The field is set tonight via random draw, with Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano on the front row. Let’s jump into this race and break down the top NASCAR DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel.
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For cash games, it seems pairing two dominators together is still preferred. The only scenario I would approach three dominators is for tournament lineups on DraftKings. It can be done, but it guides you towards cheap place differential without much upside.
Potential Lap Leaders
Kevin Harvick, 1st ($14,000 FanDuel, $11,500 DraftKings) – This is perhaps the easiest set-and-forget play of the whole evening. Harvick has been pretty stellar of late in the night Kansas races with a win in 2018 and third in 2017. In the past three Kansas night races, he’s averaging 64.3 laps led with 48 laps led. Meanwhile, in that same data set, he also owns the best driver rating (128.3), some 24 points higher than the next competitor.
In my preview for Kansas on Tuesday, I detailed how well the pole sitter has done at Kansas, averaging over 90 laps led per race. Harvick is more than capable of taking advantage of his position and knocking down a bunch of dominator points. As per finish, I have my doubts about whether Harvick will win. However, in the process of the race, I believe he’ll accrue so many hog points it won’t matter where he finishes.
Denny Hamlin, 10th ($13,000 FanDuel, $10,200 DraftKings) – After a few weeks of flailing around, it’s time to jump back on Hamlin. When you isolate the intermediate track night races in 2020, Hamlin’s performance shines through with two wins and another top-five finish. Without practice, this transition from day into night will be about set up and handling changes. We’ve seen Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart consistently set up Hamlin well for these races. I would expect the same tonight.
Other Potential Lap Leaders
The duo of Harvick and Hamlin make a lot of sense on the periphery. However, there are other options that have just as much upside as Hamlin or even Harvick.
Ryan Blaney, 4th ($11,000 FanDuel, $9,900 DraftKings) – If not for the late caution last week, Blaney should have won at Texas. He continues to unload with the fastest car week in and week out. The only concern is whether that daytime speed we’ve seen at Kentucky and Texas translates to this race.
As per Kansas, Blaney is a bit of an enigma. His averages look good on the surface but then again they don’t. When Blaney sat on the pole in 2017 he led 83 laps and finished fourth. However, since then, he’s finished 37th and 32nd in these night races. Instead, I would look at his 2020 night numbers in the 550-horsepower package — three straight third-place finishes with 18 laps led per race. A high finish is all but certain, but how many laps does Blaney lead in the process?
Chase Elliott 11th ($13,400 FanDuel, $11,000 DraftKings) – It’s odd how much Elliott mirrors Hamlin tonight. When you isolate these night races with the 550-horsepower package, Elliott shines like a beacon. Since getting spun out by Kyle Busch at Darlington and finishing 38th, Elliott has finished second, first and second in these night events. Most importantly for Elliott, in these four night races, he’s averaging the most fastest laps (27.3) per race.
Others to consider; Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola
Tournament Place Differential
Austin Dillon, 16th ($8,200 FanDuel, $7,200 DraftKings) – Dillon finds himself in no-man’s-land for cash games starting 16th. However, if this race remains green, Dillon could be an essential piece to roster construction. The scenario is simple: Dillon hangs around 12th all night and never places himself in danger of losing a lap. Dillon is the direct pivot off of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Cole Custer, who should garner much higher ownership on DraftKings.
Erik Jones, 21st ($10,000 FanDuel, $9,000 DraftKings) – Who’s in charge of the pricing algorithm at DraftKings? Jones goes from criminally underpriced for nearly a month to overvalued like that? Jones makes the tournament section of place differential picks because of this salary. I can’t bring myself to play Jones in cash at this salary, especially when you consider the GPP nature to Jones of late.
As per Kansas, Jones returns to a track he’s had success at with back to back finishes of third and seventh in Kansas night races.
Others to consider; Bubba Wallace, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch
Cash Place Differential
Ty Dillon, 36th ($5,000 FanDuel, $6,500 DraftKings) – This pick needs no explanation. You’re getting Dillon as far to the rear as he could possibly start at reasonable prices on both sites. In these 4 evenings into night races, Dillon has an average finish of 25th. While a similar finish doesn’t excite us, it is really all we need for double-ups and head to head games.
Tyler Reddick, 23rd ($8,800 FanDuel, $8,300 DraftKings) – Outside of Truex and Keselowski, Reddick is the only other driver who can boast a top-15 finish in all four of these night races. Reddick has shown a clean knack for these intermediate venues, and he even did so last year. In a spot start in the 31, Reddick finished ninth last season. A similar finish is in the wheelhouse for Reddick tonight. Not only does Reddick have finishing position upside, but he also carries upside with fastest laps for DraftKings. In these four races, Reddick is averaging 14.3 fastest laps per event.
JTG Daugherty – Maybe it’s a coincidence, but it is odd that both Stenhouse and Ryan Preece have been bad of late. However, when you consider the mess that was Indianapolis and the hot, slick conditions of Kentucky and Texas, the pitiful finishes make sense. Thus, with their respective starting positions and salaries, I think both are fine plays for cash game purposes, though Stenhouse carries a little more boom/bust potential than Preece.
Stenhouse has shown plenty of upside at Kansas before with three straight 11th-place finishes in the spring night races. However, that was in the 17 and not the 47 where his night races at intermediate ovals have gone 25th, 25th, fourth and 20th. Preece, on the other hand, is a pure place differential play as he starts 35th. Preece’s upside is capped but if you need the salary relief for your last driver in. Preece fits the bill as a floor play.
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