The field is set for tonight’s Super Start Batteries 400 at Kansas Speedway. Therefore, let us dig into my projections for SuperDraft and break down the top NASCAR DFS picks for this week’s slate.
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Lap Leaders as Champions?
This was a legitimate question last week with 334 laps on the docket. Now, the chances that a “dominator” is the top scorer in the champion spot are smaller on SuperDraft. However, we don’t want to totally dismiss the chances because we have been presented with some opportunities for it to happen.
First off, Kevin Harvick was blessed with the pole and that could lead to a gigantic score. If you’ll hearken back to my preview from Tuesday, you’ll remember just how well past pole sitters have fared at Kansas. On average, pole sitters at Kansas are leading around 91 laps per race. However, when you isolate just the past seven spring night races, that number jumps to 107 laps led. If we give Kevin Harvick that number, his champion projection sits at 141.36 SuperDraft points.
However, it’s not Harvick who really has me intrigued tonight. It’s the duo of Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott, who start 10th and 11th and also have 1.75x multipliers. When you isolate the 2020 night races, using the 550-horsepower package, versus those during the day, you see a dramatic improvement in performance for Hamlin and Elliott. In a four-race set with the previously mentioned criteria, Hamlin has two wins with 37 laps led per race. Meanwhile, Elliott has a win himself with 30 laps led per race. Because of their respective place differential, both drivers get a significant boost that Harvick doesn’t have access to.
Last week’s fan-favorite Tyler Reddick headlines this section once again. On momentum alone, Reddick has been on fire with three straight top-10 finishes, including second last week at Texas. This week, he starts 23rd at a track he’s already shown promise at. On a very limited Cup schedule in 2019, Reddick made a spot start in the spring night race and finished ninth. Now he returns showing he knows his way around these intermediate tracks, especially at night with an average finish of 10th. His champion multiplier was trimmed down to 2.05x, unfortunately. However, with a top-10 finish, he could easily be the top-scoring driver tomorrow evening.
Another popular pivot in the champion spot should be Ty Dillon, starting 36th with a 2.45x Champion multiplier. While I understand the enthusiasm, I think Dillon is better suited as a Flex play. None the less, there is a driver with the same Champion multiplier who may have more upside at much lower ownership. After a third straight bad finish, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has found himself out of the top-24 in points and now starts 25th via random draw.
In this package in the evening into night races, Stenhouse has been okay with an average finish of 18th. However, when you look back at his past Kansas-night races you see a driver with three straight 11th-place finishes. If Stenhouse replicates that, you’re looking at 140 points as a low-owned Champion selection.
After three straight DNFs, Ryan Preece now has a flex multiplier (1.7x) matching that of Brennan Poole. While talent versus talent may be up in the air, we undoubtedly know who has better equipment. Preece’s averages at night in the 550-horsepower package are dragged down by a mechanical failure in the second Darlington race. Yet, he’s been where you would expect him to be elsewhere: The high 20s. Preece is strictly a floor/safety play. With a 22nd-place finish, Preece will finish with over 90 SuperDraft points in the Flex position.
Perhaps the biggest multiplier misprice is that of Cole Custer at 1.55x in the Flex. Custer was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time last week. However, SuperDraft has priced his multiplier just above that of Corey Lajoie and Daniel Suarez. And this is after winning at Kentucky two weeks ago. Just by picking up four positions, Custer will finish with 81 SuperDraft points. If he finishes 10th or better, as he was accustomed to doing before last week, then you’re looking at 93 fantasy points.
After several weeks of jamming in Christopher Bell, we have a real dilemma now. His multiplier got shaved even further to just 1.3x as a Flex play. Furthermore, he finally worked his way into the top 24 in points and starts 22nd via random draw. With 90 Flex points being our typical threshold, we need a fifth-place finish or better out of Bell. It’s within his range of outcomes but just know it’ll be easier for Erik Jones to reach that same number with his slightly higher (1.4x) multiplier.
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