It seems that DraftKings has their favorites and their not-so-favorites. It also seems that DraftKings and I differ on these valuations, causing me to hype up the likes of Jimmie Johnson ($8,900), Jeff Gordon ($8,500) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,400) just about every week. That being said, I’ll spare you three paragraphs on why I like these guys and just tell you outright, “I like these guys.”
What I’m noticing from the DraftKings prices in the final regular season race of 2015, is that the low end guys are priced really, really low. Much lower than usual. So, that’s where I’m going to shift focus for Richmond International Raceway. Since these valuations are so low for DFS, I’m employing a top heavy lineup, meaning the drivers below will play a pivotal role in DFS success.
Jamie McMurray ($8,200) has made the Chase (12th in points), but will still be motivated to go all out for the Checkered Flag at Richmond to pocket some bonus points. He’s been incredible at RIR the past couple of seasons, logging three fourth-place finishers in his last four starts. He’s led at least four laps in two of those starts. In those three fourth-place finishes, McMurray’s place-differential is +19. He ranks a solid 17th in Fastest Laps Run (113). McMurray hasn’t logged a Top 10 since the middle of June (seventh at Michigan), but has the luxury of a clinched Chase spot and the incentive to go for the win. While a Top 10 finish is far more likely as his ceiling, there is upside here. Fire McMurray up in DFS and Tiered/Grouping format leagues.
Austin Dillon’s ($6,600) best finish at Richmond is 20th. His place-differential in his three career starts is +1, and he ranks 43rd in Fastest Laps Run (7). But he’s a mainstay on my weekly DFS rankings due to his natural upside. He’s been very good this summer, posting one Top 5, three Top 10s and five Top 15s in nine Cup starts since July. His only shot to make the Chase is his first career win, something that’s very unlikely to happen. But I’d bet on the kid giving it everything he’s got and putting up a solid Fantasy performance. He’s safest to use in DFS.
David Ragan ($6,400) has been ice cold, logging back-to-back 40th place finishes (Bristol, Darlington). He has zero Top 10s since finishing fifth at Martinsville in March. However, he does have eight Top 20s since Martinsville. And what really sticks out to me is his pair of fourth place finishes in the 2011 set at Richmond. Since then, he hasn’t finished better than 20th. Ragan’s price point keeps him in the quality value range in Salary Cap formats and DFS, but his upside is definitely limited.
Aric Almirola ($6,100) is only one of two drivers with a chance to crack the Top 16 and make the Chase based on points alone (Kasey Kahne is the other). Just 23 points behind Clint Bowyer, it’s actually doable. He’s finished between 11th and 18th place in seven of his last eight Cup starts. And focusing on just Richmond performances, he has two Top 10s and five Top 20s with an Average Finish of 15.0 and a place-differential of +36 in his last five starts, which translates to very respectable Fantasy figures. He managed to win a race late last season (rain shortened, but still) to get in the Chase, so this concept isn’t exactly foreign to him. He’s extremely undervalued in DFS given the corresponding numbers, and makes a nice Tiered/Grouping format option as well.
Take out a 23rd place finish in this event one year ago and A.J. Allmendinger ($6,000) has finished somewhere between sixth and 17th in each of his last nine starts at RIR. More importantly, that sixth-place performance came in the April 2014 race. The reward of getting a Top 20 out of a driver priced this low is worth the risk here.
If you read this column regularly, you’ve noticed I’ve become a serious Danica Patrick ($5,800) booster, as she’s in the midst of her most competent NASCAR season. That bandwagon keeps on rolling through Richmond, where Patrick has logged one Top 20 and two Top 25s in her last two appearances. Patrick won’t do you any favors in place-differential, but at this unit rate, beggars can’t be choosers. She’s been a mainstay in my Tiered/Grouping format lineups (C-List) and is also well worth this price in DFS.
Here are my Fantasy NASCAR lineups for this week:
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
NASCAR Fantasy Live
|Martin Truex Jr.|
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing
|Kyle Busch||Brad Keselowski|
|B-List||Jamie McMurray||Aric Almirola||Kurt Busch|
|C-List||Danica Patrick||David Ragan|