Fantasy NASCAR Picks-Monster Energy at Kansas

Pearce breaks down his picks for this weekend’s race below!

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Now back to the great analysis from Pearce!

Elite Hogs

Kevin Harvick – There’s nothing to say. If you’re not playing him, then you’re betting he wrecks. Bad pit stops haven’t been enough to take him out of the optimal lineup. The second and third place cars got busted cheating at Dover, and they were more than 5 seconds behind Harvick.


Kyle Busch – It’s the same as Harvick. Last week, I included him in the cheat sheet, but wrote in the cheat sheet and in slack chat that it was a good week to fade Kyle Busch. Regression was coming, and it did in the form of a broken drivetrain. Was that a lucky guess? Yes, but that’s how DFS NASCAR works and don’t believe anyone that tells you differently. If you can’t MME, then the best way to win the GPP is to fade an elite car on the right week. Busch was okay in practice last week. He was not thrilled with his car, but that was not a good reason to fade him. His team is too good. At Phoenix, they turned a car that Busch hated into the car that scored the most fantasy points. If you fade him, you are gambling on bad luck, again. That’s probably not a smart move.

Martin Truex, Jr. – At the Richmond night races in years past, Truex has been money. He was great this year, too. He wasn’t very fast early in the race, but that’s because the race started an hour early. During the actual night race, Truex was the best car on the track. In the last three Kansas night races, Truex has scored the most fantasy points. The Kansas start time is the regular start time. There are three elite hogs to choose from. Will you pick Busch, Harvick, or Truex? Dough-cisions, dough-cisions.



First, let’s look at some intermediate track optimal lineups.



Kevin Harvick 10100 132.25
Martin Truex, Jr. 10400 74.75
Brad Keselowski 9200 68.00
Kurt Busch 8200 57.50
Ty Dillon 6500 22.00
David Ragan 5600 28.00
50000 382.50

Harvick truly dominates and Truex starts in the back. Those were chalk locks. Brad Keselowski inherits the lead when Harvick has a poor pit stop. BK started 5th. He was within striking distance, if Harvick made a mistake on pit road. BK earned hog points while Harvick made his was back to the front. Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski play contrarian pit strategies and each score 22.5 hog points. This move only works in a green race, and we’ve seen a lot of that this season. Dillon starting 25th is not a surprising play at $7,100, and Cole Whitt has been the punt at Atlanta two or three years in a row.

Las Vegas:

Kevin Harvick 10300 132.50
Kyle Busch 10000 66.50
Aric Almirola 7700 53.50
Erik Jones 8300 43.50
Ryan Newman 7100 47.50
Chris Buescher 5700 44.50
49100 388.00

Harvick cheated and scored 86 hog points. No one else was close to him. Kyle Busch scored the second most points, but that was just 11 fast lap points and 2.5 laps led points. Almirola starting 29th was a no brainer. Jones starting 9th at that point in the season would have been a gutsy call.

Not only did you need to believe in Jones, but you had to predict one driver would completely dominate (I’ve used dominate twice now, new record). That would also mean you predicted that Kevin Harvick would cheat. Harvick could have won without cheating, but he would not have scored 86 hog points. Newman starting 25th wasn’t a surprise. He was fast the week before at Atlanta. Buescher starting 28th was nearly a lock. His car was fast in practice.

What you should be asking yourself is how many hogs will there be at the intermediate track this weekend? That will shape your lineup construction.



Martin Truex, Jr. 10800 111.75
Kyle Busch 10000 68.50
Denny Hamlin 9100 59.75
Jimmie Johnson 8900 59.00
A.J. Allmendinger 6000 32.00
Cole Whitt 5000 25.00
49800 356.00

Harvick started 10th. Do not downplay the significance of starting position at any track. Especially aero-dependent tracks. A mistake free Harvick has to be patient to make it through traffic. There were times at Dover, where Harvick had to battle back. At Richmond, Harvick worked his way from 12th to the top 5, but a penalty sent him back through the field. That’s hitting the reset button. That’s 50 more laps that he will not lead.

In that same race, Kyle Busch had to start in the back, he was not going to lead very many laps. Same with Harvick at Bristol. At Fontana, Harvick had to patiently work his way through traffic, and he didn’t. He wrecked himself altering this race’s outcome.

This race goes green and Truex runs away with it. Busch runs well, but he’s no match for Truex who has been very fast at the two mile tracks. Hamlin and Johnson started outside of the top 20 like most of the field because everyone failed inspection. A.J. races from 32nd to 22nd, but Kahne and Suarez did the same exact thing. A.J. scores a fraction of a point more than them. Whitt is the highest scoring punt.



Kyle Busch 10400 117.00
Kevin Harvick 11500 104.75
Erik Jones 7900 80.50
Jamie McMurray 7000 62.50
William Byron 6700 57.75
Michael McDowell 5600 43.00
49100 465.50

That data from this race is almost worthless. Texas was a nightmare. The new track, the tire monster, PJ1 track bite, and weather created unique racing. There was a bottom groove in turns 3 and 4 with an average speed of over 200 mph. The groove just above the bottom groove was much slower. If a driver got out of the bottom groove (this happened every restart), they were running on ice.

A lot of good cars wrecked. A lot of really bad cars earned top 20s by walking around the track. Busch and Harvick were fast, but Harvick had a ton of bad pit stops. If Harvick is mistake free, then this is like the three previous intermediate track races where one driver runs away with it.

Fading Kyle Busch this weekend is a possibility, if you believe Truex or Harvick dominate. We’ve seen a lot of domination at intermediate tracks this year.

The other drivers in the optimal lineup do not require analyses. They simply did not wreck or get caught in someone else’s wreck. I will take this time to mention for the 15th time that Jamie McMurray had a broken rear window brace and his rear window was caved in. He was not penalized, but everyone else that cheated in the same manner has been severely penalized (Harvick, Elliott, Suarez, and Bowyer).

Kyle Larson – He was fast at Texas, but wrecked. He was fast last year at Kansas, but suffered a blown engine early in the race.

Chase Elliott – If he cheats, again. He won’t. Not for me. Not at this price.


Joey Logano – Top 10, not a hog. If this race is a wreck fest, then a Logano pick that scores only finishing position points might be optimal. That’s if a bunch of car do not fail inspection. With NASCAR cracking down hard last week, I would not be surprised to see a lot of cars fail inspection.


Brad Keselowski – He’s not elite, but if he qualifies in the top 5, then he’ll run in the top 5. Through pit cycles and pit road strategy, he’ll get the lead at some points and squeeze out some hog points. He will work if one car dominates. If there are two leaders, then he doesn’t work.


Denny Hamlin – Never a thing at intermediate tracks if he starts near 10th.


Jimmie Johnson – He’ll need about 8 place differential points and a win to be viable. I don’t see it.


Clint Bowyer – After the L1 penalty last week for rear window shenanigans, I’m not as high on Bowyer as I was Sunday evening. I’ll need double digit place differential points at this price.


Ryan Blaney – At Texas, a loose tire penalty relegated him to a 5th place finish. It’s possible that Blaney could have competed with Busch and Harvick. Blaney was very fast in both Kansas races last season. He should unload fast. If he starts on the front row, then I might have a lot of Blaney.


Aric Almirola – He needs double digit place differential points unless it’s a wreckfest, or he is stupid fast in in practice.


Kurt Busch – Finishing position and hog scraps and he’ll work if one car runs away with the race. He probably work, if two cars hog all of the points.


Erik Jones – He’s a cheaper Kurt Busch, but Kurt has a faster car. Jones has been great at intermediate tracks this season.


Ryan Newman – He’s had speed in practice at every intermediate track. It all depends on where he qualifies.


Alex Bowman – This feels like the overlooked play that ends up in a GPP winning lineup. It’s best to closely monitor his practice times.

Jamie McMurray – He has one top 15 finish this year. Let that sink in.

Austin Dillon – The #3 car tried to cheat and were busted last week. They had to start in the back because of their splitter. They finished 26th. After the race, they were busted for manipulating the splitter, again. I think they’re doing it wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the #3 team either: A. use Ryan Newman’s setup or B. fire their crew chief for the fourth time because Austin Dillon sucks.

Let’s look at this scientifically. The variable that Richard Childress has changed in the past was the crew chief. The variable that has remained constant is the driver. The #3 car sucked before and it sucks now. I wonder what the problem is? Don’t say it is the car. Childress can’t change the cars. If he could, he would have made that change.

There is only one other change that he can make, but I bet he retires before he gets the guts to pull the trigger on firing his grandson. RCR should downgrade to an Xfinity only team. There is no shame in admitting that you can’t compete with SHR and JGR.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. – If he doesn’t wreck, 15th place. I have a feeling that he wrecks in practice, again.


Matt Kenseth – Waiting until practice, but if you have made it a habit of fading over-the-hill drivers, you’re doing alright in DFS NASCAR. Here’s the list of old driver that likely burned your money over the last three years: Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Jr. This year, you can add Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray to that list. Matt Kenseth was close to being on the list last year.

Paul Menard – The disappointment reached another level last week. I’m done with Menard.

Daniel Suarez – On Monday, people in the slack chat were kicking themselves. How did we miss this? He had speed in practice, but no one trusted him starting inside the top 10. It turns out we were right. His team cheated. The #19 team is ugly. Pit road mistakes, wrecks, and now cheating. I thought Suarez was going to be an unquestionable play at this price, then we find out they pulled the rear window trick. He’s still a top 15 car, but he’s not a top 5 car.

William Byron – The #24 team has fielded some pretty terrible cars this year, but their best car was at the last intermediate track race. Give me Byron over Suarez.

A.J. Allmendinger – If you figure this team out, let me know and let A.J. know as well because he doesn’t know either.

Kasey Kahne – He had his best car of the season and finished 17th at Dover. For Hendrick Kahne, that’s not good. For Leavine Family Racing Kahne, that’s pretty good. Just the name of the team itself lets you know that this car isn’t that good.


Darrell Wallace, Jr. – Going to need a wreckfest.

David Ragan – Probably not at this price.

Chris Buescher – If he’s fast in practice, sure. He raced well at Las Vegas.

Ty Dillon – He needs a bunch of cautions. He got 8 cautions last week, that’s not bad. Unfortunately, he still finished 4 laps down. The leaders pitted every time, too. That’s 8 wave arounds, and still, he finished 4 laps down. The leaders are not going to pit everytime this week. He needs a bunch of cautions, but he’s cheap and we know he’ll start around 30th.

Michael McDowell – He’s around a 25th place car. If he can earn positive place differential, then he should be popular. Kenseth notes will help Ricky Stenhouse, and Front Row Motorsports because they have a very tight Ford alliance with Roush.

Matt DiBenedetto – As mentioned before, he makes his gains on pit road. Last week his team had a green flag pit penalty early in the race. That was game over.

Corey LaJoie – Going into Dover, LaJoie had blown an engine in 2 of 3 races. He topped that at Dover. He blew an engine in practice and in the race. Cole Whitt drives the same car and has not blown an engine this year.

Ross Chastain – He has 10 top 30s in 11 races. I’ll take that. He knows what he is doing. He might suffer a little this weekend by not having any Xfinity reps at Kansas.

Reed Sorenson – 382 laps last week. That ends a streak of 4 DNFs.

Landon Cassill – 385 laps last week. He might be able to squeak out a 30th place finish in a green race. He’s not over driving his car. He’s taking care of it and turning laps.

Timmy Hill – Pass.

Gray Gaulding – Non-Plate finishes in 2018: 36, 33, 34, 32, 36, 20, 31, 35, 30. It could be worse. The 30th at Dover is impressive. I’ll take 30th from a $4,500 driver.

Cody Ware – 33rd at best.

Derrike Cope – StarCom is not ready to field a second car. This car ran 144 of the 400 laps last week.