NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: AAA Texas 500
It's crunch time in NASCAR's postseason, with only three races remaining in the 2018 season. In a wild battle between Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr, and Denny Hamlin all afternoon at Martinsville, Logano knocked Truex Jr. out of the way in the final corner to clinch his spot in the championship race in Miami.
With only three races left, the "big three" that have been dominating all season have a comfortable lead on the final three spots (along with Logano), but after being quick all weekend, can Kurt Busch or Clint Bowyer pull an upset by winning at Texas?
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 ($13,500): It has been quite the year for Kevin Harvick on 1.5-mile tracks. Harvick won this race a year ago, and since then, he has won four more times on 1.5-milers. Given that, it should come as no surprise that Harvick has been the talk of the garage this weekend. While he was able to qualify "only" third, Harvick ripped off his first 10 laps of practice Saturday morning at an average speed of 192.022 miles per hour, easily the best 10 laps of anyone in practice. NBC's commentator booth, with access to private 15-lap and 20-lap averages, was incredibly impressed with Harvick over the course of a run. "Happy" led 87 laps in the spring before succumbing to a late Kyle Busch surge. He's not the most expensive driver in the player pool this week, but he is the consensus favorite Sunday.
Kyle Busch ($13,000): The aforementioned Busch was all that stopped Harvick from having a chance at three in a row in Fort Worth this weekend, leading 116 laps and closing the deal back in April. Busch also has two other wins at this racetrack, and he posted the second-best time behind Harvick on the 10-lap average at both Saturday practices. There is minimal sense of urgency for the number-18 team, with Busch comfortably leading the points, but still, every member of the playoffs is looking to make a statement. With everyone likely on Harvick, Busch could be an interesting pivot -- exactly as he was in April.
Kyle Larson: ($11,500): Kyle Larson usually starts farther back in the field than anyone else in this price tier weekly, and this week is no different. A mediocre pass in qualifying leaves him 22nd on the grid, but as is often the case, the pass-differential upside helps justify Larson at this price even if he will not lead laps early. And it's worth noting -- Larson very well might lead laps late. He has been a top-five team and driver on intermediate tracks all year, and he posted third and sixth on the 10-lap average times on Saturday. Larson has actually had trouble keeping the car in one piece the last few weeks, finishing 27th or worse in two of the last three races, but if he avoids trouble, his price may be just low enough to pair with Harvick or Busch as a star piece.
It's worth mentioning Joey Logano ($14,000). Logano, last week's winner, could be experimenting this week for something to try at another 1.5-mile track in Miami, and he has yet to flash elite, top-five speed in any practice session this weekend. As the most expensive driver in the pool, there just does not appear to be enough upside for Logano this weekend.
Ryan Blaney ($10,800): The pole-sitter for the race tomorrow should not be forgotten amidst the speed of Busch and Harvick. Blaney actually led 148 laps from the outside pole at Texas in April 2017, and he has finished sixth and fifth in the two races here since then. Blaney has five top-10 finishes this year on intermediate tracks and has led races at five intermediate tracks, as well. He was able to post fourth in final practice over the 10-lap haul, so Blaney may also be able to carry his speed later into a run. At this price, Blaney is a great alternative if you feel like fading Harvick, and pairing him with Larson will give you two fast cars in the stable.
Jimmie Johnson ($9,600): It was a while ago, but Johnson actually won the first race at Texas after the repave, which was in April 2017. While Johnson does not appear to have race-winning speed for Sunday, he could ascend from the 23rd starting spot if practice is any indication. He posted 16th and 11th in the Saturday practices, and 12th in the 10-lap average in final practice. It's nothing too special, but those are tremendously solid times nonetheless. With both crew chief Chad Knaus and main sponsor Lowe's leaving at the end of 2018, maybe Johnson will put together a classic performance for old times' sake.
Austin Dillon ($8,500): Sometimes NASCAR DFS seems easy, even if it is far from simple. Dillon makes a lot of sense, even at this price -- which is his highest in a few weeks. He has seven top-20 finishes on intermediate tracks this year, and he is starting 26th. With that much pass-differential opportunity, Dillon is good value in this area despite finishing outside the top 20 the last few weeks and not posting a top-20 practice time this weekend. Dillon is much more of a cash play, but there is pass-differential and driver-talent upside here with the number-three car.
Daniel Suarez ($7,600): Suarez was a surprise on the speed chart in Happy Hour, posting fourth on the 10-lap sheet. Suarez has good equipment in this price range, sporting the same vehicle as Busch and Denny Hamlin ($11,000), so you know Suarez has what he needs to shatter value here. Suarez also has three straight top-15 showings as he looks to make the case for a ride in 2019 as Martin Truex Jr. moves to Joe Gibbs Racing. Suarez has a great combination of starting spot, motivation and speed -- which is why he should be popular Sunday.
Bubba Wallace ($6,600): Ideally, we'd never want to turn to Bubba Wallace, but in a salary-cap format, sometimes it is necessary to dip down to be able to pay up for the studs you want. And that definitely holds true this week with Harvick, Busch, and Larson all looking extremely nice. Wallace has some reason for optimism, however, as he finished eighth in a crazy wreckfest in April and posted 26th in both practice sessions Saturday. Temper your expectations with Bubba as he has failed to crack the top 25 three of the last five races, but at this discount price, Wallace is a solid last cog in a stars-and-scrubs format.
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.