And now we’re down to two. Two races left in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, and two spots open for the Championship Finale in Homestead next week… well that was the case, anyway, until news broke that Kevin Harvick was assessed with an L1 penalty on Wednesday, making his win at Texas last week encumbered–and nullifying his guaranteed spot at Homestead in the process (read my reaction to this by clicking here). Currently, “The Big Three” are all still in on points, but things could change on Sunday in Phoenix if one or more of them have issues, or if someone on the “outside looking in” gets a win. I’ll say this about the situation: Sunday’s Can-Am 500(k) got a little less boring with this breaking news.
With DraftKings this week, things pretty much stayed the same as far as the contests go, with the large GPP having $20,000 going to first and a total prize pool of $100,000. The entry fee remains the same: $10 per entry, maximum of 150 per user. When it comes to driver pricing this weekend, though, DraftKings isn’t nearly as spot-on as it was at Texas last weekend, and we’ll go over some of the drivers that I think are grossly mispriced below. First you will find the average DraftKings points scored at Phoenix over the last two and a half years.
Please note: I have also included average DraftKings points without taking into account place differential. I believe that those points can skew the numbers too much, especially for drivers that start and finish up front.
Average DraftKings Points Scored at Phoenix Over Last 5 Races
|Driver||DK Salary||# of Races||Avg DK Pts Per Race||Avg DK Pts Per Race (w/o PD)||Avg Finish||Avg Fastest Laps Per Race||Avg Laps Led Per Race||Avg Start|
|Martin Truex Jr||$11,000||5||33.95||34.55||14.60||10.00||00.60||14.00|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,600||5||29.10||26.50||19.00||03.00||00.00||21.60|
Potential DraftKings Bargains for Phoenix 2
Denny Hamlin ($8,600) – No matter how you look at it, Denny Hamlin is under-priced this weekend. Over the last five Phoenix races, he’s averaging 47 DraftKings points per race at this track, and that number jumps up to 51.8 DraftKings points per race when you take out place differential (which Hamlin is notorious for being negative at). Both of those rank as 5th-best in the series. So having Hamlin priced at $8,600 this week (11th-highest in DraftKings) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but here we are. Denny led 193 laps in this race last year before finishing 35th thanks to the on-track incident with Chase Elliott, and then followed that up with 33 laps led and a 4th-place finish this March. He should be a great value play in DraftKings on Sunday.
Ryan Newman ($7,100) – You’re not going to get any flashy finishes out of Ryan Newman, but he’s a solid performer, and that’s worth something in DraftKings, especially in the lower price range. This week, “The Rocketman” is the 21st-highest-priced driver in DraftKings, and although that is pretty much in line for what we’ve come to expect out of Ryan Newman on the whole, he actually comes in under-priced for Phoenix. Newman is averaging 36.2 DraftKings points per race at Phoenix over the last five events, and that’s 12th-best in the series, giving us a difference between price and performance of +9. Additionally, Newman is a very safe option in Fantasy NASCAR, as he has finished inside the top 20 in 14 of the last 15 Cup Series races overall. The exception? A 25th-place result at Talladega. Here at Phoenix, Newman has finished 12th or better in eight of the last ten races.
Over-Priced DraftKings “Busts” at Phoenix 2
Ryan Blaney ($9,100) – I didn’t want to include Ryan Blaney in the “busts” category this weekend, but the numbers are overwhelmingly bad for him here at Phoenix. As far as salary goes, Blaney comes in at $9,100 this weekend, which is pretty much in line for where he’s been all season. That also puts him as the 8th-highest-priced driver in DraftKings. As far as the last five Phoenix races, though, Blaney is averaging 22.3 DraftKings points per race (25th-best), or 30.1 points per race when you take out place differential (19th-best). Either way, it’s unlikely that Blaney is going to be a good pick in DraftKings on Sunday, solely looking at it from a point-per-dollar perspective. Obviously this could change if the #12 Ford qualifies in the back, but we’ll have to wait and see on Friday if that happens–and it’s not likely. Comparatively speaking, Richmond is pretty similar to Phoenix, and Blaney finished 19th and 22nd in the two races there this season.
Paul Menard ($7,300) – Speaking of Richmond, that is Paul Menard’s worst track on the schedule (24.5 average finish), so it should come as no surprise that he doesn’t do very well at Phoenix either. Overall, Paul is at a 21.7 average finish here in the desert, with just three top 10s in 23 career starts. The good news for Menard fans is that he has four top 15s in the last seven races at Phoenix, but those aren’t the type of finishes you’re looking for out of a guy priced at $7,300 in DraftKings–especially one that tends to qualify in the top half of the field. Overall, Menard is averaging just 13.5 DraftKings points per race over the last five here (33rd-best) and that jumps up to just 20.1 when you take out place differential (26th-best). Either way, chances are Menard isn’t going to be worth the price tag on Sunday.