Matt Kenseth Always Leaves Kentucky Speedway Smiling
Considering how Brad Keselowski ($12,100) is running as of late (one Top 10 in his last five Cup starts), his price point is steep. However, Keselowski at Kentucky Speedway is an easy pill to swallow. DraftKings Fantasy owners’ bread will be buttered in the Laps Led category. He led an unfathomable 199 laps in his 2014 victory from the pole. He’s won two of the four Sprint Cup races run at Kentucky, and has led at least 68 laps in three of those events. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Keselowski leads all drivers in Fastest Laps Run (171). And because historical data only goes back so far (2011 to be exact) pertaining to the Sprint Cup, a theme you’ll find here is a [small] reliance on XFINITY Series data which dates back much further. In the seven starts at KS beginning back in Keselowski’s formative years (2008-14), he has six Top 5s with an Average Finish of third-place, never finishing worse than seventh. Keselowski has major upside and is worth a start in all Fantasy formats at what is arguably his best track.
Jeff Gordon ($10,600) has victories at 22 of the 23 tracks on the current NASCAR schedule. Overall, he’s won at 24 NASCAR tracks, notching wins at Rockingham and North Wilkesboro once upon a time. The lone track Gordon hasn’t tasted sweet victory? Kentucky Speedway. The same Kentucky Speedway where he’s never finished worse than 10th-place and owns an Average Finish of 7.3. He ranks sixth in Fastest Laps Run (41), but has never led a single laps at KS. Fantasy owners should consider Gordon a good bang for the buck in DFS and a safe Tiered/Grouping format option.
Simply put, Matt Kenseth ($11,300) is a premium play at Kentucky Speedway, bringing just about every Fantasy attribute imaginable to the table. He’s never finished worse than seventh and owns an Average Finish of 4.5. He won the 2013 race at KS, leading 31 laps in the process. He’s posted a positive place-differential in all four of his starts, totaling an impressive +45. Kenseth also ranks fourth in Fastest Laps Run (79). Aside from Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick, there isn’t a safer start with more upside than Kenseth. He’s a great value across the board but especially in DFS, where his price point is severely undervalued.
Austin Dillon ($8,500) has been extremely impressive this summer, notching three straight Top 20s prior to his seventh-place finish last weekend at Daytona International Speedway. He ranks an impressive seventh in three-week Fantasy points averages, making his DraftKings price point a great value. While he hasn’t done much at KS in the Cup Series by way of Fantasy stats, he does hold a solid Average Finish of 20.0 with a 16th-place finish last season. Digging a bit deeper, he was scary good at Kentucky in the XFINITY Series, logging two wins (2012 sweep), three poles (2012-13), an Average Finish of 2.5 and 307 Laps Led, including 192 in his June 2012 victory. Dillon is the type of driver who always gets better with experience, so his stock is definitely trending upwards.
The only reason I can recommend Aric Almirola ($7,900) in DFS is because he’s essentially a lottery ticket with upside. He’s finished fifth (Dover), 43rd aka dead last (Pocono), 22nd (Michigan), 14th (Sonoma) and 34th (Daytona). You don’t need to have the mathematic gravitas of Good Will Hunting to decipher what those numbers mean: who the hell knows what this guy’s gonna do? What we do know is he’s a talented driver who’s good for a handful of Top 15 performances a season. He has one of those at Kentucky (2013) and thanks to his reasonable price tag, he’s worth a flier as a value pick this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,600) presents a decently priced, but unsexy Fantasy pick across the board. He’s only flashing some interest on my radar thanks to the combination of low price and the fact that he’s posted three straight Top 25s in his last three Cup races. Historically, Stenhouse Jr. has performed above average at Kentucky, posting 17th (2013) and 25th-place (2014) finishes. Fantasy owners looking to go top heavy with three studs in DK can consider Stenhouse Jr. a safer pick with less upside than other options.
Casey Mears ($7,500) is turning into the Rodney Dangerfield of DraftKings NASCAR – the guy is always underpriced. He rolled into Daytona a week ago with the longest Top 10 streak at the site (four) on the circuit, and barely missed a fifth with an impressive 11th-place showing. Looking at KS, he’s logged three Top 20s and four Top 25s with an Average Finish of 20.2. Those numbers are solid, but throw in that he’s led one lap in two of his four starts, has one Fastest Lap Run and owns a place-differential of +22 and there’s inherent upside. The lowest Fantasy owners can spend in DK is $7,000, so at his current price point Mears is pretty much in must-start territory.
Saturday will mark Ryan Blaney’s ($7,500) Sprint Cup debut at Kentucky, but not his first overall appearance. He’s had excellent success at the site in XFINITY Series competition, with the highlight being a 2013 win with 96 Laps Led. He’s another young gun with major talent who’s a complete wild card. He already has a Top 5 (fourth at Talladega) under his belt this season, and could drop a Top 15 this weekend if everything falls correctly for him. There’s value in all formats for Blaney this weekend, but I’m leaning towards the best bang for your buck, which will come in Tiered/Grouping formats.
In his lone start at the site, Justin Allgaier ($7,300) posted a very respectable 24th-place finish. Allgaier showed serious promise a few years ago in the XFINITY Series, but never posted the kind of dominant numbers some of his closest competitors did. He had just two Top 5s and four Top 10s in seven starts; good but not great considering the level of competition. A Top 20 with a modestly positive pass-differential is very much on the table, making him a nice roster filler for DFS players.
NASCAR Fantasy Live
|Martin Truex Jr.|
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing
|Brad Keselowski||Matt Kenseth|
|B-List||Kasey Kahne||Carl Edwards||Paul Menard|
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