NASCAR DFS: Quicken Loans 500 Picks

NASCAR DFS: Quicken Loans 500 Picks

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

QUICKEN LOANS 500

Location: Avondale, Ariz.
Course: Phoenix International Raceway
Format: 1.0-mile oval
Laps: 312

Race Preview

Jimmie Johnson became the first non-Chase competitor to win a round of the Chase this season, stealing victory at Texas Motor Speedway right out from under Brad Keselowski's nose. The Penske Racing driver of the No. 2 was the class of the field, leading more than 300 laps before Johnson reeled him in and made the pass for the win in a late battle. Johnson's win not only kept Keselowski from clinching a spot in the championship finale, it ensured at least two winless drivers in NASCAR's Chase for the Championship Eliminator round will battle for the Cup in Miami. Leaving Texas in the worst Chase position is Logano. The picture of consistency and success has now had two terrible races and faces a must-win outing this week in Phoenix.

Key Stats at Phoenix International Raceway

Races: 38
Winners from pole: 4
Winners from top-5 starters: 13
Winners from top-10 starters: 18
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 3
Fastest race: 118.132 mph

Last 10 Phoenix Winners

2015 spring - Kevin Harvick
2014 fall - Kevin Harvick
2014 spring - Kevin Harvick
2013 fall - Kevin Harvick
2013 spring - Carl Edwards
2012 fall - Kevin Harvick
2012 spring - Denny Hamlin
2011 fall - Kasey Kahne
2011 spring - Jeff Gordon
2010 fall - Carl Edwards

Phoenix International Raceway is one of the more unique circuits on the Sprint Cup schedule. It has very distinct turns that force teams to find the best setup that handles each equally. There isn't much compromise to be found by favoring one turn over another to help center teams either. The layout means drivers will be hard on their brakes, and saving equipment can be a factor throughout the afternoon. Track position also tends to be a big factor at the track with passing being relatively difficult. There will be differing strategies among teams, but qualifying will be important due to anticipated long green-flag runs. Kevin Harvick has been the Phoenix master, winning at the track seven times and each of the last four.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,600
Brad Keselowski - $10,800
Joey Logano - $10,600
Kyle Busch - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Denny Hamlin - $9,700
Jimmie Johnson - $9,600
Carl Edwards - $9,400
Kurt Busch - $9,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jeff Gordon - $8,800
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $8,700
Jamie McMurray - $8,400
Ryan Newman - $7,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Erik Jones - $8,000
David Ragan - $6,400
Aric Almirola - $6,300
A.J. ALlmendinger - $6,200
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,100

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,600
Carl Edwards - $9,400
Jeff Gordon - $8,800
Kasey Kahne - $7,900
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,200
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,100

Values for Phoenix allow players to grab three of top drivers in terms of driver rating at the track. Harvick, Edwards, and Gordon make up three of the top five in that ranking, and players only miss out on Johnson and Kurt Busch. Harvick is a must-pick due to his domination at the track, and Edwards is the only other driver to have snagged a win here in the last six races. Gordon was ninth in Phoenix in the spring and has three consecutive top-10s at the track. Kahne is a bit of a gamble. Watch his pace in qualifying and consider another if he lacks for speed, but he was fourth in the spring. Allmendinger gives the roster points through his ability to consistently finish higher than he qualifies at the track while Stenhouse delivered a top-15 run in March and has never finished outside of the top 20 at the oval.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $10,800
Joey Logano - $10,600
Erik Jones - $8,000
Ryan Newman - $7,300
Austin Dillon - $7,000
Aric Almirola - $6,300

After dominating each of the last two races on the schedule the Penske Racing drivers will look to seal the deal in Phoenix. Logano was on his way to winning at Martinsville before contact with Matt Kenseth, and Keselowski narrowly missed out on last week's win to Johnson. This team has the power to win in Phoenix. Erik Jones had a solid substitute performance in the No. 20 in Texas, and boasts two finishes of sixth or better in two visits to Phoenix in the Xfinity series. Newman is a former Phoenix winner and scored a top-5 here in the spring. And while Dillon has yet to score a Phoenix top-10, his 15th-place finish in the spring makes that next step seem likely. Finally, like Allmendinger in the lineup above, Almirola delivers value by consistently finishing higher than his starting position at this track.

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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