NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Federated Auto Parts 400
Brad Keselowski is red hot. Last week in Sin City, Keselowski became the third driver this season to win three races in a row -- the first time three drivers have done that in one year in the history of NASCAR's top series. However, this season, both Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick had opportunities to win their fourth straight race and failed. Could Bad Brad break that barrier this weekend at Richmond International Raceway?
A favorite amongst drivers, this 0.75-mile, worn race track has multiple race grooves, plenty of passing, and a fair amount of contact. With the unknown of a new track to the circuit next week, the pressure is on for the playoff drivers to win this week and be locked into the Round of 12.
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 to how he is approaching this weekend's slate.
Kevin Harvick ($13,600): NASCAR has been more wide open in recent weeks than it was throughout the summer, with more drivers finding the lead and flashing the speed to dominate races and win. With that being the case, the high-priced tier becomes much more open. In a time of mystery, there is one constant -- Harvick is really, really fast. Harvick was leading briefly and on his way to making a statement at Las Vegas last weekend before cutting a tire. Harvick bounced back in a big way this weekend, securing the pole for this race, ensuring the lead to start Saturday night and the premium pit stall position. Fading Harvick from the pole has been dangerous this season, so while Brad Keselowski ($14,000), who has three straight wins, and Denny Hamlin ($13,000), who has a fantastic Richmond record starting from the front row, are somewhat sexier plays, it's hard to look past Harvick.
Martin Truex Jr. ($13,200): The champ is lurking. MTJ has not had a breakout, dominant win since July in Kentucky, but Truex, who wrote the book on how to use wins and stage points to dominate the current format of the playoffs, is starting to turn it on as the clock strikes "go time." Truex led 97 laps last weekend in Las Vegas before ceding to Brad Keselowski as his car's handling went away. Truex has also been fast at Richmond over the last five races. While Hamlin has the highest average finish over the last five races at 3.6, he is second in laps led with 255, with Truex leading a whopping 512 laps in that span. While he has not been able to close the deal at Richmond, for fantasy purposes, Truex leading laps is what we are searching for.
Besides these two, it is also worth noting two others. Kyle Larson ($12,500) is the defending winner of the September race at Richmond. Kyle Busch ($13,800) has been the man to beat at short tracks in 2018 and is this weekend's odds-on favorite to win, but neither appear to have had that type of dominant speed this weekend. That being said, you will want to incorporate both in smaller amounts in a maximum multi-entry GPP strategy in a race without a consensus favorite at this time.
Chase Elliott ($12,200): Elliott found big trouble in Round 1 of the playoffs and will need a huge rebound to avoid a disappointing exit in the Round of 16. Richmond is a very good spot for him to bounce back. He finished second to Kyle Busch in the spring race, and that was at a time where the #9 team and Hendrick Motorsports as a whole were way behind on speed. Elliott has been quick at flat tracks all season, earning top-five finishes at smaller, flat tracks like Phoenix and New Hampshire. Elliott is also starting 19th, meaning he offers pass-differential upside even if he never finds the front.
Clint Bowyer ($11,500): An issue in qualifying has Bowyer starting deep in the field in 25th. While that will make for a tougher night of work for Bowyer, for fantasy purposes, he now has legitimate upside that may not have been present otherwise. Make no mistake, this pick is not just about starting position, though. Bowyer was second on the 10-lap average in the final practice, and he led 102 laps in the spring. Bowyer also won earlier this year at Martinsville, another short track, in dominant fashion. Another playoff driver who had tough luck in Vegas, Bowyer should be due for a good night at Richmond.
Joey Logano ($12,700): While many will likely flock to Penske's Brad Keselowski after three straight wins, don't sleep on his Penske teammate, Logano. Joey actually led 92 laps on the way to finishing fourth in the spring, which was a time when he had far less speed than recent weeks. Logano has led laps in each of the last four races, so he is beginning to peak at the right time. Penske's team speed has seen a major boost with Keselowski, but perhaps Logano finds the lead at the end on Saturday and gets his second win of the season.
Note: Daniel Suarez ($9,100) has failed post-qualifying inspection and will start 38th. Regan Smith ($6,400) and David Ragan ($4,500) were the others to fail inspection and will start 39th and 40th, respectively. All three drivers will be strong options for place-differential points during the race.
Austin Dillon ($8,600): Austin Dillon was a popular pick to miss the Round of 12 in NASCAR's playoffs. He just simply hasn't had the consistent speed of other playoff drivers all season. But Dillon actually survived the playoff driver melee at Vegas, finishing a solid 11th. This weekend, he got off to a bad start, qualifying incredibly deep in the field (28th). While this will be an uphill climb for him, his floor at this price now becomes tremendous. He has shown some speed, clocking in third in the final practice, so it is possible qualifying was a fluke. He will be a popular and is a must-play budget option in most formats.
William Byron ($7,100): The rookie marks the first non-playoff driver in the preview, but Byron has been a DFS dandy this year. He has been an interesting pivot most weeks--he routinely shows the speed to mark a finish well worth his value in this low $7000 pricing area. However, he has run into trouble on several occasions and broken hearts of FanDuel players everywhere. This week starting 20th, it feels like deja vu all over again. Byron has not yet flashed tremendous speed this weekend, but he finished 12th in the spring, and should be decently fast Saturday night. Byron is almost always worth a flier in this area, and should be rolled out in GPP formats this weekend.
Ty Dillon ($6,000): When calling Ty Dillon's number in fantasy this season, we're usually just hoping for anything short of disaster. Dillon has incredibly interesting potential, however, posting a fourth in both practice sessions on Friday. Richmond is not a track as dependent more on the driver than the equipment, and Dillon absolutely has the talent to deliver. At this point, Germain Racing has been unable to get the equipment to a top-notch level. Will Ty Dillon contend for a top-10 showing on Saturday? Absolutely not. But starting 31st, if Dillon can crack the top 25, he provides great salary relief for those looking to stack multiple big drivers.
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.