Hello everyone and welcome to my NASCAR DFS Rankings and Projections for DraftKings. If you missed it, I wrote a preview article, including my pre-practice/qualifying rankings and bets. A lot of thoughts from that article will be implied here, so please check it out here:
With 109 laps, there are less than 80 total “dominator points” (laps led & fastest laps) to be had on DraftKings. With varying strategies from the playoff drivers trying to make it to the next round, and how the starting lineup looks after practice and qualifying, I think we can see a few different leaders throughout the race. When you take these factors, and then add-in the fact that these NextGen cars have been extremely volatile this entire year, it’s best to emphasize the important of positive place differential in a race like this. Now, I do not mean “stack the back”, or “forget all the fast cars starting in the top-10”. I just mean that you don’t have to go out of your way to play multiple drivers you think can get to the front and lead the race.
I’ll do my best to narrow down this field of drivers and give you a player pool that sets you up for success.
Hollywood Casino 400 At Kansas: DraftKings Rankings & Projections
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Favorites (Strategy Known)
AJ Allmendinger $9,400 (Starting 7th) – AJ is unreal at this track. He knows how to run drivers off the line he prefers and executed that in the Xfinity race today for another win. Phantom caution or not, he was running up top. In Cup, he was extremely fast in practice and just fell a bit short on his qualifying run. AJ is not in the playoffs and his only race strategy should be to forget stage points and win this race.
Tyler Reddick $10,500 (Starting 4th) – Reddick is a bit expensive, but if he can stay ahead of the other fast drivers starting inside the top 10, who have the similar gameplan to him (winning this race), he could end up as the leader at some point when the other drivers who stayed out for stage points eventually must pit. Reddick’s dominance at road courses has been fun to watch and he brought another fast RCR car this weekend.
Chase Elliott $10,600 (Starting 9th) – Well, there’s not much to say here. This man is great at road courses, should only care about winning this race, and you get the added positive place differential potential with him starting 9th. The only concern is how slow he was in practice but was faster in qualifying and this team should only improve as the race goes on. His pit crew has been much better than AJ or Reddick’s as well, so if these three remain on the same race schedule and are pitting together, perhaps he pulls out ahead of them and finally gets it done on a road course this year.
Favorite (Strategy Unknown)
Austin Cindric $8,600 (Starting 5th) – Cindric has been so consistently awesome at road courses this year, and throughout his career. This Penske car is one of the fastest machines out there this weekend, and I expect him to be great again. However, the unknown remains. Will he be racing for stage points? Or will he get to the front and realize this car is fast enough to win the race? Even if it is, does he risk it? We do know stage points seem like the safer option, especially having this track position with a fast car. They should be easy to come-by. The beauty with Cindric is that he is so cheap, that regardless of his strategy, he should have enough time to find himself a great finish by the end.
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The Front Row
Joey Logano $9,600 (Starting 1st) & William Byron $9,900 (Starting 2nd) – I think you can make an argument to fade these two. The way they are positioned in the playoff standings would have me believe they could both use this track position to ensure a good amount of stage points. Once they are put back in the field, it would be a hard march back up towards the top, and starting 1-2, there is downside with the potential of negative place differential. Again, we can only speculate on strategy. If making 20 lineups or more, it might be smart to sprinkle in one of these drivers if one of them loves the clean air and the speed of their car and decides to play the winning strategy. I will not be playing both together on any lineups.
Positive Place Differential Potential
(In order of my point per $ projection)
Chris Buescher $7,800 (Starting 21st)
Kyle Larson $10,300 (Starting 18th)
Martin Truex Jr. $8,800 (Starting 19th)
Brad Keselowski $7,000 (Starting 31st)
Erik Jones $7,400 (Starting 26th)
Denny Hamlin $10,100 (Starting 24th)
Kevin Harvick $7,900 (Starting 22nd)
Noah Gragson $7,600 (Starting 29th)
Todd Gilliland $5,700 (Starting 32nd)
Ty Dillon $5,400 (Starting 28th)
Aric Almirola $6,400 (Starting 37th)
Josh Williams $4,600 (Starting 38th)
Corey LaJoie $5,200 (Starting 30th)
Joey Hand $5,900 (Starting 27th)
Favorite Tournament Play
Michael McDowell $7,300 (Starting 11th) – Only Elliott and Cindric have a better average finish on road courses this season. McDowell had top 10 speed in practice, but just couldn’t get there on his qualifying run. I think he can move up in to the top 10, on a strategy that is only involved around trying to win this race. If he races how he has at road courses this year in this fast car, he could be the best value play on the board.
Risk/Reward Tournament Play
Cole Custer $6,700 (Starting 12th) – Nobody likes playing Custer starting up near the top 10, as he’s burnt people time and time again. This will create super low ownership on a driver who has a very fast car this weekend. His average finish on road courses ranks 12th vs this current field, and the speed he had in practice was top 10. Any finish within a few spots of his starting position would make him a nice play, but if that top speed is real and he finishes there, he will be a great play.
Make sure you tune into Playback for the race today!
^ CLICK THIS LINK ^This is a fun, interactive way to watch the race! Garage Guy Chase will be live, and if any of us can hop on there, we will.
SUM IT UP
If you take my 4 favorites, the green and yellow positive place differential, and the tournament plays, you have a field of 17 drivers. I think that’s good in a race like this. If you’re making a ton of lineups, you could consider using everyone listed in this article. Take some stands and trust your gut. It’s always smart to remember that with a 109-lap race, positive place differential typically prevails over dominance. Especially when we have playoff implications on the line, drivers racing for stage points, and practice and qualifying working out the way it did. An example of positive place differential prevailing would be, Logano leads half the race, let’s say 60 laps. He wins some stages and finishes 8th. That’s 44 DraftKings points for his finishing position and those laps led. It’s a nice score, but Kyle Larson can lead 0 laps, finish 9th and have the same score. Logano had the better real-life race, but that’s not the game we’re playing. Please know that this was just a random scenario to use as the example. I’m not predicting that this will happen for either driver.
GOOD LUCK TODAY GARAGE GUYS. LET’S BAG.
NO DIGGITY, I GOT TO BAG IT UP, BAG IT UP.