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NASCAR DFS Picks, Projections for Phoenix

This weekend NASCAR heads to ISM Raceway in Phoenix for the penultimate race of the year. Phoenix will be a bit different for this race; track owners moved the start finish line to the tri-oval side of the track, moved the stands, and changed pit road. However, the track surface is otherwise unchanged, so I expect Phoenix to mostly race as normal, aside from possibly the restarts. As usual, I’ll give you my NASCAR DFS picks, fades, and projections. Also, the NASCAR DFS Multi-Lineup OptimizerSim Scores, and Splits apps will be updated for your NASCAR DFS needs shortly after final practice.

I will record RotoViz Live later this evening, so be sure to get your questions in to me on Twitter using #RVLive.

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. 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 Phoenix!


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.

NOTE: ownership projections will be added later Saturday evening.

Kevin Harvick14.9880.1942.8776.521230059.3%
Chase Elliott25.0422.3817.0550.05990027.0%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr315.394.364.0419.33760011.3%
Ryan Blaney48.28.517.9137.69910011.2%
Alex Bowman514.165.796.1525.21720013.0%
Kyle Busch65.4441.5625.962.461160024.4%
Erik Jones77.5416.8913.0146.65830016.2%
Kyle Larson86.8114.7518.551.321040015.3%
Joey Logano97.7616.3915.5349.34960011.2%
Denny Hamlin108.6814.315.1947.8860013.1%
Paul Menard1115.170.441.4625.5173009.8%
Brad Keselowski129.135.7521.7557.61930016.6%
Martin Truex Jr138.4914.8118.5853.021100015.8%
Kurt Busch149.0410.5513.6249.38870024.2%
Austin Dillon1513.50.192.1833.13790011.7%
Clint Bowyer1612.069.678.4742.53890020.9%
Matt Kenseth1715.010.954.7133.57690025.1%
Aric Almirola1810.628.379.1347.41810041.5%
William Byron1914.490.584.0936.21650035.7%
Jimmie Johnson2017.414.154.7632.6840012.5%
Jamie McMurray2117.080.22.3232.05750012.7%
Ryan Newman2214.580.62.5638.27710016.4%
Michael McDowell23230.040.5821.3580011.1%
AJ Allmendinger2420.650.010.3526.88680013.3%
Chris Buescher2524.410.020.3820.37670010.3%
Daniel Suarez2619.20.080.832.02780028.5%
Matt DiBenedetto2726.70.010.3817.854007.7%
Ty Dillon2822.250.020.627.81560025.2%
Regan Smith2926.230.140.2920.72620012.0%
Bubba Wallace3026.960.060.1720.17640010.5%
David Ragan3126.240.080.5322.81600013.6%
Landon Cassill3229.210.10.3817.851002.6%
Ross Chastain3328.960.030.319.2449008.8%
Cole Whitt3431.050.010.2816.0553002.0%
JJ Yeley3530.470.010.1318.1252002.3%
Tanner Berryhill3631.610.010.1516.8546001.5%
Timmy Hill3732.60.010.0215.8247001.2%
D.J. Kennington3831.770.010.0618.550003.4%
Cody Ware3932.5300.0217.9548001.2%

Now on to the NASCAR DFS picks for Sunday!


Kevin Harvick ($12,300) — Don’t worry about Harvick’s price tag. This is easily his best track, he starts on the pole, and dominated every practice statistic. Harvick will dominate the early going, and should dominate most of the race, barring a pit penalty, pit issue, or major strategy hiccup. The model easily projects him as the dominant car.

Aric Almirola ($8100) — Almirola is simply priced too low for his performance at the short, flat tracks this year. Almirola has the ninth-best driver rating at these tracks, and finished seventh earlier this year despite a 22nd place starting spot. Almirola was 10th in 10-lap average in final practice. Look for him to push for a top-10 finish, barring any issues. The only risk here is that Almirola needs a win to make the Championship four, so if he doesn’t have race-winning speed, he’ll need some strategy. That could backfire. But I doubt it backfires enough to negate an 18th place starting spot.

William Byron ($6500) — Byron’s had a tough year, but Phoenix was one of his bright spots earlier in the season. Byron finished 12th, and led about four percent of the total laps through strategy. Byron has the 13th best driver rating at the non-Martinsville short flats. He was also fast in practice, posting the ninth-best 10-lap average. If he can finish like he practiced and runs at these tracks, he’ll be in for a strong DraftKings day


Kyle Busch ($11,600)  — Busch actually has the best driver rating at the short flat tracks this year, and the best average finish at 2.0 with no DNFs. Busch led 40 percent of the laps at Phoenix earlier this year, so if anyone is in prime position to take advantage of a Harvick mishap, it’s Busch. I like both drivers, but I really like getting Busch in your handful of non-Harvick lineups. Busch was fourth in both post-qualifying practice sessions over 10 consecutive laps.

Chase Elliott ($9900) — Elliott is probably the third best driver at Phoenix after Busch and Harvick, and like Busch, he’s in a great situation to lead laps should Harvick stumble. Elliott starts second, so track position won’t be an issue. His practice times were fast, with a seventh-place overall 10-lap average in Happy Hour. Elliott has an average finish of 3.5 at the non-Martinsville short flat tracks in 2018, including the fourth-best driver rating at these tracks.

Kurt Busch ($8700) — Kurt is the Almirola pivot, and I wouldn’t hate playing Kurt in cash as well. In fact, you can play Almirola and Kurt together in both formats, and I’d have no problem with that. Kurt has the fifth-best driver rating at the non-Martinsville short flat tracks this year, and that only drops to sixth if you include Martinsville. His 10-lap average wasn’t blazing fast, clocking in only 12th, but I believe he’ll race better than that come Sunday.

Matt Kenseth ($6900) — If Byron is the chalk in this price range, Kenseth is the pivot. Kenseth was 14th in 10-lap average in final practice, which would produce a bit of place differential from his 17th place starting spot. Kenseth won this race last year in Joe Gibbs Racing equipment, but he’s looked plenty fast enough this weekend in Roush equipment to merit some consideration in GPPs.


Ryan Blaney ($9100) — Blaney is overpriced relative to his performance at the short, flat tracks this year, and he didn’t practice well enough to give me any confidence that he could turn that poor performance around here at Phoenix. His car seemed fine in the cooler weather of Saturday morning practice, but in the afternoon practice he was 20th in 10-lap average. Race conditions will be much closer to final practice than morning practice. He’s a hard fade for me this weekend.

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