Loading scores...
Cap Considerations

DFS: Chicagoland

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

Draft Kings

Kevin Harvick is the most expensive driver in the Draft Kings game—still. Considering that he has earned top-10 points almost every week for more than a year, this should come as no surprise, but there is a much better value lurking a few positions back.

Martin Truex Jr. has not only been one of the best values in this contest on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, he has been incredibly consistent. He earned the fourth-most points at Atlanta Motor Speedway this February, stumbled briefly at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and then scored the most in three consecutive races on this course type. Those came at Texas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. This July, he grabbed the second-most at Kentucky Speedway. He is $500 cheaper than Harvick and that could make a huge difference deeper in the roster.

In order to take Truex, one will most likely need to grab a bargain basement driver priced at less than $6,000. Landon Cassill has been consistently strong and there have been recent flashes of speed from Regan Smith, David Ragan, and Matt DiBenedetto—all of whom are priced in that range. The bargain pick of the week is Michael McDowell, however. His 12th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway reminded players how this team has been turning around their performance. Since finishing 10th at Daytona International Speedway this July, McDowell has scored four results of 17th through 23rd, a 27th, and last week’s 12th. Ty Dillon finished 25th in the one event McDowell missed. Priced as the fourth cheapest driver this week, he is going to outperform his salary cap.

The choice for a mid-cap driver is going to come down to instinct. In the $7,000 to $8,000 range, one finds Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne, Alex Bowman, Jamie McMurray, and Tony Stewart (at $8,100). Any of these drivers could earn a top-15, but players probably want to spend their money on proven values. As one of the Chasers who had to rely on points, McMurray has been the most consistent.

One could toss a dice to pick the other mid-capper, but Kahne gets the slight nod because he finally posted back-to-back top-10s at Richmond and Darlington Raceway. The pressure is off his shoulders at the moment because he failed to make the Chase. He has an opportunity to play the role of spoiler. If Kahne seems too risky, one might consider his teammate Alex Bowman because that Young Gun has a limited number of races remaining in 2016 to make an impression on next year’s car owners.

Lineup set while writing this article: Martin Truex Jr. (10,300), Kyle Larson ($9,600), Kurt Busch ($9,000), Jamie McMurray ($7,800), Kasey Kahne ($7,500), and Michael McDowell ($5,200). (Swapping McDowell for Cassill would allow players to take Harvick over Truex).

RaceDayScore

The range between Harvick and Truex is the same in RaceDayScore as in Draft Kings: $500. The dynamic is not the same, however; three drivers are more expensive than Harvick and five separate the two—including somewhat inexplicably Jimmie Johnson and… wait for it: Ryan Newman. We cannot quite explain the confidence in these drivers given their recent performances, but they move the cap level in a way to create some decent mid-range picks and can easily be avoided.

One of the better bargain drivers is Bowman. He is priced in the $7,000 range in both games, but considering one has $10,000 more to spend in RaceDayScore than Draft Kings, he is a much better value. Bowman has great equipment and while he has not performed to Hendrick Motorsports’ standards, he has a lot of potential. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon also struggled in this car, but the team is capable of earning at least a top-20 for a driver with the 32nd-greatest salary cap.

Chris Buescher is another driver overvalued in Draft Kings, but priced about right in RaceDayScore. He can be had for $8,400 in this game, which frees up $1,600 to spend above the midline.

Chase Elliott continues to show a lot of promise. The stress of making the Chase has been such that he has not lived up to his potential in the past few races. It will get to him again before the playoffs are over, but this is still a team capable of scoring top-10s when they race within their limitations. Elliott has not yet competed in the Cup series at Chicagoland, but he has been solid on the other similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. If a player does not share this confidence, he might be the last driver one places on their roster if he fits the appropriate niche. He should at least be considered.

Denny Hamlin has more momentum than anyone else in the field. His current top-10 streak is up to eight consecutive races. He is also the defending winner of this race last year and had a sixth in 2014 to kick off that Chase. He is priced nearly identical to Elliott, however, and players may need to make a race day decision on who to start based on practice times.

Similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks are not venues on which dark horses shine, so concentrate on marquee drivers. If multiple lineups are set, spread the wealth at the top evenly. One driver that might be tempting is Kurt Busch. Along with Harvick, he is the only driver to sweep the top 10 on this track type in 2016—but most of his efforts were on the high side of that range and he is the second-most expensive pick this week at $11,800.

Lineup set while writing this article: Kyle Larson ($11,500), Martin Truex Jr. ($11,300), Denny Hamlin ($10,900), Chase Elliott ($10,800), Alex Bowman ($7,800), and Michael McDowell ($7,400).

Driver

Avg. Fin Last 6 Races

Avg. Points Draft Kings

Avg. Points RaceDayScore

Denny Hamlin

4.17

60.79

44.52

Kevin Harvick

8.17

70.92

44.78

Brad Keselowski

9.00

49.63

37.53

Kyle Larson

10.83

48.08

36.05

Jamie McMurray

11.00

36.33

34.33

Joey Logano

12.33

35.42

31.05

Kasey Kahne

12.50

36.83

33.67

AJ Allmendinger

14.17

33.21

30.43

Carl Edwards

14.50

25.38

25.62

Austin Dillon

14.83

28.83

28.48

Chase Elliott

15.33

34.71

28.42

Martin Truex Jr.

15.33

46.79

27.20

Kyle Busch

15.50

41.25

29.70

Jeff Gordon

16.40

29.00

27.60

Ryan Newman

18.17

20.67

22.67

Chris Buescher

18.67

32.33

28.53

Jimmie Johnson

18.83

23.29

22.28

Kurt Busch

18.83

20.58

22.02

Trevor Bayne

19.67

29.33

26.67

Matt Kenseth

20.17

17.13

17.77

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

20.17

28.92

25.58

Ryan Blaney

20.17

20.92

21.08

Casey Mears

21.00

27.50

24.42

Danica Patrick

21.17

29.88

26.02

Michael McDowell

21.50

27.50

24.92

Tony Stewart

21.50

15.33

18.58

Regan Smith

23.17

28.21

24.30

Dylan Lupton

25.00

33.00

26.00

Greg Biffle

25.00

21.96

19.75

Aric Almirola

25.67

19.25

18.25

Clint Bowyer

26.50

21.58

18.75

Paul Menard

27.17

11.83

14.08

Brian Scott

28.17

19.79

17.75

David Ragan

28.33

18.67

16.58

Matt DiBenedetto

29.00

17.00

15.58

Landon Cassill

29.67

18.25

16.00

Alex Bowman

30.00

-7.50

2.00

Michael Annett

31.60

18.20

15.30

Reed Sorenson

32.00

18.40

15.20

Josh Wise

32.17

18.25

15.00

Jeffrey Earnhardt

32.75

17.63

14.43

Cole Whitt

34.17

11.60

11.40

Send a note to Dan Beaver @FantasyRace on Twitter and tell him which other Daily Fantasy NASCAR games you would like to see profiled.

 

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.