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NASCAR DFS Picks, Projections for Michigan

NASCAR heads to Michigan for the second time in 2018. 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.

Make sure to get your NASCAR DFS questions to me on Twitter using #RVLive. I’ll record the show around 9pm ET/6pm PT and have it posted by 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT

For betting insights into the race, be sure to check out my piece at The Action Network. In that article, I’ll highlight my favorite NASCAR bets for Michigan. Also, be sure to check out Matthew Freedman’s article on the top prop bets for Sunday’s race.

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, strategy, rankings, and projections for Michigan!


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.

Denny Hamlin18.6312.2512.0836.841020015.9%
Kyle Busch28.6433.6322.4948.371190025.3%
Kevin Harvick37.8830.4122.2549.971220031.4%
Erik Jones411.036.79.2632.24800034.9%
Austin Dillon518.110.752.6814.3174006.1%
Ryan Newman616.760.211.7417.470005.8%
Martin Truex Jr713.1816.6415.8836.741170011.7%
Ryan Blaney88.6519.9210.1644.77870024.3%
Joey Logano911.697.648.4435.75990011.9%
Alex Bowman1012.110.412.130.94660015.9%
Aric Almirola1113.096.256.0233.4820010.0%
Kurt Busch1211.3714.18.0840.82840012.2%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1318.660.924.1822670010.1%
Paul Menard1413.330.421.0932720013.9%
Jamie McMurray1514.180.060.8331.08760011.0%
Clint Bowyer169.385.796.8646.11970024.3%
Kyle Larson178.9318.518.9652.251060044.8%
Brad Keselowski189.9712.717.1648.82950015.4%
Jimmie Johnson1915.6612.4133.1492009.5%
William Byron2014.170.171.7736.59680025.3%
Chase Elliott2112.4910.317.0146.1890043.3%
Bubba Wallace2224.330.010.317.48640010.7%
Chris Buescher2322.790.020.3121.59620014.0%
David Ragan2425.9200.1816.25600010.4%
AJ Allmendinger2521.150.040.2326.83630014.5%
Trevor Bayne2625.280.010.0319.46580014.6%
Ty Dillon2726.410.010.0118.19570022.4%
Kasey Kahne2826.050.140.1720.03650010.8%
Michael McDowell2926.150.130.320.8859008.1%
Matt DiBenedetto3028.360.020.0217.354006.6%
Landon Cassill3130.680.010.0813.6752004.5%
Corey Lajoie3230.740.010.0514.5453003.6%
BJ McLeod3332.3100.1312.4548002.0%
Gray Gaulding3432.1900.1113.6751002.0%
Ross Chastain3530.800.1917.4955008.8%
Garrett Smithley3632.8300.2514.4746002.6%
Timmy Hill3732.8300.2715.4847002.0%
Jeffrey Earnhardt3831.5900.1818.9149002.3%
Blake Jones3932.810.010.1817.4845001.5%
Daniel Suarez4011.930.790.5460.6780055.6%

Now on to the NASCAR DFS picks for Sunday!


Daniel Suarez ($7800) — Suarez starts dead last thanks to a big wiggle in qualifying from a loose race car. However, the team made repairs to the car and he showed top-15 speed in final practice, meaning he’s a lock for cash games.

Kyle Larson ($10,600) — Instead of guessing which of Harvick or Kyle Busch will be the top dominator, I like going with a place differential-oriented lineup, using Larson as my high salary driver. He’ll put up plenty of fastest laps at Michigan, which is one of his top-two tracks (along with Bristol) in the Cup Series. Larson starts 17th, but practiced third in 10-lap average in final practice. Between the fastest laps and place differential, Larson should provide plenty of value.

Chase Elliott ($8900) — You’re going to have to make some decisions in cash games this week. One decision, as mentioned above, is whether to use Harvick or Busch, or neither. Another is picking the place differential guys Clint BowyerBrad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott. I like taking Elliott for several reasons. First, the savings — Elliott is cheaper than these other drivers by anywhere from $600-$800. Second, Elliott starts further back than the other two, giving him more place differential potential and a slightly higher floor. Third, Michigan is one of Elliott’s best tracks in the Cup Series, having racked up three second-place finishes, and eight, and a ninth (earlier this year) in his five starts. Fourth, Elliott’s practice times weren’t all that different from Keselowski, so in a head-to-head between the two, I like Chase.


Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch ($12,200 and $11,900) — It’s quite likely one of these two drivers dominates the early goings. Both were quicker than Denny Hamlin in single-lap speed, and Harvick was faster than Hamlin in 10-lap average. Kyle Busch’s 10-lap average is a bit misleading, because it came at the end of the session when the track was at it’s slickest. Kyle Busch’s car was plowing, however, so he’s not a lock to have a fast car, while Harvick said his car was the worst it had been at the end of practice. It’s a tough call for me between the two, but I believe both are faster than Hamlin. For mass-multi entry, I’d probably start one or the other in most lineups, with some lineups with neither, and very few lineups with both. Given 10-lap times, and Michigan performance earlier this year, I’m leaning Harvick over Busch.

Ryan Blaney ($8700) — Blaney is the driver I like the most in GPPs this weekend. He showed very good long-run speed at the end of practice, posting the second-best 10-lap average overall. Outside of the big-three plus Larson, Blaney has the most dominator points at large ovals this year, and has a shot to be a contrarian dominator this weekend. He starts eighth, which offers him a bit of place differential upside as well. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he pulled off a top-five with some dominator points thrown in there.

Erik Jones ($8000) — I also really like Erik Jones as a potential upset dominator pick. Jones will start fourth, which is on the outside lane, and has a faster car than Hamlin based off practice speeds. Jones was fastest in Saturday morning practice in both single- and 10-lap speed, and also posted the best 10-lap run in final practice (albeit, early in the session). If this tweet scares people off, it could depress Jones’ ownership more than it should. I like one of Jones or Blaney to dominate at some point, and advocate playing mainly one of the two in your lineups. It’s possible to use both Blaney and Jones together, especially in your lineups that are Harvick-and-Kyle-Busch-less.

William Byron ($6800) — Byron’s salary, starting position, and speed are the perfect combination for DFS. He starts 20th, but practiced 10th-best in single lap and 11th-best in 10-lap speed, making his long run at the end of practice. Barring any incidents, Byron has a top-15 car at worst, and has much more upside than that.


Martin Truex Jr. ($11,700) — This could very well come back to bite me, but I think Truex is a full fade this weekend. He showed absolutely no dominator potential in final practice, making several short runs with mediocre lap times. Usually a driver that makes several short runs is unhappy with the car, and it appears they didn’t improve the car much over the course of practice. Truex starts seventh, and will undoubtedly be the lowest owned driver of the Big 3, but I still think he’s a fade. There will definitely be a set of people that say, Truex is Truex, and go overweight on him, so he’ll still draw some ownership. Just not a ton.

Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman ($7400 and $7000) — The two RCR drivers had qualifying speed, but don’t seem to have the race speed to justify their qualifying positions. Both drivers practiced 17th or worse in single-lap speed, while Newman was dead last of the drivers not named B.J. McLeod who made a 10-lap run. Look for both to go backward from the start, and remain mid-pack at best.

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