The field is set with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott on the front row. Therefore, let’s get into this week’s top NASCAR DFS plays for Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte.
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I already outlined this in this week’s preview based on last year’s optimal lineup. That being said, while a dual-dominator build makes the most sense I wouldn’t rule out going with just a single dominator either. With my top potential lap leader starting on the front row, we could easily see that driver do what he did at Watkins Glen in 2019. If that scenario unfolds then the best roster construction will lend to a single lap leader build with all of the top-ten finishes you can jam in – reasonably.
Furthermore, we have a slew of drivers in the 20s with top-10 and perhaps even top-5 potential. The lack of laps is going to make it pretty difficult for a secondary dominator to outscore these place differential oriented drivers.
Things have changed after watching the Xfinity race on Saturday. The rain logged conditions we witnessed in that race look to carry over today. It was an absolute mess as drivers hydroplaned and spun themselves out unabated. Several times drivers got turned around and NASCAR failed to throw a caution as long as a driver could get turned around. If that occurs in turn 1 on a restart, a driver could easily go 1st to last quickly. It was a hot, well really cold and wet, mess and I foresee the same thing happening today.
Thus, for cash games on both DK and FD you need to just worry about place differential. In fact, carrying that game plan over to tournaments isn’t bad either. If a dominator can clear the field by a few seconds, then perhaps they stay clear of wrecks. Thus, I still like single dominator builds for DraftKings in tournaments.
However, it’s time to pull back your ownership of these and every other driver. Noah Gragson commented that the track was literally changing with every lap, so no one is safe. At the most, I would cap a driver at 45-50% and that’s just for the place differential drivers because of their floors. The dominator options have that much more variance now because of the conditions. If you don’t want to throw your remote at the television I might consider going 35-40% max on my dominator plays.
Furthermore, I’m giving hair more credence to the Xfinity drivers who saw these conditions yesterday. If you’re punting then don’t be afraid to add Gray Gaulding or Timmy Hill to your player pool. Those 2 have what no other driver in this field has, experience in the rain on this track.
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The Front Row
Let’s start with the easier driver of the 2 to analyze, Chase Elliott. The winner of the last 3 road course races that involve a portion of the oval, Elliott is my top overall play for Sunday. Elliott is averaging the most laps led whether you’re looking at Roval history (17.5) or road courses as a whole since 2018 (29.1). Starting on the front row puts him in prime position to jump to the lead early and hold it for a majority of the event.
Outside of ownership, there isn’t much justification for not making Elliott your first pick in cash games as well as the cornerstone of your tournament lineups. On the flip side, Hamlin’s outlook is based solely on your projection for Elliott. If you think Hamlin can hold off Elliott initially then you’ll probably want to either pair him with Elliott or play him instead.
Those looking at Roval numbers solely won’t get the full picture of Hamlin as he has had to start 28th and 26th in both Roval events. Now on the pole, Hamlin could easily take advantage of his starting position and knock down dominator points. A friendly reminder, in our lone road course race this year, Hamlin started 2nd, led 16 laps, and finished 2nd at Daytona.
Other Potential Dominators
Martin Truex Junior 7th ($13,200 FanDuel, $10,300 DraftKings) – Truex seems to shine more in our lone technical road course (Sonoma) with back to back wins. That being said, he’s not too shabby in these Roval type of events either. Truex carries the best average finish in road courses dating back to 2018 (4.3) of all drivers and he finished 3rd at the Daytona Roval. As the second high priced driver on both sites, you may see Truex going under-owned thanks to his starting position.
Kyle Busch 9th ($10,000 FanDuel, $9,500 DraftKings) – This is a knife throw in the dark. Busch is definitely capable as a road racer and we know he’s got all the motivation in the world. Playing Busch is a bet on some galaxy brain strategy that he and Adam Stevens come up with that gets him out front and keeps him there. Like Truex, Busch has been better at Sonoma but this is a bet on talent and strategy comingling.
Others; Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick
Tournament Place Differential
Clint Bowyer 11th ($11,300 FanDuel, $8,800 DraftKings) – Bowyer always goes under-appreciated in road course races despite his numbers, which are nearly better than the whole field. Dating back to 2018, Bowyer has only 1 finish worse than 11th in road courses (20th). In our three Roval type races in that data set, Bowyer’s finishes go 3, 4, and 6. For tournaments, Bowyer is the perfect play offering your finishing position upside paired with place differential at a salary most are afraid to touch.
William Byron 13th ($9,700 FanDuel, $8,600 DraftKings) – Starting 2 spots further back, Byron is a facsimile of Bowyer save for his much cheaper price tag on FanDuel. Byron has back to back top-10 finishes in the Charlotte and Daytona Rovals and projects for another high finish this Sunday. While I don’t think you should play Byron and Bowyer together, Byron makes an easy tournament pivot off lineups with Bowyer already in them.
Cash Place Differential
Ryan Blaney 24th ($12,000 FanDuel, $10,900 DraftKings) – the question in rostering Blaney this weekend is can he pay off his salary? As the winner of the 2018 Roval race, and 3 straight top-10 finishes in road courses following that, the answer seems like an easy yes. He’s more than capable of picking up place differential, finishing in the top-10, and posting a top-6 fantasy score.
Which makes him fine as a cash play but not a must-play. Blaney is probably the easiest driver to get off of in tournaments though. In our 2 Roval races, no one starting worse than 20th has posted a top-5 or top-10 finish. Out of those 40 drivers, only 4 went on to post a top-15 finish while just 6 posted top-20 finishes. It’s easy for drivers to get stuck around where they start and we could easily see that happen to Blaney.
Beyond these trends, Blaney’s salary puts him in a position where he’ll need at least a top-5 finish to start sniffing 5x value. If you genuinely can project Blaney to lead laps then he’s great. However, without those dominator points, he becomes a real opportunity cost decision with that salary for tournaments.
For whatever reason, DraftKings decided to give bumps to Jimmie Johnson (30th – $9,100) and Michael McDowell (31st, $8,100) while acting like Christopher Bell (35th) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr (38th) only needed incremental changes. Truth be told, Johnson and McDowell have actual top-10 ceilings compared to the other 2 who might max out their potential in the latter-teens.
That being said, if you don’t play Blaney in cash you can play all 4 with a single dominator paired with a cheaper driver in the $6,500 to $7,500 region on DK.
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