You can think of this as a statement weekend. Kevin Harvick got busted for an illegal spoiler at Texas last week, and with his win encumbered, he’s no longer locked into Homestead and has just a 3-point cushion with this week’s race at Phoenix left to go. And probably worst of all, he’s lost his crew chief, Rodney Childers, for the rest of the year. But if there’s any driver you want to trust in Fantasy NASCAR when it comes to being in a position like that, it’s Kevin Harvick. So far he’s responded by winning the pole for Sunday’s race and then also being the fastest car in both practice sessions here on Saturday. We’ve seen the #4 Ford dominate plenty of times here at Phoenix in the past, will it happen again in the 2018 Can-Am 500(k)? All signs are pointing to yes…
This weekend’s race is a 312-mile event at ISM Raceway, formerly known as Phoenix. This is a 1-mile flat track that has been reconfigured since we last raced on it in March. Nothing major has been done to the track per sé, but the start/finish line has been moved. Pit road has also changed a little bit so we could see an increase in speeding penalties on Sunday. As far as DraftKings goes, though, it’s looking like our pole sitter, Kevin Harvick, is on his way to a dominating performance. When it comes to lineup construction, I don’t mind relying on him as the main dominator and then filling out the rest of the lineup with place differential/finish points, and maybe another driver or two that has a good chance at racking up dominator points.
Talkin’ DraftKings Strategy for ISM Raceway
Please note: I do not plan on recording a Breakdown video for the race this weekend. This may change between now and Sunday morning, but as of now, I do not plan to do one. I do, however, plan on posting my optimal ownership target chart like I did last week at Texas. You can expect that on Sunday morning. As always, if you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @FanRacingOnline.
GPP Drivers I Love For The Can-Am 500(k)
Kyle Busch ($11,600) – As you can tell from the Projections chart below, I’m fully expecting Kevin Harvick ($12,300) to dominate the Can-Am 500(k) on Sunday. But there’s always a chance that something doesn’t go as planned, and when to Kevin Harvick, we all know what kind of liability his pit crew can be. Now the second obvious choice for dominator this weekend is Chase Elliott ($9,900), and that’s probably where most people are going to go as a pivot off of Harvick. I’d rather go with Kyle Busch, though. He led 128 laps here at Phoenix back in March and also put up 65 fastest laps, and when you look at the two Richmond races this year, Rowdy won both of them. He also leads all drivers in DraftKings points per race in those three races this season with 68.6 points per race. Going into Sunday this weekend, the #18 Toyota is either the 2nd- or 3rd-best car, and Kyle should be at or near the front all day long. Again, I love to be overweight on him in GPPs and as a pivot play off of Harvick. As far as putting them both on the same roster? I don’t see that working out.
Brad Keselowski ($9,300) – As mentioned before, I think Kevin Harvick is going to dominate this race, and that the rest of the lineup needs to be filled with place differential/finish drivers with maybe one or two with an outside shot at getting dominator points. That describes Brad Keselowski to a tee. The #2 Ford will roll off the grid from 12th when the Can-Am 500(k) goes green on Sunday, but I honestly think Keselowski is a top 5 contender. He ranked inside the top 4 in both practice sessions when it came to overall average speed on Saturday, and when it came to ten-lap average, he was 9th- and 2nd-best. What I really like most about Keselowski this weekend, though, is how he’s performed at Phoenix and Richmond this year, particularly his fastest laps statistic: 19 at Phoenix and then 36 and 28 in the two Richmond races. He finished 15th at Phoenix–which I think may have been due to a bad strategy call–and then 1st and 6th at Richmond. I definitely like being overweight on Kez this Sunday.
Denny Hamlin ($8,600) – I know, you probably heard “speeding penalties” earlier and immediately crossed off Denny Hamlin from your potential driver list, but he actually should be a solid Fantasy NASCAR pick here on Sunday. Hamlin is a great flat track racer, and even with him being under-priced for Sunday’s race at Phoenix, I could see the #11 Toyota going under-owned in DraftKings. Hamlin is sandwiched between Kurt Busch ($8,700) and Aric Almirola ($8,100) on the salary scale this weekend, and in addition to having better place differential potential this weekend, they have that Stewart-Haas power under the hood. Don’t forget, though, that Hamlin probably had the best car in this race last season (he led 193 laps) and he finished 4th here back in March after leading 33 laps. I had Hamlin as one of my DraftKings Bargains coming into the race weekend, and I’m sticking to that. I love the value here, especially when he might get passed over for the SHR alternative options.
Daniel Suarez ($7,800) – Here’s another Aric Almirola pivot. I don’t hate the #10 Ford by any means this weekend, but whenever you have a race that is likely to be dominated by one driver, you need to differentiate yourself somehow. Daniel Suarez is an interesting option this weekend because he didn’t qualify very well (26th) and didn’t practice very high, either (10th in ten-lap average during Practice #2, 22nd in Happy Hour). However, this is a guy that simply has a knack for this type of race track no matter how slow he looks coming into the race. Suarez has finished inside the top 10 in two of his three career starts here at Phoenix, and when you look at Richmond, he finished 10th in the first race there this season and 17th in the fall race despite starting back in 38th. He’s also averaging 39.3 DraftKings points per race here at ISM Raceway over last five races (only three for him), and that’s 8th-best in the series.
Phoenix 2 Fade of the Week
Ryan Blaney ($9,100) – Sorry, Blaney fans, but your boy makes my “bad” list for the second time this week. In case you didn’t read my DraftKings Preview from Wednesday, I had Blaney as an “Over-Priced Bust” this weekend, and I stand behind that even more now that he qualified 4th for Sunday’s Can-Am 500(k) at ISM Raceway. Ryan Blaney has no problem qualifying here at Phoenix, but racing and finishing are a different story. He’s never started worse than 12th at this track, and now four of his last five starts will have been inside the top 8, including front row efforts in both 2017 races. Still, Blaney has led a grand total of 11 laps in his five starts here, and even worse he’s put up a total of 3 (THREE!) fastest laps in those races. That’s not the kind of production you want out of a driver starting 4th, and definitely not out of a driver starting 4th and priced at $9,100. I’d recommend fully fading Blaney on Sunday.
DraftKings Driver Point Projections for Phoenix 2
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems, using both mathematical equations as well as personal rankings. This chart also includes the average projected base + laps led + fastest laps DraftKings FPTS as well as the dollar per FPT. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Starting Position||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Proj Fastest Laps||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||$11,000||56.3||13||06.0||9||18||$196|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,600||04.6||3||21.2||0||0||$1,652|