DraftKings DFS NASCAR Picks: Michigan
The Sprint Cup Series moves to Michigan International Speedway in Jackson, Mich. for the Firekeepers Casino 400. Last season it was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth ($9,900) breaking up a seven-race stretch of wins by local manufacturers Chevrolet and Ford when he steered his Toyota to Victory Lane last August. Kenseth was the third winner from the pole in the five Michigan races, something Joey Logano ($9,800) hopes to accomplish Sunday.
Penske Racing’s Logano is on the pole for Sunday’s race as he looks for his second-career Michigan checkered flag. According to NASCAR’s Loop Data, Logano is second among all drivers in the past five starts at MIS with a 117.9 Driver Rating while leading all drivers with 173 laps led. His 5.0 Average-Finish Position (AFP) during the span is also tops. He and teammate Brad Keselowski ($9,200), who hails from nearby Rochester Hills, will be a tempting one-two punch for DFS players this weekend.
Keselowski has never won at his home track, but he certainly has been in the mix frequently. He has three Top 5s, six Top 10s and nine Top 20s with a 13.7 AFP, seventh among all drivers. Over the past five starts he has a 7.6 AFP while running an amazing 96.0 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. He will start 15th Sunday, and has a chance to rack up plenty of Place Differential points. His 108.2 Driver Rating in the past five starts at MIS is third behind only Logano and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick ($10,600).
Harvick is the most expensive DFS option on the board, mainly due to the fact he leads all drivers at MIS over the past five starts with a 122.3 Driver Rating, according to NASCAR’s Loop Data. Harvick has managed 12 Top 10 finishes in 17 starts this season, and he has eight Top 5s and 13 Top 10s in 30 starts at MIS with one win under his belt and a 13.2 AFP. He’ll be a popular DFS selection Sunday. He wasn’t particularly sharp in practice and qualifying, and will start 29th. However, that makes him a bit more attractive, as he should scoot up the leaderboard if he hits his averages and pick up plenty of Place Different points along the way.
Harvick’s boss and teammate, Tony Stewart ($7,300) will go off third in Sunday’s highest, his best starting position of the season, improving upon last week’s Row 3 starting spot. Stewart has always been impressive in Michigan, racking up a win, 12 Top 5s, 20 Top 10s and 194 career laps led with a 12.5 AFP, third-best among all active drivers in 32 starts. Stewart hasn’t been among the Top 10 in Driver Rating over the past five races at Michigan, but he is an attractive play given his impressive practice and qualifying speeds, and the fact he continues to make progress after taking a while to get his sea legs this season.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($9,400) has two wins at MIS since June 2008, and he checks in fourth in Driver Rating over the past five outings at the track. Jimmie Johnson ($10,000) has a bit of a steep price tag given his return at Michigan. He has a win in 28 career starts, but he has managed just five Top 5s and 11 Top 10s with a rather average 16.8 AFP. While he does lead all drivers with 633 laps led, he has three DNFs. Luck hasn’t been on J.J.’s side at Michigan lately. Kasey Kahne ($8,000) might be the most attractive option on the Hendrick board, posting a win, eight Top 5s and 16 Top 20s in 24 career starts with a 15.8 AFP.
JGR’s Carl Edwards ($9,500) hasn’t won at the track since August 2008, one of his two career wins at the track. He has always been consistent in the Irish Hills, whether it is in a Ford or Toyota. He leads all drivers with a sparkling 9.7 AFP in 23 career starts, finishing outside of the Top 10 on just seven occasions. We mentioned his teammate Kenseth won last August. He is second in AFP among all active drivers with a 10.2 AFP, posting three wins, 14 Top 5s and 20 Top 10s in 33 career starts with 435 laps led. Denny Hamlin ($8,700) also has two wins at the track, posting a 14.6 AFP in 20 career starts with only five runs outside of the Top 20. Hamlin looked good in practice and qualifying, sliding up to the No. 4 starting position.
The driver from the JGR stable you likely want to avoid is Kyle Busch ($10,100), who has a win at the track in 22 career starts, but just four Top 5s and six Top 10s with a poor 19.6 AFP. He has also crashed out twice while leading just 182 laps. His brother, Kurt Busch ($9,700), last week’s winner at Pocono, is much more attractive. Kurt won last June at MIS, starting from the 24th position, for his third-career win at the track. He is fifth among all drivers with a 101.9 Driver Rating over the past five starts at the track, running 82.7 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Kurt starts 17th, while Kyle will go off from the inside of Row 5.
ON THE DOWN LOW
As far as the lower-priced options are concerned, there is plenty of good picks for a high-low DFS lineup strategy.
There are plenty of attractive low-priced options for your No. 4, 5 and 6 drivers. Paul Menard ($6,300) got a lay of the land in the Menards 250, an Xfinity Series race, with a solid third-place showing. While he has not led any laps over his past five Cup starts at Michigan, he checks in seventh in Driver Rating at 96.5, posting a 6.4 AFP. That’s second only behind Logano in the five-race span. He is ultra-cheap and will be a very popular pick in DraftKings.
Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney ($7,400) has been a popular selection this season with half of his 16 starts resulting in a Top 10 showing. That includes last week’s 10th at Pocono, his fourth in the past five races. He looks to continue the hot streak, shining in qualifying to move to the No. 5 starting spot. Blaney has finished 24th in each of his previous starts at Michigan, and he should post a career best this week after the advantageous starting position.
Ryan Newman ($7,100) is also rather attractive with two career wins at Michigan in tow, although Jeremy Mayfield actually has a win at the track more recent than Newman. He last won at MIS in June 2004, when he took checkers in back-to-back stops in the Irish Hills. Despite the win drought he has finished 20th or better in 20 of his 29 career starts, checking in with an impressive 16.9 AFP.
Clint Bowyer ($6,700) has rolled to a 15.7 AFP in 20 career Michigan races, finishing with 11 Top 10s. He starts 34th in his 5-Hour Energy Chevy, and could be an attractive pick if he finds a way to scoot up the leaderboard to a Top 20 showing. Danica Patrick ($6,100) has racked up four Top 20 finishes in six career Michigan starts, holding her own for a decent 18.7 AFP. If he hits her average she is an attractive play at this salary level. She goes off 25th Sunday.