DraftKings DFS NASCAR Picks: myAFibRisk.com 400
The Sprint Cup Series heads into the Chase, as 16 drivers are eligible for the championship. For all of the non-Chase qualifiers, don’t expect them to lay down. There are still plenty of solid DFS options among those who have had their championship aspirations dashed. In fact, winning a race down the stretch IS their championship, so be sure not to be shortsighted and simply focus on the 16 Chase contenders.
Jimmie Johnson ($9,200) has been Mr. Chicagoland since the track opened. Over his past five starts at the Illinois run he has a 118.2 Driver Rating according to NASCAR’s Loop Data, running an amazing 86.9 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. That’s nearly 10 percent better than every other driver on the board. He has 343 laps led, which is best among all active drivers, and his 9.2 Average-Finish Position (AFP) is tops among everyone with at least two starts at the track. Oddly enough the No. 48 has never been to Victory Lane at Chicagoland, but that could change Sunday. J.J. starts 11th, and is in a good position to grab Place Differential points with a Top 5 run.
Tony Stewart ($7,700) is one of those non-Chase drivers worth a look this week. He has managed to nab checkers three times in 13 career starts at Chicagoland, finishing inside the Top 5 on eight different occasions. He does have one DNF, but also 11 Top 20 finishes and a stellar 9.2 AFP, just percentage points behind Johnson all-time. And the success isn’t from long ago, either, as he ranks seventh in Driver Rating at 96.2 with an 8.5 AFP over his past five starts at the track. Smoke goes off 23rd Sunday, and he has plenty of DFS potential to slide up the leaderboard and grab valuable Place Differential points in the process.
Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski ($10,400) is another dependable DFS option heading into this Midwest track. He has piled up a 6.4 AFP over his past five starts at Chicagoland, while running 71.7 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. He has managed 144 laps led which is second only to the No. 48 during the past five starts. The Blue Deuce might not be to Victory Lane Sunday, but a Top 5 is certainly expected. He’ll go off third and should remain at or near the top for a majority of the race barring a major disaster.
Martin Truex Jr. ($8,900) is a tremendous value for this weekend’s race as your No. 3 or 4 driver. He topped the charts in both practice sessions and he qualified fourth. He has had limited success in the past at Chicagoland, posting just two Top 10s with a 16.7 AFP in nine career starts. However, his dominance in practice and qualifying, as well as his standing in the Chase, suggest he is ready to make a move.
Kevin Harvick ($11,100) is on the pole for Sunday’s myAFibRisk.com 400, and this has been a good track for him over the years. While he checks in just 10th in Driver Rating over the past five starts, he has 81 laps led during the span. In 14 career starts he has managed a pair of burnouts at the track, posting eight Top 5s with an AFP of 9.6. He is Fantasy gold for this weekend, although he’ll cost you a pretty penny.
Happy’s teammate Kurt Busch ($10,000) will go off ninth on Sunday’s grid, and he also has had a measure of success over the years in Joliet. The elder Busch has never claimed checkers at Chicagoland, but he has eight Top 10s in 14 career starts with a respectable 16.5 AFP. He isn’t quite the slam dunk Harvick is, but he also comes at a slightly lower price.
One Chase contender who hasn’t run on all cylinders in his career at Chicagoland is Jamie McMurray ($8,000). He looks like an attractive DFS play at this price level given his Chase status, but in 12 career starts at Chicagoland he has just one Top 5 and three Top 10s with a 21.3 AFP. While he has a respectable 108 laps led, which is something that can help DFS owners, there is just too much risk using Jamie Mac this weekend.
Another Chase contender with his work cut out is Paul Menard ($7,300). In eight career starts at Chicagoland he has led a total of zero laps while struggling to a 23.9 AFP. This just isn’t his track, and if he wants to stay in the championship hunt he better right the ship. DFS players simply cannot risk it.
ON THE DOWN LOW
Every now and then Casey Mears ($6,800) can be an intriguing low-end DFS play. This weekend is not one of those times. For whatever reason over the years he has struggled at Chicagoland, starting12 times with an AFP of 25.8. He has also crashed out three times, so it’s obvious his comfort level is just not there. If you’re going to roll the dice, go with another lower end driver.
Richard Petty Motorsports’ Aric Almirola ($7,000) might be crushed he did not make the Chase, missing out by percentage points. He can either step up and finish the season strong or struggle down the stretch and finish the season with a whimper. If he is to finish strong he’ll need to solve Chicagoland, a place he hasn’t had much success. In three career starts he has a 23.7 AFP, failing to finish inside the Top 10 in each start.
Austin Dillon ($7,200) doesn’t have much history at this track, but he turned in a respectable 16th-place finish last season after starting 15th. This season he will go off fifth after a solid qualifying effort, so the No. 3 is one to watch. Kyle Larson ($8,400) is another young driver stung from the disappointment of not qualifying for the Chase, but he could be a major move this weekend. He starts 18th Sunday, and if he races like he did last season he could move up quickly. He managed a third-place finish while leading a total of 20 laps, so keep him in mind as a mid-level DFS option with some upside.
Danica Patrick ($6,700), the Illinois native, might be an attractive driver in Sunday’s race. She has a pair of Top 20 finishes in three career starts at the track, and she goes off 25th in the starting grid. Danica has the potential to gain valuable DFS points in the Place Differential category, and she comes at a cut-rate price.