DraftKings DFS NASCAR Picks: Quicken Loans 400
The Sprint Cup Series heads to the Irish Hills for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. In 2014 it was a Hendrick Motorsports party in Jackson, as Jimmie Johnson ($13,000) won the spring race and Jeff Gordon ($11,100) taking checkers in the summer. In 2013 we saw a pair of Fords (Greg Biffle – $9,400, Joey Logano – $11,200) pick up victories. In 2012, it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. with a spring win and Biffle winning the summer run. To make a long story short, avoid the Toyotas of Joe Gibbs Racing and head straight to Hendrick for your DFS needs this weekend.
There isn’t a sure thing Sunday, but Gordon is a solid value looking for his second consecutive win at the track. He has 44 career starts with three wins, 19 Top 5s, 27 Top 10s and 35 Top 20s while posting a 12.07 Average-Finish Position. He has had his ups and downs over the years, but NASCAR’s Loop Data shows he has run inside the Top 15. If you can squeeze him in under your cap, like most places, J.J. is a lock at Michigan. Over his past 12 races he has a Driver Rating of 99.5, second-among all active drivers and he has led 415 laps.
Kasey Kahne ($10,800) is on the pole for Sunday’s race, but he might be the worst Hendrick driver for DFS purposes. He has a win in 22 career starts, but he also has three DNFs. The only place Kahne can go is down, and he’ll hurt DFS players with a negative pass differential. While he’ll even much of that out with plenty of early laps led, he just isn’t worth the money compared to teammates Dale Jr., Gordon and J.J.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick ($13,900) is quite expensive, but he has 14 Top 10s in 15 starts this season. But that’s not the entire story. NASCAR’s Loop Data shows he is a strong DFS play based on the fact he has run inside the Top 15 in 73.9 percent of his time in the past 12 starts at Michigan, posting a 97.8 Driver Rating average. He’ll start on the first row, so there is some risk for DFS players since he won’t improve much in pass differential. However, Happy has a win in 28 career starts at Michigan while finishing inside the Top 5 in 25 percent of his starts. That includes four straight runner-up finishes at the track.
Harvick’s teammate Kurt Busch ($12,300) is a very risky DFS play for Michigan considering he has an awful 21.3 Average-Finish Position in 28 career starts in the Irish Hills. He has also crashed out eight times, most among all active drivers, so there is little to like about Busch. His brother Kyle Busch ($10,800) has also struggled, posting an 18.85 AFP in 20 career starts while claiming checkers just once.
Greg Biffle ($9,400) hasn’t done much this season, posting two Top 10s in 16 starts. However, his success in the Irish Hills cannot be ignored. He has four victories in Michigan to lead all active drivers, posting 21 finishes inside the Top 20 in 24 career starts and he has never had a DNF. With an Average Finish Position of 11.5, and a 108.4 Driver Rating (since spring ’09) according to NASCAR’s Loop Rating, Biffle is worth taking a flier on as a mid-level play, especially considering he has run inside the Top 15 82.1 percent of the time over his past 12 starts at the track.
Ryan Newman ($9,600) has eight Top 10s in 15 starts this season, and he also has had nice success at MIS. With two victories, five Top 5s and 18 Top 20s in 27 starts, Newman is a worthwhile start as one of your middle racers. He’ll start 23rd and will have a good opportunity to move up through the field.
If you’re looking to save some salary, take a chance on Aric Almirola ($8,300) as your fifth and final driver. He has never been inside the Top 10 at MIS, but he has finished outside of the Top 20 just once in six career starts. He’ll go off 26th and should be able to rack up a healthy amount of Fantasy points thanks to pass differential, or finishing position as opposed to starting position.
Another low-priced option with some upside might be Clint Bowyer ($8,700). He has struggled this season, but he has a 14.6 AFP which ranks seventh among all active drivers. He did not qualify particularly well since he’ll start 32rd, but that could be a blessing in disguise for potential DFS players due to the pass differential potential. Bowyer has eight consecutive Top 10 finishes at the track, so Bowyer is an attractive low-priced option who can carry your team.