NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Consumers Energy 400
Last week, Chase Elliott earned his first career win on the road course at Watkins Glen, defeating the "Big Three" as Kyle Busch made a late-race mistake on pit road and Martin Truex Jr. ran out of gas in pursuit. There are only four races remaining before the start of the NASCAR Playoffs, so drivers will look to try to steal a win to secure a playoff spot or add more playoff points to their cushion.
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Our track preview gives you more information about this track, our driver preview helps bring you up to speed on drivers' recent history here and elsewhere, and our Heat Check Podcast with Jim Sannes gives you insight how he is approaching this weekend's slate.
Kevin Harvick ($12,700 on FanDuel): Among the "Big Three," Kevin Harvick appears to be the best bet for this race, as he was fourth in the final practice and sixth on the 10-lap average in that session. Harvick will start third, giving quick access to the front. He was the odds-on favorite to win at Michigan in June, and he was extremely fast and leading before a pit stop shortly before the rain came handed the lead to Clint Bowyer, who outlasted Harvick on a short green-flag run to win before it poured. Chances are Harvick will make his presence known at some point on Sunday, but the question becomes if his price tag ends up allowing that presence to be worth his value.
For a quick recap of the rest of the "Big Three," Kyle Busch ($12,200) appears to have tremendous short-run speed, and that netted him the outside pole, but he struggled a little with the balance in final practice and posted only the 12th-best time in the 10-lap averages. Martin Truex Jr. ($12,500) does not appear to have improved his speed from June, when he started 18th and his running position all day was outside the top 10. He was only 17th on the board in final practice. In a GPP setting, you will still want some exposure to both, but neither appear to be the talk of the garage for winning this week.
Kyle Larson ($11,800): Kyle Larson and the next driver have the "Big Three" feeling like a Big Five this weekend. Larson was extremely quick in final practice, posting fifth on the board and third in the 10-lap average. More importantly, Larson won the last three races at Michigan before the one in June, and he was charging to the front in that one before he was derailed with a spin shortly before the rain came. That mistake aside, Larson has been as dominant as they come at this track, and drilling down deeper than his finish in June reveals how strong the #42 has been at this track. Larson comes with an added bonus of qualifying deeper in the field, as his 17th place starting spot will put place-differential points on the board.
Denny Hamlin ($10,100): Denny Hamlin had himself a fast Friday. He won opening practice and all three qualifying sessions en route to his first pole of the season. Many were curious if Hamlin would be able to sustain that into Saturday, and posting fifth on the 10-lap average suggests the FedEx Toyota is absolutely cruising. It's rare that a dominator-point favorite has been this deep in the pricing tier, but Hamlin appears to be the man to beat Sunday. His first pit stall and starting spot will create ample opportunity to lead at this track that is so difficult to pass. The mid-tier has been a dicey play this year when starting so close to the front, but Hamlin appears he will be a huge threat for a trophy, and therefore for him, a playoff spot.
Chase Elliott ($10,600): Last week's winner does not appear to have the same speed as he did on the road course, but starting 21st, Elliott is a solid building block this week. Chase actually has the best average finish at Michigan over the last five races (at 4.60). He finished ninth in June, even when Hendrick Motorsports was perceived to be down on speed at these larger race tracks. He has yet to flash much speed on the board, but he has won a stage in three straight races and has a 4.33 average finish in those races, so Elliott could be in line for a routine top-10 finish here in the Irish Hills.
Brad Keselowski ($10,400): Game type can determine your player pool in DFS, and it may even determine which Michigan native you want in your lineup this weekend. In a GPP format, you may want Byron's Erik Jones ($9,400), who won second practice and had the fastest 10-lap average in final practice. Jones' Camry feels incredibly fast, but starting fourth, there is risk to any sort of pit-road mistake producing underwhelming results. In cash, Rochester Hills native Bad Brad Keselowski makes a lot of sense. Brad led 105 laps in this race a year ago, but he had an unscheduled stop late and stumbled. Several mistakes make it feel like Keselowski has been trying too hard to win at his own track. Starting 18th, if Keselowski can find some of that speed this weekend, he could be a tremendous play at lower ownership.
Daniel Suarez ($8,400): Circumstances make plays in NASCAR daily fantasy. If Daniel Suarez was starting where his speed would indicate he should, which is likely in the top 10, he would be extremely low-owned in cash. Starting dead last? Suarez will be very heavily owned in cash. With such a weak rear of the field, Suarez is in little trouble of getting lapped with a car that fast, and he should accumulate pass-differential points all day. Suarez has actually yet to have a trouble-free day at Michigan, so that is cause for concern, but a lot of the incidents are not of Suarez's doing. He was fourth in the 10-lap average in final practice, so his speed should stick around for the long haul. "Big Three" or not in your lineup, find room for Suarez.
William Byron ($7,700): Byron has felt under-priced most of the season, but a lot of it is the trouble the rookie has run into. When he keeps all four fenders on the car, Byron has been a home run play in this area, but if not, he could end your day early. He was incredibly fast Saturday, as he was 2nd to Jones in Practice #2, and 10th on the 10-lap average in final practice. With Chase Elliott finally in victory lane, it will be a race between he and Alex Bowman to see who next puts a Hendrick Chevrolet in victory lane, and Byron appears to have the stronger chance this Sunday from 20th on the grid.
Paul Menard ($7,600): Menard has been fast this year, largely in part to the Ford alliance with Penske and Stewart-Haas that has led to a resurgence for drivers of all of those teams. In this pricing area, Menard is a lot more appealing than his peers. No one in this range appears to have the consistent, top-15 speed Menard does, and he backed that up by finishing 5th in the rain-shortened June race. He starts 14th, which still allows some risk aversion in the event of a pit-road mistake. The same can't be said for the Richard Childress Chevys of Austin Dillon ($7,400) and Ryan Newman ($7,300), who are starting in the top 10 but have not shown the sustained speed into a run necessary for the race.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.