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NASCAR DFS Picks, Fades, Projections for Kentucky

NASCAR’s races at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night at another 1.5-mile oval. As usual, I’ll give you all my NASCAR DFS picks and projections. As usual, the NASCAR DFS Multi-Lineup OptimizerSim Scores, and Splits will be updated shortly for your NASCAR DFS needs.

I will have RotoViz Live posted before noon PT on Saturday, and most likely two hours before that at 10am PT. Be sure to get your questions in by then using #RVLive on Twitter.

In addition to my NASCAR DFS picks, check out my NASCAR betting piece at the Action Network.

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, rankings, and projections for Kentucky!


The model projections assume that the driver finishes the race – hence why you don’t see any average finishing positions worse than about 27th. The Pts column shows the average projected DraftKings points for races when the driver finishes the race.

NOTE: Ownership projections will be out with the Saturday AM update.

Martin Truex Jr15.1942.1836.1863.261120045.5%
Erik Jones26.5918.855.0440.04830022.7%
Kevin Harvick34.8465.5336.3671.871160031.0%
Brad Keselowski45.2816.228.1945.59980015.1%
Kyle Busch55.0560.2836.3672.151100034.1%
Paul Menard612.931.251.1325.03720010.5%
Ryan Blaney75.844.729.1445.07850022.5%
Clint Bowyer87.428.58.3843.47960013.5%
Kurt Busch97.898.4210.9644.81810011.2%
Ryan Newman1011.650.541.2731.48740010.4%
Daniel Suarez1112.940.911.5330.1770011.8%
Aric Almirola129.062.115.4141.1880013.8%
Austin Dillon1313.950.631.8630.18700012.2%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1412.961.43.4234.14660014.8%
Alex Bowman1515.761.362.729.17760017.6%
Chase Elliott1612.432.53.0137.27870012.2%
Matt Kenseth1716.780.681.5528.39690010.2%
Kyle Larson186.239.5115.2559.551010028.6%
Joey Logano1911.728.246.1444.69930012.5%
Chris Buescher2018.520.40.9227.53650010.7%
William Byron2116.020.41.2933.7620011.9%
Jamie McMurray2212.880.51.1740.95790028.0%
Michael McDowell2320.350.191.7327.2161009.6%
David Ragan2419.250.510.6529.95580015.4%
Bubba Wallace2517.490.190.9534.54600025.1%
AJ Allmendinger2620.240.330.9530.07640013.8%
Jimmie Johnson2714.453.82.7944.45910010.9%
Ty Dillon2822.580.280.5727.2560025.0%
Kasey Kahne2919.850.792.3334.67670011.2%
Ross Chastain3023.430.070.5427.4352006.2%
Corey Lajoie3124.340.070.4726.5750004.3%
JJ Yeley3226.060.10.3724.149003.9%
Landon Cassill3325.350.090.5126.5953004.9%
BJ McLeod3425.950.050.5526.3947001.4%
Garrett Smithley3526.790.070.4525.6746002.7%
Denny Hamlin368.645.075.2966.64950041.9%
Matt DiBenedetto3723.870.140.633.6550015.4%
Jesse Little3826.590.050.4529.0548004.4%
Timmy Hill3927.350.060.4528.5345003.2%

Now on to the NASCAR DFS picks for Saturday!


Martin Truex Jr. ($11,200) — Truex starts on the pole for Saturday night’s race, and has been dominant in each of the two starts at the reconfigured Kentucky track. In 2016 Truex only led 17.2 percent of the laps, but also had 69 fastest laps. In 2017, Truex was more dominant, leading 55.5 percnet of the laps while picking up over 30 percent of the fastest laps. Don’t fret Truex’s 10-lap average in final practice. Clean air is king, and he should dominate the early laps, and has the best pit stall this weekend.

Denny Hamlin ($9500) — Hamlin was one of four drivers to not turn a qualifying lap and thus will start 36th. That makes him a cash game lock, and a very chalky GPP play. Hamlin posted the fastest 10-lap average in final practice, so he has a strong car for the race.

Matt DiBenedetto ($5500) — DiBenedetto was another one of the four cars that failed to turn a lap, meaning he’ll start 37th of the 39 cars entered. DiBenedetto doesn’t project to finish inside the top 20, but his 24th place model projection would still earn him 33 DraftKings points. At $5500, that’s 6x value, which is more than enough for a driver of his salary. He also lets you fit in multiple expensive drivers, and with plenty of high-priced options in play, you’ll need to find salary relief somewhere. DiBenedetto is the perfect play for that.


Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick ($11,000 or $11,600) — It’ll be interesting to see how Kyle Busch and Harvick stack up in GPP ownership percentage, but I love the lower owned of the two as the other dominator here. First, it’s likely Truex leads a large chunk of the opening laps, meaning Harvick and Kyle Busch likely negatively correlate for dominator points. Next, their 10-lap averages likely turn into a wash. Harvick posted the third-best 10-lap average in both practice sessions, while Busch only posted a 10-lap average in the opening session. That average was good for second, ahead of Harvick. However, Harvick’s came later in the morning session, as the track was heating up (read: slowing down). However, Busch has a touch more place differential potentials starting two spots farther back, and has had better pit success than Harvick this year. Stay tuned for ownership percentage projections because if Busch projects higher than Harvick, then it may be a good idea to reverse course and choose Harvick over Busch. Harvick has a slight edge over Busch in Kentucky history, but it’s so slight that I’d rather go heavier on the projected lower owned of the two.

Erik Jones or Ryan Blaney ($8300 or 8500) — NOTE: first off — I would not play these two drivers together except in the circumstances of mass multi-entry. Even then, I’d do so in very few, or even none of those lineups. Blaney and Jones highly negatively correlate for dominator points. That said, I do like these two as possible contrarian dominators. There’s more risk with Jones, but also a higher likelihood of dominance given starting position and pit position. Jones’ Kentucky track history is phenomenal. He finished sixth in his lone Cup start, and has finishes of fourth and third in the Xfinity series since the reconfiguration. Jones also put up his second-best finish of the year at Texas, logging a fourth-place finish. Texas is an important track, because like Kentucky, it was reconfigured and repaved within the past two years, and also had it’s banking lowered at one end of the track. Blaney, on the other hand, has posted a higher percentage of laps led than anyone not named Harvick, Truex, Busch, or Larson in incident-free large oval races this year. Blaney has the fifth-highest projected finish according to the model, lower than only the big three of Truex, Harvick, and Larson, and teammate Brad Keselowski. Blaney posted the second-fastest 10-lap average in final practice, while Jones had a time comparable to Harvick in opening practice.

Jamie McMurray ($7900) Since the reconfiguration in 2016, McMurray has the fifth-best driver rating at Kentucky, finish both races in an average seventh-place position. McMurray is also the only Chevy to pull off a top-five finish at a 1.5-mile track this year other than Kyle Larson, which McMurrtay did at Texas Motor Speedway. The model loves McMurray, giving him over 5x value on average, should he finish the race, with more upside to boot. His ownership could be a bit depressed if people play Hamlin, Jimmie JohnsonJoey Logano and teammate Kyle Larson heavily along with the big three starting up front, in more of a stars and scrubs approach.

Bubba Wallace ($6000) — Bubba is my contrarian salary relief play. He starts 25th leaving plenty of place differential potential, and has a strong track history at Kentucky. Wallace finished 11th last year in this race, and finished fifth in the Xfinity series at Kentcuky in 2016. Wallace also put up a strong finish at Texas, finishing eighth earlier this year. I expect DiBenedtto, Ty DillonKasey Kahne, and possibly a couple other drivers to have higher ownership percentage than Wallace, all of whom are within $700 of Wallace’s price tag.


UNDERWEIGHT: Denny Hamlin ($9500) — Wait…didn’t I write Hamlin up as a cash game play? Absolutely I did. However, I think by the same token he’s an interesting GPP fade. Hamlin is unlikely to rack up many dominator points, and in the same price point, you have drivers like Johnson and Logano also with significant place differential potential (albeit, less than Hamlin’s). However, as I noted on the podcast, there have been several incidents in both Kentucky races, leading to a 27.5 percent incident rate since the reconfiguration — most of those crashes. Add in Hamlin’s propensity to get a pit road penalty and you’re looking at a significant risk to go with significant upside. I love pivoting to dominators plus Logano or Johnson for place differential, or just skipping that tier and going with dominators plus Larson and salary relief plays.

FADE: Paul Menard ($7200) — You can do better than starting Menard when he has little-to-no chance of dominance, and is much more likely to regress in finishing position than progress forward. Menard’s average finish in incident free large oval races this year is 11.7, with bests of fifth at Michigan (a two mile track) and sixth at Kansas. I’d rather have Daniel Suarez or Alex Bowman at similar price points, but with more forward place differential potential than Menard. That said, I don’t love either of those two as well.

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