The field is set for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Phoenix Raceway with Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin on the front row. Using the NASCAR DFS projections and ownership projections, we’ll break down the best strategy for cash games and double-ups. Let’s dive into some of the best NASCAR fantasy picks today on DraftKings and FanDuel for the Ruoff Mortgage 500.
DraftKings & FanDuel NASCAR Fantasy Picks Today | Ruoff Mortgage 500
Ryan Blaney, 1st ($9,600 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel)
Since Phoenix was realigned and repaved in 2018, dominators are starting upfront and often coming from the pole position. Since 2019, the driver starting first is averaging 89.2 laps led with no finish worse than seventh in that time span. In those seven races since Phoenix got its grand makeover, the driver on the pole has either led the most or second-most laps in five of those seven events. This all lines up for Ryan Blaney, who showed top-three speed in all rankings, whether in the short single-lap run or into the longer 20 and 25-lap runs. His average finish is dragged down by his 37th-place finish in the spring 2020 race, but outside of that event, his other finishes at Phoenix have all been top 10 results.
Although Phoenix should be a dual-lap leader build on both DraftKings and FanDuel for cash games, the first dominator NASCAR DFS players select should be Blaney on the pole. Outside of Blaney, players have a plethora of options of drivers starting up front to plug in with him, however, the numbers do suggest that second lap leader should come from the front-six.
Martin Truex Jr., 20th ($9,800 DraftKings, $13,500 FanDuel)
With Blaney’s depressed salary, no expensive drivers starting in the rear (like Kyle Busch last week), NASCAR fantasy players can afford to pay up for Martin Truex Jr. in double-ups, head-to-heads, or 50/50 games. Not only does Truex offer place differential from his starting spot, but he has also shown the ability to be a contender in this race via his win last Spring and another near-win in the championship race in the fall. While past trends infer that Truex probably won’t lead the most or second-most laps on Sunday, he could definitely grab a slew of fast laps in his march to the front. Truex had over 50 fastest laps in both Phoenix races last season.
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A.J. Allmendinger, 29th ($7,200 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)
Despite posting the 10th-fastest single-lap speed, and the 11th-fastest five-lap average, that speed didn’t translate into a higher qualifying effort as he starts 29th on Sunday. Throughout the season, the Kaulig’s No. 16 has been a fairly competitive car with two top-12 finishes despite green flag rankings of 27th or worse in the three races thus far with Daniel Hemric behind the wheel. Now with Allmendinger manning the car, at the oval track with his second-best average finish during his previous Sprint Cup tenure, this car could very well push for another top-12 finish. Part of Hemric’s success was benefiting from attrition, something Allmendinger can similarly benefit from and capitalize on potential place differential.
For reference, his DraftKings Sportsbook outright odds mirror that of Kurt Busch, Ross Chastain, and Austin Cindric at 50-1. All drivers who start much higher up the board with less NASCAR Fantasy upside than Allmendinger.
Allmendinger was showing up highly in the NASCAR driver projections and popped in the lineup optimizer. He’s an excellent NASCAR fantasy pick today. Check out our DraftKings NASCAR DFS Cheat Sheet and FanDuel NASCAR DFS Cheat Sheet for all of the rest of our free NASCAR fantasy picks for the Ruoff Mortgage 500.
Todd Gilliland ($4,900 DraftKings, $2,000 FanDuel)
Gilliland graced this article last week and if DraftKings is going to price him down, he’ll continue to do so. His price reflects a driver in worse equipment, not Front Row Motorsports which is definitely a tier above the likes of Rick Ware and B.J. McLeod. Regardless, in back-to-back races, Gilliland has finished 20th and 23rd and at this salary, that’s all one can hope for. Punt plays in this salary range continually make the DraftKings NASCAR optimal lineup at Phoenix as they open up the door to three dominator lineups, Gilliland is the punt that makes the most sense as a cheap driver picking up nearly double-digit place differential.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 36th ($7,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel)
After posting a pedestrian 18th-ranked single-lap speed (129.795 MPH) in practice, Stenhouse made note of a potential issue. This issue ended up being related to the engine, and the 47 team made the decision to scrap qualifying as they had to swap engines. Without an official speed, Stenhouse starts dead last on Sunday (36th) making him a lock in cash games with 20-plus place-differential potential at a very reasonable price. Without much else obvious place differential options, expect Stenhouse Jr. to be one of, if not the, highest-owned drivers for both DraftKings NASCAR and FanDuel NASCAR lineups.
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