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
|Martin Truex Jr||6||11.7||07.9||104.4||169||272||1985||2294|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||6||20.3||20.7||63.8||40||1||266||2321|
FanDuel “Safe” DFS Picks for Phoenix (Cash Lineups)
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.
|Driver||FanDuel Salary||Avg Proj Pts||Starting Position||Ceiling Proj Pts||Dollar Per Pt|
|Martin Truex Jr.||$10,700||68.90||5||81.70||$155|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$5,000||49.50||11||55.20||$101|