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Cap Considerations

Fantasy NASCAR Draft Kings performance

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: August 24, 2019, 9:36 pm ET

The Draft Kings single-race game is one of the most popular Fantasy NASCAR contests, but mastering it for those of us without the mathematical wizardry to come up with dozens of varied rosters or the fortitude to risk thousands of dollars in multi-lineup games can be difficult. The salary cap manager keeps us on our toes with extremely high values on the handful of drivers we all know will be the highest points’ earners.

With their structure benefitting place-differential points, a somewhat archaic stat of fastest laps, and finishing position, it can be difficult to determine whether to go with dark horses that qualified poorly but practiced well or concentrate on drivers who start up front and run in clean air at the start of the race.

This week, we will look back at average points’ production for the past 60 days – or since the Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.


In the last eight races, only one driver has been the top points’ earner more than once. With his runner-up finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hamlin banked 119 points. His win at Pocono Raceway added 73 points to the doffers and another second-place finish at Michigan banked 74. Hamlin’s current six-race streak of top-fives has made him a weekly threat, especially when one considers that his average salary cap during the last 60 days is only the seventh-greatest ($9,563).

Kyle Larson is another great value. With an average cost of $9,050, he has banked 47.22 points per race on average, which makes him the third most productive driver in the field. There have been some peaks and valleys. In fact, Larson cost players 1.5 points at New Hampshire and that skews his average, but he will enter Darlington with a four-race streak of top-10 points’ performances in the Draft Kings game.

Two drivers who have been incredibly expensive, but worth having on at least one or two rosters when setting multiple lineups are Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Of course, the cap managers are more than aware of their worth and there are no guarantees in this game. Busch has the third-best average points’ production, but he has not been mistake free. In the past 60 days he has been ranked outside of the top 10 in three of eight races and with an average price of $11,863 that can be devastating considering how many hard decisions have to be made to accommodate him on the lineup.

Truex has been more consistent in recent races. With an average of 43.25 points per race, he is the fourth most productive racer recently, but the numbers are even better if one looks at only the past five races. He has been among the top 10 in every event since New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He earned the second-most points at Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway.

On the other hand, Kevin Harvick has not lived up to his potential. His average cap value over the past 60 days is a staggering $11,350 considering his lackluster performance throughout the season. And while he has improved recently, he and the crew are still prone to mistakes that can cost a lot. He lost points as recently as last week at Bristol and also at Daytona International Speedway. At Kentucky, he banked only the 32nd-most of eight.

One has to find the appropriate dark horse to go along with the expensive marquee stars. Of course that has been Matt DiBenedetto in recent weeks with top-10 points’ productions in half of his last 10 races. Cap managers tend to be conservative when considering a bandwagon driver, and in the last 10 weeks DiBenedetto has fluctuated only a few hundred dollars with an average cap of $6,588. That means he doesn’t need to score top-10 points each week, because he is only the 23rd-most expensive driver in the game on average.

A truer dark horse can be found in Corey LaJoie. His average points are skewed somewhat by his Daytona performance when he was the second-best driver in the game behind the mostly-unknown Justin Haley. Since then, however, he has outperformed his salary cap in every event except Watkins Glen.

Top Points Earners per race (last 60 days):
Denny Hamlin: New Hampshire, Pocono, and Michigan
Alex Bowman: Chicagoland
Justin Haley: Daytona
Kyle Busch: Kentucky
Chase Elliott: Watkins Glen
Brad Keselowski: Bristol

 

Draft Kings Points
Last 60 Days (since Chicagoland)

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

Average
Cap

Rank ($)

Denny Hamlin

9.13

476.75

59.59

$9,563

7

Kyle Busch

8.75

469.00

58.63

$11,863

1

Kyle Larson

11.13

377.75

47.22

$9,050

9

Martin Truex Jr.

11.75

346.00

43.25

$11,113

3

Matt DiBenedetto

12.75

341.25

42.66

$6,588

23

Erik Jones

12.13

335.75

41.97

$8,775

11

Ryan Newman

12.38

334.00

41.75

$7,763

16

Kevin Harvick

15.25

325.25

40.66

$11,350

2

Chris Buescher

11.88

315.25

39.41

$7,225

19

William Byron

15.63

296.25

37.03

$7,388

18

Alex Bowman

16.25

295.50

36.94

$8,625

13

Ryan Blaney

14.63

280.75

35.09

$8,713

12

Joey Logano

16.00

276.50

34.56

$10,025

5

Brad Keselowski

15.25

275.00

34.38

$10,663

4

Paul Menard

16.75

238.00

29.75

$6,863

22

Kurt Busch

19.50

231.75

28.97

$9,300

8

Chase Elliott

19.50

219.00

27.38

$9,788

6

Bubba Wallace

19.50

216.00

27.00

$5,675

28

Corey LaJoie

20.38

213.50

26.69

$5,425

32

Matt Tifft

21.25

200.50

25.06

$5,575

29

Daniel Suarez

20.00

199.75

24.97

$7,675

17

Ty Dillon

20.88

197.50

24.69

$6,150

25

Jimmie Johnson

21.75

182.25

22.78

$7,838

15

Landon Cassill

23.00

179.00

22.38

$5,150

33

Michael McDowell

22.63

177.25

22.16

$6,113

27

Ross Chastain

21.38

177.00

22.13

$5,525

31

Aric Almirola

20.88

174.00

21.75

$8,113

14

Ryan Preece

23.88

160.75

20.09

$6,150

26

Daniel Hemric

24.25

153.00

19.13

$6,400

24

Clint Bowyer

24.13

133.75

16.72

$8,875

10

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

24.50

133.75

16.72

$7,025

20

Austin Dillon

24.50

131.75

16.47

$7,025

21

Reed Sorenson

29.00

66.50

13.30

$5,140

34

Quin Houff

29.86

77.50

11.07

$5,014

35

Bayley Currey

31.00

22.00

11.00

$4,825

37

BJ McLeod

30.00

54.00

10.80

$4,840

36

Josh Bilicki

30.75

39.50

9.88

$4,825

38

David Ragan

27.88

67.00

8.38

$5,563

30

* sorted by avg. points

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.