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Pocono Organics 325 NASCAR DFS Picks for DraftKings, FanDuel, and SuperDraft

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Pocono Organics 325 NASCAR DFS Picks for DraftKings, FanDuel, and SuperDraft

Via random draw, the field is set for Saturday’s Pocono Organics 325. With Aric Almirola on the pole and Ryan Blaney starting second, NASCAR DFS lineups should vary wildly as players try to figure out what to do with the front row. Let’s get into the top plays for Saturday and highlight drivers that should be on your NASCAR DFS rosters.


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A Word About DraftKings

Before we delve in, I need to say something about DraftKings. Pricing is incredibly soft for Saturday’s race. Potential lap leaders have all been priced down $1,500 to $2,000 from where they should be. In fact, they’ve priced this tier of drivers down so much you can make a legitimate argument about rostering two dominators. That seems insane for a 130-lap race. However, this is also dependent on what you do with Christopher Bell, but we’ll deal with him later.

The Front Row

Excluding the July Pocono race (multiple inspection failures) from 2018, the consistent theme is someone from the front row is going to lead the most laps. In our six-race data set from the Race Sheets, we see either the driver starting first or second leading lap totals of 100, 74, 89, 79 and 62. In Thursday’s preview, I addressed why this track produces the sort of racing we see year in and year out. So it shouldn’t be any wonder why the two drivers with the best shots at clean air, initially, are the ones leading the most laps.

Therefore, if these numbers are sticky, we need to gauge the merits of Aric Almirola versus Ryan Blaney. Based off of name recognition solely, I would expect Almirola to be the far lesser-owned of the two. People love to play Almirola in superspeedway races or when he offers place differential. However, most won’t cross that line when Almirola is sitting on the front row. To be fair, in Almirola’s nearly 10-year-long career in NASCAR, this is only his third career pole.

Yet, it shouldn’t be that surprising when you consider the equipment he spent the bulk of his career in (No. 43). In Almirola’s four starts at Pocono with Stewart-Haas Racing, he’s finished top-12 in three of four races. Those are obviously good numbers but, with him on the pole, it means more place differential to lose as he probably finishes seventh to 11th. On the other hand, we have Blaney. First off, we can’t pretend that Pocono is one of Blaney’s stronger tracks. Yes, he has a win way back in June of 2017. However, outside of that win, he’s perennially been a 10th-to-12th-place finisher at Pocono. Now, what this 2020 version of Blaney looks like with only Almirola to beat off the line is to be seen.


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Potential Lap Leaders

Herein exists the problem with siding with either Almirola or Blaney as a cornerstone of your lineups: The last four Pocono winners start paired together in the second row with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

First, let’s begin with the 2020 anomaly that is Kyle Busch. Busch has not been himself, to say the least. This deep into the season, 13 races, Busch has yet to find the winner’s circle but has three runner-ups to his name. The Series has repeatedly returned to tracks that Busch has excelled at, but Busch has failed to find his winner’s form. At $9,300 on DraftKings, Busch should be a popular play for a three-time winner at Pocono but we still have no guarantee that his equipment and form are up to snuff.

Hamlin, though, I do trust. We’ve seen him grace the winner’s circle thrice this year and Pocono has been favorable to Hamlin with five career victories. Most notably, Hamlin won last July’s Pocono race. At $8,800 on DraftKings, Hamlin is underpriced the same as Busch and only has to beat Almirola and Blaney to the punch.

If considering other potential lap leaders for DraftKings or FanDuel, I would keep my gaze shallow. Due to the track’s nature, passing is incredibly tough. Therefore, we don’t typically see lap leaders come from teens or even the high single digits for that matter. In our 13 Pocono races since 2013 (excluding that same July-18 race), only seven times has a driver who started worse than fifth gone on to lead the most or second-most laps.

The Christopher Bell Enigma

This question is a non-issue on FanDuel ($8,000) and SuperDraft (1.65X multiplier). Bell starts 36th, should pick up anywhere from 20-25 spots, and be a great cash or tournament play on FanDuel and SuperDraft. However, the algorithm at DraftKings made Bell the highest-priced driver for Saturday at an astonishing $11,100.

This salary is preposterous and that’s it. If he were hovering around the $10,000 mark like Homestead, this might be a debate. Yet, at $11,100, you need a career-best finish from Bell. Even then, I don’t know if a top-five finish is still going to be worth this salary. To be an optimal play, Bell not only needs fifth or better but he needs to pick up fastest laps. Plus he needs the potential lap leaders to not dominate and thus keep their own fantasy points totals down. It’s quite the circumstance to ask for on DraftKings.

Place Differential Options

Once again, because passing is so difficult, I’m willing to move my line up the board a bit in search of place differential options. In that same line of thought, I may not be tempted to use drivers like Ty Dillon or Ryan Preece in tournaments. You may be getting loads of place differential upside. In the end, you might have rostered a driver who picked up five or six spots and then stalled out.

William Byron, 16th ($10,400 FanDuel, $8,400 DraftKings, 1.4X SuperDraft) – In Byron’s short career, these long-flat tracks of Pocono and Indianapolis have shown to be his best. In 2019, Byron’s average finish in the three flat superspeedway races was second-best (5.7) in the field — just behind Denny Hamlin (4.3). Byron’s salary is a little elevated but, when you consider his starting position, he gives you bankable points for cash or GPPs.

Clint Bowyer, 18th ($9,400 FanDuel, $9,500 DraftKings, 1.35X SuperDraft) – When you consider who Bowyer’s sandwiched between, his salary is aggressive on FanDuel and DraftKings. However, both sites are making you pay for his place differential, thought for good reason. At SHR, Bowyer has consistently been a top-10 driver at Pocono. The only question you have to ask yourself is from 18th, will he pick up enough spots to be worth those prices?

Erik Jones, 19th ($10,000 FanDuel, $7,100 DraftKings, 1.45X SuperDraft) – Hello, chalk, thy name is Erik Jones. Much like Byron, Jones’ feet hit the ground running as soon as he started racing at Pocono in the Cup Series. In six career Pocono starts, Jones only has one finish outside of the top 10. In last year’s Pocono races, Jones brought home second- and third-place finishes. Just remember, Jones has been sort of sketchy this season.

Favorite NASCAR DFS Plays on each Site

  • On DraftKings, Erik Jones is an insane value at just $7,100. Not only does Jones give you place differential upside but he has a realistic shot to win this race come stage 3.
  • On FanDuel, at just $8,000, Christopher Bell is the driver that should be in the majority of your lineups. Play Bell in cash or tournaments, it doesn’t matter.
  • On SuperDraft, your flex locks are Erik Jones (2.2) or William Byron (2.1). As far as a champion, either of Jones or Byron makes great picks if you choose to go with place differential over the laps led points. If the top lap leader hits the average of 76 laps led, we’re talking 15.2 SD points. If Jones and Byron pick up 10 positions, it’s only 7.5 SD points. The only feasible driver with enough place differential upside to outscore a potential lap leader is Christopher Bell (2.45).

Phill Bennetzen is a father, husband, and Catholic as well as a self-professed annoying fitness guy. Phill heads up NASCAR content at Awesemo.com and even though he doesn't have any live finals trips to his name, he provides some of the top NASCAR DFS analysis around. You can contact Phill by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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