The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season comes to a close this weekend with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This is a 1.5-mile track that sees a bunch of tire falloff, and where it’s ultra important to be good on the long runs. Obviously, it’s a good idea to look at the data from all 1.5-mile races this season (click here for my Cheat Sheet), but make sure you play close attention to the Chicagoland race from July. That track is probably the most similar to Homestead, and Goodyear brought the same tire combination from that race for this weekend’s season finale.
For everyone reading this, and those that have read the content here at Fantasy Racing Online at some point this season, THANK YOU. I hope you were able to use my projections/advice to finish well in your Fantasy NASCAR league and/or win some money in DraftKings. We have a little break here until the 2019 season, but I’m already looking forward to Daytona and February. This year was my best as far as DraftKings goes and I plan on doing even better in 2019. Good luck in Sunday’s finale.
GPP Drivers I Love For The Ford EcoBoost 400)
Kyle Busch ($11,800) – Yep, Joey Logano ($10,600) and Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,300) looked a little faster in practice. Yes, both of those come at a little discount if you choose them over Kyle Busch. And yes, Rowdy starts the highest of the Championship Four, thus requiring him to earn a little more dominator points on Sunday if he’s going to end up in the winning DraftKings lineup. And, yes, I’m still sticking with him. With all of the previous points, I think we’ll see quite a shift of ownership to Logano and Truex on Sunday that would have originally been on Kyle Busch before Saturday’s practice sessions. However, who has been the best finisher on 1.5-mile tracks this season? Kyle Busch (5.2). Who is second only to Kevin Harvick ($12,500)–who doesn’t look great this weekend, but I don’t mind being overweight on–in most statistical categories on this track type in 2018? Kyle Busch. And who is 2nd-best in fastest laps per race at Homestead over the last five years (29.6), behind only Kyle Larson (36.2). You guessed it: Kyle Busch. Give me the Kyle/Kyle combo and let me build the rest of the lineup from there. Oh, and for what it’s worth, Busch was 4th-best in overall average speed during Happy Hour on Saturday, and the best out of the Championship Four.
Brad Keselowski ($9,400) – In all honesty, Brad Keselowski should have made my “Bargain” list for DraftKings this weekend. A $9,400 price tag for a guy like this is way too low, but I decided to write up Kyle Larson ($10,000) in that article instead–who, by the way, is still a steal at that price this week. However, focusing on Keselowski, he qualified 4th this weekend, and with Clint Bowyer ($9,000) sitting right below Brad on the price chart (and starting way back in 26th), there’s going to be a lot of people that roll with the safer option of the #14 rather than the #2. That’s why I like Keselowski as a GPP play. First off, Bowyer hasn’t been able to get a good finish very often in the second half of the season (4 single-digit finishes in the last 18 races), plus he didn’t show great speed here on Saturday. Keselowski, on the other hand, ranked 7th and 4th in ten-lap average on Saturday, and has been getting to the front with ease for the last two-and-a-half months. In fact, Brad has gobbled up 95.5 DraftKings points on laps led alone over the last eleven races overall. Here at Homestead, Keselowski has finished 7th or better in four of the last five races, and with a 4th-place starting spot on Sunday, he’s a definite top 5 threat. It’s a bit of a risk here taking a non-championship driver starting inside the top 5, but Joey Logano has a rocket this week, and you have to think the #2 Ford has similar speed. As long as Brad can get out front, he should be a great GPP play at a very good price.
Paul Menard ($7,000) – It’s going to be easy for most people to take William Byron ($6,900) in this price range. Not only will he start from back in 28th on Sunday, but he’s coming off of that great top 10 finish at Phoenix one week ago. He also had a respectable 16th-place finish at Texas a couple of weeks ago. However… repeat after me: small sample size. Byron has been worse than awful on the 1.5-mile tracks this year, to the tune of 14.2 DraftKings points per race and an average finish of 24.3. Paul Menard, on the other hand, is averaging 29.3 DraftKings points per race on this track type and has an average finish of 13.7 on them, which is 13th-best in the whole series. Additionally, Menard qualified 22nd for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, so he has some room for place differential as well–he just has a much higher ceiling than Byron, and for only $100 more. Menard is a top 20 machine at Homestead, and has finished between 4th and 16th in five of his last seven starts here. Speed-wise, Paul was 6th-fastest in Practice #2 on Saturday and then 8th-fastest in Happy Hour with the 7th-best ten-lap average. This would probably be a chalk pick with any other race weekend, but I think a lot of people are going to go with several high-priced guys in the same lineup, which means drivers like Paul Menard will go under-owned.
Michael McDowell ($5,600) – I’ll tell you what: Michael McDowell has shown a lot more speed than expected at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, and for $5,600 in DraftKings, he’s a great value. Yeah, he qualified 24th, but that should keep the vast majority of people from blindly picking him based just on name and low price. Getting back to speed, though, McDowell was 22nd-fastest in the opening practice session of the weekend and then posted the 11th-fastest lap in Practice #2 and the 24th-fastest lap in Happy Hour. So out of all three practice sessions, he practiced at or better than where he qualified. Michael also ranked 19th and 23rd in ten-lap average on Saturday. What I really like most about McDowell this weekend, though, is his 21st-place finish at Chicagoland, as well as his finishes of 24th, 10th, and 21st here at Homestead over the last four years. This #34 team finally had a decent finish at Phoenix last week, now let’s see if they can end the season strong with another here at Homestead.
Homestead-Miami Fade of the Week
Denny Hamlin ($8,800) – Let me first preface this by saying that my “Fade” drivers typically out-perform expectations. As in, more than once, I’ve had a driver listed under the “Fade” category, and he’s gone on to win the race. With that being said, I won’t have any pole sitter exposure at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. Typically, that hasn’t been a great idea at 1.5-mile tracks this season, but at the same time, this is Denny Hamlin we’re talking about. A guy that’s average 1.6 DraftKings points per race in the Playoffs at 1.5-mile tracks. A guy that’s now won 3 of the last 4 poles at Homestead but hasn’t led a lap since 2014 at this track. A guy that is averaging under 10 fastest laps per race on the 1.5-mile tracks all season. A guy that is notorious for negative place differential (and driving like a jackass). Need I go on? Fade of the Week = Denny Hamlin. If he puts up more than 15 DraftKings dominator points on Sunday, I’ll be incredibly surprised.
DraftKings Driver Point Projections for Homestead
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||$11,300||56.4||3||03.0||27||16||$201|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,300||21.8||9||15.6||0||0||$335|