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NASCAR DFS Picks and Projections for Kentucky

After a hugely successful week, where I took down the $444 buy-in GPP and finished third in the $350k Beast GPP, along with a RotoViz reader placing 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th in the Beast, we move on to my NASCAR DFS picks and projections for Kentucky.

Kentucky is a 1.5-mile track, that is banked no more than 17 degrees and was recently reconfigured in 2016. DraftKings has another big $300k prize pool GPP contest, with $50k to first place. As usual I’ll give my NASCAR DFS picks, points projections, and ownership projections for Saturday night’s race.

For all of your strategy needs, make sure to check out this week’s NASCAR episode of On the Daily DFS which was simulcast with RotoViz Live, where Matt Freedman and I go through NASCAR DFS picks and strategy.

Also, the NASCAR DFS Multi-Lineup Optimizer will updated shortly with the machine learning model projections for this week. The NASCAR Splits App will help you find a range of outcomes for each driver, and the NASCAR Sim Scores App has all your favorite driver comps to get a range of outcomes for each driver.

If you’re new to daily fantasy NASCAR, or simply need a refresher, check out the restrictor plate 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.

Let’s get to the NASCAR DFS picks and projections for Kentucky.

NASCAR DFS Kentucky Model Projections

The model projections assume that the driver finishes the race – hence why you don’t see any average finishing positions lower than 30th. (Ownership projections will be out shortly)

DriverStartFinishLLFLPtsSalOwn
Kyle Busch16.2555.5128.2160.491020046.55%
Martin Truex Jr27.5152.0930.8759.451040048.20%
Matt Kenseth310.9218.3811.6735.59910012.45%
Jamie McMurray46.5910.839.0242.04850012.26%
Denny Hamlin58.9311.966.2437.25920011.15%
Ryan Blaney611.819.4815.8739.21870014.83%
Kevin Harvick79.517.6414.0943.46980014.27%
Jimmie Johnson810.168.2913.3440.43970017.82%
Daniel Suarez914.780.861.6424.4871008.27%
Brad Keselowski109.416.3613.4646.011010012.29%
Joey Logano1110.839.1710.2840.77900012.50%
Chase Elliott129.111.4114.7148950031.17%
Dale Earnhardt Jr1316.842.853.3325.782008.88%
Erik Jones1412.381.732.8435.09790022.93%
Kurt Busch1513.841.471.5332.4581009.91%
Clint Bowyer169.921.062.3541.61840024.32%
Darrell Wallace Jr1719.540.281.9522.96630013.00%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1811.891.861.7239.55740024.59%
Trevor Bayne1915.520.490.8632.5690015.83%
Danica Patrick2022.61.060.6719.460008.69%
Michael McDowell2121.210.220.2722.7659007.15%
Chris Buescher2221.270.540.4623.8264009.31%
Kasey Kahne2319.130.41.0229.34770013.43%
Paul Menard2421.990.360.6124.4168007.79%
Austin Dillon2519.641.091.330.64760020.46%
David Ragan2623.030.350.4324.24540016.09%
Ty Dillon2721.3910.628.77670010.12%
AJ Allmendinger2821.820.890.8529.01650019.85%
Ryan Newman2917.950.830.7837.69730037.74%
Matt DiBenedetto3027.20.090.0319.6456004.14%
Ryan Sieg3130.410.180.114.2849007.77%
Cole Whitt3227.720.190.0220.6153002.97%
Reed Sorenson3330.670.090.0615.7250001.49%
Joey Gase3427.360.120.1223.3846005.04%
Landon Cassill3524.480.220.0730.1455006.32%
Jeffrey Earnhardt3630.830.250.0518.4247006.51%
BJ McLeod3731.630.140.2717.91
Timmy Hill3831.560.20.0918.9848001.21%
Gray Gaulding3930.960.390.1821.2845001.84%
Kyle Larson4010.3416.6321.6878.321000050.88%

NASCAR DFS Picks — Cash Games

Kyle Larson ($10,000) — Larson qualified dead last because he did not make an attempt in qualifying for failing to pass technical inspection. That means he’s the obvious choice this week in cash games with nowhere to go but up. He also practiced inside the top three in both practice sessions, so he’s a clear auto-start.

Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,400) — Truex was faster than Kyle Busch in both practice sessions on the single lap, but was slower on the 10-lap average in first practice. However, Truex just has the better resume this year, and with the exception of Pocono, every time he has started second or better he’s dominated at least 25 percent of the race. Additionally, if we look at his performance at 1.5-mile and 2-mile tracks, he’s led at least 14 percent of the laps in every race except Atlanta, with no finishes worse than eighth.

Kyle Busch ($10,200) — That said, it’s awfully hard to pass up on Rowdy Busch this week in cash games. Kyle Busch starts on the pole, and posted the best 10-lap average in opening practice. Busch has led at least 15 percent of the race in each of the past three 1.5-mile to 2-mile tracks. The other two times he started on the pole he led 4.7 and 62.5 percent of the race at Dover and Pocono respectively. Using both Busch and Truex increases your floor, but is hard to do because then you are relying on at least one scrub in your cash game lineups.

Ryan Newman ($7300)  This price tag is just too cheap for Newman given what he’s done at Kentucky over his career, including finishing 3rd last year. Newman starts 29th, so he’s only likely to move forward at the drop of the green flag. Just don’t expect massive upside from Newman, who hasn’t shown a ton of speed in practice.

NASCAR DFS Picks — GPPs

Chase Elliott ($9500) — Elliott only qualified 12th, but has been a top-five driver this year in the large oval category when removing DNF races. He also practiced three and nine spots better than his qualifying rank, so there is speed in that car. Look for him to be a contender for the win by race end.

Erik Jones ($7900) Jones has top-five upside, which is all we’re looking for at his price tag. Yes, he has massive downside with the number of wrecks he’s been involved in, but if we’re trying to win a GPP, just look at that upside. Jones practiced inside the top 11 in both practice sessions, and has the 14th best driver rating at the large oval category when removing DNFs. That shows his non-DNF floor is close to his starting position of 14th, but his ceiling is certainly higher.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7400) — Stenhouse qualified 18th, but practiced inside the top 12 in both practice sessions. He’ll be a popular salary relief play this weekend, but is relatively safe outside of his tendencies to get in accidents thanks to the speed his car has shown so far this weekend.

NASCAR DFS Fades

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8200) — Earnhardt was not happy with his car in practice, and it showed in the lap speeds. Earnhardt practiced only 24th and 25th in the two practice sessions, well worse than his qualifying position.

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