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Cap Considerations

DFS: Auto Club

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Draft Kings

Jimmie Johnson has earned the most points on average at Auto Club in the Draft Kings game during the past three years He logs in at 57.1. This was accomplished through a mixture of consistency and a strong 2016 Auto Club 400. Last year he banked 79.3 points, which was second-best in the game. His two efforts preceding that ended with 43 in 2015 and 49 in 2014—but that earliest event had a maximum of only 64 points to the leader. He is pricey at $9,800, but less so than several other drivers with records that are less impressive.

Kevin Harvick has shown more raw power in the past two seasons. He netted the second most points in 2016 and the most last year, but his average is skewed by a bad performance in 2014. If one excludes that race for the moment, Harvick has an average of 88 in his last two. He did not completely live up to expectations last week and that might cause fantasy owners to overlook him in California. The veteran could be a solid differentiator for players who are riding the wave of the Young Guns’ momentum.

Kurt Busch is a solid mid-cap pick this week. His current cap of $8,200 is just below the average price per driver in Draft Kings. Part of that is due to his modest performance this year, but it also has something to do with the fact that he earned only 12 points in last year’s Auto Club 400. In 2014 and 2015, however, he was one of the five best in this game.

One of the best values this week, might be Paul Menard. He entered last year’s Auto Club 400 with a three-race streak of top-10 finishes. He qualified 13th and finished 15th for a -2 place-differential, but the modest 27 points he banked had more to do with the fact that he was not impressive in terms of the other categories scored for this game. His previous two efforts earned points that were among the six best, however.

He has been uneven this season, but AJ Allmendinger could be a hidden value for Auto Club. Like Harvick, his average is skewed by one bad race. With a strong qualification and poor finish in 2015, he cost his owners six points. In 2014 and again last year, he earned in the mid-40s, which was among the 10 best. With a price tag of only $6,600, he will free up a lot of salary cap that can be used to upgrade the midline picks.

RaceDayScore

The RaceDayScore game gives us a chance to look at the data a little differently. Without three years of data to consider, we usually consider the most recent six races as the primary source. That can be a little trickier since recent momentum factors heavily into a driver’s salary cap and most of the currently strong driver are the most expensive, but the altered perspective is worth the consideration.

Kyle Larson has easily been the most productive driver in this game with an average of 52.4 during the 2017 season. And while he is above the midline of $10,000, he is cheap enough to warrant starting. Larson’s current price tag of $10,500 is in range of his last three valuations and he earned top-five points in each of those contests. He won last year’s Pure Michigan 400 to earn 55.6 points in the process; his last two outings this year banked 55 apiece.

Larson’s teammate Jamie McMurray is not nearly as good a value, but he has the fifth-best average since the beginning of the season. He is priced exactly at the midline, which makes him a good establishment pick if one can find strong enough bargains.

Michael McDowell can be an uneven proposition overall, but he averages out to be a good value. Priced at $7,900 in this game, he is one of the cheaper options while his average in 2017 has been 11th-best. His high of 29 points was earned at Daytona International Speedway, but he earned just two fewer on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track of Atlanta Motor Speedway. He should be watched closely in practice and qualification.

Trevor Bayne is slightly more expensive with a cap of $8,800, but Roush-Fenway Racing’s reputation makes up the difference. This organization is resurgent in 2017 and there is no better place to reestablish their dominance than a two-mile track that was built by their car owner. Bayne’s average of 27 points comes with consistency. His high water mark was 31 and the minimum earned was 23.

The rookie battle is going to be strong and while there is not enough data to recommend them in Draft Kings, Erik Jones earned the 11th-most points on two occasions this year in RaceDayScore. Daniel Suarez had a great Phoenix last week and banked 50 points, which was the fourth-most in the field. There is going to be a lot of competition on the two-milers, but both principal rookies should be able to challenge for the top 15.

 

Draft Kings: Current track, Last Three Years

Driver

Avg.
Points

Avg. Group
Rank

Maximum

Minimum

Auto Club
Cap

Jimmie Johnson

57.08

6.33

79.25

43

$9,800

Kevin Harvick

51.67

14.67

102.5

-20.5

$10,800

Kurt Busch

49.25

10.67

80.25

12

$8,200

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

45.67

9.00

50

38

$8,700

Paul Menard

43.33

9.67

56

27

$6,800

Chase Elliott

42.75

9.00

42.75

42.75

$9,600

Jamie McMurray

40.00

13.00

57

29

$7,500

Landon Cassill

39.67

13.00

46

35

$6,000

Reed Sorenson

38.25

17.00

38.25

38.25

$5,100

Brad Keselowski

36.42

16.33

60.25

7.5

$10,000

Kyle Busch

33.13

17.00

63.75

2.5

$10,500

Cole Whitt

32.67

18.33

42

28

$5,300

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

31.33

16.33

52

0

$7,000

Denny Hamlin

29.75

17.00

43.5

16

$8,500

Ryan Newman

28.08

19.67

43

20

$8,000

AJ Allmendinger

27.83

18.67

46

-6

$6,600

David Ragan

26.42

21.67

35

13

$6,400

Matt Kenseth

25.83

21.67

43.75

2.25

$8,900

Danica Patrick

23.33

23.33

43

-1

$6,200

Joey Logano

21.92

18.67

47.75

-26.5

$10,300

Chris Buescher

21.25

22.50

38

4.5

$5,900

Austin Dillon

20.00

25.33

42

-3

$7,300

Martin Truex Jr.

19.67

25.00

41.25

7.75

$9,400

Clint Bowyer

17.17

27.00

37.5

-6

$7,800

Aric Almirola

17.00

23.00

45

-21

$6,500

Trevor Bayne

17.00

26.50

22.5

11.5

$7,200

Kyle Larson

15.67

27.33

51.5

-2.5

$9,100

Jeffrey Earnhardt

15.50

26.00

15.5

15.5

$5,000

Matt DiBenedetto

14.25

29.00

26.5

2

$5,500

Michael McDowell

12.00

27.00

12

12

$5,700

Kasey Kahne

6.67

31.00

29.5

-11

$8,100

Ryan Blaney

-12.00

39.00

-12

-12

$8,300

Derrike Cope

 

 

 

 

$4,600

Ty Dillon

 

 

 

 

$6,300

Gray Gaulding

 

 

 

 

$4,500

Timmy Hill

 

 

 

 

$4,800

Erik Jones

 

 

 

 

$7,700

Corey LaJoie

 

 

 

 

$4,700

Daniel Suarez

 

 

 

 

$7,100

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.