Every week it’s an internal struggle how to spread your salary cap out. Should you go top- heavy or spend evenly? DrakftKings has answered that question for us this weekend. The salary structure put forward this week is more bunched up than usual so the lower end options are over-priced, while there’s some value in the high-end guys.
For reference, the top salary in DK this week is Dale Earnhardt Jr. at $12,300, which is about 12 percent less than the top salaried driver each week. Consequently, fewer drivers are coming in at the low-$8,000s and in the $7,000s.
Kyle Busch ($10,800) is in a very unique spot. Usually when a driver punches his ticket to The Chase, caution can be thrown to the wind late in races, gambles can be taken and so on and so forth. That isn’t the case for Busch, who won last weekend at Sonoma. Busch needs to finish in the Top 30 in Sprint Cup points, a feat that is reachable but it’s going to take discipline and consistency, something Busch has resisted in years past. Despite logging zero Top 10s in his last five starts at Daytona International Speedway, Busch still leads all competitors in Driver Rating (96.2) and Average Running Position (12.8). He also ranks third in Fastest Laps Run (85) since 2005. My sense is Busch has the discipline to log quality finishes in order to secure a spot in the playoffs. For a guy coming off a win and leading in as many important Loop Data categories as he does, his DFS salary is a bargain.
Denny Hamlin ($11,100) has morphed into a restrictor-plate racing ace in the past year. He’d never been better than average at Daytona and Talladega, and all of a sudden he’s winning at ‘Dega last season and has an Average Finish of fourth-place in his last three Daytona appearances. Thanks to absurdly low starting positions in the last two DIS races (37th and 42nd), Hamlin’s pass-differential in that span is +69. He can be counted on to accumulate Laps Led, Fastest Laps Run and Quality Passes. He’s a pretty safe start as far as safe starts go at Daytona.
Clint Bowyer ($10,100) continues to gain momentum heading into the home stretch of the season. He just turned in his best finish of 2015 with a third-place finish at Sonoma, and he’s been excellent as of late at Daytona. He’s posted one Top 5 and three Top 10s in his last four DIS starts, with at least one Fastest Lap Run in each of those events. His place-differential in this event last season was +25 and he even led a lap. Bowyer’s slump from last season leaked into 2015, but he’s starting to turn it around. His best value appears to be in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game, but I like him across all formats this weekend.
Austin Dillon ($9,600) has been extremely efficient in four career starts at Daytona, logging one Top 5, two Top 10s and three Top 15s with an Average Finish of 14.8 in his last three starts. He’s finally come around with some consistency, posting four Top 20s in his last five Cup starts. His place-differential in his last two appearances is +34. He’s posted at least four Fastest Laps Run in every career start at Daytona.
Fun fact that Fantasy owners are likely not aware of: Casey Mears ($8,700) currently owns the longest Top 10 streak at Daytona. Now the naysayers could quip, “Its only four races, big deal.” Well, it sort of is. Daytona is about as volatile a track as there is, so when there’s even a shred of consistency out there, Fantasy owners should jump on it – especially at this value. While we’re on the topic of value, during his four-race Top 10 streak at DIS, Mears has a place-differential of +86, including a +35 in the 2015 season opener. He’s worth a look in all formats this weekend, with his best return on investment coming in Salary Cap formats.
Alex Bowman ($7,100) has only cracked the Top 20 once this season, but that 16th-place finish at Talladega is relevant since it was a restrictor-plate event. In the 2014 Coke Zero 400, Bowman posted a place-differential of +30 with 27 Quality Passes. There is no cheaper option worth your time this holiday weekend, so Fantasy owners looking to stack the top of their roster need to lock Bowman into all lineups.
David Gilliland ($7,700) captured his second career Daytona pole at the 2014 Coke Zero 400, leading five laps and ultimately finishing 35th despite an ARP of 11.5. His best finish of 2015 came in the season-opener when he finished 11th with a +15 place-differential. Squeezing in cheap salary this weekend is likely to be tough, but it’s apparent that Gilliland is underpriced in DFS. He’s a quality plug and play this weekend.
Looking for a shot in the dark? Brett Moffitt ($7,100) burst onto the scene with an eighth-place finish at Atlanta, but has done very little as far as quality finishes since. He also sat out both restrictor-plate events in 2015, further muddying the Fantasy waters. The bottom line here is that Moffitt is a 22 year old project with tons of upside, and he probably has one or two more Top 10s in his system for this season. Daytona is the type of track he hits on. At that price in DFS, there’s very little risk.
Since winning the 2011 Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne ($8,600) hasn’t finished better than 20th in eight subsequent races. So while the win was clearly an outlier (no secret), there is some upside here. He finally (!) logged his first Top 10 in the No. 6 Roush Fenway ride a couple weeks back at Michigan International Speedway, finishing ninth. The DFS price is steep, but he’s in that price-range sweet spot to help bolster the top of lineups.
Here are my lineups across the board for Daytona:
NASCAR Fantasy Live
|Martin Truex Jr.|
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Matt Kenseth|
|B-List||Jamie McMurray||Clint Bowyer||Austin Dillon|
|C-List||Danica Patrick||David Gilliland|