The field is set for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano on the pole. Let’s jump into this week’s top NASCAR DFS plays for DraftKings and FanDuel.
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The Front Row
If you’re looking for some discussion about strategy and lineup construction, those were both outlined earlier in this week’s preview.
Our analysis begins with the front row, as it does most weeks. Via his win last weekend at Richmond, Keselowski finds himself on the pole this Saturday night and should be at the top of the leaderboard for one of our likelier dominators. In a similar position in the spring, Keselowski started on the pole and led 115 laps in total. Only twice have we seen Keselowski on the pole this season. Yet, both times he’s been a top-two lap leader.
Even if you get away from Keselowski’s recent numbers, the trends say you should always pencil in whoever is starting 1st. Via the “Heat Map” in the Race Sheets, the pole sitter has by far the best average finish in the field (3.4) with the most wins (three), average laps led (118.3), fastest laps (39.7) and DraftKings points (88.86) since 2017. The only question: Is Keselowski capable of being a top dominator from the pole? The answer is a resounding yes.
As per Logano, the last time we saw him here at Bristol he was a mere two laps away from winning before Chase Elliott wrecked them both. However, that potential win wasn’t going to gloss over the fact that he was pretty disappointing as a dominator that day. Logano has shown a propensity to lead laps at Bristol several times over. Furthermore, Logano’s two career Bristol victories both came in late-summer races (2014, 2015). Thus, we know the potential is there, but I’m probably looking elsewhere for dominator candidates.
Other Potential Dominators
Kyle Busch, 9th ($12,000 FanDuel, $10,400 DraftKings) – After being off Busch last week, I’m the conductor for this train this week. Let’s consider what is in his favor this weekend. First, we’re returning to a track where Busch has in-season notes, a race that saw Busch lead more than 100 laps and finish fourth. Fantasy points-wise, it was by far Busch’s best showing all season. Second, Bristol is one of Busch’s best tracks with eight career wins and 13 top-five finishes in 30 starts.
However, the best factor is the one that is as narrative street as it gets.
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) September 15, 2020
A paint scheme is what’s got me going. Literally, my hard-earned American dollars are playing Kyle Busch because Skittles is on the hood. When Skittles is the main sponsor for the No. 18 team, Busch excels — especially at Bristol. His two most recent Bristol wins came with Skittles on the hood. His laps led totals with Skittles have gone, in reverse order, 100, 117, 192 and 73. Trust the history, trust the sponsor.
Ryan Blaney, 14th ($11,300 FanDuel, $8,800 DraftKings) – Due to the glut of laps, starting position doesn’t concern me this weekend. While starting 14th isn’t great, Blaney should have no issue moving through the field to the lead.
Let’s play a quick game: Who’s averaging the most laps led at Bristol since 2017? If you said Kyle Busch, you’d be correct (67.7 laps led). So, who ranks second in laps led at 62.7 per race? While it might not seem like it, Blaney has been a consistent lap leader at Bristol knocking down the 2nd most per race on average. Over the past 5 Bristol races, his laps led totals have gone 60, 0, 158, 121, and 100.
However, what we remember is him spinning out in the Spring and finishing dead last. Or maybe its the 2018 Spring race where he wrecked out and finished 35th. The gist is that Blaney has been better here than we think, or at least remember, and has made himself a dominator a few times as well. The motivation to finish well is more than apparent and he needs a win to advance to the next round.
Others; Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer
Related NASCAR DFS Content
- The Awesemo YouTube Channel – Weekly NASCAR DFS Strategy Show
- NASCAR Top Drivers Tool – DFS Dominators on FanDuel and DraftKings (PREMIUM)
- NASCAR DFS Rankings for DraftKings and FanDuel (PREMIUM)
- NASCAR Ownership Projections for DraftKings and FanDuel (PREMIUM)
- NASCAR Projections for DraftKings and FanDuel (PREMIUM)
Place Differential Plays
The aim of your plays this week is of course to gain spots relative to where they start. However, in order to so, they’re probably going to need some luck just to survive attrition.
Jimmie Johnson, 24th ($9,400 FanDuel, $8,600 DraftKings) – Due to his salary and starting position, Johnson makes an interesting pivot. While not cheap and not a threat to lead laps, he does have the best bankable asset: place differential. Whether it be cash or tournaments, you could play Johnson in lieu of a third dominator and hope that his place differential + fastest laps + finishing position points make him a better value than whatever the third dominator scores.
Ryan Newman, 25th ($8000 FanDuel, $7,300 DraftKings) – Newman has a reputation as a blocker and is impossible to pass. For our sake, that lines up well as a cash game driver. Starting 25th, Newman gives you access to place differential as well as a little bit of a ceiling. Since 2017, Newman holds an average finish of 11th with two top-10 finishes. He may actually hold a ceiling as well should he move forward far enough.
However, it’s his six lead lap finishes in those seven races that really entices me. As a premium blocker, Newman can hold his line and help ensure that he doesn’t fall a lap down and kill his fantasy potential. In order for your place differential drivers to really pay off in tournaments, they need to finish on the lead lap. Newman has shown at Bristol, he still holds that power.
Others; Ryan Preece, Michael McDowell, Bubba Wallace, Ty Dillon
Normally, the only time we address this class of drivers is in the YouTube show. However, the fact is that roster construction is going to force you down into this range, so you need to get comfortable with possibly rostering all of these drivers in MME. One of these guys is going to move up 10, 15 or even nearly 20 spots because they get lucky like Timmy Hill in the spring, who finished 19th.
If you are just firing off one bullet, my bet is to go back to the well with Hill. Starting 38th, Hill has nearly the best place differential upside. Hopefully, he gleaned something from that finish in the spring that can translate into results on Saturday evening. Outside of Hill, your best bet may be to just go all the way down to Quin Houff, who is stone minimum on both sites. Houff has raced at Bristol in the Cup Series three times, and each time the finish has improved — 32, 30 and 27 in the spring.
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