Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Apache Warrior 400 presented by Lucas Oil at Dover

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Pre-Qualifying Picks

This is what I tweeted before the cars hit the track in the first Dover race:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here was the optimal lineup:

 

Opt$ptfppkstavgfin
Kyle Larson10300144.2514.0532
Martin Truex, Jr.990091.59.2233
Jimmie Johnson1060079.257.51451
Danica Patrick5900559.3312210
Jamie McMurray820050.56.219117
Ross Chastain4600408.7362620
49500460.554.9
500

That’s close. Jimmie Johnson breaks the rule, but he was the clear pivot from Kyle Busch. He has 11 wins at Dover and he had top 5 speed in practice. His ownership was going to be low because he was expensive and he was starting in the back. Sure enough, Kyle Busch’s pit crew didn’t secure his tire and ruined his day.

I am going to try to follow the format above this week, unless something crazy happens in qualifying/practice.The fall Dover race is usually more calm, so I’m not crazy about punting this week. If you’re wondering, the optimal lineup picks were all in the June FanVice article.

Dig into the statistics and find the best plays for this weekend’s NASCAR event with the Daily Fantasy NASCAR Spreadsheet:

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Hogs

  1. Kyle Busch  At Chicago, Busch was the fastest, but his pit crew ruined his day. No mistakes last week, so he scored 137 points. In the first Dover race, Kyle Busch was on the pole, but his pit crew forgot how to put on a tire, and they ruined his day. It’s this simple. If you think the #18 pit crew will not make a major mistake, then you pick Busch. Fade Kyle Busch, if you foresee yet another pit road mistake.
  2. Martin Truex, Jr.He’s going to get his. He may not lead at the beginning or the end, but throughout the race, he’ll pile up the points. He’s been strong in the last three Dover races (91 pts, 134 pts, and 70 pts.), and this is his hometrack.
  3. Kyle LarsonHe’s three because he’s not in a Toyota. Larson always needs help. He doesn’t need another driver to make a big time mistake, but that helps. Larson needs someone to crack the door for him. Last week, Kyle Busch never gave Larson a chance. Larson had a good car, but it’s not better than Kyle Busch in a Toyota. In the first Dover race, Busch made a big mistake and Larson went on to lead over half of the race. If Larson has speed in practice and is starting in front of Truex and Busch, then that might be all of a break he needs.
  4. Jimmie JohnsonWhen was the last time Jimmie Johnson score more hog points (laps led and fast lap points) than any other driver? It was the fall 2016 Charlotte race. He scored 60 hog points, just a couple more than Chase Elliott. That’s one time in two seasons.

Dover is his best track. Johnson can win here and he won here in June, but that’s it. He wins races. Leading laps does not matter in real life racing. It’s all about the last lap. Johnson has won seven championships racing this way, he’s not going to change. That being said, if Johnson doesn’t start in the back, he’ll have a chance to move up front and possibly lead laps, or score enough hog points to finish with a top 3 DFS score. He won at Bristol in the spring (a similar track), but he needed Truex and Larson to make mistakes at end.

Hog Pivots

Kevin HarvickIn the key practice last week, Harvick was the fastest. It didn’t matter. New Hampshire had been a great track for him. It didn’t matter. Harvick has been on the pole with speed, and it didn’t matter. Next year, he’ll be hog again, but not this year. Given his place in the playoff standings, it’s unlikely this team will attempt to cheat this week.

Brad Keselowski – He’s a top 5 driver and he’s advanced into the next round. The above $9,000 mold is hog points drivers or 20 point place differential drivers. He needs to qualify outside of the top 20.

Denny HamlinFrom a current form perspective, I could see this pivot working. Of course, that means Truex and the Kyles need to mess up. In terms of Dover, Hamlin doesn’t stand out. He scored 40 hog points in the 2015 June race (3rd most). That’s the only time he’s scored hog points in the last seven Dover races. He finished 21st in that race.

Matt KensethThe difference between Kenseth and Hamlin is track history. This isn’t Kenseth’s best track, but he’s fast here. In the June race, he scored 12 fast lap points (5th most). He’s never the #1 guy at Dover, but his numbers are better than Hamlin’s.0

Joey LoganoThis is not a noteworthy track for Logano. The one thing that he has going for him is that he has nothing to lose. He’s not in the playoffs. Might as well cheat.

Erik Jones If he starts on the front row, he’s in play. Last week, he was in the optimal lineup. That was a little surprising with his 8th place starting position. It will be tough for Jones to reach 7.2 fppk with his elevated price tag. He’ll need to score 62 fantasy points. It’s not completely out of the question. He scored 16.5 fast lap points last week. He is driving a Furniture Row Toyota. With Jones, he’s either a top 3 hog or no play for me. If he qualifies in the teens, then it’s a different story. Let’s say he earns 7 place differential points, 37 finishing position points and 15 fast lap points. That’s 59 fantasy points and 6.9 fppk. He’s a hog or place differential play starting in the teens.

Chase ElliottIn his three Dover races, he has not led a lap. That is not a surprise. What is a surprise is that in the those three races his worst DFS points finish is 6th. Here’s the bad news, and you’ve probably already figured this out, Elliott has never been in the optimal lineup at Dover. If you pay up, you need a hog. The fifth most DFS points doesn’t cut it at his price.

 

Middle Range

Jamie McMurray – Nothing has changed here. It all depends on his qualifying position. If seven place differential points are possible, then he’ll move up in my imaginary rankings.

Kurt Busch – He’s scary because he must win. A bust is possible. Not earning enough points per dollar is likely.

Ryan BlaneyThe short track results were poor earlier this season, but his average running position has always been strong. Unless he’s in a spot to gain double digit place differential points, then he just doesn’t fit into roster construction.

 

Sub 8k Drivers

Daniel Suarez – His car is better than he is, but he’s still pretty good. He’s a $7,900 driver, not a $6,900 driver. The salary looks like a mistake, but my theory is Draft Kings is consciously underpricing and overpricing drivers to create more lineup variations. Back to Suarez as a pick. Subtract five spots from his practice #3 long run speed. That’s where he’ll be. If that number looks good based on starting position, then scoop him up.

Danica Patrick She’s having a pretty safe season. One bright spot was the June Dover race. She finished 10th. Her average running position was 22nd. Dover like Bristol can become pretty chaotic. She missed the wrecks. She’s missed the wrecks in a lot of Dover races. Here are her last six Dover finishes with her average running position in parentheses: 10 (22), 28 (30), 13 (27) , 21 (23), 15 (24), and 25 (23). There are two takeaways. Danica finishes better than she runs. The other is a patten. The races that she finishes better than where she runs are June races. This fits the narrative that the June race (first Dover race) is more chaotic. In the September race, teams have a better idea of the aero package at Dover, and it’s more of a lap turner. In the fall races, Danica finishes where she runs. That’s likely due to less wrecks and cautions. If she qualifies around 30th, she’ll be in play, but she’s not as exciting of a pick as she was in June.            

Paul Menard Analysis of Menard’s numbers reveal that this is one of his worst seasons. It’s not hard to believe from a real life racing perspective. Typically, his average finish is inside the top 20. This year he’s outside of the 20. From a fantasy perspective, the story is different. He’s not wrecking and he’s starting in the back end of the 20s weekly. Menard wrecked in the June Dover race. That is only the second time that he has wrecked at Dover in 20 races. His median finish at Dover is 20th. Like Danica, we need him starting near the 30s. Danica has a bit of an edge because of her price, but long run practice #3 speeds could be the tie breaker.

Ryan Newman Everyone knows what Newman is. He can earn top 10s, but he’s typically a 10th to 20th place car. It all depends on strategy and when the cautions come. That’s a big risk. We want to pick the best drivers in the best cars. We don’t want to pick a driver that has to guess right on strategy. Most DFS players will surrendered to this roster design, if the car is starting in a position that allows for place differential points. Newman’s popularity will always be determined by his starting position.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.Dover is one of his favorite tracks. That’s not very shocking. Bristol is his favorite track and it’s very similar to Dover. In the June race, a blown tire ruined what he believed was a very good race car. From 2015-16, his average running position at Dover was 17th. That’s not great, but if you consider how much the Roush Fords struggled over that period, then it’s actually pretty good. Stenhouse is fighting for the last playoff spot with Dillon and Newman. He not only needs a top 10 finish, but he needs top 10 points in the stages, too.

Austin DillonThis is never an exciting play. He and Newman typically have average cars. Newman uses strategy and skill to race well in his car. Dillon uses luck.

Ty DillonPencil him in somewhere around 18th and 22nd. Yes, he ran well at Dover in the June race, but the fall race does not have the same number of cautions. More cautions means more wave arounds and lucky dogs. Dillon is just fast enough to be the first car a lap down. At Chicago, the race was green, and he finished five laps down. It shouldn’t be that extreme, but don’t expect Dillon to lead laps like he did in the first Dover race.

Aric Almirola The price is wrong. Almirola is too cheap and he fits nicely with the $11,000 drivers. His 5th place finishes at Dover were pretty lucky. However, as we always say, you’ve got to run close to the front to put yourself in a position to get lucky. He’s around a 20th place car. At his price, he doesn’t have to start near 30th.

A.J. AllmendingerSame story as Almirola. He’s around a 20th place car. They’re virtually the same price. Starting position and practice #3 long run speed will be the tie breaker.

Michael McDowellThrow McDowell into the Almirola-Allmendinger mix as well. He’s in the same price range. Allmendinger and Almirola have more of a history of being a 20th place car at Dover, but they’ve had more opportunities in decent cars. McDowell has top 20s in his last two races at Dover, and he finished 20th in the last Bristol race. One quick note, McDowell has not raced in the fall Dover race. That won’t affect his driving, but his top 20 finishes were in the volatile spring races.

Trevor Bayne This pick is sort of popping on the radar. He finished 11th and 7th at Bristol. His average running position in the first Dover race was 17th. Last year at Dover, he finished 20th and 10th. His teammate (Stenhouse) is really good at the high banked, concrete short tacks, so he’ll likely have a good setup.

Kasey Kahne It’s a track history GPP pick. Hopefully, he’ll do us a favor and qualify inside the top 10, so we can completely ignore him. Kahne and his team make too many mistakes. I don’t trust him, but he’s worth mentioning because he has run well at Dover, even during his rough years.

 

Punts

David RaganHe’s too cheap. In the June race, he wrecked on lap 397. He could have easily finished 25th, instead of 33rd. That being said, he could have easily finished 25th because of all of the cuations. We won’t see those. In the fall 2016 Dover race, only one punt scored inside the top 20. There was only one the year before that. There weren’t any punts in the 2014 fall race.

Wait and see on punts. Starting position and practice will give us a better picture of who can score 20 to 30  fantasy points.

For post-practice analysis, visit the FanVice.com Slack Chat.

 

Track Cheat Sheet: Dover

  • It’s a short track, one mile in length and highly banked in the turns. It’s a bigger Bristol. The straightaways can be claustrophobic, but it’s not as cramped or chaotic as Bristol.