The NASCAR Cup Series has been discontinued for the week, so we’ll look at the past 16 races from the perspective of the daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings. We will also be briefly looking at the latter half of the season and into the playoffs.
It was the debut of the next generation car. We’ve seen four first-time winners, one new course (so far) and a bit of par. In addition, some of the drivers who were expected to dominate and win many races have no wins, while four each have two.
As far as DraftKings goes, though, wins don’t always equate to great fantasy scores. Here are some drivers that have done surprisingly well, as well as others that have missed the mark (for DFS purposes).
Pleasant surprises (and good average scores for Draft Kings)
There’s been a lot of uncertainty throughout this season, but perhaps no one is more surrounded by anyone than Ross Chastain. No one really knew how well he adapted to the Trackhouse Racing team, although he had a lot of the same team when he was with Chip Ganassi Racing. Chastain broke out in a big way, winning his first career cup race at the Circuit of the Americas and adding second at the Talladega Superspeedway.
Not surprisingly, it has DraftKings’ best average score to date of 48.21875. Although Chastain had his first two wins on the super speed track and road track, his strength seemed to come in the form of an oval over a mile long. It had the second best DraftKings average score in that category, 51.0833. What probably boosted his average was the Coca-Cola 600, where he finished 15th with a fantastic 102.95 points.
It will be interesting to see how far the entire Trackhouse organization can go this season. Chastain should continue to do well on intermediate racetracks, and could be a wild card on road courses and board tracks (including Atlanta Motor Speedway).
The Series Points leader didn’t achieve his first win until Dover Motor Speedway, but he was in contention on multiple occasions. Chase Elliott had finished in the top five and seven of the top 10 prior to that win and led 50 laps at the Phoenix Raceway. He might have won the Martinsville Speedway had he gone out before William Byron on the pit road.
Based on these results, you can see why it has the best DraftKings average score on trails one mile or less (not including Bristol Motor Speedway). Elliott averages 71,425 fantasy points on this type of track. His 10th-place result in Martinsville helped him earn a DraftKings score of 102.3, about 20 fantasy points more than when he won at Dover.
He also has the second best average for DraftKings on the board tracks (Atlanta, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega). Although Corey LaJoie beats all drivers at 54.5667, Elliott comes in at 48.1833, with a top-10 in all three races.
I have to shout out to Kyle Busch, who had the best average score on a Kings oval over a mile tall. His fantasy score outperforms even Chastain’s 53.725, and it’s no surprise why. Joe Gibbs Racing pilot earned four first-class rounds at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Bush also drove several laps and scored several laps as fast as he could, which increased his DraftKings score. His best fantasy total was 96.95 in Vegas.
He should go on to win these kinds of tracks.
Disappointment Not So Pretty (and Low Draft Kings Average Scores)
“Why is Denny Hamlin disappointed when he scored two victories?”
Unfortunately, the Hamlins had some bad luck in addition to his high moments. It was as if he had found all the ways to lose in the first half of the year, and it didn’t help that his chief of staff had left four weeks after he lost a wheel.
The Daytona 500 is where it all began for the three-time winner of this event. Since he’s usually pretty good at this type of track and started back in his 30’s, many people have played him at DraftKings. He ended up playing more than 50% of the $2.25 million Fantasy Racing Millionaire, according to LineStar. He was also one of the first to drop out of the race, finishing 37th.
That’s just one of 11 races in which he’s scored less than 20 DraftKings points, skewing his average score (18.921875) down the curve. Hamlin seemed to be in a state of transformation before the Gateway, when Chastain thrust him into a wall. It’s unclear how Hamlin will perform the rest of the season, but he is tied for playoffs.
Cole Custer got truly A tough year, as he has yet to earn a Top 10. His closest finish came at Auto Club Speedway where he finished 11th and scored 42 DraftKings points. Although he scored over 30 fantasy points in four races, he also earned three negative points and two under 10. He averaged just 18,284,375 fantasy points in the first half of the season.
Hopefully he can turn his season around and start to finish with some good finishing touches, but he has yet to show such consistency.
Looking into the future, I wonder how long Kyle Larson will stay above $10,000. It’s got some really good fictional results, but many negative too. I don’t know if he’s really worth that amount anymore, although he almost won in Charlotte.
The driver to watch is Austin Dillon, especially on ovals over one mile. It has averaged over 39 fantasy points on these types of tracks and could be worth making lists in the future.
And could the Trackhouse continue to appear in on-road courses? Or are some other drivers going back to their winning ways? There are four more people left this year to find out the answer, including three in the regular season.
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