Phoenix offers a lot of track specific challenges for the drivers who are coming off a pretty consistent Las Vegas speedway. One of the biggest factors will be the track temps and the effect that the heat will have on the ability to slow the car down and what this does to the Right front tires. Additionally, with the lower spoiler the RPMs are higher which is something that not all teams were initially set up to deal with. Finally, there is the stage factor which is probably playing a larger role than many anticipated. The stages effect how the teams are adjusting race plans on-the-fly to grab these points. There seems to be a feeling amongst the teams that if they do well in a stage then no matter the final outcome, they will come away from the track with something positive. Fans of NASCAR from the days of the Winston Cup will remember that consistency was a major factor in trying to win the title. This mentality still exist and its relevance is the highest it has been since the days of the “chase-less” cup.
NASCAR, unlike most other sports has a aspect of derailment that does not exist in other sports. Mechanical breakdown or wrecks can end the day for our fantasy team and wagers. Or it can ruin the day for the favorite who you did not bet on or put on your team as well. With the high heat in Phoenix and the still hot tempers from last week, this is a race with more than its share of hazards. Taking on more risk when the odds or fantasy prices do not reward that elevated risk should be avoided. In this case its the #18 and the #22. We all know that both cars are strong this weekend but if one or the other acts up then it could be over for both. I expect several yellow flags tomorrow as the heat will play havoc.
Daily Fantasy – Prices are based off DraftKings pricing tiers as usual. As always the drivers left off the list did not qualify to based on their price value.
*All above $10k made the list due to how few there were, and what factors they bring to the table this week. As usual the plays in bold provide a bit more value than their price tier counterparts.
Harvick – He will move up but he is not the race lock to win that he was going into the week. Starting 23rd at Phoenix is really stretching it, but in fantasy his position improvement possibilities increase his value.
Logano – Little exposure due to incident possibilities, true tournament play.
Keslowski – Quietly in a great spot this week despite Phoenix not being his best track in the past.
Kyle Busch – Slightly more exposure than Logano due to the fact that his car appeared to be one of the most in tune as the temps increased on Saturday. He is in a relative good spot to win as long as he lets Vegas stay in Vegas. Kyle is another heavy tournament option this week.
DraftKings $9,000 – $10,000
J. Johnson – He will move up and had one of the best looking cars in Happy hour.
K. Larson – Appears to be consistent again this weekend. Cash or tournament option.
C. Elliott – Maybe not quite as sharp this week compared to last but still looks strong.
DraftKings $8,000 – $8,900
M. Kenseth – The car was fast late and he looks to have a solid finish.
D. Earnhardt Jr. – The pressure is on him and the #88 team this weekend. His price is lower than in weeks past, and this is his best car during that period.
R. Blaney – Starting up front and could easily lead laps and he is a bargain price still.
K. Kahne – Usually runs consistent at Phoenix and for the relatively low price a top #10 could easily be his production.
DraftKings $7,000 – $7,900
* All the drivers in this tier were very questionable this week. The three below I would use with sparingly but they do have potential.
C. Bowyer – Car is handling well and he has not started this high up at Phoenix recently.
E. Jones – Very solid but there is no deep race experience with driver and pit crew working in concert. Car and driver seem poised for a good day provided they stay out of trouble and avoid mechanical failures
J. McMurray – Similar to the position of Bowyer this week. Car is good and McMurray tends to run about where he starts the race at Phoenix.
DraftKings $6,000 – $6,900
P. Menard – Bargain price best value
T. Bayne – Solid in all three races this year with top #15s
A. Almirola – Usually races better than he qualifies at Phoenix.
D. Suarez – If he can keep the car straight and physically handle driving both series in Phoenix he is a steal at this price. The car is better than the others in this price point.
L. Cassill – Hard to recommend anyone in this tier but Cassill is my choice for salary relief.
M. DiBenedetto – Could be a little sneaky and get inside the top #30
Wagering – As mentioned NASCAR wagering on the winner of a race is value driven only, and DOES NOT reflect the choices for race winner without odds consideration. One bet to stay off is Harvick @ 9/4 – He could win the race but honestly can’t be considered at this price. When adding the less than optimal qualifying spot and practice times and this bet is even worse. Also left off the list below is last weeks winner R. Truex Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who was next closest to make the cut.
Kyle Busch – 17/2 – He has had a great car this weekend and is driven to either get back at Logano or win the race. I think he drives cautiously in Phoenix as he knows his car is the best it has been in a while. With Harvick having such poor odds the #18 was upgraded to a wagering spot.
B. Keslowski – 10/1 – While not his best track the car looks to be the best that he has been furnished with at Phoenix.
J. Johnson – 12/1 – Looks like another of the best cars this weekend. 14th is not a bad starting spot considering 75% of the race winners in Phoenix start in the top 15.
K. Larson – 14/1 – Ultra consistent but still scratching his head when it comes to closing time. However, he is a very good value in relation to winning chances.
R. Blaney – 40/1 – Another outstanding value considering his consistency and starting position.
#43 and #11 starting from the back
*UPDATES POSSIBLE UNTIL RACE TIME*
Stats are courtesy of http://www.DriverAverages.com