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NASCAR DFS Picks, Projections for Kansas

This weekend NASCAR heads to Kansas Speedway for the final race of the second round of the playoffs. As always, I’ll give you my NASCAR DFS picks, fades, and projections for this weekend’s race. Also, the NASCAR DFS Multi-Lineup OptimizerSim Scores, and Splits apps are updated for your NASCAR DFS needs.

If you’re new to daily fantasy NASCAR, or simply need a refresher, check out the large oval section of my track types article. Brush up on your general GPP strategy and game theory if you want to have a shot at taking down first place. If you’re more of a cash game player, check out how to target high floor drivers, and remember to find any potential race dominators.

Let’s get to the NASCAR DFS picks and projections for this weekend!


The model projections assume that the driver finishes the race – hence why you don’t see any average finishing positions worse than about 32nd. The Pts column shows the average projected DraftKings points for races when the driver finishes the race.

Joey Logano15.7530.0814.7648.4850029.5%
Kevin Harvick25.242.8330.0961.351230038.8%
Aric Almirola38.0211.398.0837.85810020.9%
Ryan Blaney47.3912.2516.944.74870025.6%
Brad Keselowski57.4715.817.1646.61050014.5%
Erik Jones67.633.565.2738.26930013.3%
Kyle Busch75.8931.5824.9859.61180035.2%
Daniel Suarez812.8312.1427.67790012.3%
Denny Hamlin97.966.226.3241.79910011.1%
Alex Bowman1013.111.142.2829.2760013.3%
Kurt Busch118.0118.8216.6552.01890033.3%
Martin Truex Jr127.8537.8427.7863.651080014.4%
Chase Elliott1310.6420.0311.2546.36990010.6%
Clint Bowyer1410.8610.328.4943.1960013.3%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1513.390.471.9733.33670013.1%
Ryan Newman1615.330.961.0230.08740010.4%
William Byron1716.960.361.0927.71700010.1%
Paul Menard1815.360.720.8331.87720014.1%
Trevor Bayne1918.760.540.9926.165009.6%
Jamie McMurray2015.030.341.1534.59780013.7%
Chris Buescher2117.640.410.630.13610014.5%
Jimmie Johnson2214.20.321.7238.53830017.9%
Austin Dillon2317.110.320.9133.32680014.6%
Michael McDowell24210.451.1526.6856009.8%
AJ Allmendinger2519.270.381.0231.07620014.5%
Regan Smith2618.810.41.0533630015.6%
Kyle Larson2712.9517.0715.2957.021150041.0%
David Ragan2821.420.450.6829.6570026.0%
Bubba Wallace2921.60.140.4630.06550027.0%
Ty Dillon3021.690.510.7231.1590014.4%
Matt DiBenedetto3124.070.070.2627.01540020.3%
Ross Chastain3227.440.070.221.2453005.5%
Jeffrey Earnhardt3327.930.010.0621.1751005.9%
Corey Lajoie3428.840.010.0620.3647003.4%
Landon Cassill3528.150.070.0722.7552004.9%
JJ Yeley3629.60.030.0320.8250001.8%
Kyle Weatherman3729.840.010.0321.3348001.6%
BJ McLeod3830.970.010.0320.0846001.4%
Reed Sorenson3930.870.010.0321.2849001.6%
Timmy Hill4031.110.010.0321.845001.4%


Before we get to the NASCAR DFS picks for Kansas, I have a few notes I want to post, especially because there was no podcast this week.

  1. The model is 0.624 R^2. Not super high, but not terrible.
  2. The incident rate is 16.9 percent, but drops to 13.2 percent if we look at fall-only races.
  3. Between points 1 and 2, we will want some contrarian plays. I have a couple riskier favorites that I’ll give out on RotoViz Live (I tend to give “safer” GPP plays in the write-up, but not always).
  4. Final practice will have different weather conditions from the race. The race will be about five degrees cooler. Also, the winds will shift dramatically. The winds Saturday were northerly and gusty (15+ mph). On Sunday, the winds will be southerly and more moderate (10mph). That will change the handling of the cars from final practice to the race.

Okay, let’s get to those NASCAR DFS picks.


Kyle Larson ($11,500) — Larson wrecked in opening practice and qualified in his backup car, which they didn’t have a chance to shake down or prepare. As a result, he ended up qualifying 27th (which will be his official spot for DraftKings purposes), and will drop to the rear of the field for the start of the race. Larson led 37.8 percent of the laps in the first Kansas race this year before finishing fourth, and had the fourth-most fastest laps at large ovals, behind only the big three. He’s looking to win this race, which introduces added risk, but you probably need to start him in cash games from this far back.

Joey Logano ($8500) — I prefer using Logano to Harvick in cash this week if you’re choosing between one of these two for a few reasons. First, Logano is $3800 less expensive, which allows you to do get so much more quality in your lineup with other drivers. Second, clean air is king, and I expect Logano to put up some fastest laps. Those 0.5 points will add up much more quickly at $8500 than at $12,300. Third, pitting. Logano gets the best pit stall, and his 22 team doesn’t have the propensity for slow stops like Harvick’s team. I think cautions could shake this race up a bit, which could hurt Logano, but the same could be said for Harvick who starts second. More cautions means more pit stops, and I think that favors Logano over Harvick just from a pit stop standpoint.

Kurt Busch ($8900) — Busch has a strong car this weekend, and really stands out in both the model and Sim Scores, relative to his salary. Busch posted the third-best 10-lap average in Happy Hour, and has the second-best average running position at large ovals this year. They haven’t all been converted to strong finishes, but expect the 41 team to do all they can to secure a solid finish and not risk a DNF.

Bubba Wallace ($5,500) — With Larson so expensive and Kevin Harvick a cash game option starting second, salary becomes a premium. However, I think regardless of roster construction, Bubba Wallace is a cash game play this weekend. The salary relief lets you have a very flexible lineup, and Bubba has the best combination of price, starting position, practice times, and finishing expectation this weekend among all the salary relief drivers. The model gives him a 5.4x projected value, tops in the field among the cheaper options. Bubba was 24th in 10-lap average, and he made his run very late in the session.


Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch ($12,300 or $11,800)  — Both drivers were strong in final practice, with Busch leading the 10-lap average and Harvick having a faster overall average speed and leading the 15-lap average. Harvick starts second, and Busch seventh, so these two really are neck-and-neck for the top dominator spot. Interestingly enough, in last year’s Kansas playoff race, Harvick started second and Kyle Busch seventh — just like this year — and Kyle Busch led 42 percent of the laps to Harvick’s 14 percent. The big difference was…Martin Truex Jr. started on pole last year instead of Logano. The sim scores give them both around 40 percent upside of laps led, behind Logano’s 50 percent upside. They are the three most likely dominators this weekend.

Ryan Blaney ($8700) — Team Penske has two drivers that (probably) must win — Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski — and I expect them to split their strategy if a late race decision is needed for a win. Let’s compare the two:

Large Oval 2018 Kansas Non-DNF Since 2015
Start DRtg ARP QPPct LLPct FLPct Finish DRtg LLPct FLPct
Driver A 7.4 99.9 9.2 61 3.7 6 6.6 101.4 6.8 3.3
Driver B 8.1 106.6 9 59.9 5.5 5.2 9.2 97.9 5.7 4.5

Driver A is Blaney, and Driver B is Keselowski. They’re essentially identical, but Blaney costs $1800 less. The Sim Scores give them similar finishing position and dominator upside, while the model gives them similar average finishes and dominator points. Give me the cheaper guy of the two.


Kyle Larson ($11,500) — I really think going underweight on Larson is an option in GPPs this weekend. He’ll project to have moderately-high ownership given his starting position, Kansas resume, and upside thanks to needing a win. However, that gamble also extends to downside and gives him more risk as well, which probably won’t be accounted for in overall ownership. He wasn’t exactly stellar in practice this weekend either, and did wreck the primary car.

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