASCAR, now’s the time to do it. I hope you enjoyed your July 4th holiday and I’d like to say THANK YOU to those who have made so many sacrifices for our freedom in this great country. Good luck tonight and enjoy the race!!