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Cap Considerations

DFS: Michigan (Summer)

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

Draft Kings

Players are fairly blessed that a couple of moderately-priced drivers have strong enough records to suggest they will earn top-10 or even –five points. This spring Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson were at the top of their game and challenged for the FireKeepers Casino 400 victory. Both are priced just above the midline in the Draft Kings game with Elliott demanding $8,700 and Larson $8,500. That will not free up any cap value, but these racers still deserve to anchor fantasy rosters before the exploration at the top and bottom of the order.

Kevin Harvick did not dominate the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, but he did dominate the points. His disappointing qualification effort virtually guaranteed he would score major place-differential points that would have made him one of the top choices last week even if he had not won. More importantly, that was the 12th time in the most recent 18 races that he scored top-five points in Draft Kings’ contest, which puts him head and shoulders above Brad Keselowski with the second-best record of 50 percent top-fives in the same span of time.

The two top rookies last week put on the same kind of show they performed at the beginning of the season. Ryan Blaney was en route to a top-10 or –five until he was banged about in one of the several accidents that marked the bullring. The Wood Bros. have been strong on this track, even if Blaney has struggled a little during his stint with them.

Carl Edwards is simply a great overall value on two-mile tracks. During his career he has rarely stumbled on this course type with top-10 results in his first races at both Michigan International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. When he returned to both venues, he scored top-fives and kept that pace up for eight consecutive races. Since then, his perfect record has gone by the wayside and he has slowed a little. He has not scored a top-five since 2013 on this track type, but all but two of his last 14 efforts on these two tracks ended 13th or better. More importantly, he is priced $1,200 less than Harvick and that opens a lot of opportunities.

Joe Gibbs and Penske Racing’s dominance can easily be seen in their cap values. While Harvick is legitimately the most expensive driver in the game, Logano and Keselowski command the second- and third-highest value. Kyle Busch, affiliated Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, and Edwards line up in the next four positions ranging from $10,000 to $9,500, which leaves only the $8,900-priced Denny Hamlin as an outlier. As the 10th-most expensive driver in the field—and racing for a top-two organization—he could be this week’s best value. Wait until after Saturday’s practice to make that determination, however.  

Lineup set while writing this article: Kevin Harvick ($10,700), Chase Elliott ($8,700), Kyle Larson ($8,500), Jamie McMurray ($7,600), Ryan Blaney ($7,400), and Chris Buescher ($6,600).

RaceDayScore

RaceDayScore makes it very difficult to play an all or nothing strategy and last week at Bristol provided a cautionary tale. Ten drivers priced above the midline earned points in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race contest that put them 16th or worse on the grid. The bottom four drivers Kenseth, Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Keselowski earned negative points and with the exception of Blaney, these racers were priced at $11,000 or more.

Those numbers were skewed by crash damage, of course, but that is the kind of roster-killing incident that makes it so difficult to commit high dollars. Bristol has tended to be a dark horse special in recent seasons; two of the top 10 finishers in terms of RaceDayScore points were priced under the midline as well as the 12th-best AJ Allmendinger.

The good news is that Michigan is a little more predictable than Bristol. The track is wide and drivers can typically stay away from one another in the corners. Restarts are tricky when the field gets bunched up and this is especially true late in the race, but that is an unavoidable fact in Modern Day NASCAR.

Luckily, there is one driver below the midline that will allow players some great options right around and just above the $10,000 mark. Roush-Fenway Racing support elevated Chris Buescher to fifth last week on a very tricky track. While it is possible that part of his success was due to late-race attrition, he had the 13th-best average running position that kept him in contention. If he can manage another solid top-15 this week, he will be well worth the $8,800 price tag.

With Buescher on the roster, that opens some very interesting choices. The Chip Ganassi Racers drivers both had solid runs last week until Kyle Larson got banged about in one of the incidents. On either side of the Chase bubble, they have stepped up their game immensely and should be continued threats to finish in the top 15. Larson and Logano battled for the FireKeepers Casino 400 victory this June and now that Larson is in need of a victory to secure Chase berths, he will double-down.

Larson was distracted by Chase Elliott. Either of those drivers might have won the spring race on this track if they had shown a little more patience and put some distance between themselves and the No. 22 before slowing their pace for battle. Elliott’s second-place finish made him one of the greatest values overall. He has fallen on hard times since, but should rebound nicely after having such a strong run before his accident at Bristol.

Despite his problem at Bristol, Kyle Busch remains one of the best drivers with the best top-10 percentage in this game since leaving Michigan in June. He has produced top-10 points 75 percent of the time, along with Harvick and Logano.

Lineup set while writing this article: Chase Elliott ($10,600), Kasey Kahne ($10,200), Jamie McMurray ($10,200), Kyle Larson ($10,100), Ryan Blaney ($10,100), and Chris Buescher ($8,800). 

 

Driver

Avg. Fin Last 6 Races

Avg. Points Draft Kings

Avg. Points RaceDayScore

Denny Hamlin

6.50

44.08

40.18

Kevin Harvick

9.33

63.13

39.70

Tony Stewart

9.67

37.83

33.20

Jamie McMurray

11.33

38.50

34.20

Brad Keselowski

11.83

38.88

28.24

Kyle Busch

12.50

64.63

39.26

Matt Kenseth

12.50

38.92

30.66

Dale Earnhardt Jr./p>

13.00

31.50

 

Austin Dillon

14.33

31.33

30.06

Carl Edwards

14.33

26.58

21.82

Ryan Newman

16.17

35.17

21.90

Jeff Gordon

16.25

32.00

29.25

Joey Logano

16.33

25.75

32.80

Kyle Larson

16.67

29.04

26.74

Kurt Busch

16.83

22.46

21.06

Martin Truex Jr./p>

17.00

37.75

22.50

Trevor Bayne

17.33

35.25

29.70

Kasey Kahne

17.50

29.50

26.90

Jimmie Johnson

18.33

21.63

27.02

Chris Buescher

19.33

32.00

32.74

Danica Patrick

19.67

32.96

27.82

Ricky Stenhouse Jr./p>

20.00

26.58

30.70

AJ Allmendinger

20.33

17.71

24.72

Greg Biffle

21.67

27.75

20.08

Paul Menard

22.50

20.58

19.20

Casey Mears

23.17

22.75

22.90

Chase Elliott

23.50

10.50

16.48

Clint Bowyer

23.83

25.58

23.00

Aric Almirola

24.00

22.75

20.10

Boris Said

24.00

33.00

 

Michael McDowell

24.20

19.80

19.70

Ryan Blaney

24.50

11.42

17.60

Landon Cassill

25.00

26.67

24.40

Ty Dillon

25.00

24.75

 

Alex Bowman

26.00

 

15.00

Regan Smith

26.00

24.75

23.70

Brian Scott

27.50

20.96

20.20

Jeffrey Earnhardt

28.50

25.00

19.50

Cole Whitt

28.60

19.60

14.25

David Ragan

29.17

17.00

12.80

Michael Annett

30.60

21.10

15.38

Matt DiBenedetto

31.33

10.00

12.30

Josh Wise

32.00

19.20

12.50

Reed Sorenson

32.40

17.20

12.25

Alex Kennedy

36.00

8.00

8.00

Eddie MacDonald

36.00

10.00

9.00

Jeb Burton

36.00

9.00

8.50

Justin Allgaier

40.00

 

3.50

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.