NASCAR DFS DraftKings: Phoenix Picks 3/19/2017

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Sergio Balatan

NASCAR DFS Writer.Find me on DraftKings("sbalatan") to play NASCAR or NFL head to heads.
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This week, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup continues its western swing with the Camping World 500 race at Phoenix International Raceway. But, before we start discussing DraftKings DFS picks for this race, we need to review what happened in Las Vegas.    The race was marred by a brawl on pit road where a disgruntled and disgusted Kyle Busch walked up to Joey Logano on pit road and took a swing at him without saying a word.   Logano’s pit crew was right there to jump on Busch leaving him bloodied as he was dragged away by NASCAR officials.   Busch did not like that Logano spun him out, while Logano claimed he was merely racing hard since it was the final lap of the race.

The brawl electrified social media as well as the mainstream media as vivid highlights of Kyle Busch wrestling on the ground with the Penske Pit Crew hit smart phone, computer, and television screens.   The brawl overshadowed a brilliant performance by Martin Truex Jr. who not only won the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas, but swept the two stages capturing all the maximum amount of bonus points for this race. The brawl could have ramifications for the next race, as Kyle Busch could take the opportunity to retaliate for the Logano spin out.

Phoenix International Raceway is a 1 mile, flat(low-bank), tri-oval rack track. Similar tracks to Phoenix are the Richmond International Speedway as well as the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This Camping World 500 race will contain 312 laps.

My Top 4 Drivers for the Camping World 500

Brad Keselowski ($10,300):   Not only have the Ford Cars been dominating this season, but Keselowski has been leading the way in this Penske Racing Ford Fusion #2 car.   He should have won last week’s race, but a late mechanical problem dropped him from 1st to 5th.    He lead 89 of the 267 laps, second to Truex Jr.   Keselowski has 4 Top 5’s, and 7 Top 10 finishes at Phoenix.

Kevin Harvick($11,100):   Harvick is the dominant driver at this track and its not even close.    He has 8 wins at this race track and has lead the most laps at this track among all active drivers.   His car hasn’t been great this week as he only qualified in the 23rd slot.   So, while he may not dominate the race in terms of Laps Lead this week, he can make up for some off that with his Place Differential upside starting 23rd.  He will surely work his way up to the front and is still expected to win this race.   He is a must start for Cash lineups and will be heavily owned.   I wouldn’t fade him in GPP, but I maybe go slightly underweight using him in GPPs.

 

Chase Elliott($9,700):   Elliott and his team have consistently performed this year finishing in the top five in the past 2 races.  He would have won the Daytona 500 but ran out of fuel at the end.  This week during practice, he had the fastest car in the first practice and qualified in the top 10 to start in the 7th position.  In his only 2 races in Phoenix, Elliott finished in the Top 10 for both. Elliott is on the cusp of getting his first ever NASCAR Monster Energy win. He has been close. He is due.

Kyle Larson($9,100):   The Chip Ganassi Racing team has delivered a fast, high performance #42 Chevy car for Larson, and he has performed extremely well this year.   Like Elliott, he should have won the Daytona 500 but also ran out of fuel at the end.   Larson continued his sharp performance by finishing 2nd in last week’s Las Vegas race, and 2nd in the Atlanta race. His car has  been very fast this week, qualifying fourth for this race.  Expect another Top 5 finish from Larson.

Value Picks

Jimmie Johnson($9,000):   I really like Jimmie Johnson’s price at $9,000.   His value has been dropping due to his struggles this year.    Johnson traditionally performs well at this track, and has four wins.    With his below average performance for Jimmie Johnson standards, he will be under-owned driver, and a good GPP play.

 

Kurt Busch($8,700):    As mentioned earlier, the Ford cars have been performing well thus far this year, but Busch did struggle last week as well as the whole Stewart-Haas Racing team.    But, his driver rating at Phoenix is in the Top 5, and his current driver rating is in the Top 10.    He qualified 11th, and I think he will be under-owned in both Cash and GPP lineups.

Jamie McMurray($7,400):   I really like McMurray’s price here as he could be used as some salary relief for Cash lineups.   Chip Ganassi has given Kyle Larson a very fast car this year and as his teammate, McMurray’s team will benefit with some lessons learned and by getting some of the same engineering as Larson’s car.  He qualified in the 5th position, and has had Top 10 practice times this week.    He has finished as high as 2nd at this track in past races.

Sleeper Pick

Ryan Blaney($8,000):    Blaney has had an impressive year for Wood Racing finishing 2nd, 12th, and 7th in the first 3 races of the year.   He is in the Top 5 for DFS DraftKings fantasy points thus far.   Last year, he finished both races at Phoenix in the Top 10.   He continues to run well here, as he qualified behind Joey Logano for the 2nd position.

Fading the Road Rage: Avoid These Guys

Going back to the brawl, Kyle Busch will surely spin out Logano at some point this season for retaliation for the Las Vegas incident.   It could happen as soon as the next race in Phoenix.  My recommendation is to fade both drivers in both Cash and GPP lineups.   An opportunistic Kyle Busch could knock Logano and himself out of the race, destroying Cash and GPP lineups in their wake.   I talk about this subject in more detail, in this article titled, “NASCAR DFS Discussion:  Fade the Road Rage”.

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Sergio Balatan

NASCAR DFS Writer. Find me on DraftKings("sbalatan") to play NASCAR or NFL head to heads.

Sergio Balatan

NASCAR DFS Writer. Find me on DraftKings("sbalatan") to play NASCAR or NFL head to heads.

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