Dan Beaver

Cap Considerations

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DFS: Phoenix (Spring)

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Short, flat tracks are the second-most used course type in NASCAR. In 2017, 10 races will be run on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks; eight will be contested on minimally-banked tracks one-mile or less in length and that is reflected in the valuations of most salary cap games.

Draft Kings

In Draft Kings’ Camping World 500 contest, the five most expensive drivers in the game have also accumulated the best three-year average points at Phoenix International Raceway. With his recent spate of victories and top-five finishes there, it will come as no surprise that Kevin Harvick commands the highest pay this week with a price tag of $11,100.

That makes Harvick $600 more expensive than the next driver on the list and it was most likely done for the same reason that NASCAR.com’s Fantasy Live cap manager boosted him there. They want to force fantasy players to make a difficult decision. Harvick is certainly worth the cap, but if he stumbles and a player rolls the dice, there are better values to be had.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. stands out as the only moderately priced driver among the top 10. His salary cap of $8,500 belongs to a driver who has earned the third-most points on average in the past three years on this track. Granted, 50.0 is a far cry from Harvick’s 130.2 and Junior has no momentum on his side, but if he practices and qualifies well, he could be a hidden gem.

It has been a long time since Jimmie Johnson has been this cheap. He commands a price tag of $9,000 for the Camping World 500, which is his lowest cap in Draft Kings since he was priced at $8,800 before the 2016 Watkins Glen International event. He has struggled along with his Hendrick Motorsports’ shop mate, but will outperform his cap.

Similarly-priced, Kyle Larson does not have the Phoenix record to support his $9,100 payday. He has been the strongest driver in the first three races this season. If a player can find a good cheap option, they can justify their gamble on these drivers.

Based on three-year averages, the best driver below the midline of $8,333 is Ryan Blaney. In only two starts, he has earned the seventh-most points on the strength of two top-10s last year. He will not free up a lot of cap value, however, because he is priced at $8,000. That means players will have to continue to look for another bargain.

Ty Dillon might just fit that bill. At $6,700, he gives players an extra $1,633 to spend on their marquee pick. That is Harvick’s differential to the field, plus another $1,000 to spread out and upgrade the other four picks. Dillon might well be the strongest rookie at this stage of the year and Phoenix is a driver’s tracks.

RaceDayScore

RaceDayScore’s midline is $10,000, but once again the drivers most likely to score maximum points are top-loaded. Harvick commands $300 more than Joey Logano, who is also the second-most expensive driver in Draft Kings. As a result, Harvick might be a more acceptable value.

For this contest, we track the last six races instead of the past three years and recent performance makes Paul Menard a decent value. He can be signed for $9,300 and that gives a player an extra $140 for each of the remaining five drivers. For that modest price tag, Menard has earned the ninth-most points of 30.6.

Of course, that does not free up enough cap to make a huge difference, so players want to look for one exceptional bargain-basement driver. Cole Whitt fits the bill. For the modest price of $7,800, he earned the 19th-most points at Daytona International Speedway, the 12th-most at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and 22nd-most at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The hometown hero Michael McDowell is another solid value. His price this week is $8,300 and for that he has earned the 17th-most points of 23.8 in the past six races. If he struggles in practice and qualification, Landon Cassill can be had for the same price and has earned an almost identical number of points.

Based on the past six races, Johnson would be a driver to avoid in this game unless he shows exceptional speed in the weekend preliminaries. He remains notably above the midline with a price of $10,400, but has earned less than 20 points-per-race. He might have won the championship and garnered a lot of positive press, but he is not doing much for fantasy owners. 

 

Draft Kings: Current track, Last Three Years

Driver

Avg.
Points

Attempts

Avg. Group
Rank

Maximum

Minimum

Phoenix
Cap

Kevin Harvick

130.17

6

1.83

182.5

45

$11,100.00

Joey Logano

53.29

6

8.00

72.5

20.5

$10,500.00

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

50.00

5

11.60

99.5

-26

$8,500.00

Chase Elliott

45.00

2

8.00

51.5

38.5

$9,700.00

Brad Keselowski

43.13

6

11.67

74.5

6.5

$10,300.00

Kyle Busch

41.10

5

12.60

72.75

-16.5

$10,100.00

Ryan Blaney

36.00

2

12.50

36

36

$8,000.00

Matt Kenseth

35.35

5

12.60

45.5

16.5

$8,800.00

Denny Hamlin

35.08

6

14.17

45

18

$9,200.00

Ryan Newman

34.17

6

13.50

47

-14

$8,200.00

Kurt Busch

34.08

6

12.83

55.5

-22.5

$8,700.00

Jamie McMurray

32.88

6

15.67

45.75

23.5

$7,400.00

Aric Almirola

32.17

6

16.00

41

23.5

$6,900.00

Jimmie Johnson

29.96

6

18.17

57

-19

$9,000.00

Kasey Kahne

29.50

6

18.00

49.5

1.5

$8,100.00

Ty Dillon

29.00

2

19.00

42

16

$6,700.00

Martin Truex Jr.

28.33

6

18.17

48.5

12.5

$9,400.00

AJ Allmendinger

27.50

6

19.50

36

17

$7,000.00

Kyle Larson

26.08

6

19.83

46.5

8

$9,100.00

Landon Cassill

24.40

5

22.40

33

6

$5,600.00

David Ragan

23.46

6

22.17

37.25

14

$6,000.00

Danica Patrick

21.83

6

24.33

42

3.5

$6,500.00

Matt DiBenedetto

20.00

4

25.50

27

9

$5,300.00

Clint Bowyer

19.04

6

23.50

33.25

-19

$7,700.00

Paul Menard

19.00

6

23.67

44.5

-16

$6,200.00

Reed Sorenson

17.33

3

27.67

21

10

$5,100.00

Cole Whitt

15.30

5

26.60

33.5

0

$5,500.00

Trevor Bayne

14.00

4

30.25

24

2

$6,800.00

Erik Jones

13.50

1

30.00

13.5

13.5

$7,500.00

Chris Buescher

13.00

2

33.00

16

10

$5,800.00

Jeffrey Earnhardt

13.00

1

30.00

13

13

$5,000.00

Austin Dillon

12.58

6

25.00

42

-25.5

$7,900.00

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

12.33

6

26.17

34

-20

$7,200.00

Michael McDowell

11.00

4

32.75

25

2

$5,900.00

Gray Gaulding

7.00

1

37.00

7

7

$4,500.00

Timmy Hill

1.00

1

41.00

1

1

$4,800.00

 

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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