NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: AAA 400 Drive for Autism
Off a wild weekend at Talladega that led to Joey Logano punching his ticket to the playoffs, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway for Race 11 of the 2018 circuit.
With qualifying and all three practice sessions complete for the week, it's time to take a look at which drivers we should be targeting on FanDuel.
As always, there will be other factors at play when you're making your picks, and we've got you covered there, too. You can take a look at this week's track preview to see historic scoring trends at this track to know which starting positions you should target. We also have a driver preview which runs through drivers with either good history at the track or solid current form. Finally, our weekly podcast combines all of this to detail strategies you should be looking to deploy.
Without further ado, here are the drivers we are targeting for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover.
Chase Elliott (FanDuel Price: $11,500): If anyone is going to break up the Ford brigade, it'll be Chase Elliott, who's run better at Dover than maybe any other track in his young career. In four races, Elliott has four top-fives and has been excruciatingly close to his first win twice here. Many will play pole-sitter Kyle Larson or 11-time winner at Dover, Jimmie Johnson, as their Chevy bullets, but Elliott may be the better option. He's a safe finish in cash -- unlike Johnson -- and comes with less risk and lower ownership than Larson.
Many will opt for Johnson starting deeper in the field, but remember, FanDuel scoring does not reward pass differential in the same way other daily fantasy sites do, so Elliott starting 6th is a tremendous play.
Ryan Blaney ($10,700): Ryan Blaney was dominating at Dover's smaller sister track at Bristol before an unfortunate wreck took him out. Blaney doesn't have the track history of Larson or Elliott, but it's hard to find a team and manufacturer with more speed. Blaney was 2nd in both the 15- and 20-lap averages in final practice, and he ran nearly a 40-lap run in the session, which indicates both comfort and plenty of data to dial in the 12 car. Blaney will be fairly low owned at the price and is a great pivot.
Ford has won half of the races so far in 2018 and probably deserved another with Blaney at Bristol. Ford drivers are going to be the theme of the rest of the article, no different than they have been the entire season.
Clint Bowyer ($10,500): The reason we can generally lean more toward balance this week is this man. Bowyer dominated final practice, finishing 3rd in single-lap speed and was fastest in both the 10- and 15-lap averages. Watching the practice on FS1, even commentators took note of how many areas Bowyer could pass on the track and how easy it was. Country Clint is the must-start of the weekend, and if you look at his recent form, you'll see why. He's been in the mix just about every week this year, including his win at Martinsville. At $10,500, he could have the best car in the field, so it makes sense he could be the top driver at any price.
Aric Almirola ($9,400): I have essentially thrown away prior history when it comes to Bowyer and Aric Almirola here, and the reason being is they're having career years for the hottest team in the sport at Stewart Haas Racing. Almirola was fastest in final practice single-lap, 5th in 15-lap average, and 3rd in 20-lap average. Like his teammate Bowyer, Almirola appears to have one of the best cars in the field, and I am setting track history in subpar equipment aside. Starting 13th, there will be some upside to his run on Sunday, as well. Look for Almirola to keep rolling in 2018 on Sunday.
Paul Menard ($8,000): Another driver, another Ford. A mistake in qualifying derailed Menard on Friday, so he'll start 20th. But after posting top-10 single-lap times in both Saturday practices, as well as putting himself 6th in the 20-lap average times in final practice, Menard comes in as great value at only $8,000. He can contend for a top-10 on Sunday should he stay incident-free, which has been an issue for him at times in 2018. In cash-game formats, Jamie McMurray ($8,600) and Austin Dillon ($8,700) will be popular pass-differential plays, but Menard had a better car in practice and should come at better ownership.
Kasey Kahne ($7,300): Maybe this will be the week the former Hendrick Motorsports star puts it together. As mentioned, I would approach this weekend with a more balanced approach, building around Bowyer and Almirola, but if you need sub-$8,000 salary relief, Kahne is always a good option. Kahne surprised many by ranking 9th in the 20-lap average times in final practice, which is a huge leap for the underfunded team. Coming off a run at Talladega that saw him lead laps and run competitively, maybe the momentum carries Kahne to a decent finish from 25th starting spot.
Kahne has 3 top-15s in his last 4 races at Dover, albeit in superior equipment, but the boys at Leavine Family Racing will look for a tide-turning run on Sunday, and a top-15 would do a lot in that regard.