Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks: KOBALT 400 at Las Vegas

Daily Fantasy Baseball players understand how Coors Field and Oakland’s Coliseum. Impact fantasy baseball. DFS NASCAR players must know each track. This week it’s Las Vegas. This is second of the 12 times that NASCAR will cycle around a 1.5 mile track this season. These tracks are dominated by best drivers on the best teams.

Now for the bad news, this will be a lap turner for most of the race. The car in the front is not going to be passed. Lead changes will happen on pit road and on restarts. Near the end of the race, drivers will panic and aggressively attempt to gain spots or block other drivers on restarts. We should see long green flag runs in the first two segments, but the last segment will have a restart wreck or two. This should help drivers get back on the lead lap. A driver mired in the 20s all day could squeak out a top 10 finish.

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

Top Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks (plus $9,000)

The Daily Fantasy NASCAR circuit will run 267 laps at a 1.5 mile track for the second week in a row. That’s the typical amount of fast lap and laps led points at an intermediate track. If you want to win the GPP, then you’ll need to pick the 2-3 drivers that hog these points.

Brad Keselowski starts the race in clean air, and no one passes the leader at intermediate tracks in clean air. As long as Keselowski is mistake free in the pits and doesn’t completely flub a restart, then he’ll lead a lot of laps. In an interview, BK made the point that he wanted to run up front all day and earn bonus points in segments 1 and 2, not just the final segment. BK has won 2 of the last 3 Las Vegas races, and he’s finished with a top DFS score in each of the last 4 Las Vegas races, and he own last week. Don’t worry about BK’s practice #2 times, he had nothing in practice last year either. His crew chief is “very happy” with their race trim, and they were fast in practice #3.

Martin Truex Jr. was the guy last year. If Kevin Harvick is DFS NASCAR’s Russell Westbrook, then Truex is James Harden. Last year, Truex tore up the intermediate track circuit, but not at Las Vegas. Why not? He missed a lug nut, so he had to pit under green. He still finished 11th. Truex has a fast ride this weekend. He could get by Keselowski on a long run, pit road, or on a restart. It’s hard to imagine BK leading all 267 laps. In practice #3, Truex recorded the fastest single lap run and the 3rd fastest 10 lap run.

Kevin Harvick will likely finish 5th or better. Where would you set the over-under? In 10 of the 12 intermediate track races in 2016 (throwing out two poor finishes caused by a wreck and bad luck), Harvick’s average finish was 5th. Let’s say that’s where he finishes (that is 39 position points and 14 place differential points). Let’s not cheat Harvick out of all of his his points. In the last 3 years at Las Vegas races, he’s scored at least 10 fast lap points. Add it all up, and Harvick has at least the 4th highest DFS score without leading a single lap (based on previous year’s scoring). That’s his DFS floor, the 4th highest score. In practice #2, Harvick was 3rd fastest on the long run.

Middle Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks ($7,000-$9,000)

Austin Dillon doesn’t seem like the best point per dollar pick. It may be more than you want to pay, but probability wise, he has a better chance at a top 10 DFS day than bargain drivers. Last week, the DFS scoreboard was littered with value plays from 10th to 20th, but that was due to the new pit road timing lines that caught many teams off guard. Dillon isn’t cheap, but he’s cheap enough. Throw out two wrecks at intermediate tracks in 2016 and Dillon’s average finish was 11th. If he finishes 11th on Sunday, he’ll score 44 fantasy points and will likely be a top 10 DFS driver. In practice #2 and #3, Dillon posted the 10th fastest single lap run in race trim.

Kurt Busch is too cheap. When he qualifies poorly his price seem egregious. We never count on Kurt for fast laps and laps led points, but he consistently delivers finishing position points. This week we can throw in place differential points. Kurt may not have the same fantasy point ceiling as his SHR teammate, Kevin Harvick, but he’s $2,400 cheaper. In terms of points per dollar, Kurt will likely outperform Harvick (unless Harvick dominates the race). Kurt started last season with 6 top 10s at intermediate tracks. In practice #2, Kurt posted the 7th fastest single lap run in race trim.

Ryan Newman and the rest of the RCR cars look good last week. Minus a design flaw that allowed debris to damage their alternators. That should be fixed, but who knows what trick they’ll pull this week. This is the team that got busted poking their tires with needles. When your team hasn’t won a race in four years, then you’ll try a lot of things. Voodoo comes to mind. Newman has a top 15 DFS score in each of the last three Las Vegas races. In practice #3, Newman was 12th fastest on a single lap run and 10th quickest on the long run.

Value Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks ($6,000-$7,000)

We’re looking for place differential and finishing position. If we can get them both, then awesome. Sometimes it’s foolish to chase both.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is right on the edge. Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola started in a similar spot in the back of the field last week. Kahne score a top 5, and Almirola did nothing. Kahne was clearly better, but Kahne was also very lucky. He received the lucky dog free pass twice. Maybe it wasn’t luck. Maybe he was just fast enough. Stenhouse was a top car last week. He was a top 15 driver at Las Vegas last season. If Stenhouse can manage to finish 20th (not a stretch), he’ll likely finish with a top 15 DFS NASCAR score. In practice #2, Stenhouse ran the 15th fast single lap. He’s just fast enough. (note: at the very end of practice #3, Stenhouse hit the wall. He’s going to a backup car, so he starts from the back. This is very risky, but the backup car might be better than the original).

Danica Patrick needs to finish in 19th place in the race to finish in the projected DFS top 15. Last season, her worst intermediate track finish was 24th and her average finish was 20th. She drove her Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to 17th last week. Her practice times have been awful, but she posted the same horrible numbers in practice last year. We’re not asking for a top 10, just don’t hit the wall or speed on pit road.

Punt Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks (sub $6,000)

Punts are long shots everywhere. At Las Vegas, 8 punts have finished with a top 20 Daily Fantasy NASCAR score in the last 6 Atlanta races (5%). Last year there were zero successful punts. Before you write off punting, last week 3 punts finished inside the top 20 (11th. Cole Whitt, 15. David Ragan, and 19. Landon Cassill).

Cole Whitt needs to finish 26th. It’s not out of the question; he earned a top 20 last week. Whitt isn’t running for a bum team this year. Tristar Motorsports has been around for almost 30 years. They’re using leftover equipment from the Richard Petty Motorsports #44 car. That might sound bad, but it’s better than what the other punts are driving. In the end, it’s not so much nailing the right punt, it’s nailing the other five picks.

Track Cheat Sheet: Las Vegas

  • This is an intermediate track (a 1.5 mile long oval track that constitutes the majority of NASCAR race tracks). It has less banking in the corners compared to Atlanta, but the track surface in Las Vegas isn’t as worn. It does not chew up tires. Drivers do not need four tires, they can take two tires. Some drivers will pass on tires completely. Pit road strategy was almost not existent last week because drivers had to take four tires. This week, drivers will gamble (insert bad Vegas joke). A quicker pit stop means a driver will gain spots on pit road.

I am a promoter at FanVice and am also a user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on.  Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of FanVice and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.