We’re looking at 200 laps for the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway–as long as the rain stays away. Yes, while we were able to avoid the weather at Pocono last week (a track that is known for rain), that hasn’t been the case in the Irish Hills this weekend. In addition to Happy Hour being cancelled on Saturday, it looks like there’s about a 40% chance of rain on Sunday, so keep that in mind. If the race does end up being rain-shortened, there are probably going to be quite a few guys up front that have no business being there, but there’s really no way to predict something like that. From a Fantasy NASCAR perspective, we got the two Goliaths starting up front in 3rd and 4th (Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick) while the “next tier” of heavy hitters (Martin Truex, Jr. and Kyle Larson) starting back in 17th and 26th. It should be a fun race at a track where track position is king!
FanDuel Driver Targets at Michigan
Kevin Harvick ($12,500) – There is a decent chance that Kevin Harvick leads well over 100 laps here on Sunday (assuming, of course, the race goes the full distance). Yes, I have him projected at 77 laps led for the FireKeepers Casino 400, but let’s not forget how important being out front is here at this 2-mile race track. For example, in the fall race last season, Brad Keselowski didn’t have the fastest car, but he had the best track position for most of the race and led for over half of the race as well. This weekend, Kevin Harvick has the fastest car, and by a pretty good margin, too (his fastest lap in the practice on Saturday was over a tenth faster than 2nd-fastest Kyle Larson). And the more laps that the #4 Ford leads on Sunday, obviously the better pick Harvick is in FanDuel (and more worth the $12,500 price tag). I explained in my DraftKings post why I’m going to shy away from Harvick a bit in those contests, but that’s not going to be the case in DraftKings. His salary accounts for 25% of the cap here in FanDuel with just four other spots to fill as opposed to 24% of the cap in DraftKings with five other spots to fill.
Clint Bowyer ($10,100) – I really like Clint Bowyer as a sneaky play here at $10,100. You’ve got Ryan Blaney sitting right below him at $10,000, and chances are a lot of FanDuel players would choose the latter over the former if given the chance. However, Bowyer starts a little further back than Blaney, and might even have a better car. This #14 Ford has been a hot rod many times over the last couple of months, but unfortunately the team just hasn’t been able to get the finishes they deserve. That should change this weekend. Bowyer used to be a lock Fantasy NASCAR pick here at Michigan when he had good, reliable equipment, and you could argue that he’s currently in the best equipment he’s ever had. Bowyer ran the 4th-fastest lap during the lone practice session here on Saturday and had the 4th-best ten-lap average as well. He could very easily sneak away with a top 5 finish on Sunday.
Paul Menard ($7,900) – Look for Paul Menard to have a good Sunday at Michigan. Don’t forget, Menard used to be the best “low tier” Fantasy NASCAR pick whenever we came to this track, as he posted four top 5 finishes (and six total top 10s) over the course of nine races from 2011 to 2015. That was when he was driving Richard Childress Racing cars, too, and the Ford power he has under the hood now is a bit better than what he had then–obviously something that’s pretty important at a high-horsepower track. Of course, the main risk you run when taking Paul Menard in any race weekend is this #21 team’s propensity to make mistakes or have mechanical issues, but they have finished 14th or better in each of the last three Cup Series races overall. The #21 Ford was 11th-fastest in Saturday’s practice session for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.
Alex Bowman ($7,500) – If you’re going to afford some of the top drivers this week, you’re going to have to roll with two sub-$8,000 drivers. Menard and Bowman are the two best options, in my opinion, and it’s not even close. The #88 Chevrolet is going to roll off the grid from 21st when the FireKeepers Casino 400 goes green, but it honestly wouldn’t be too surprising to see it inside the top 10 at some point during the day. Whether or not that’s when the checkered flag waves is the important part. As far as recent performances, Alex Bowman has shown more potential than anything else, as was the case at Pocono last weekend. However, he ended up 13th at Fontana earlier this year, and that’s the sister track of Michigan. Also, it wasn’t blazing fast speed, but Bowman did put down the 15th-fastest lap in the lone practice session here on Saturday. And for what it’s worth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ended up 9th and 14th in the two Michigan races last season while driving the #88 Chevrolet.
FanDuel Projections for the FireKeepers Casino 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.||$12,000||69.8||17||02.6||28||$172|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$8,700||38.0||7||17.4||0||$229|