Of the upper echelon drivers this weekend, Matt Kenseth ($11,200) represents the best mix of value and upside. He’s led at least one lap in four of his last five New Hampshire Motor Speedway starts, including 106 in his 2013 victory. Kenseth doesn’t rank as high as some other elite drivers in the Fastest Laps Run (129) department, but considering how well Joe Gibbs Racing is running as a unit right now, I’m expecting lots of speed regardless of history this weekend. His Average Start of 21.3 contrasted by his Average Finish of 14.2 almost makes Fantasy owners hope he doesn’t qualify well. Kenseth makes a lot of Fantasy sense for owners looking to trot out a fairly even lineup in DraftKings.
Another value-based elite option is Denny Hamlin ($11,100). His best Loudon performance came in 2012, when he posted 193 Laps Led in his victory with a place differential of +31. In the 2014 set at NHMS, Hamlin posted one Top 10 (eighth) and led 20 (July) and 32 laps (September) in each race. He’s finished third in the last two Cup races (Daytona and Kentucky), and as previously mentioned, JGR is hitting its stride right now. Hamlin is an excellent choice across all formats this weekend.
It’s pretty surprising to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($10,300) priced on the lower end of the elite drivers. He’s been very hot this summer, logging a win (Daytona), two Top 2s and three Top 10s in his last four Cup starts. But he’s also been relatively hot at New Hampshire as well, posting three consecutive Top 10s with a place-differential of +31 in that span. Overall, he ranks sixth in Fastest Laps Run (251) and third in Quality Passes (625). The final call on Junior is he’s a serious value play in DFS, but I’, staying away in Tiered/Grouping and Salary Cap formats.
The best DFS value for New Hampshire is arguably Ryan Newman ($9,200). Overall, he’s recorded three wins, seven Top 5s, 16 Tops and a whopping seven poles in 26 starts at the site. He’s also posted 169 Fastest Laps Run at NHMS. So, clearly Newman knows what he’s doing at Loudon and that’s what I’m taking to the bank this weekend. A possible reasons for the low unit rate is the mixed bag of results in his last six starts, with one Top 5 and three Top 10s with finishes of 18th, 16th and 39th in there too. He’s likely a must-start driver given the history and stats that matter.
Over the course of the 2015 season, Tony Stewart ($8,800) has toyed with my thoughts and emotions. The only constant being that he pretty much always disappointed. But like any dysfunctional relationship, I went back. Finally, I called it quits on the guy. Well, like the sucker I am, I’m back on the guy – sort of. He’s taking baby steps towards getting back to glory with two Top 15s in his last three Cup starts. Focusing squarely on his Loudon exploits, Smoke has three wins, 14 Top 5s, 18 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 12.3. He’s led a whopping 1,302 laps and ranks third in Fastest Laps Run (412). Stewart also posted a seventh-place finish in this event last season, giving me some hope he can get back in the business of Top 10s. As emotional as the Stewart rollercoaster of underachievement has been, this pick is a product of my head and not my heart. The price point is too good considering the history and equipment of the No. 14 driver. It’s a risk, but it’s a calculated one.
Austin Dillon ($8,100) comes in at about as bargain basement as a driver of this caliber ever will, and I don’t really have an explanation for the slight. In two starts at NHMS, Dillon has two Top 15s with an Average Finish of 12.5, a Fastest Lap Run (1) and a place differential of +20. He’s not yet in the class of drivers that compete for Checkered Flags, but for a guy who rounds out a DraftKings lineup he’s a stud. His value remains at a solid level in Salary Cap formats as well, as it’s just low enough to field a top heavy unit and still get quality on the back end.
While there have been some head scratchers in the price department this week on DFS, David Ragan ($7,800) is not one of them. Simply put, he’s not good at NHMS. However, he has a Top 15 and a Top 20 in his last two Cup starts. He’s running with solid equipment on a consistent basis now. And he posted a Top 10 with one lap led back in 2011. The deciding factor here, aside from price point, is that he’s able to conjure up some speed in Loudon, ranking 22nd in Fastest Laps Run (28).
Aric Almirola ($7,700) has an excellent history at NHMS, logging a Top 5 (fifth) in this event in 2013, and a Top 10 (sixth) in the 2014 September race. He’s totaled 10 Fastest Laps Run at the site, good for 29th. I wrote last week about Almirola’s struggle with consistency, but the fact is, when Fantasy owners are looking for those sub-$8,000 drivers and there’s even a hint of Top 5 type upside, it needs to be taken under serious advisement. Almirola is a sneaky good play in both DFS and Salary Cap formats this weekend.
Justin Allgaier ($7,400) is another low end driver who provides a nice amount of upside this weekend. In his last two Cup starts he’s logged a Top 20 and Top 25 with a place-differential of +11. He got his first taste of Sprint Cup action at Loudon last season, logging a 37th-place DNF (July) and a 20th-place (September) finish. A Top 20 wouldn’t be that far-fetched given recent performance and history, making Allgaier an interesting target in DFS and Tiered/Grouping formats.
Matt DiBenedetto ($6,900) represents something we don’t usually see on DraftKings – a driver priced under $7,000. It’s not surprising, considering his lone start at NHMS – which was in the XFINITY Series – resulted in a 40th-place DNF. While he hasn’t flashed it much this season (twice to be exact), there is Top 25 potential here. Personally, I don’t want to venture this deep into the sleeper pool, but for Fantasy owner’s hell bent on starting Kevin Harvick ($14,200), a guy who clogs up 28.4 percent of your weekly cap, a young driver with a whiff of upside like DiBenedetto makes sense.
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
NASCAR Fantasy Live
|Martin Truex Jr.|
|Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing|
|Joey Logano||Matt Kenseth|
|Jamie McMurray||Carl Edwards||Clint Bowyer|
|C-List||Matt DiBenedetto||Justin Allgaier|