I started this blog to provide a casual, recreational level of fantasy NASCAR advice and discussion. I've been playing these contests for a number of years and am annoyed by lineup sellers and groups of players using the same lineup. I'm hoping to give the casual player some help in building solid lineups that can beat that annoying crowd most of the time. I'm not a "tout" and don't do this for a living, so proceed accordingly. I hope you enjoy the discussion here and Good Luck!
Scroll down for Sunday Xfinity and Trucks previews
For cash games, double ups and 50/50s on Sunday, we're very likely to see a lot of overlapping rosters. There are 3-4 good cars starting awfully far back and it's really hard to fade any of them. It's this type of slate where I usually play less in the cash games and either save up for future weeks or play a few more tournament entries.
Here are the obvious plays that will be heavily owned:
The next wave of guys to deal with is a trio starting between 25th-30th:
Harvick, Hamlin, Busch and Truex -- you'll probably want one or two of these guys:
I'm going to break this one down into starting spot groups and talk about a few guys on my cash game radar in each group:
30th and back:
A couple of Pocono specific points to keep in mind:
There's a lot to like in the salary range from about $9k-$10k. Picking the right guys from that level is probably going to determine how you do on Saturday. And there's a lot of good arguments in favor of almost everyone in that range. Let's look deeper at a couple of them:
As with previous weeks, there seem to be a couple of badly under priced drivers.
The last two guys I want to touch on are Christopher Bell (36th) and Ty Dillon (34th). They are both starting way back in the field and offer really high floors with position difference upside. But they also got priced up to where they are not lock plays and may very well be too expensive. Bell in particular would have to really hit his ceiling of a Top 15 finish to pay off his slate high $11,100 salary. For Ty, this hasn't been a great track and he finished 27th and 29th in the two races here last year. If he could get to 25th, that gives you 28 DK points, which really isn't enough to pay off the inflated $7,200 salary.
I don't have much here right now:
Only 60 laps this week in the Truck Series race, so there's only a total of about 40 points for fastest laps and laps led. As a result, we're focused more on raw finishing position and positive position difference since those points will make up most of the scoring.
Ross Chastain dominated this race last year. Not only did he win, he led 54 of the 60 laps and ran 21 fastest laps -- by far the most in the field. Ross started on the front row, took the lead immediately and ran a lot of this race out front. In addition, two of the Top 5 starters wrecked in the very first turn and the pole sitter (Austin Hill) went to the garage on Lap 21. So there's some question whether Ross would have dominated to that degree if he started further back or if the field stayed at full strength. In any event, Ross was a clear target heading into the week. Now that he's starting 16th, there's really no good argument to fade him in a cash game setting. This should be a Top 5 truck and that alone would be plenty of value to pay off at a track like Pocono even if he doesn't lead laps or run many fastest laps.
Parker Kingerman starting 40th is another obvious target. This is a part time team so there are some reliability concerns, but those are far outweighed by the Top 20 upside here. I would expect ownership near 100% in cash games.
The group of Brandon Jones (10th), Matt Crafton (16th) and Stewart Friesen (20th) are all strong plays as well.
I really like the group from $6,300 - $7,500. Going from the top down:
As far as punt plays, I'm looking at Spencer Boyd. He should be able to move up 5 or so spots from his 31st starting spot and that's all you'd need for his $5k salary. I don't love this play and don't think you have to use him. It really depends on how you want to build the rest of your lineup. He fits more of a stars and scrubs approach whereas he wouldn't make sense in a more balanced approach.
Sunday Morning Update:
Here are the bets I'm playing for today's race:
I'll have a short article covering both the Xfinity and Cup Series up real late Friday night. Draft Kings didn't take advantage of the opportunity to price up guys starting in the back, so lineups mostly make themselves this week for cash games and 50/50s.
For the benefit of newer players, let's talk briefly about lineup building for these unique super speedway races. Unlike a normal week, every one of these races has at least one big wreck that takes out 5+ cars and damages others. We often see multiple wrecks like this over the course of the race. So we're only looking to survive those incidents and end up with as many cars as possible on the lead lap. Also unlike a normal week, we don't often see a dominator in these races. Fastest laps are always widely dispersed among the whole field and rarely does one driver lead a bulk of the laps like we might see in a normal week.
All this dramatically changes our targets for this week. It's really hard to predict who will wreck since so much of it is being in the wrong (or right) place at the wrong (or right) time. Since dominators aren't really a thing and the wrecks are so random, we don't want to have guys starting at the front of the field because they really don't offer the normal upside and they will be a huge negative position difference hit if they get caught in a wreck. Having one guy starting in the Top 10 who wrecks can quite literally kill your whole lineup because you'll be looking at -20 points from that roster spot. To avoid any chance of that, we want cars starting further back where there is tremendous upside if they finish on the lead lap and limited downside if they get unlucky and wreck out.
Just to put some numbers behind this, in last year's Xfinity race, 37 cars started the race but only 25 were running at the end of the race and only 22 of those were on the lead lap. 3 cars that started inside the Top 10 did not finish the race and 5 of the Top 15 starters did not finish. If you had any of those cars that started near the front but didn't finish, you weren't winning anything in Fantasy NASCAR.
With that background, I see no reason to use anyone starting better than 30th. Don't worry about leaving a lot of salary on the table. Let's run down the roster of those options:
30th - Chad Finchum - He's run six of these races, which helps. The equipment is not the best though and he's finished 28th or worst in four of the six races.
31st - Myatt Snider - Will probably be 75%+ owned in cash games. Decent driver, pretty respectable car, been popular already this year.
32nd - Tommy Joe Martins - He's fine, but this car has had mechanical gremlins throughout the year. Only one super speedway start.
33rd - Timmy Hill - Lots of super speedway experience. In the best of the MBM equipment, which still isn't saying much. Finished 3rd at Daytona (the other super speedway) earlier this season. I think he'll be at or near the 75% ownership mark as well.
34th - A.J. Allmendinger - Play him. No analysis needed unless you want to be cute in a large, mega multi-entry tournament.
35th - Mason Massey - He's fine. Decent team, decent driver. But this is his first super speedway start.
36th - Jeff Green - Veteran driver with tons of super speedway experience. He is priced really low because he is normally a start and park. But he doesn't park at super speedways and he's finished 13th or better in three of the last four super speedway races. Should be 75%+ ownership.
37th - Matt Mills - Same team and much the same story as Mason Massey (35th). The only difference is that Mills has a couple super speedway starts, including a 17th place finish at the last Talladega race.
38th - John Jackson - I don't have 100% confidence this car will finish the race. Many better options.
39th - Colin Garrett - He's had some good results lately after a mechanical issue in his first race of the season. This is his first super speedway race. Nothing but upside. I think he'll be highly owned because of the starting spot and his recent results.
There are some real good and obvious plays in this pool and plenty to work with. But, if you want to creep a little bit out of the Top 30 to round out the roster, I'd look at Vinnie Miller. He's finished in the Top 20 in six of the last seven super speedway races. He's on the same team as Mason Massey and Matt Mills. Again, a lot of this is luck, but these guys will also probably use the strategy of riding around together at the back of the pack to avoid any wrecks early in the race. They'll only move forward after others wreck out and the race is coming to an end. That's the kind of approach we want this week.
Don't have a whole lot more to say here. Once again, I don't see any reason to use anyone starting better than 30th. There are plenty of adequate plays starting in the back. The lineup pretty much makes itself and I don't even feel comfortable naming any specific guys.
Article for Sunday Xfinity race is below this, so scroll down. Straight to the point here focusing on cash game and 50/50 targets:
Top Tier ($10K and up)
A good case can be made for any of the guys from Kyle Busch on up. Here are my Top 3 considering overall risk and upside:
Three favorites in this group:
Salary Savers ($6,500 and under)
Rough ranking of this group combining expected DK points and salary:
Straight to the point. Here's your cash game, 50/50 playbook:
Salary Savers ($6k and under)
Only three guys are even remotely playable in cash games here. In this order:
Again, not much here. Many will be going backwards from their starting spot.
Top Tier ($9k+)
Rough ranking here considering overall risk, dominator and position difference potential:
Read my Homestead Trucks post below to get a little more background about the weekend. A key factor in the Xfinity race is this is the first time this is a Summer day time race. In past seasons, this was the last race of the season in November and typically finished late in the day under the lights. In a Summer day time race, the track is probably going to have a lot less grip and be very slick. There is a lot of inexperience in this field, so I'm inclined to stick to as many veteran guys as I can since they'll be best suited to deal with tricky conditions without any practice.
At the high end of the salary range, I really like Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric. It's realistic to project them both for Top 5 finishes with laps led and fastest laps.
In the middle of the pack, I like Anthony Alfredo, Joe Graf Jr and Justin Haley.
Extreme salary save options are Colin Garrett, Colby Howard and B.J. McLeod
I'm really looking forward to four races this weekend -- especially at a track like Homestead where we have multiple grooves and have seen some pretty good racing action. But I think we've also got to be prepared for rain delays, postponements or scheduling changes. That's a near certainty with anything scheduled for a Summer afternoon in South Florida. Fortunately, the track has lights.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the conditions this weekend will be much different then we normally have in Homestead. In the past, the Homestead weekend was the last weekend of the season. It was in November, it was cooler and the races would tend to finish in the dark under the lights. This weekend, everything except this Trucks Series race is an afternoon race that should be run in mostly sunshine or at least daylight conditions.
For the Trucks race, I see this one shaping up the same way as Atlanta. You can scroll down to read that analysis for more background. I'm likely to take two of the Big Three and then fill in with the many cheap plays available starting farther back in the field. There are a number of pretty bad pricing errors that make this strategy easy to implement this week. I am concerned about mass duplicate or overlapping lineups in cash games. I never like when we see lots of duplicates or ties or where many teams have four or five drivers in common since it turns those contests into a 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 driver match up which can be very random.
The Big Three are obviously Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain. I said last week even before Austin Hill won that the #16 team has an elite 1.5 mile track program. But Kyle and Chase are still faster then the #16 team and should prevail if they are mistake free. For example, in Atlanta, Kyle ran 39 fastest laps, Chase ran 22 fastest laps and Austin Hill had only 10. I would expect Kyle and Chase to eat up about 75% of the fastest laps and laps led points and it would be really hard to overcome that advantage if you're not using at least one -- and probably both -- of them.
Last week, I decided to use Ross Chastain with Kyle Busch because I didn't feel comfortable with the rest of my lineup if I used an additional $1700 to get up to Chase Elliott instead of Ross. In addition, Ross was starting 27th last week, so I was projecting him for a minimum of +20 position difference. We've got a little different story this week because we have a lot of viable cheap plays and Ross is starting much further forward in the 15th position. Realistically, this caps his position difference upside at about +10. And I don't think we see Ross leading laps again this week. That was great for my lineup in Atlanta but not something I projected or expected.
Who are the options to go with your two studs:
Wednesday Afternoon Update
Placing two bets:
Tuesday Night Update -- Some additional notes in bold below
How awesome is it to have a Wednesday race under the lights at Martinsville? We're getting spoiled with all this racing action compressed into a short period of time. Now let's hope the rain gives us a break and we get in a good and complete race.
There are a few basic points to remember for this race:
Here are the guys I see as most likely to score a bunch of dominator points:
There are plenty of salary saver options to pair with potential dominators.
Bets -- I'm not seeing a whole lot I like on the betting front. Odds seem about right on to me. Will update if I see anything worth while.
My name is Steve and I've won thousands playing NASCAR fantasy racing games. This blog will share my advice for enjoying and winning your fantasy racing games.