NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: FireKeepers Casino 400
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers that crash out of the race is a must, of course!
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Our track preview breaks down this week's venue, and we also have The Heat Check Fantasy Podcast, where Jim Sannes breaks down his favorite plays for Sunday's slate. Jim also has a current form and odds breakdown to analytically review how NASCAR's best drivers are performing recently.
A day-long battle between Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin was won outright by Keselowski, who pulled out his third win of 2020 by capturing the checkered flag at New Hampshire last Sunday. Keselowski is a Michigan native, and he carries some momentum from that into his home race track at Michigan International Speedway. The extremely fast 2.5-mile speedway has the modern day NASCAR speed record at a lap of 206.558 miles per hour, by Jeff Gordon in 2014. It plays host to twin, 500-kilometer races this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday, and at that rate of speed, this events will fly by!
The starting lineup for Saturday's race was determined by a tiered random draw based on owner points, which put Joey Logano on the pole for the event. Pit stalls, however, were drawn off last Sunday’s finishing order in Loudon, which gives Brad Keselowski the premier first pit stall. There are no official reports yet, but the expectation is the speedway will do as it did last August and use the PJ1 traction compound to help drivers with passing in multiple grooves in both race.
With that, let's preview the FireKeeprs Casino 400 at Michigan.
Kevin Harvick ($14,000): I give the slightest of nods to Harvick over Denny Hamlin ($13,500), but the two highest-priced drivers in the pool are that for a reason. Really, if one had drawn to start further back, that would have been the difference, but Hamlin starts second and Harvick third. Harvick has been the most successful driver at Michigan in the last two years,with two wins, a second, and a seventh in the four events -- and he has led in all of them. Harvick also showed great speed at larger, aero-dependent tracks like Pocono and Indianapolis, where he won at both. These two dominant forces in 2020 should once again battle for the win on Sunday if no problems are had.
Ryan Blaney ($12,500): Blaney's 2020 has not been shabby, either, as he is third in the series with seven top-five finishes -- behind only Blaney and Harvick. The long layoff plus a trip to one of Blaney's worst tracks in New Hampshire, made it easy to forget how much success he had at Kentucky, Texas, and Kansas -- leading laps in all three -- at fast, smooth, larger tracks. Enter Michigan International Speedway, perhaps the fastest, smoothest, and nearly the largest on the circuit. Blaney has led in three of the last four Michigan races, and that was well before showing the type of race-winning speed he's had in 2020. Starting 11th also gives the young Penske driver the slightest bit of pass-differential upside versus the rest of his pricing tier.
Erik Jones ($10,000): The gauntlet dropped on Thursday, and rumor became printed fact. Erik Jones is done at Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2020, which leaves him searching for a new team. That added motivation should propel Jones at his home track -- he's a native of Byron, Michigan -- to what he hopes to be finally a better finish in the Irish Hills. Jones earned stage points in four of the last five races at MIS, but he secured only a single top-10 out of it. If he can finally finish where he has been running, he will compete for a top-10 outing, which would be a great result on FanDuel from a fairly deep 23rd starting spot.
Christopher Bell ($9,500): Who is replacing Jones at JGR? None other than Christopher Bell, who currently drives for their alliance team Leavine Family Racing. Bell's stellar rookie campaign is what likely thrust Gibbs' team into action, as he has five top-10 finishes despite starting inside the top-20 in only five races. Bell has passed a ton of cars this year on the way to great finishes, and he profiles well to do that again on Saturday from 29th on the grid. This is Bell's first trip to Michigan, but he finished 4th at Pocono and 12th at Indianapolis, so those results at large tracks should mean Bell has good enough equipment to move forward.
John Hunter Nemechek ($6,000): Speaking of good equipment, Front Row Motorsports has stepped their program up in a huge way in 2020, as they have already bested their 2019 total for top-10 finishes as a team with four in 2020. That type of positive gain should help John Hunter Nemechek continue to run well, as he has six top-15 finishes this year. His biggest problem lately has been keeping the car in one piece, with two DNFs in his last four races. But Michigan has one of the lowest accident rates of all NASCAR tracks, so that should help Nemechek finish where he deserves on Saturday.
Ryan Preece ($4,500): The name of the game in such a short race is pass differential and finishing position, as seen by the previous three highlighted drivers. That may mean the strategy does not involve spending a ton on studs to lead laps but rather balancing your spending on solid finishes. That would normally mean there's no need to go as low as Preece, but he presents a good helping of both pass differential and finishing upside. Preece's equipment has produced three top-five finishes with teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr., but Preece has the worst luck in NASCAR currently with four DNFs in the last five races --and none have been his own doing. Perhaps the low incident rate helps Preece, as well, and he can secure a solid finish from a deep 35th position. He has done just that before at Michigan, finishing seventh here last August.
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.