Draftkings NASCAR: Consumers Energy 400
Draftkings NASCAR: Consumers Energy 400

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Consumers Energy 400

Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Course: Michigan International Speedway
Format: 2.0-mile D-shaped oval
Laps: 200

Race Preview

Chase Elliott prevailed in a monumental fight to win last week's road course outing at Watkins Glen International to score his first series win and guarantee himself a spot in the playoffs. The win had been a long time coming for Elliott, who will start his 100th Monster Energy Cup series race this weekend, but winning on a road course may not have been expected. That win took one more playoff spot away from nonwinners this season, and leaves Alex Bowman on the bubble with a 62-point gap ahead of 17th place in the standings. Four races remain for drivers to win and guarantee a spot in the playoffs, while the rest of the championship contenders continue to perfect their processes before the championship battle commences in Las Vegas. This week's race at Michigan International Speedway sees a return to oval racing until the series visits Charlotte in late September for the first road course race at that circuit. The Michigan race earlier this season was cut short due to rain, but it was Clint Bowyer who held off Kevin Harvick in a close-fought restart to win. The Stewart-Haas Racing Fords dominated that race with Harvick and Kurt Busch combining to lead 95 of the 133 laps run. Aside from Bowyer only Ryan Blaney and Kasey Kahne had a sniff of the lead out front that afternoon, which could set up this weekend's race as another opportunity for Ford to flex their muscle.

Key Stats at Michigan International Speedway

Number of previous races: 98
Winners from pole: 20
Winners from top-5 starters: 57
Winners from top-10 starters: 73
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
Fastest race: 173.997 mph

Last 10 Michigan Winners

2018 spring - Clint Bowyer
2017 fall - Kyle Larson
2017 spring - Kyle Larson
2016 fall - Kyle Larson
2016 spring -Joey Logano
2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Kurt Busch
2014 fall - Jeff Gordon
2014 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2013 fall - Joey Logano

Restarts could be the most important factor in determining Michigan's winner this week. Bowyer held off his teammate on a late restart earlier this season before rain halted the proceedings, and Larson used restarts to win both visits to the track in 2017. The track that was once famous for fuel-mileage thrillers still may throw a surprise, but restarts may be the key this week again. The fast circuit requires plenty of horsepower as drivers spend a significant amount of time with the throttle fully open, and the wide turns enable cars to move up and down the racetrack to find the line that suits their car the best. Larson will likely prefer the high line, but others may try to hug the apex before swinging up the track on corner exit to move in front. Tire wear and staying on top of handling will also be significant factors throughout the afternoon. We often see tire failures at the track as teams push the envelope of what the equipment can handle. Drivers who start out front typically finish up front, and with 200 laps scheduled on Sunday it would be in fantasy owners' best interests to secure a driver they feel will dominate the laps-led column.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $12,200
Kyle Busch - $11,900
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,700

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kyle Larson - $10,600
Denny Hamlin - $10,200
Clint Bowyer - $9,700
Brad Keselowski - $9,500
Chase Elliott - $8,900

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Erik Jones - $8,000
Daniel Suarez - $7,800
Jamie McMurray - $7,600
Paul Menard - $7,200
Ryan Newman - $7,000

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

William Byron - $6,800
Alex Bowman - $6,600
Bubba Wallace - $6,400
Michael McDowell - $5,900

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $12,200
Brad Keselowski - $9,500
Ryan Blaney - $8,700
Ryan Newman - $7,000
William Byron - $6,800
Trevor Bayne - $5,800

The safest roster for this week's race is to choose the driver most likely to spend the majority of the day out front in the lead. Harvick led 49 laps at the track earlier this year before losing out due to a rain stoppage. He should be on top again this week. Keselowski has been inconsistent this season, but he scored one of his top-10s at Michigan earlier this season and could likely do so again this week as he continues his quest to land a win at his home track. Teammate Blaney spent 15 laps out front at Michigan earlier this season and finished eighth on a day that Stewart-Haas Racing dominated. Fantasy players should expect another top-10 outing from him. Newman is outside of the playoff positions but has pieced together a good run of results with three top-10s in the last five races. He has two Michigan wins and finished fourth in this race last season after starting 25th. Hendrick Motorsports has shown improvement in the second half of the year, and Byron is one of those drivers pushing the team forward. He enters this week with back-to-back top-10s and a 13th-place finish last time at the track. Finishing the selections is Bayne, who's back in the car again this weekend. He finished fifth in this race last season, and will be out to continue demonstrating that he deserves a full-time drive in the series.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Larson - $10,600
Chase Elliott - $8,900
Kurt Busch - $8,400
Aric Almirola - $8,200
Erik Jones - $8,000
Michael McDowell - $5,900

Elliott's victory last week was just the second time in the last seven races Kyle Busch, Harvick, or Truex didn't win. Elliott and Jones are the only two to have broken the championship favorites' dominance since the last visit to Michigan, and both of those drivers are in this roster. However, picking Suarez in place of Jones this week should net plenty of finish differential points. Larson, having won three straight Michigan races before Bowyer's rain-shortened win, is a fitting addition to the lineup, too. Larson is still looking for his first win of the season and knows how to get the most out of his car at this track, but fantasy owners on the fence could go with Hamlin here, too. Teammates Kurt Busch and Almirola provide Stewart-Haas firepower if the organization maintains the dominance they had at the track last time. Either would be capable of winning if that is the case. Then, rounding out the option, we have McDowell. He isn't likely to finish in the top 10 this week but has been having some good top-20 races recently. He was 16th at Pocono and 18th last week at Watkins Glen, and he makes a nice low-priced option to finalize the higher-risk lineup for Michigan.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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