We’re at Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the FireKeepers Casino 400 and the 15th points-paying race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Michigan is a large, 2-mile track that has been absolutely dominated by the Fords for a while. There are some Chevrolet wins in there–particularly Kyle Larson–but it’s typical the Blue Ovals that excel at this place. Ford showed their strength once again here in qualifying on Saturday, too, as they took five of the top six starts spots for Sunday’s race. As far as comparable tracks, Fontana is the sister track to Michigan, and if you remember back to that race in March, clean air was king–and you can expect the same to be true here at Michigan on Sunday. Don’t be surprised if we have one main dominator this weekend, just like at Fontana (that was Kyle Busch).

Here are some helpful links to the qualifying results and practice speeds from this weekend:

DraftKings Strategy Tactics for Michigan

Austin Dillon 2019 Daytona 500 Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Clean air has been king at Michigan for a long time, and even though NASCAR continues to tell us that this weekend’s race will be different–like they do every other week–I’m not going to hold my breath on that one. So because of that, DraftKings strategy can shift a bit with high qualifiers with low dominator potential here at Michigan. I’m talking about drivers like Paul Menard ($7,100), who starts 6th, or Daniel Hemric ($6,000), who qualified 11th, or maybe even–and I hate to say this–Austin Dillon ($6,800), who is majorly underpriced by DraftKings this weekend and will roll off the grid from 12th. As mentioned before, Fontana is the closest track to Michigan in terms of size and shape, and looking back at that race from March, each of the top 6 qualifiers that weekend ended up finishing 10th or better, with four of them ending up 7th or better.

Another thing to keep in your mind this week in terms of strategy? The weather. Yeah, that “w” word again. Thankfully we didn’t have any rain at Pocono last weekend, but we’re in a similar predicament here at Michigan on Sunday, where it looks like rain could play a factor in this race. Don’t forget that Clint Bowyer won last year’s FireKeepers Casino 400 due to a well-timed shower, even though his teammate, Kevin Harvick, was the dominant car all day.

GPP Drivers I Love for the FireKeepers Casino 400

Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Brad Keselowski ($11,200) – The two obvious dominators are pole sitter Joey Logano ($9,700) and 3rd-place qualifier Kevin Harvick ($10,700). Both have great cars this weekend, both have great records here at Michigan, and both start up front. But don’t forget about the hometown boy Brad Keselowski starting back there in 8th. He comes at a $500 premium compared to Kevin Harvick, but has the potential for more place differential points because of starting position. Kez is still searching for his first win here at his home racetrack, and I actually think he might be able to pull it off here on Sunday. Remember, Keselowski finished 3rd at Fontana earlier this year. He started back in 13th that race and, most importantly, put up a good chunk of DraftKings dominator points with 42 laps led and 28 fastest laps. This #2 Ford has led laps in seven straight Cup Series races and should be able to get to the front here on Sunday, too.

Clint Bowyer ($8,700) – I like being overweight on Clint Bowyer this weekend. This #14 team isn’t putting on dominating performances by any means, but Bowyer has two top 5 finishes in the last three points-paying races overall and has also finished 7th or better in six of the last nine. As I mentioned before, Bowyer is the defending winner of this race, but it was due more to rain ending the event early than having the best race car that day. Still, Clint finished 3rd in Stage 1 that day and 2nd in Stage 2. He has a really good car both on the short runs and long runs this weekend, and should be pretty low-owned with his $8,700 price tag and 5th-place starting spot. It’s risky for sure but I don’t mind being at 15-20% with Bowyer exposure on Sunday.

GPP Fade Options for Michigan

Photo Credit: NASCAR Media

Aric Almirola ($8,100) – As I said before, I don’t mind taking a risk on drivers starting up front that probably won’t dominate that much, if any, on Sunday. But what it comes down to is price–how much salary is worth the risk for a guy that’s almost guaranteed to fall back and get negative place differential points? Aric Almirola is a driver that simply isn’t worth the risk on Sunday. Yes, I think the #10 Ford is strong this weekend, and no I wouldn’t be surprised with a top 10 finish our of Almirola, but the chances of him leading on Sunday is extremely unlikely. It would take both Logano and Harvick having issues early, and then probably some more luck, too. Looking back at Fontana this year, Almirola started 3rd, led 7 laps, had 6 fastest laps, and finished 9th. While that type of performance is good for a guy like Aric, it’s not optimal for a driver priced at $8,100–and that’s exactly the type of Sunday I could see him having here at Michigan.

Kyle Larson ($9,500) – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Kyle Larson used to be a “must pick” Fantasy NASCAR driver at Michigan. And starting back in 22nd? Back then, you wouldn’t care if he cost $11,500 in DraftKings, but at $9,500, that’s an absolute steal. Things have changed, though. Larson isn’t the 2-mile track beast he used to be–which explains why his last three drivers ratings at Michigan and Fontana races have all been well under 100. This weekend, I think the #42 Chevrolet has top 10 speed, but I wouldn’t put Larson in the top 5. And with his relatively low salary and his mid-pack starting spot, there’s a more than decent chance that Larson will go over-owned on Sunday. I like being underweight on the field for sure, and maybe even a full fade if you think the #42 Chevrolet will hit the wall on Sunday for the umpteenth time this season.

Michigan FireKeepers Casino 400 DraftKings Projections

You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverStarting PositionDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishProj Laps LedDollar Per FPT
Kevin Harvick3$10,70056.902.454$188
Kyle Busch15$11,80055.803.815$212
Brad Keselowski8$11,20052.503.626$213
Joey Logano1$9,70051.205.264$189
Martin Truex Jr16$10,40050.405.23$207
Kyle Larson22$9,50049.208.40$193
Chase Elliott17$10,00045.108.22$222
Erik Jones14$8,30040.109.22$207
Clint Bowyer5$8,70039.606.411$220
Kurt Busch7$9,30036.707.85$254
Ryan Blaney13$9,10035.810.60$254
Alex Bowman20$8,50033.215.40$256
Chris Buescher31$7,20033.021.00$218
Aric Almirola2$8,10031.508.49$258
Jimmie Johnson19$7,90031.415.80$252
Denny Hamlin4$8,90030.909.25$288
Austin Dillon12$6,80029.613.20$230
Daniel Suarez9$7,70029.512.02$261
Ryan Newman18$7,50028.816.60$260
William Byron21$7,60028.218.40$270
Ricky Stenhouse Jr10$7,30025.214.40$290
Matt DiBenedetto29$6,50023.824.60$273
Bubba Wallace27$5,80022.624.20$257
Ryan Preece28$6,90021.225.40$325
Ty Dillon25$6,70020.224.40$332
Corey Lajoie32$5,70019.228.40$297
Daniel Hemric11$6,00018.618.20$323
Matt Tifft26$5,50018.026.00$306
Paul Menard6$7,10017.716.42$401
David Ragan24$6,30014.826.60$426
Michael McDowell23$6,20014.226.40$437
Landon Cassill30$5,30013.230.40$402
Quin Houff35$5,20012.233.40$426
Kyle Weatherman33$5,10012.232.40$418
Garrett Smithley36$5,00012.034.00$417
Josh Bilicki34$4,90007.635.20$645
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.