FireKeepers Casino 400
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series makes a stop at Michigan International Speedway this weekend, and you plan on cashing in at DraftKings playing NASCAR DFS, here are a few things to remember.
Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for 200 laps, so the points available in the dominator categories are lower than most weeks. You don't want to ignore the dominator points, but at the same time, you should make sure that at least four of your drivers can post big score through finishing position and place differential.
As for the dominator points, history says that the two drivers starting on the front row are the most likely to lead a lot of laps. Considering Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. will make up Row 1 Sunday, I think there is a good chance that trend continues.
In fact, I think you need to roster both Larson and Truex in all of your cash lineups, and I would also have at least one of them, if not both, in a lot of your GPP lineups. Granted, you need to find ways to make your lineup stand out to win a larger tournament, but avoiding the obvious best plays just for the sake of being different isn't a smart strategy.
You need the top scorers in your lineup if you plan on taking down bigger tournaments, and sometimes, the popular picks are also the top scorers.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at Larson, Truex and the rest of my favorite cash and GPP plays for Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan.
Top Cash Game Plays
Kyle Larson ($10,200)
The trick for cash games is to find a safe way to gain exposure to the dominator categories, and you won't find a safer option this weekend than Larson. He has won the last two races at two-mile ovals, including a win from the pole at Auto Club in March when he led more than 100 laps. He starts from the pole again Sunday, and a repeat performance is a very real possibility. I expect Larson to be the most used driver in a majority of leagues.
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000)
Truex has arguably been the most dominant driver on the season, and the first time the series visited a 2.0-mile oval, he led 73 laps. He will start on the front row Sunday, so another impressive performance should be on tap. Look for Truex to be one of the two most popular picks and one of the two highest scorers at DraftKings.
Kevin Harvick ($9,900)
With seven Top 5s in his last eight starts at Michigan, Harvick has proven to be one of the safest picks at this track. He has also been able to lead the second-most laps of any driver here since he joined Stewart-Haas Racing. Starting 11th, Harvick should be a popular pick and a relatively safe option for gaining exposure to the dominator points.
Paul Menard ($6,500)
He starts back in 30th, so he has the place differential category working in his favor. He also has a strong track record at Michigan, and Menard's 11.3 average finish in the last ten races here ranks fourth.
Ty Dillon ($6,100)
You have to start Dillon in cash games this weekend. He starts dead last after having his qualifying time disallowed; he can ride the place differential category to 40-plus points at DraftKings just by finishing in the top half of the field.
Landon Cassill ($5,200)
While he doesn't have much of a ceiling, Cassill starts 36th out of 37 cars, so he is guaranteed not to lose points in the place differential category. He can also flirt with 20 fantasy points if he can just challenge for a Top 25. If you want a low-risk, cheap option, Cassill is your punt play to target in cash games.
Top GPP Plays
Jimmie Johnson ($9,800)
Sure, he is starting at the back of the field in a backup car at a track where he been hit and miss, but Johnson thrives in situations like this, and all the red flags should lower his ownership. He started at the back of the pack before winning at Dover a few weeks ago, and despite the up-and-down results at MIS, he does rank first in both dominator categories here. You can never completely ignore Johnson.
Chase Elliott ($9,400)
If you're looking to punt either Kyle Larson or Martin Truex Jr. or both, Elliott is one of my favorite contrarian options to build around. He finished second in both races at Michigan as a rookie, leading 30-plus laps in both starts. Elliott starts 10th Sunday, which is exactly where he started when he led 35 laps here last June.
Joey Logano ($9,200)
He has been terrible over the last month and a half, but Logano has been a stud at Michigan. Not only is he the defending winner of this weekend's race, but he has eight straight Top 10s at Michigan, and he has led a series-best 356 laps at the track in that span. It's hard to trust a slumping driver in cash games, but he has too much upside to avoid in GPPs.
Ryan Blaney ($8,700)
Even before his win at Pocono, Blaney had been running up front and doing some damage in the place differential category. He starts sixth Sunday, so it could be more of the same. He could be a cheaper option for gaining exposure to the dominator points, and you need to have him in a couple of tournament lineups.
Daniel Suarez ($7,500)
He starts 20th, putting him in midpack purgatory when it comes to the place differential category. Suarez isn't an obvious play like Ty Dillon or Paul Menard, but the rookie has four straight Top 15s heading into this race, and he finished in the Top 10 at Auto Club Speedway in March in his first Cup start at a two-mile oval. He could be a sneaky mid-priced play.
Clint Bowyer ($6,800)
His third-place qualifying effort should curb his ownership numbers, but while he will be a lineup killer if he has trouble, there is still plenty of potential here. He has seven Top 10s in his last ten starts at MIS, so he finishes in the 30-point range simply with a solid finish. At this price, 30-plus points is a bargain. As a bonus, he could use his excellent track position to score a few points in the dominator categories.
Trevor Bayne ($6,400)
On a normal week, I would be all over Bayne in cash games after a 27th-place qualifying effort. However, his wife is due to give birth any day, and there is a chance that he could miss the race. Yes, the odds are that the situation will be clear before the start of the race, but there is also a slim chance he could get the call between the time rosters lock at DraftKings and the time the race goes green. That added element of uncertainty could drive down his ownership a bit, but the upside through place differential is still there.
Cole Whitt ($4,900)
If you are looking for a cheap punt play, Whitt should be at the top of the list. He starts 33rd, but he has a 28.8 average finish in his last six starts at Michigan, and he has gained an average of 8.9 spots per race in that span. Whitt doesn't have huge upside, but he should flirt with 20 points while freeing up tons of cap space.
Drivers to Fade
Kyle Busch ($9,500)
He is starting in the Top 5 with a car that was fast in practice, but I still have a hard tie trusting Busch this weekend. He has a brutal 27.3 average finish in the last ten races at MIS, and he has led just a combined ten laps in that span. I may play him in one GPP, but I will be severely limiting my exposure.
Kasey Kahne ($7,700)
Kahne just can't seem to avoid trouble, and while he does have a decent record at Michigan, you can't expect more than a Top 15 Sunday. Starting 16th, he is going to be lucky to break even in the place differential category, and if he finds trouble again, he is going to end up costing you a decent amount of points. There is not nearly enough upside to justify the risk.
Michael McDowell ($5,500)
I love what McDowell could have provided at this price, but I just don't love his starting spot. He needs to start around the 30th spot to be an effective DFS play but starting 22nd Sunday eliminates any potential points through place differential. You need to look elsewhere for cap relief.
Favorite Cash Game Lineup
- Kyle Larson ($10,200)
- Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000)
- Kevin Harvick ($9,900)
- Kurt Busch ($8,500)
- Ty Dillon ($6,100)
- Landon Cassill ($5,200)
Favorite GPP Lineup
- Kyle Larson ($10,200)
- Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000)
- Chase Elliott ($9,400)
- Daniel Suarez ($7,500)
- Clint Bowyer ($6,800)
- Ty Dillon ($6,100)
Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup
- Jimmie Johnson ($9,800)
- Brad Keselowski ($9,700)
- Joey Logano ($9,200)
- Ryan Blaney ($8,700)
- Austin Dillon ($7,600)
- Cole Whitt ($4,900)