As far as the racing goes on Sunday, we will be focusing on two things at Homestead-Miami Speedway: 1.) the “Championship Four” drivers, and 2.) tire wear. This is an old, worn out track and the drop off because of tire wear is incredible. Even after one lap, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said you lose three tenths of a second. That’s crazy. From a FOX Fantasy NASCAR perspective, that means we’re going to see a lot of movers on Sunday, as the drivers and teams that manage their tires the best will have an advantage late in a run and in the race.
Give me a follow on Twitter: @FanRacingOnline
My team points last week (Phoenix 2): 128
Overall team standings: 19th
Total team points for the season: 6,372
FOX Fantasy Auto Picks for the 2017 Ford EcoBoost 400 Race
Kyle Larson ($10,200) – There’s no reason to trust Kyle Larson right now considering he’s finished 37th or worse in the last four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. With that being said, this could be the perfect opportunity to strike, as many people will probably take that “safe, not sorry” approach on Sunday. However, one thing I’ve learned over the years in Fantasy NASCAR is to not ignore speed, and Kyle Larson said he has a great car this weekend. The practice numbers backed that up, too, as the #42 Chevrolet ranked 5th in ten-lap average during both sessions on Saturday. Add in the fact that Larson almost won this race last year as well as the fact that he’s under-priced in FOX Fantasy Auto, and I’ll gladly take the risk of rolling the dice with him to finish out the year.
Kevin Harvick ($12,300) – The #4 Ford is extremely fast on the long runs this weekend, and we should see plenty of those in the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday. And in addition to being fast, Harvick is really, really good at this race track; Kevin has an average finish of 6.9 here at Homestead-Miami Speedway and has finished inside the top 5 in half of his sixteen career starts here. In the last three, he has led 179 total laps and finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. And as far as this weekend goes, Harvick qualified 9th for Sunday’s big race, which means he has room for some place differential points as well. That’s just the cherry on top.
Ryan Blaney ($9,000) – Ryan Blaney is more than capable of getting a good finish in his final race with the #21 Wood Brothers team. Don’t forget, Blaney’s average finish of 10.3 on the 1.5-mile tracks this season is tied for 3rd-best in the series. As far as practice speeds go this weekend, Blaney was 9th-fastest during the second session on Saturday morning and then ended up 5th-fastest at the end of Happy Hour. The only negative during those sessions was that Blaney wasn’t great on the ten-lap average charts. His record here at Homestead isn’t great–Ryan has finishes of 17th and 26th–but it’s a very limited sample size, and last year he got into the wall quite a bit. He should have a much better run here on Sunday.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($8,300) – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has a good car this weekend. The #88 Chevrolet never ranked worse than 14th-fastest throughout the three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, and you know Rick Hendrick wants Junior to go out on a high note. Tying into that, NASCAR has a thing for storybook endings happening, so don’t be surprised if Earnhardt has a great run on Sunday to end his career. Junebug didn’t run this race last season because of his concussion, but in four of his last five Homestead starts he’s came away with a finish of 14th or better. The #88 Chevrolet will start from the back of the pack when we get going on Sunday–although Junior will be officially scored from the 24th starting spot–but Earnhardt should have no trouble navigating through traffic.
Other viable options: B
FOX Fantasy Auto Fade Option
Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,800) – Full disclosure: there’s a decent chance that Martin Truex, Jr. ends up on my FOX Fantasy Auto roster this weekend. The #78 team brought an absolute rocket ship to Homestead-Miami Speedway, and as long as nothing screwy happens during the Ford EcoBoost 400, Truex should be hoisting the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship at the end of the day. With that being said…63% ownership is absolutely insane, and that’s where Truex was at in FOX on Saturday afternoon. One loose wheel or other mistake by this #78 on Sunday would ruin almost 2/3rds of FOX Fantasy Auto rosters, and it’s not like we haven’t seen championship contenders wreck each other here at Homestead. Additionally, Truex qualified 2nd this weekend, which means the maximum points he can earn in this game is 46. Just for comparison, Chase Elliott will earn 46 fantasy points on Sunday if he finishes 6th or better. Truex is a great pick this weekend, but if you’re looking to try and throw a “Hail Mary” in this final race, he’s the best option to keep off of your team.