NASCAR DFS: Cheez-It 355 Picks

NASCAR DFS: Cheez-It 355 Picks

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

CHEEZ-IT 355

Location: Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Course: Watkins Glen International
Format: 2.45-mile road course
Laps: 90

Race Preview

The second road course race of the season faces drivers this week at Watkins Glen International. Kyle Busch leveraged his win at the last road course on the schedule to vault himself forward to an unbelievable string of top results. This week's race is slightly different, though. Drivers tend to perform better at one road course or the other, so banking on the front runners from Sonoma Raceway may not be the best strategy. Watkins Glen has favored drivers that start up front, too. Only once in the last 11 races did someone not start inside the top 10 and win. That was Tony Stewart who won from the 13th-starting spot in 2009. Teams will set their cars up for the long flowing corners with an emphasis on braking. The bus stop chicane is a favorite point on the track to pass, but drivers need to get through the esses while carrying as much speed as possible to make that work. Being able to drive deeper than the competition into the two main passing zones under braking will be an important factor in this week's race.

Key Stats at Watkins Glen International

Races: 32
Winners from pole: 9
Winners from top-5 starters: 21
Winners from top-10 starters: 24
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
Fastest race: 103.030 mph

Last 10 Watkins Glen Winners

2014 – A.J. Allmendinger
2013 – Kyle Busch
2012 – Marcos Ambrose
2011 – Marcos Ambrose
2010 – Juan Pablo Montoya
2009 – Tony Stewart
2008 – Kyle Busch
2007 – Tony Stewart
2006 – Kevin Harvick
2005 – Tony Stewart

Track position and brakes are two very important keys to winning at Watkins Glen. No driver has ever won after starting deeper than 18th, and most of the winners come from the first five starters. Passing is difficult at this track, which makes being at the front a necessity. Tony Stewart has been one of the strongest drivers at this track in recent seasons, and the course may mask some of the problems he has been having with his car. Kyle Busch is one of the few drivers who have excelled on both road courses on the schedule and should not be counted out. He won at Sonoma earlier this season, and could be in contention to score his third Watkins Glen win this week.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $10,500
Kurt Busch - $10,400
A.J. Allmendinger - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Brad Keselowski - $9,900
Joey Logano - $9,600
Carl Edwards - $9,200
Jimmie Johnson - $8,900
Martin Truex Jr. - $8,800

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jamie McMurray - $7,900
Denny Hamlin - $7,600
Austin Dillon - $6,600

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Greg Biffle - $7,400
Aric Almirola - $6,800
Justin Allgaier - $6,600

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,500
A.J. Allmendinger - $10,200
Tony Stewart - $8,800
Kyle Larson - $7,500
Austin Dillon - $6,600
David Ragan - $6,200

Having both the most recent road course winner in Kyle Busch and the last Watkins Glen winner makes this selection a safe option. In fact, Busch has two wins at the Glen. He may not be doing much so far in 2015, but he is improving with a top-10 last week and Watkins Glen is one of his best tracks. Stewart has five Watkins Glen wins in total. Larson has only raced in Cup competition here once, but that produced a top-5 after he started 23rd. The past few weeks have shown an improved Dillon, and he scored a top-20 in his first visit here last year, while Ragan offers potential given a top-10 start at Sonoma earlier in the season.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $9,900
Carl Edwards - $9,200
Jimmie Johnson - $8,900
Jamie McMurray - $7,900
Greg Biffle - $7,400
Casey Mears - $6,700

Brad Keselowski's results have taken a confident step forward in the last four races, and his Watkins Glen record includes three top-5s in five starts. One of the best average finishes at the track belongs to Edwards with 10 races contributing to an average result of 8.4. Johnson has never won at the Glen, but has three top-10 finishes in his last four visits. If McMurray has a clean day he is very capable of scoring a top-10 finish, while Biffle scored two top-10 finishes at this track in his last three tries. Lastly, Mears has been reliable at Watkins Glen with regular top-15 finishes regardless of where he starts on the grid.

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 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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