NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Auto Club 400
This week on the circuit we have Fontana, also known as the Auto Club 400. On the track with some of the lowest amount of grip in the entire series, it's always entertaining to see some of the craziness that can unfold. Best of all, this will be another look at the new aero package that was fully unveiled in Vegas. The Vegas race included an insane 3,345 green flag passes, which is exactly what the package was meant to do. This week, the goal is to look for one driver who can lead a large percentage of laps or find guys who have high-finish and/or high place-differential upside in what is only a 200-lap race.
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 recent driver history here, and our Heat Check Podcast with Jim Sannes gives you insight to how he is approaching this weekend's slate.
Kyle Busch ($14,800) -- Starting in fourth, the younger Busch has the best chance of both leading the most laps and winning this race among all drivers in the field. Based on the three non-Daytona races we have in the books this season, Busch gets the edge over Kevin Harvick if you're choosing between the two. Busch is coming in with an average finish of 3.3 in his last three races, including a win, and has the most fast laps and led laps of anyone on the series. While Busch's recent performance has been scorching, so are his practice numbers heading into this race. He was second on both the short and long run in Practice 2 and sixth on his long run in the third practice. He's in play in all formats.
Martin Truex Jr. ($13,700) -- No matter how you stand on Busch versus Harvick, Truex should be next on your wish list. Starting in 27th, Truex, the winner of last year's Auto Club 400, has the highest floor of any driver thanks to his place-differential upside. It's hard to doubt a guy who led 125 laps last time out here. In his past three races this season, Truex has an average finish of fourth and an average running position of 7.3, third-best behind Harvick and Busch. So there is no doubt Truex is performing well in his new wheels. I see no reason to fade a driver who can easily go from 27th to a top-five finish. Lock and load.
Others to consider -- Kevin Harvick ($14,500): Have to be confident in his ability to lead laps and finish near the top. Brad Keselowski ($13,200): High place-differential play.
Kurt Busch ($10,800) -- Another solid place-differential option, the elder Busch (starting in 21st) is easily in play for being a core cash-game choice. Since moving to the number-1 car, he has been finishing fifth on average with a top-10 average running position. He has the tools to crack the top 10 by the time this race is finished. The only reason he qualified this low was that he chose to run his qualifying lap as a lone car, which, with this package, is not a great idea. Busch is another driver who in on the radar in all formats, though he's especially appealing in small-field contests.
Erik Jones ($9,800) -- Another place-differential play, Jones is a chalk driver we should be willing to bite on. Starting in 18th, Jones' recent form is solid if you look past his horrible 39th lap last week in Phoenix, a lap in which he spun out and was penalized for a commitment line violation, leading to him finishing eight laps off the lead. In the third practice this week, he ran the fifth-fastest long run speed, and he's a great play in this price range due to his talent and current form.
Alex Bowman ($8,000) -- Normally not someone we consider because he qualifies too high, Bowman is the perfect candidate for some GPP sneakiness. He's not an ideal cash-game play as his range of outcomes are pretty wide, but at $8,000, he can surprise. He popped in his third practice, ranking eighth in the short run and fourth on the long run. At his price, we may need just a top-15 showing out of him to justify rostering him in a GPP, and that's possible for Bowman after he ran well in the final practice. If you're making multiple GPP lineups, he's a guy to sprinkle into a few.
Daniel Suarez ($7,300) -- After Suarez had a rough race as a chalk darling last week, the masses may stay off him, but it's not a bad spot to go back to the well since he's starting in 20th. For the skill of the driver and the car that he has, the starting position is too low, and there is room for some place differential. His recent performances are nothing impressive, but he does have an average finish of 16.7 in his last three races (including last week's disaster), and an average running position of 17th. On top of that, his numbers from the third practice this week look very good. He might not have the most place-differential upside in this field, but Suarez makes some sense for tournaments.
Paul Menard ($7,000) -- Starting in 25th, Menard is a slightly better play than Suarez. Averaging a 15.3 finish and 16.7 average running position in his last three, Menard has the ability to gain a good amount of place-differential points here. And in order to fit at least two of the high-priced drivers, you're going to need a guy like Menard to come through with place-differential points. He can do just that today.
Ryan Preece ($5,000) -- If you need someone super cheap for a GPP, Preece is your guy. He is a good rookie driver who has had some tough luck in his last three races. Atlanta and Phoenix both ended early for Preece, with some pretty bad crashes in both. Those events should not deter you from a driver who is otherwise running 24.7 on average. If Preece can get a top-15 finish here, he'll likely be a key figure in a lot of the best GPP lineups, and he's not a bad dart throw if you're shopping in this price range.
Evan Cheney is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Evan Cheney also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username theman90210. 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.