Getting you ready for DFS success on NASCAR's Monster Mile
Your daily fantasy NASCAR FanDuel roster has its work cut out for it this weekend. Dover International Speedway is one of the most physically demanding tracks on the NASCAR schedule. The one-mile oval's steeply-banked, concrete corners create the equivalent of Bristol Motor Speedway on steroids.
The Delaware-based NASCAR track can likewise be treacherous, as wrecks up ahead are nearly impossible to dodge on the narrow track nicknamed the Monster Mile. These aspects make it a track for top-tier talent only. Prior to Chase Elliott's win in fall 2018, a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion had won every race at the track since 2009.
This week, the Cup Series uses its 750-horsepower package with no aero ducts. Given the increase in spoiler size for 2019, we've already seen some of the fastest speeds ever recorded at Dover so far this weekend. So when picking your lineup, keep veteran drivers in mind, as well as drivers who are quick to adapt. Here are the rules for FanDuel’s new Daily Fantasy NASCAR game.
FanDuel has put more emphasis on finishing position than other DFS sites. For this reason, FanDuel allows you to look at the entire field instead of just dominators and big movers.
Also, with only 0.1 points awarded for each lap led by a driver, the need for a dominator is less important when building a winning lineup. The 400-lap race will only have a total of 40 points up for grabs in this category. Take note when building your roster and focus on mid-pack competitors who can climb up toward the front on race day.
ELITE TIER: $10,000 and up
Kevin Harvick ($14,000)
Career at Dover: 36 starts, 2 wins, 6 top fives, 17 top 10s
Average Finish at Dover: 14.2
Harvick only has two wins at Dover, but both of those came after he joined Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. Since then, he has led 1,297 of 4,015 laps run at this track — over a quarter of laps completed.
Harvick started second in both races last year and didn't waste that track position. In the spring race, he led 201 laps en route to a dominant win. In the fall, Harvick led 286 laps before faltering to a sixth-place result.
SHR and Harvick haven't shown the speed in 2019 that they have in recent years. But don't expect this team to stay behind the eight ball forever.
Chase Elliott ($13,000)
Career at Dover: 6 starts, 1 win, 5 top fives, 5 top 10s
Average Finish at Dover: 4.3
Life is good for Elliott right now. He is coming off of his first win of 2019 at Talladega Superspeedway and he is the most recent winner at Dover. Also, Elliott has the best average finish of any driver at the Monster Mile with a 4.3. He has only ever finished outside of the top five once at the track, a 12th back in spring 2018. He's also never started a race inside the top five at Dover, so there's potential for him to stay there all afternoon.
With momentum on his side and Chevrolet not far from catching up to Fords and Toyotas, look for Elliott to deliver a lot of points.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,000)
Career at Dover: 34 starts, 11 wins, 17 top fives, 24 top 10s
Average Finish at Dover: 9.9
The No. 48 team might not be as dominant as it used to be, but it would still be crazy to leave Johnson out of your lineup at Dover. He has the most all-time wins (11) and laps led (3,105) in track history. Johnson also has the fourth-best average finish among active drivers (9.9) at Dover.
The seven-time Cup champion's most recent win came at the Monster Mile in 2017. He's now aiming to end a two-year winless drought after this weekend. Despite the recent slump, how can you not bet on the best driver ever at a track?
ALL-STAR TIER: $6,000 – $9,999
Daniel Suarez ($9,600)
Career at Dover: 4 starts, 0 wins, 1 top fives, 4 top 10s
Average Finish at Dover: 6.8
You're not going to find many experienced, successful drivers in the All-Star Tier. But Suarez has a solid track record at Dover for a wheelman in only his third season. He has the second best average finish among active drivers (6.8) and has never finished outside the top 10 at the track. Suarez finished third in this race one year ago.
Those results came with Joe Gibbs Racing, but given SHR teammate Harvick's success, I expect Suarez to continue to perform well at Dover. Should their cars improve in speed this week, then Suarez could be a dark horse to contend for the win.
Erik Jones ($9,100)
Career at Dover: 4 starts, 0 wins, 1 top fives, 1 top 10s
Average Finish at Dover: 12.2
Jones is also limited on experience, but he's been solid at Dover. He has the fifth best average finish among active drivers (12.2) and ran fourth in his last trip to the track. His worst finish in four starts in Delaware is an 18th in this race one year ago. Jones previously won at Dover in the NASCAR Xfinity Series; it's clear he likes this place.
Jones has finished outside the top 10 in three consecutive races. But given the speed of JGR this season and Jones' solid runs at the track, look for the No. 20 to be fast this weekend as he looks to stay in playoff contention.
BARGAIN TIER: $5,999 and below
(Top photo courtesy of ASP, Inc.)