Pocono Raceway is probably the most unique race track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule, and it’s going to require a unique approach when it comes to FanDuel as well. Nicknamed “The Tricky Triangle,” Pocono is a huge 2.5-mile track, and because of that we’re only scheduled to run 160 laps for Sunday’s race. This obviously means that laps led FPTS in FanDuel will be at a minimum, which–in a way–takes some away from focusing on dominators. In addition to that, the races at Pocono constantly have fuel mileage come into play, as well as other strategy calls with the addition of Stages. And as we saw last year, having fresh tires late can turn a bad day into a good day when the checkered flag waves.
FanDuel Driver Targets at Pocono
Kyle Busch ($12,000) – Rowdy had the best car at Pocono in both races last season, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be a contender again on Sunday–especially after that ass whooping he put on everyone at Charlotte last week (and in the Xfinity race here at Pocono on Saturday). The #18 Toyota will roll off the grid from 5th when the 2018 Pocono 400 goes green and should be contending with the leaders all day long. Kyle laid down the fastest lap during the Happy Hour practice session here on Saturday and had the 5th-best ten-lap average during that session as well. He confidently stated that he had a top 5 car when interviewed, and in Kyle-Busch-Translation-Speak that means he has a car that can contend for the win. As far as the field as a whole, it’s looking like Kevin Harvick is the clear #1 heading into Sunday–more on him down below–but Kyle Busch isn’t too far off in 2nd, at least in my opinion.
Kyle Larson ($10,900) – There’s a lot to like about Kyle Larson this weekend, and as far as FanDuel goes, his salary is #1 on that list. Unfortunately, that means he’s going to be on a whole lot of lineups, but what can you do? Larson loves his car this weekend and flat-out said during Happy Hour that he’s the 2nd-best behind Kevin Harvick. He’s going to roll off the grid from 13th when the Pocono 400 goes green, but the #42 Chevrolet should be somewhere near the front by the end of the first Stage. Overall, Larson has made eight career Cup Series starts here at “The Tricky Triangle” and has really only had one bad race: July’s event last year, where he finished 33rd thanks to a broken drive shaft. Other than that, Kyle hasn’t wound up worse than 12th at Pocono, and has wound up 8th or better in four of his eight attempts. It should be five of nine after Sunday.
Alex Bowman ($7,400) – I noted in my DraftKings article for Sunday’s Pocono 400 that I like Alex Bowman as a sleeper play over there. I like him even more on FanDuel. Yeah, I have Bowman projected in the middle of the pack when it comes to Fantasy Points, but if you look at the “Dollar Per FPT” column, you’ll notice that he’s 2nd-best at $166/FPT to Aric Almirola’s $164/FPT. In other words: VALUE. FanDuel has Bowman priced low enough that you can avoid taking one of the “bottom feeders” on Sunday, and it’s still possible that you can get a 50+ FPTS performance from him. As you can see below, I have Bowman projected at finishing around 12th and earning nearly 44 FPTS. An 8th-place finish puts the latter close to 50. Again, this is a sleeper play with Alex Bowman on Sunday, but it appears that the speed is there, and this is driver that seems to finally be tapping into that driving potential that has gotten stifled down through the first part of his career. For what it’s worth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ran 12th in the July Pocono race last season.
What About Kevin Harvick?
As you can see in the chart below, I have Kevin Harvick projected as the top FanDuel driver on Sunday. However, as far as just blindly plugging him into my lineups based on that alone…that’s simply not the case. Harvick is a full $1,500 higher in salary than the rest of the field this weekend, and with the limited amount of laps we’re set to run on Sunday, it’s going to take a dominating effort in order for that high salary to be worth it. Now, I do think that the #4 Ford is capable of leading well over 100 laps in the Pocono 400, but I also know how these races play out at “The Tricky Triangle.” From a strategy perspective, I’d rather have centralized rosters filled with mid-priced drivers that can all possibly finish in the top 10 as opposed to using such a huge chunk of the cap on Kevin Harvick and then struggling to fill out the roster with quality drivers. Of course, if Harvick’s car is as good as other drivers are saying it is, the high salary will be more than worth it.
FanDuel Projections for the Pocono 400
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems, using both mathematical equations as well as personal rankings. This chart also includes the average projected base points + laps led as well as the dollar per FPT. It assumes that all drivers projected to finish 11th or better will complete all laps, those projected 12th-16th will finish 2 laps down, those projected 17th-24th will finish 4 laps down, those projected 25th-30th will finish 6 laps down, and those projected 31st or worse will finish 8 laps down. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||FanDuel Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Starting Position||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr.||$11,200||55.6||4||03.4||11||$201|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$8,500||40.8||23||18.2||0||$208|