NASCAR DFS: Pure Michigan 400 Picks

NASCAR DFS: Pure Michigan 400 Picks

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

PURE MICHIGAN 400

Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Course: Michigan International Speedway
Format: 2-mile D-shaped oval
Laps: 200

Race Preview

The NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and drivers will be at Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the second visit of the season to the venue. The wide oval offers drivers plenty of room to find a groove that their chassis will work best in, but the teams' ability to trim the car to carry speed through the middle of the circuit's long corners will be paramount to success this weekend. The hot and humid weather this time of year means that the drivers will have to deal with a slippery surface that wears right-side tires heavily. The engines also work overtime on the long straights, which mean high speeds can give a driver plenty of opportunities to pass. Past races at the track have seen tire failures and fuel strategy play key roles in the results. We've had two successive fuel-mileage races leading up to this weekend, and Kurt Busch won in the last visit to Michigan after Kyle Larson tried to extend his fuel until the rain fell.

Key Stats at Michigan International Speedway

Races: 92
Winners from pole: 18
Winners from top-5 starters: 54
Winners from top-10 starters: 69
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
Fastest race: 173.997 mph

Last 10 Michigan Winners:

2015 spring - Kurt Busch
2014 fall - Jeff Gordon
2014 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2013 fall - Joey Logano
2013 spring - Greg Biffle
2012 fall - Greg Biffle
2012 spring - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2011 fall - Kyle Busch
2011 spring - Denny Hamlin
2010 fall - Kevin Harvick

Track position is very important at Michigan, but the teams able to unload their haulers this weekend with initial speed will likely have an advantage. The wide open track favors horsepower. Drivers will move up and down the racetrack in the turns to find the place their handling is the best in an effort to carry as much speed through the center of the corners as possible. The timing of when caution periods fall during the running could give teams an opportunity try using fuel and tire strategy to gain track position. Two-tire stops could be used to gain spots on track, but a hot day will likely give teams with four tires an advantage.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $10,100
Kurt Busch - $9,900
Jimmie Johnson - $9,700
Matt Kenseth - $9,700

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Brad Keselowski - $9,500
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $9,300
Carl Edwards - $9,000
Jeff Gordon - $8,500

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kyle Larson - $8,100
Jamie McMurray - $7,900
Tony Stewart - $7,600
Clint Bowyer - $7,400
Austin Dillon - $7,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Aric Almirola - $7,400
Danica Patrick - $7,200
Ryan Newman - $7,100
Greg Biffle - $7,100

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

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

Kevin Harvick - $10,600
Jimmie Johnson - $9,700
Jeff Gordon - $8,500
Jamie McMurray - $7,900
Clint Bowyer - $7,400
Sam Hornish Jr. - $5,600

Harvick started on the front row in the last trip to Michigan and led 63 laps, so don't let his 29th-place finish fool you. He returns to Michigan thinking he should have won last time. Johnson's Michigan driver rating from the last 20 races is 102.5, and it doesn't get much better than that. The No. 24 team continues to fall to bad luck, but Gordon's speed is there. He started sixth here earlier this season. While McMurray continues to search for a 2015 win, he climbed to seventh from 25th here earlier this year and will hopefully have a better starting spot this time. Bowyer has been consistent at Michigan, and scored a 10th-place finish last time. The Michigan oval is not a road course, but his top-10 last week should give him some momentum.

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

Kyle Busch - $10,100
Brad Keselowski - $9,500
Carl Edwards - $9,000
Danica Patrick - $7,200
Greg Biffle - $7,100
Ryan Newman - $7,100

Despite not visiting Victory Lane for consecutive races, Busch continues to put himself into contention to win each week. He is also in the top 30 in points, but still aiming for victories. The Penske stable will be boosted by another win last week, and Michigan is the home track for the team and Keselowski. Michigan has been kind to Edwards throughout his career with two wins, nine top-5s, and 15 top-10s. Danica Patrick should pick up some pointers from her teammates to find more speed this week. She finished a respectable 16th here earlier in the year. Biffle has been the best driver at this track in the last 20 races. His driver rating is 107.1 so could be a bargain play, while Newman is a two-time winner that also arrives at a basement price this week.

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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