Oh, the dreaded NASCAR inspection. Thankfully they did it on Saturday night again this weekend so us NASCAR Fantasy players have plenty of time to analyze and react–if necessary.
The culprits this week that will have to start in the rear? Namely Kyle Larson, but also William Byron and Cody Ware. Also, Garrett Smithley will have to go to the rear due to a driver change in that #53 car (JJ Yeley isn’t racing as originally anticipated). They will all be scored from their original positions in Fantasy NASCAR.
Going to the rear for a NASCAR race really doesn’t matter that much, especially for guys like William Byron, Cody Ware, and Garrett Smithley. All three will have a similar race as projected unless they get caught up in a mid-pack wreck or something.
With Larson, though, it’s a bit of a different story, as he is no longer starting on the front row. This brings down his dominator potential quite a bit, which is huge in DFS sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. But should now stay away from Larson all together? Let’s talk about each type of fantasy format.
In general Fantasy NASCAR…There’s no reason to change your strategy. In fact, I entered some non-DFS lineups on Saturday night after the news that still had Larson on them. If you liked picking Larson before the news, you should still like him after. This #5 Chevrolet can still lead this race and win it in the end. My algorithm moved Larson from predicted to finish 1st to predicted to finish 3rd, but the only reason is because the top four drivers this week were all so close in the Power Index. It still predicted Chase Elliott to win last fall despite the exact same scenario. We all know how that worked out.
In DraftKings…If anything, this news opens the door for a Keselowski/Larson pairing even more in DraftKings, similar to what we saw in the fall with Joey Logano and Chase Elliott. Now, Keselowski is the pretty clear favorite to get dominator points at the beginning of this race, while Larson can easily grab them later on in the day (and even during since he can still grab fastest laps). Larson’s salary is so workable in DraftKings this week that I see no reason to really over-react and go off of him, but rather a reason to be heavier on Keselowski (or Hamlin if you think he’s going to be the early dominator).
In FanDuel…Personally, I lowered my Larson exposure quite a bit on FanDuel after the news, but I’m probably going to adjust it up a bit. I am much heavier on Keselowski now than I was, though. The biggest issue here is that FanDuel doesn’t score fastest laps, so in order for the 2nd-place starter to get into the optimal lineup, he’s going to have to lead quite a bit–especially at Larson’s salary. In the end, though, Larson still has similar upside with win potential and dominator potential, it’ll just take him a little bit longer than anticipated to challenge for the lead.