NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Ford EcoBoost 400
A week ago at Phoenix, with Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick already locked into the championship race, two spots remained for a chance at the 2019 title. Teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch outpaced Joey Logano to the finish line, with Hamlin winning the race overall, to add a second and third Joe Gibbs Racing car to the title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.
Will Gibbs cap off a dominant 2019 with a championship, or can Kevin Harvick spoil the party? We'll find out at the worn out, multi-groove 1.5-mile track in Miami this weekend.
Homestead is a very average 1.5-mile test with plenty of room for passing, yet track position still a priority. Here is the trend -- which seems intuitive -- to know for this championship race: the four drivers racing for the championship usually dominate the front of the race. Playoff drivers have led 358 of 801 laps, and Kyle Larson has led 322 more himself. The last playoff driver to finish outside the top seven was Carl Edwards in 2016 as he wrecked racing for the lead. Therefore, we'll want to evaluate Larson and the Championship Four to find a dominator this weekend.
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Our track preview gives you more information about the history of the track, our driver preview helps bring you up to speed on recent driver history, and our Heat Check Podcast with Jim Sannes gives you insight to how he is approaching this weekend's slate.
Denny Hamlin: ($14,000): Because of our race trend, I wanted to highlight each Final Four driver in the high-priced section. Denny Hamlin gets to be spotlighted first because he is starting in the pole position based on his win at Phoenix. It's actually his fourth pole in five races in Miami, and he also has two career wins here. In practice this week, Hamlin backed up his starting spot, finishing first in final practice over the course of a 10-lap average. With track position of such importance all season, Hamlin having such prime starting spot and a fast car makes him the clear top option on the slate with four evenly-priced drivers.
Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000): Truex Jr. is hunting for his second title this weekend, and he was equally as quick as his Gibbs teammates. Truex was second on the single-lap charts and third over a 10-lap run, but he has the most recent success at this track among the Gibbs teammates. He won his title back in 2017 leading 78 laps here and winning the race, and he led 20 last year and came up just short of running down Joey Logano to go back-to-back. Truex starts third with an equally fast car, and his strong Miami resume should have him contending throughout the day.
Kyle Busch ($14,000): Kyle Busch won final practice on the single-lap charts, and that should come as no surprise. He has been incredibly solid in this championship-clinching race throughout his career, finishing no worse than sixth at Miami in his last four attempts at a title. His win back in 2015 earned him his first career championship. He starts the furthest back of the championship drivers, but it is still an incredibly high fourth. Busch will likely run well again, but I prefer his teammates on speed and recent race-winning potential at tracks like Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kevin Harvick ($14,000): The only non-Gibbs driver in the playoffs is Harvick, and he was considerably behind the others on the speed charts on Saturday, though it was still a respectable ninth. Harvick's upside comes from his results at 1.5-mile tracks this year. He has led 582 laps on those tracks this season, the most of any Cup driver, and he finally broke through to win one the last time out at Texas. I am a little more bearish on Harvick than the other three title contenders this weekend because of the speed concerns, but he is certainly worth consideration whenever he's starting second at an intermediate track.
Kurt Busch ($9,500): Qualifying postponements usually take some value from the mid-tier section because a driver who has been about the 13th-best car in the sport this year starts 13th on points. Still, for a contrarian strategy in this area, Kurt Busch could be an option. He's earned stage points for running in the top 10 in every stage held at Homestead, and he likely would have two straight top-10 finishes here if not for a late pit issue in 2018. Busch has been extremely solid on intermediate tracks this season, posting eight top-10 showings, including a win at Kentucky. While his brother races for a title, Kurt could put forth a good run Sunday.
Erik Jones ($9,000): The only Gibbs car at the proverbial "kiddie table" is Erik Jones. His bad luck streak in the playoffs prevents him from racing for a championship, but Jones still possesses elite speed. Because of his playoff performance, he is 16th in points and will start 16th on Sunday. Jones should have a better car than that, recording 10th in final practice and matching Kurt Busch's eight top-10 finishes on intermediate tracks this year. He is solid value if you choose to forgo multiple title contenders in your FanDuel lineup.
Austin Dillon ($7,000): This section might be of even more importance, because spending $14,000 on two title drivers will require salary relief somewhere. In this area, Austin Dillon is having a slight rebound in a down year. With four top-20 showings across his last six races, his price is up to its highest point since September -- but for good reason. He starts 22nd and has finished no worse than 14th his last four races in Miami. Repeating that performance would result in a solid value day for the older Dillon brother.
David Ragan ($3,500): David Ragan is just criminally cheap at $3,500, which is barely above the salary floor of $2,000 that applies to cars knowingly not finishing the race. Ragan has had problems finishing races late in 2019, but he does not deserve this price tag at a track where, in the same equipment, he has posted lead-lap finishes of 20th and 17th the last two years. He also has four top-25 finishes on intermediate tracks this year. This race is Ragan's final bid with Front Row Motorsports, so they would love to end their run on a high note, and a good finish from 31st on the grid would do just that.
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.