Fantasy NASCAR Preview - Texas Motor Speedway
Note: Below is a Fantasy NASCAR Martinsville Speedway preview article from Wheels (@DK_Wheels) and Jeff (@BlueDevil3331) of the Power Hour DFS (@PowerHourDFS) crew.
For more Fantasy NASCAR insight from them, CLICK HERE
Holy smokes, it's hard to believe, but we're already six races into the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series (NMECS) and we're coming out of the traditional Easter break. This week, the NMECS heads west to Texas Motor Speedway for some more 1.5 mile racing. During last year's off season, Texas Motor Speedway underwent some renovations, which included the repaving of the entire track and re-profiling Turns 1 and 2 where the banking was reduced from 24 to 20 degrees (Turns 3 and 4 remain 24 degrees) and the racing surface was widened from 60 to 80 feet. All of this makes for some very fast racing, which leads to our next point, and a change for this year…tires.
The teams this year will be wearing a new left-side Goodyear tire. As we already touched on the track renovations, the repave yields more grip, and in-turn, you get your speed and heat in the tire. But because they're racing on such a young track, with a smooth surface, the tires hold their rubber, causing very little rubber to get worked into the track…this equals fewer racing grooves. Although, there have been Tire Monster and Tire Dragon sightings this week in an attempt to create multiple grooves (and a higher groove, hello Kyle Larson, who finished second here last spring).
Last spring Jimmie Johnson was victorious here as he passed Joey Logano with 17 laps remaining in the race. The 48 team's current struggles (winless with one top-five in their last 29 starts) are no secret; however, if there is a track where they can get back to their winning ways, this is it: in 29 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Johnson has seven wins, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes.
Now, let's take a closer look at our top daily fantasy sports (DFS) scorers at Texas Motor Speedway from last season:
Jimmie Johnson - 97 DK pts (Dominator & Place Differential)
- Finishing Position: 46 pts
- Dominator: 28 pts
- Place Differential: 23 pts
Kyle Larson - 85 DK pts (Place Differential)
- Finishing Position pts: 42 pts
- Dominator pts: 13 pts
- Place Differential pts: 30 pts
Ryan Blaney - 84.5 DK pts (Dominator)
- Finishing Position pts: 32 pts
- Dominator pts: 62.5 pts
- Place Differential pts: -10 pts
Martin Truex Jr - 105.25 DK pts (Dominator)
- Finishing Position: 42 pts
- Dominator: 58.25 pts
- Place Differential: 5 pts
Matt Kenseth - 98.25 DK pts (Dominator & Place Differential)
- Finishing Position pts: 40 pts
- Dominator pts: 27.25 pts
- Place Differential pts: 31 pts
Kevin Harvick - 83.5 DK pts (Dominator)
- Finishing Position pts: 46 pts
- Dominator pts: 35.5 pts
- Place Differential pts: 2 pts
Martin Truex Jr - Last season Truex was head and shoulders above the field at intermediate tracks in general and Texas was no different as he posted scores of 61.25 and 105.25. Truex and Pearn were class of the field in 2017 on way to their championship season, but opening 2018 they were clearly behind SHR and had some catchup to do with the offseason rule changes. But fast forward to race number 7 and Pearn has made major gains and has been very strong over the last 2 races, so look for Truex to be a name that we see out front of the field this Sunday at some point or another and in contention for the W.
Kevin Harvick - Harvick was behind Truex is 2017 and a lot of that could visibly be credited to the SHR change from Chevy to Ford, but down the stretch Harvick came on strong. Not only did he come down strong, but he actually chased down the dominate Truex in the fall race here at Texas to get the W and advance in the playoffs. Combine all of that with how well SHR is performing and more specifically, how well this #4 Ford is performing and look for Harvick to be one of, if not THE favorite yet again.
Chevy - Taking a little bit of a different angle on this one but this Camaro is clearly behind, similar to how the Toyotas struggled out of the gate last season with the new Camry. Jimmie Johnson was the top scorer one year ago here at Texas, but don't expect to see that happen on Sunday! Kyle Larson is really the only Camaro inside the top 10 in season-to-date DraftKings scoring. Yes, Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 but we all know that a win on a Superspeedway doesn't carry over to the cookie cutter tracks and unless they came back to the East Coast and really found something over Easter break I expect them to struggle this weekend.
**As a disclaimer for this next section, a lot of DraftKings (DK) plays are dependent on Qualifying and Practice speeds, but we want to give you our initial thoughts on 2 Dominators, 2 Value Plays and 1 Punt Play**
Historically at Texas we have seen anywhere from one to four dominators, but we will be focusing on a solid two dominators with a potential third backdoor dominator that is likely to finish high. Over the last three years (six races) we have seen at least three drivers score 20+ in five of the last six; the exception being in 2015 when Keselowski was a single dominator accounting for 56% of the total dominator points (the next highest that year only scored 14 dominator points).
Dominators are drivers who earn bonus points by dominating the race through laps lead and running the fastest laps during the race.
- Kyle Busch ($10,400)
- Throw out his Daytona race (8.5 DK points) and he's averaging 75.5 DK points/race
- Owns 100.5 driver rating at Texas Motor Speedway
- Good current form - four top-fives and has finished 7th or better in five of the six races
- Martin Truex Jr. ($10,600)
- Outside of Daytona, has been in the top-five every week, including his win at Fontana
- While the checkered flag has eluded the 78 team to date, he has led the third-most laps (595 - behind Kyle Bush  and Jimmie Johnson [1,091])
- Finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races here
- Kevin Harvick ($11,500)
- Recent form is obviously top notch and Vegas agrees as he opened as the favorite this weekend
- 8 DK Avg over the last 3 years, including his playoff win last fall running down and passing Truex to get to victory lane
- Has scored 40+ DK pts in 12 of the last 13 here
- Martin Truex Jr ($10,600)
- 7 DK Avg over the last 3 years… Scoring 41+ in all of those races
- Again, Truex was the class of the field last year and especially at Intermediates and recent form is coming in well for this #78 Toyota
Value plays are the drivers who usually start in the middle to rear of the field that can stay clean, move up, and gain place differential points. Most importantly get you a good finishing position at the end of the race.
- Clint Bowyer ($8,100)
- Running well - has three top-six finishes; coming off a win at Martinsville and his price drops $200…Huh???
- Stewart-Haas team is on fire right now…stay on this train
- Alex Bowman ($7,600)
- Scored a top-20 in every race this year (one top-10 - Martinsville)
- In 2016, he started 16th and finished 13th here, filling in for Dale Jr.
Wheels Value Plays:
- Erik Jones ($7,900)
- His numbers aren't great in his 3 career Texas races in cup while posting 26.5, 36 and 29 DK pts, but I assure you that he is underpriced at $7,900 with his talents and Gibbs equipment
- His Xfinity numbers are just CRAZY here!
- In 6 starts in Xfinity:
- Qualified 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd and 3rd
- Finished 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 4th and 4th
- To recap, he has never qualified worse than third or finished worse than fourth while winning 50% of the six races he has ran
- In 6 starts in Xfinity:
- Daniel Suarez ($7,200)
- Not the same kind of Xfinity numbers by any means, but at this price in Gibbs equipment at an intermediate track and Suarez is definitely in play early on in the week!
- Posted 26.5 and 22 DK pts in his two races last year which he will need to improve on to pay off but I do think that if he qualifies anywhere outside of the T12 that he will be in play this weekend.
Punt plays are your $6K & under drivers who usually start in the 30's and can move up a couple spots, maybe break into the top 25-30 if all goes well. Most of all your punts allow you to jam in multiple Dominators into your lineup to cover your bases since there are many occasions that a race will have multiple Dominators.
- David Ragan ($5,400)
- Come on, did you expect me to NOT pick Ragan at this price point???
- Ragan is consistent as a play in this range…outside of Daytona, he has finished in the top-25 all five races…this price allows you to load up on your dominators.
- Chris Buescher ($5,900)
- In five career cup races Buescher has posted 24.5 or more DK pts and 30.9 on average which is ~5x value.
- He is in a Chevy and I am lower on Chevys in general this weekend, but in Buescher's case, I just think he is priced too low and will be one of the exceptions this weekend, especially considering the salary relief that he provides.