Fantasy NASCAR DFS and Seasonal Preview: New Hampshire 301
The Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire and it is a unique track in that there is very little banking at the one-mile course. It's the fourth flat track stop of the season after Phoenix, Martinsville and Richmond, but New Hampshire is different in that it is a bit longer than those other runs. NHMS is a very similar track to Phoenix, at least in terms of the car setup for teams.
Unlike Phoenix, however, where Kevin Harvick ($10,700) has dominated, a Chevrolet hasn't been to Victory Lane at Loudon since July 2012. The past seven races have been won by a Toyota five times, and a Ford twice. That includes a Joe Gibbs Racing season sweep by Kyle Busch ($10,500) and Matt Kenseth ($9,100) in 2015.
[caption id="attachment_64320" align="alignright" width="300"] Brad Keselowski shoots for his third straight Sprint Cup win this weekend in Loudon. Photo Credit: NASCAR Media[/caption]
(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses)
Busch, the winner last spring, has two wins in 22 career starts in New Hampshire, posting eight Top 5s and 11 Top 10s while leading 556 laps, fourth-best among all active drivers. He also has a 14.5 Average-Finish Position (AFP), which ranks 10th among all drivers with at least five career starts at the track. Kenseth has slowly been warming up with the weather after a slow start to his season. He is the defending champ, taking checkers at the Sylvania 300 in September in Loudon. He ranks second over the past five starts in New Hampshire with a 115.2 Driver Rating, leading 145 laps while running 90.2 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. He and Rowdy will be popular picks from the DFS stable.
We mentioned Harvick's success at Phoenix. New Hampshire requires a similar setup, although it certainly has different qualities than the Arizona track. Harvick has had plenty of success lately, but he has been unable to cap off races with wins. He is third with a 110.1 Driver Rating over the past five starts at NHMS, leading all drivers with 379 laps led and 87.5 percent of his laps turned inside the Top 15. He has a win in 30 tries at the track, while posting a solid 13.8 AFP. However, that lone win came back in September 2006.
Harvick's teammate and Stewart-Haas Racing team owner Tony Stewart ($8,100) has had plenty of success at New Hampshire over the years. He is tied with teammate Kurt Busch ($9,000) and Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson ($9,700) with three wins, and Smoke tops everyone with 1,302 laps led in 33 starts. He has 14 Top 5 finishes, and just eight finishes outside of the Top 20. He last won in September 2011 at the track, but is always a threat.
Kurt Busch has a 16.0 AFP in 30 career starts with seven Top 5s, 12 Top 10s and 541 laps led. He is a little less certain than his teammates Harvick and Stewart, but a Stewart-Haas racing stack this weekend wouldn't be a terrible strategy despite Chevy's lack of wins lately. That string will be broken, and this powerful team has the horses to make that happen.
As mentioned the No. 48 has been good, and he is looking to get back on track after two uneven performances at Daytona and Kentucky. A third straight poor start from Johnson just doesn't seem possible. He is third among all drivers with a 10.5 AFP in 28 career New Hampshire starts, posting 10 Top 5s and 19 Top 10s with just four finishes outside of the Top 20. He is a guaranteed Top 10 finish this weekend for Fantasy owners.
Going back to JGR, Denny Hamlin ($9,500) hasn't had great overall results this season, and he is 14th or worse in back-to-back starts, and in four of his past five races. However, he leads all drivers with a 10.3 AFP, including two wins, eight Top 5s and 12 Top 10s in 20 career starts with 490 laps led. He is sixth in Driver Rating over the past five starts, and certainly should not be forgotten when setting those lineups.
Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski ($10,300) is looking for a third straight win, and you just might see the Blue Deuce back in Victory Lane again this weekend. He lead everyone with a 120.7 Driver Rating over his past five New Hampshire starts, running an incredible 91.6 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Teammate Joey Logano ($9,900) secured his first-career win at the track back in June 2009, and the New Englander added a victory in September 2014. He is fifth with a 106.7 Driver Rating over the past five starts, and he has a 16.0 AFP overall in 15 career starts. It's his home track, and he goes hard trying to win that congratulatory lobster.
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,300) has a win and 17 Top 20s in 20 career starts with a 14.0 AFP at New Hampshire. Carl Edwards ($10,100) has never won at the track, but he has never finished worse than 25th, including 22 Top 20s in 23 career starts, so he is a safe Fantasy play as well.
Among the young guns, Austin Dillon ($8,300) and Kyle Larson ($8,500) have certainly earned their chops at New Hampshire. Both have four career starts at the track, and both have three finishes in the Top 20. Dillon has a 13.8 AFP, and has never finished worse than 22nd, while Larson was a runner-up in September 2014. He has a 13.3 AFP, including two Top 5 runs. Both of these youngsters are tremendous additions as your B-list driver in Yahoo! Sports, especially if you are running out of starts with some of the others. Larson is a bit pricey in NASCAR's Fantasy Live, but still worth the money as a No. 3 option.
Over his past five starts in Loudon, Ganassi Racing's Jamie McMurray ($7,300) checks in 10th in Driver Rating at 91.8. He hasn't led any leaps during the stretch, but run in the Top 15 in 70.4 percent of his laps while posting a respectable 13.0 AFP. He has 15 Top 20s in 26 career starts at the track, so he is a safe Fantasy selection for one of your final one or two driver seats. Clint Bowyer ($7,000) has had his ups and downs in a lame-duck year at HScott Motorsports, but he has two wins at New Hampshire in his career while leading 516 laps. He is a sleeper this weekend for Fantasy owners.
Lastly, Ryan Newman ($7,700) is a tremendous value at this price level. He is tied with all active drivers with three checkered flags at New Hampshire, and he has been hot lately on the track, too. He has been 18th or better in eight straight races, and 12th or better in five of the past six. Based on his history in Loudon, and his overall hot streak coming in, including a third-place showing at Kentucky, he is a slam-dunk DFS play at this price level.
NASCAR FANTASY LINEUPS FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE
|No.||Driver||DraftKings Salary||No.||Driver||Fantasy Live Salary||No.||Yahoo! Sports Driver|
|1||Brad Keselowski||$10,300||1||Brad Keselowski||$27.00||1||Brad Keselowski|
|2||Joey Logano||$9,900||2||Joey Logano||$26.25||2||Austin Dillon|
|3||Kyle Larson||$8,500||3||Kyle Larson||$22.00||3||Kyle Larson|
|4||Ryan Newman||$7,700||4||Tony Stewart||$14.75||4||Landon Cassill|
|5||Jamie McMurray||$7,300||5||Landon Cassill||$10.00|
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