DraftKings NASCAR: Camping World 500

DraftKings NASCAR: Camping World 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Camping World 500

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

Race Preview

Martin Truex Jr. ended Ford's win streak by putting a Toyota back into Victory Lane in Las Vegas last week. He took advantage of late trouble for Brad Keselowski, who appeared to be cruising to victory after the final restart. Truex had been quick throughout practice and qualifying, and the weekend's results could signal that the parity between manufacturers is more level than it was at the start of the season. Both Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch's frustrating season starts continued last week and both will be eager to get to Phoenix International Raceway. Still lurking among the top runners are a number of Chevrolet-powered teams looking to score their first wins of the season. This week's race will be the second of NASCAR's West Coast tour and is expected to be a hot one. The high temperatures and unique track layout will challenge teams to stay on top of handling throughout 500 kilometers of racing under the desert sun. The track should be slippery, and the lower downforce package of 2017 should make the race one with some surprises thrown into the mix.

Key Stats at Phoenix International Raceway

Number of previous races: 41
Winners from pole: 4
Winners from top-5 starters: 15
Winners from top-10 starters: 20
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 3
Fastest race: 118.132 mph

Last 10 Phoenix Winners

2016 fall - Joey Logano
2016 spring - Kevin Harvick
2015 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
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

Harvick has been the dominant driver at Phoenix. He leads the field with eight victories at the circuit. His season hasn't started on the best foot, but a visit to one of his favorite tracks could provide the medicine he needs to turn that around. All eyes will be on the simmering feud between Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. The pair tangled twice on the final lap in Las Vegas and punches were thrown afterward. Busch is frustrated with his disappointing start to the season, while Logano has been knocking on victory's door. NASCAR said they would review the incident between the pair, but fantasy owners would be wise to remember what happened when Matt Kenseth and Logano had a similar feud in 2015 when Kenseth crashed Logano out of the lead in Martinsville. The series won't want a similar incident this year, and NASCAR will do its best to impress that upon both parties this week before cars hit the track in Phoenix. For the race itself, teams will battle a hot and slippery track. Pit strategy has often determined the winner at Phoenix, and tire strategy could be even more important than fuel this week. Drivers will battle for grip throughout the afternoon, and the one with the most grip in the final laps could be the one who takes home the winner's trophy.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,100
Joey Logano - $10,500
Brad Keselowski - $10,300

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Chase Elliott - $9,700
Martin Truex Jr. - $9,400
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Kyle Larson - $9,100
Jimmie Johnson - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kurt Busch - $8,700
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $8,500
Ryan Blaney - $8,000
Austin Dillon - $7,900

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Erik Jones - $7,500
Jamie McMurray - $7,400
Daniel Suarez - $6,400
Paul Menard - $6,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Kyle Larson - $9,100
Jimmie Johnson - $9,000
Matt Kenseth - $8,800
Kurt Busch - $8,700
Reed Sorenson - $5,100

Driver values this week enable a very safe roster comprising some of the more successful drivers at Phoenix in recent seasons. Hamlin won at the track in 2012 and scored four top-10 finishes in the last five races there. The season has been a great one for Larson. He is second in points with two top-five finishes and he finished third in last year's fall Phoenix event. Fantasy owners should jump at the chance to choose Johnson at this week's price. The 2016 champion has the best driver rating through the last 10 years at Phoenix. Yes, even better than Harvick. He also has four career Phoenix wins and led 13 laps here in the fall. Kenseth has been quiet since the start of the season, but with consecutive top-10 finishes heading into this week's race, it's easy to envision the former Phoenix winner being near the front again all afternoon. Kurt Busch stumbled last week at home in Las Vegas but usually races well at Phoenix. He scored top-10 finishes in all of his last five visits to the track, which makes him another top value. The final spot on the safer roster goes to Sorenson who should confidently deliver fantasy owners extra points from finishing higher in Sunday's race than he qualifies. He has done that in both races he has competed in so far this season.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,100
Joey Logano - $10,500
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $8,500
Jamie McMurray - $7,400
Aric Almirola - $6,900
Landon Cassill - $5,600

Harvick heads the higher-risk lineup due to his premium price tag. His value at Phoenix is that he tends to win races here, but fantasy owners will have to sacrifice roster depth to find a spot for him in the lineup. Logano has three top-10 finishes from three races so far this season, and he won at Phoenix last fall. While the return of Earnhardt hasn't been met with immediate success, the team will get on the same page soon. Earnhardt has three Phoenix victories and finished fifth from the 26th starting position last spring. McMurray continues to show improved performance in 2017 and is firmly in the running to make the playoffs after three early races. He finished second at this track in the spring of 2015, and fantasy players should expect another top-10 run from him this week. Another driver quietly making progress in 2017 is Almirola. His top-five at Daytona and a 14th-place finish in Las Vegas put him in playoff contention, and he scored two top-15 finishes at Phoenix in the last three races. Finally, Cassill may be a driver worth taking a risk on this week. His average finish in 2017 so far is 21.6 versus an average start of 27.0. He finished 20th here last fall, and another top-20 would deliver valuable points to fantasy owners.

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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