NASCAR heads to Charlotte for the first ever race on the Charlotte Roval. The Roval is a 17-turn road course that also races a good portion on the oval part of the track. Because of the unique circumstances, the article will be a bit different this week. To get slate strategy, make sure to listen to the On the Daily DFS pod where I preview the race. As always, I’ll give you my top NASCAR DFS picks, along with my driver point and ownership projections.
If you’re new to daily fantasy NASCAR, or simply need a refresher, check out the flat track 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.
Let’s get to the NASCAR DFS picks, strategy, rankings, and projections for this weekend’s race!
NASCAR DFS MODEL PROJECTIONS FOR the Roval
The model projections assume that the driver finishes the race – hence why you don’t see any average finishing positions worse than about 30th. The Pts column shows the average projected DraftKings points for races when the driver finishes the race.
Note: As mentioned on the podcast, I have a few different projections this weekend, based off a few different sets of data, since I’m not sure what the best data set will be. Each model will be labeled.
Note: Ownership will be only on the Road Course model, because that’s the main factor I hear being used across the industry touts.
ROAD COURSE DATA ONLY MODEL
|Martin Truex Jr||13||7.76||13.85||11.88||50.88||11100||40.7%|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||23||18.68||0.74||1.29||30.46||6200||10.5%|
ROAD COURSE PLUS CHARLOTTE OVAL WITH ROAD COURSE WEIGHTED 67% and CHARLOTTE 33% MODEL
|Martin Truex Jr||13||7.79||16.22||10.96||50.95||11100|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||23||18.13||0.05||0.91||31.21||6200|
AVERAGE OF THE ABOVE TWO MODELS
|Martin Truex Jr||13||7.78||15.03||11.42||50.92||11100|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||23||18.41||0.4||1.1||30.84||6200|
Now on to the NASCAR DFS picks for this weekend!
NASCAR DFS PICKS – CASH GAMES
Brad Keselowski ($9800) — Keselowski was one of the fastest cars in both post-qualifying practice sessions, including the fastest in final practice. However, he wrecked his car near the end of that final practice and will start from the rear in a backup car. For DraftKings purposes, he’ll still be scored from the 25th place starting position. That’s still plenty far back to make up tons of spots, and I don’t expect a huge drop off, if any, to the backup car. Team Penske is one of the best-funded teams in the garage, and they’ll put out a car that’s essentially identical to Keselowski’s primary car. Look for him to move forward through strategy, and then keep that track position.
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,100) — Truex Projects for the second-most points behind Keselowski and Kyle Busch in the models, and Truex has been the best driver at the road courses this year, with a win at Sonoma and a second at the Glen. He qualified only 13th, but practiced very well in both post-qualifying practice sessions where he was third and fifth in single-lap speed. Truex also wound up third in average speed in final practice.
Ryan Newman ($7300) — Both Paul Menard and William Byron are faster in this price range, but I’m playing the place differential here. Watching the Xfinity race, there were plenty of cautions, and lots of carnage. If Menard or Byron gets swept up, that’s going to hurt much more than if Newman gets swept up, and despite being faster this weekend, Menard and Byron aren’t heads and shoulders above Newman in road course talent either.
NASCAR DFS CHALK UNDERWEIGHT/FADE
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6200) — Stenhouse shows up fairly well in the optimizer, but he doesn’t have huge upside, and he comes with a lot of risk. Stenhouse starts 23rd, which makes him look appealing from a place differential perspective, and he showed up in the top 10 of the average speeds in final practice, but that was on only four laps. Stenhouse absolutely stinks at road courses, with no finish better than 16th. The sim scores give him an upside of only 15th. And he’s always a threat to crash. The reason he shows up well in the optimizer is just because nobody extremely stands out, but plenty of drivers have much greater upside than Stenhouse. He’ll only end up in the top-15 either through a carnage fest he avoids, or through strategy. It won’t be on speed and ability.
Denny Hamlin ($9200) — You can definitely use Hamlin in cash games, but I like being underweight on him in GPPs. He’s just been out of sorts this weekend, losing the car multiple times, and he’s also been slow. Yes, there’s some upside appeal for Hamlin with his 25th place qualifying spot, his boom-or-bust approach in a must-win situation, and from his road course win in the past (at the Glen), so I’m not recommending a full fade. Instead, be underweight on him, and in lots of lineups pivot to…
NASCAR DFS PICKS – GPPS
…Joey Logano ($8800) — This is a very good price point for Logano, and he could go overlooked based off his practice times and road course results this year. But Logano has shown well at road courses in the past, with four straight top-seven finishes at the Glen from 2013-2016. He’s a fantastic pivot off Denny Hamlin who sits at $9200 and qualified 25th.
Kyle Busch ($11,400) — Busch is probably going for the win and those five playoff points more than anything, and projects as the top points play per the model. He’s also one of a handful of drivers with an upside finish of 2.0 per the Sim Scores (along with Truex, Kyle Larson, and Chase Elliott), and starts the furthest back of that quartet. Busch was fast in both post-qualifying practice sessions, with the fifth-best single lap speed in the morning session and the sixth-best average speed in final practice. He has four career road course wins, and an average finish of 4.0 at the two road course races this year.
Erik Jones ($7400) — Jones wrecked his car in second practice, and never got the backup car out for final practice. He qualified 12th, and that will be his official starting spot per DraftKings scoring, but will start from the rear of the field for going to a backup. So why the heck am I putting him here? A few reason. First, he’ll probably be super low owned, especially with Newman, Menard, and Byron in play in this price range. Second, he was actually fast when he was out there, putting up a 10-lap average comparable to Chase Elliott before wrecking. Third, he’s been fantastic at the road courses this year, picking up a seventh at Sonoma and fifth at the Glen. Finally, he essentially needs a win to make the next round. I can see this team gambling for that win. He’s a boom or bust play, and not for the faint of heart. I actually think you should have less exposure to Jones than Menard or Byron, but not as drastic as what I expect overall ownership to be. Go overweight on Jones, but don’t go crazy.
NASCAR DFS Head-to-Head
Trevor Bayne vs. Michael McDowell — On the surface, McDowell appears to be the better play, and while I think he is, I also think in terms of ownership percentage he’ll draw a much, much greater ownership than Bayne. That ownership gap will be too far apart. McDowell was faster in final practice in every metric, but Bayne was faster in opening practice and Saturday morning practice. In head-to-head finishes at road courses, they are 2-2 against each other at Sonoma, and McDowell leads Bayne 2-1 at the Glen. In the two models, Bayne gets the edge in one, and McDowell the edge in the other, and Bayne barely takes the cake when averaging the models. The Sim Scores give them identical ranges of outcomes. The difference, McDowell starts two spots further back, was faster in final practice, is $400 cheaper, and has the better road course reputation, which should massively change the ownership between the two. Both are fine GPP plays, but I like some Bayne pivot off McDowell, and having exposures much closer to each other than what I believe the overall ownership will be.
Paul Menard vs. William Byron — Another tough call with Menard starting 22nd at $7500 and Byron starting 21st at $7000. I expect Byron to draw the higher ownership for three reasons. First, he’s $500 cheaper. Second, he popped up 10th in the overall average speed on NBC Analyst Steve Letarte’s Twitter feed, and also posted the faster single, and 10-lap average than Menard. Third, Byron has the better road course finish this year, with an eighth at the Glen. However, Menard finished only one spot behind Byron at Sonoma, and out-dueled Byron in 2017’s Xfinity race at the Glen, so overall they seem to be a wash. Menard was also plenty fast in final practice, barely trailing Byron. The model and Sim Scores also prefer Menard, so I actually prefer Menard to Byron in overall exposure…barely.