We head to Phoenix this weekend for the Instacart 500, which actually stands for 500 kilometers and not miles. This is a one-mile track and the Cup Series drivers will have to complete 312 laps on Sunday to get to the finish line, which obviously means it’s a 312-mile race. Phoenix is a flat track and last year it was very apparent who the best drivers were on this track type. Unless they had mechanical issues, we knew who was going to be up front in these flat track races. By the way, the other flat tracks are: Richmond, New Hampshire, and Martinsville.

NOTE: Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Cody Ware will have to start from the rear on Sunday due to failing inspection. They will be scored from their original positions, though. This limits Larson’s dominator potential but everything else is about the same. Projections below have been updated after the inspection failure news.

Lineup Construction: We always see at least two dominators here at Phoenix, and with 312 laps scheduled on Sunday, that’s an extra 31.2 FanDuel fantasy points up for grabs with whoever leads those laps. However, as we saw in this spring race last year, it’s possible we could get four dominators. In this race last season, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano all led 60 or more laps each. If that happens again, it wouldn’t be crazy so see the optimal lineup be four drivers at $10,000+ and then one low-dollar guy like Daniel Suarez or something. If there’s only a couple of dominators like normal, though, I don’t think we’re going to need to dig that deep in the driver pool, as there is a ton of value in the $6,000-$8,000 range this weekend.

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2020 Flat Track Statistics

DriverStartsAvg FinishARPDRFLLLT15TLaps
Joey Logano603.003.9123.619948322872329
Brad Keselowski603.706.5121.022648220422329
Kyle Larson104.009.999.502274316
Chase Elliott604.705.7120.626649422282329
Kevin Harvick608.810.3104.615911418622328
Matt DiBenedetto610.212.489.121115732328
Kurt Busch610.309.889.3224221042328
Alex Bowman611.010.887.639117062328
Martin Truex Jr611.707.9104.416927219852294
Denny Hamlin612.213.090.713717914242325
Aric Almirola612.713.187.9622816612304
Ryan Blaney614.311.189.01227613952076
Kyle Busch614.311.784.558914812042
William Byron615.713.083.631017312266
Cole Custer616.817.373.537011662320
Tyler Reddick618.816.872.724010472273
Bubba Wallace619.220.862.02305382323
Ryan Newman519.617.564.61107352007
Ricky Stenhouse Jr620.320.763.84012662321
Ty Dillon620.723.954.5201122320
Michael McDowell620.824.055.02204972322
Christopher Bell621.219.967.43905532319
Erik Jones621.318.168.01608262319
Austin Dillon621.819.766.993586442038
Ryan Preece622.223.256.8302382309
Chris Buescher622.821.855.61014791970
Ross Chastain123.018.064.20089316
Daniel Suarez626.828.243.560172308
Corey LaJoie628.323.451.113111622186
Joey Gase633.235.029.64002206
Josh Bilicki233.535.130.4100786
James Davison434.034.132.03031407
Quin Houff634.035.029.22012004
Timmy Hill635.533.929.97061333
Garrett Smithley535.635.828.83021287

FanDuel “Safe” DFS Picks for Phoenix (Cash Lineups)

Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Image

Joey Logano ($12,000) – My projections really like Joey Logano this weekend, and at a moderately priced $12,000, he has to be considered a cash lineup pick in FanDuel. Not only is he the defending winner of this race, but Logano has led 60 or more laps in each of the last three Phoenix events and is on a four-race streak of top 10 finishes as well. He’s tied for the best average running position at this track over those four races with Kyle Busch, and looking at flat tracks last season, Joey had the best average running position, the best average finish, and led the 2nd-most laps. And not that it means very much but Logano has also led in every single race this season.

Ryan Blaney ($10,500) – I almost wrote up Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,700) here, but decided to go with Ryan Blaney since he has a few more spots of place differential potential. But to be clear: I love both of these drivers this weekend, and wouldn’t mind pairing them together in the same lineup. But anyway, Ryan Blaney has finished 6th or better in three of the last four Phoenix races, and in the race that he didn’t have a good finish, he had a car good enough to challenge for a top 5. We saw last season that Penske had an edge on the field at the flat tracks, and we haven’t seen enough racing this season to act like anything will be different. Looking at the flat tracks in 2020, Ryan Blaney finished 2nd in both Martinsville races while also adding that 6th here at Phoenix. He ranked 5th and 3rd in Green Flag Speed for Martinsville and 5th in that category here at Phoenix.

FanDuel “Risky” DFS Picks for Phoenix (Tournament Lineups)

Denny Hamlin ($13,000) – This pick isn’t “risky” in the normal sense of the word. Rather, it’s a risky FanDuel driver pick for $13,000. But let me explain why I like my arch nemesis Dennis Hamlin in tournaments this weekend. One, he should be the lowest-owned driver on this slate above $10,000 in salary. Everyone is talking about dominators in Chase Elliott ($13,500), Brad Keselowski ($12,500), Joey Logano ($12,000), Kyle Busch ($11,700), and Kyle Larson ($11,300) … but nobody is really talking about Hamlin… the guy that has always been known as a flat track ace… the guy that is starting 3rd and could easily take the lead from lap one… the guy that led the 5th-most laps on flat tracks last year… the guy that has led the 4th-most laps here at Phoenix over the last two years, and also has the 5th-best average finish. This pick will likely only work out if the #11 Toyota leads a good portion of this race on Sunday, but it’s definitely possible.

Cole Custer ($7,300) – This $7,000 – $8,000 range in FanDuel this weekend is tricky. You have the chalk place differential play in Aric Almirola ($8,000), then Matt DiBenedetto ($7,700), who could easily finish top 10, as well as Tyler Reddick ($7,500) right here. And while I absolutely love both DiBenedetto and Reddick this weekend, I don’t mind pivoting down to Cole Custer either. Yes, Stewart-Haas isn’t performing at their level of expectation right now, but try not to look into that too much. That doesn’t mean avoid the SHR Fords like the plague. Custer finished 9th here at Phoenix last season and also added an 8th at New Hampshire, a 13th at Martinsville, and a 14th at Richmond. His average running positions were 14.1 at Phoenix, 13.6 at New Hampshire, 13.9 at Martinsville, and 12.0 at Richmond. Custer should be the lowest-owned of this four-driver cluster but has similar upside to the rest with some place differential potential as well (he starts 24th).

Phoenix Instacart 500 FanDuel Driver Projections

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 six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

Also included are “Ceiling” projections for each driver. This is the top possible score projected.

DriverFanDuel SalaryAvg Proj PtsStarting PositionCeiling Proj PtsDollar Per Pt
Chase Elliott$13,50076.22687.60$177
Joey Logano$12,00075.58987.00$159
Brad Keselowski$12,50074.07189.20$169
Kevin Harvick$14,00072.921881.20$192
Kyle Busch$11,70072.50784.80$161
Denny Hamlin$13,00070.97388.20$183
Martin Truex Jr.$10,70068.90581.70$155
Ryan Blaney$10,50067.95874.20$155
Kyle Larson$11,30067.75279.70$167
Aric Almirola$8,00066.103271.70$121
Tyler Reddick$7,50063.352377.40$118
Kurt Busch$9,50063.201271.60$150
Alex Bowman$9,00063.102170.70$143
William Byron$10,00062.501069.70$160
Matt DiBenedetto$7,70062.102071.70$124
Cole Custer$7,30061.602466.20$119
Ryan Newman$5,50057.851965.20$95
Ross Chastain$5,00056.002265.20$89
Chase Briscoe$6,20055.502667.20$112
Erik Jones$5,70055.101464.20$103
Bubba Wallace$6,50054.752569.70$119
Christopher Bell$8,50054.45469.70$156
Austin Dillon$7,00054.351362.20$129
Daniel Suarez$4,50050.752761.70$89
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$5,00049.501155.20$101
Chris Buescher$4,50048.751758.20$92
Michael McDowell$5,00048.001662.20$104
Anthony Alfredo$3,50046.652853.20$75
Corey LaJoie$3,00046.153352.70$65
Ryan Preece$4,00045.751558.70$87
Justin Haley$4,00044.652947.70$90
Cody Ware$2,00039.553142.70$51
James Davison$3,00039.203846.20$77
Josh Bilicki$2,00039.203642.20$51
Quin Houff$2,00038.703543.20$52
B.J. McLeod$2,00038.303042.20$52
Timmy Hill$2,00037.353747.20$54
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.