DraftKings DFS NASCAR Picks: Ford EcoBoost 400
After the long and winding road from Daytona Beach back in February, the Sprint Cup Series season wraps up Sunday at the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR will crown a champion Sunday, too, and there will be plenty of eyes on the action.
Jeff Gordon ($9,700) is everyone’s sentimental pick to win Sunday’s race and claim his fifth title before riding off into the sunset. It might not be a silly pick. In 16 career starts at the South Florida track Gordon has a victory, seven Top 5s and 12 Top 10s while posting a 10.6 Average-Finish Position while leading 244 laps. Gordon ranks third in Driver Rating according to NASCAR’s Loop Data, posting a 106.1 rating during the span. Will we see his first championship in 14 years? It would be an amazing finish.
Kevin Harvick ($11,400) won at Homestead last season, and he leads all active drivers with a 7.6 AFP at the track in 14 career starts. His victory in 2014 was the first in Homestead, but he has six Top 5s and 12 Top 10 finishes with a total of 190 laps led. He has never finished worse than 20th, and that is certainly not expected Sunday. He’ll be in the mix at the end barring disaster.
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,600) is third among all active drivers with a 10.0 AFP at HMS. While he has never tasted victory at the track, he has three Top 5 finishes while finishing outside of the Top 10 just three times in 10 career starts. He has also averaged about 11 laps led per race in his career at HMS. Over the past six seasons only Harvick is better than MTJ in Driver Rating.
Last, but certainly not least, Kyle Busch ($10,600) is looking to cap his difficult and strange season with his first-career title. While Harvick, Truex Jr. and Gordon rank 1-2-3 in Driver Rating according to NASCAR’s Loop Data, Rowdy hasn’t been as stellar at HMS. He is eighth among all drivers since 2009 with a 99.4 Driver Rating, and he likely would be a little higher if not for a disastrous run last season in the finale. Busch has never won at the track, he has just one Top 5 finish and he has finished outside the Top 10 on seven of his 10 occasions in Homestead. Based on trends and track history, Busch seems to be the least likely to claim the title. As far as DFS purposes the No. 18 should be avoided due to his underwhelming 23.1 AFP.
No one is talking about Carl Edwards ($9,200), who is not among the four championship contenders. But perhaps if NASCAR has multiple stops at this track he would be in the mix. Edwards seems to love Homestead, going for two wins, five Top 5s and seven Top 10s in 11 career starts, posting a 9.1 AFP which is second among all active drivers. His 560 laps led is best among all drivers at the track. He has finished outside of the Top 20 just once before.
Denny Hamlin ($9,100) sits on the pole for the Ford EcoBoost 400, and he looks to join Tony Stewart ($6,400) and Greg Biffle ($6,400) as the only three-time winners at the track. Hamlin has led 213 laps all-time at HMS, and he has finished inside the Top 10 in 60 percent of his career starts at the South Florida run. He will likely lead plenty of laps, and he makes for a solid DFS option at a fraction of the price of some of the top-end contenders.
It’s a rarity to find a track Jimmie Johnson ($10,400) has not won, but Homestead-Miami is one of the places he has yet to celebrate a win. In 14 career starts he has just four Top 5 finishes, but he has 99 laps led and a respectable 14.4 AFP. Still, if you’re going to spend this kind of DFS money you need to invest in a more certain option.
Matt Kenseth ($10,200) is back from his two-race suspension, and you can expect there will be no fireworks between he and Joey Logano ($10,300), or anyone else for that matter. Kenseth has managed a win, four Top 5s and seven Top 10s in 15 career starts with a 15.8 AFP at Homestead. He could be a nice fit as a No. 3 driver in a high-low lineup strategy.
Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski ($10,100) has never won at HMS, but he has a decent 15.0 AFP in seven career starts at the track. Still, it might be best to shy away from both Penske drivers, as there is better value elsewhere. Logano has finished inside the Top 10 just once in six previous tries and he has never led a lap at the track. He is too expensive based on his previous poor showings.
Kurt Busch ($9,400) isn’t getting a lot of attention this week, but he has 21 Top 10s in 33 starts this season, and he has a win with five Top 10s in 14 career starts at HMS. Kasey Kahne ($8,000) has led 107 laps in 11 career starts at the track, finishing inside the Top 10 four times.
ON THE DOWN LOW
Paul Menard ($6,500) made the Chase, but he quickly flamed out. He has just six Top 10 finishes in 36 starts this season and you shouldn’t expect much this weekend. Menard has nine career starts at HMS with just one Top 5 showing and a terrible 21.9 AFP. Avoid in DFS.
As mentioned, Biffle has three wins all-time in Homestead. If you’re building a high-low DFS lineup he isn’t a bad option. ‘The Biff’ has failed to finish inside the Top 20 in just five of his 13 career outings in Homestead, leading a total of 175 laps with an AFP of 17.2. He will start 21st, and even if he can manage a mediocre 15th-place finish he will more than earn his meager DFS salary.
Stewart goes off in the 36th position Sunday, as he limps home in his most disappointing and difficult of seasons. However, he could end on a high note and build momentum into what will be his swan song season of 2016. At the very least you can expect Smoke to improve in the Place-Differential category. If he can work his way up, even to just 25th place to finish, he will more than earn his keep.
Clint Bowyer ($6,600) could be a steal at this price level, as he has had a measure of success at HMS. While he has never won in nine career starts at Homestead, he has finished inside the Top 10 in six of those outings, and outside of the Top 20 just once. He is consistent, although he has led just one total lap during the span.
Ryan Blaney ($6,800) qualified well in the No. 21 Ford, and he will go off sixth in Sunday’s season finale. It is his first-career Sprint Cup Series start at Homestead, but he has history in the Nationwide/Xfinity Series. He started fifth, and ended up fifth, in Saturday’s race in the Xfinity Series. Kyle Larson ($7,800) won Saturday’s race, and might be a decent No. 4 or 5 DFS option since he goes off 23rd. He could work his way up through the filed nicely.