DFS NASCAR: FireKeepers Casino 400 & Consumers Energy 400

DFS NASCAR: FireKeepers Casino 400 & Consumers Energy 400

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

FireKeepers Casino 400 & Consumers Energy 400

Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Course: Michigan International Speedway
Format: 2.0-mile D-shaped oval
Laps: 156

Race Preview

The NASCAR Cup series heads to its second double-header race this week at Michigan International Speedway. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin split the wins in the last double-header at Pocono Raceway and have been frequent visitors to Victory Lane this season. Brad Keselowski is the driver who brings the most recent win into this weekend, though. The hometown driver has been vocal about his desire to win at this track but has so far come up short. Teammate Joey Logano and Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick were the two who won last season at this track. 

With six races remaining in the regular season, the battle for the final playoff spots has intensified. Jimmie Johnson slipped out of the playoff positions and is working to claw his way back along with Erik Jones, who may need a playoff appearance to secure a contract for next season. William Byron has the consistency to have made the final spot his own, though. He sits 25 points behind Matt DiBenedetto but holds a 15-point gap to Tyler Reddick in 17th. A third of the remaining regular-season races will be run this weekend and intensity is sure to increase as the races tick away.

Key Stats at Michigan International Speedway

  • Number of races: 101
  • Winners from pole: 21
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 60
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 76
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
  • Fastest race: 173.997 mph

Previous 10 Michigan Winners

2019 fall - Kevin Harvick
2019 spring - Joey Logano
2018 fall - Kevin Harvick
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

Michigan International Speedway is a horsepower track. While there may be a preferred line around the 2.0-mile oval, the track is wide enough to move around. That flexibility allows drivers to try different lines throughout their fuel runs to maximize handling while also giving them options to use in an attempt to make passes. The long lap also opens the door to differing pit strategies. Pitting under green is less of a penalty than at some of the shorter circuits, which could come into play as drivers sacrifice stage finishes to maximize their chances for the race win. In years past Michigan races have come down to fuel mileage battles, but late caution periods could quickly jumble the running order and give slower cars a chance to steal a victory.

Keep in mind fantasy players this week will see two different driver salaries in the two DraftKings contests, while FanDuel's salaries are the same for both races. I will focus the first lineup option on Saturday's prices with the normal higher-risk lineup being replaced by my best option for Sunday's contests.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kevin Harvick - Saturday $11,000, Sunday $11,500
Martin Truex Jr. - Saturday $10,800, Sunday $10,800
Ryan Blaney - Saturday $10,600, Sunday $9,900
Brad Keselowski- Saturday $10,100, Sunday $10,500

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Joey Logano - Saturday $9,700, Sunday $10,200
Kyle Busch - Saturday $9,500, Sunday $9,400
Chase Elliott - Saturday $9,300, Sunday $9,600
Aric Almirola - Saturday $9,100, Sunday $9,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jimmie Johnson - Saturday $8,600, Sunday $8,200
Matt DiBenedetto - Saturday $8,400, Sunday $8,600
William Byron - Saturday $8,200, Sunday $7,800
Kurt Busch - Saturday $8,000, Sunday $8,800

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Alex Bowman - Saturday $7,700, Sunday $8,400
Austin Dillon - Saturday $7,500, Sunday $6,500
Clint Bowyer - Saturday $7,400, Sunday $7,600
Cole Custer - Saturday $6,700, Sunday $7,500

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Saturday Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Denny Hamlin - $10,400
Brad Keselowski - $10,100
Jimmie Johnson - $8,600
Kurt Busch - $8,000
Alex Bowman - $7,700
Reed Sorenson - $5,200

Denny Hamlin (DK $10,400, FD $13,500) and Kevin Harvick split the double-header last time at Pocono, and it wouldn't be a shock to see the pair trade the wins again this week. Hamlin is arguably the best Toyota option this week, but he has admitted that the manufacturer doesn't have the same power as Ford. Speaking of Ford, Brad Keselowski (DK $10,200, FD $12,200) is coming off of a great few days where he won a race and signed a new contract with Penske Racing. A win at his home track would be the cherry on top of that cake. Jimmie Johnson (DK $8,600, FD $8,900) continues to show the pace necessary to get into the playoffs, but spins, contact and mistakes have been costing him dearly. He won at this track in 2014 but hasn't finished in the top 10 here since 2017. Kurt Busch (DK $8,000, FD $10,300) is another former Michigan winner that could get the job done this weekend. He has three top-10s from the last four races, was runner up in this race last season and has three track wins. Alex Bowman (DK $7,700, FD $9,200) is showing signs of life after fading from view after his Fontana win. That is the sister track to Michigan. So, fantasy players should give that some consideration this week along with his two 10th-place finishes here last year. Using up the rest of the budget is Reed Sorenson (DK $5,200, FD $3,000). He starts Saturday's race in 30th.

                   Sunday Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Ryan Blaney - $9,900
Kyle Busch - $9,400
Matt DiBenedetto - $8,600
Erik Jones - $8,000
Clint Bowyer - $7,600
Austin Dillon - $6,500

Sunday's lineup in the absence of seeing how Saturday's race plays out is obviously a far-fetched guess. However, fantasy players may wish to view this as a more aggressive approach to Saturday in an effort to find the perfect lineup for Sunday. Penske Racing and Ford have been very quick at Michigan in recent seasons, and Ryan Blaney (DK $9,900, FD $12,000) may be the fastest of the trio. He has two top-fives and four top-10s from 10 starts at the track. Kyle Busch (DK $9,400, FD $11,700) again resents a risky option for fantasy players since he hasn't been achieving the same success we've been used to. He may be faster on Sunday after seat time on Saturday, but Toyota remains a bit behind in the horsepower department. Matt DiBenedetto (DK $8,600, FD $9,300) drives a Ford, and Wood Brothers Racing have been quick at Michigan throughout its history. He is in playoff contention and has been turning in consistent finishes for fantasy owners in recent weeks. Erik Jones (DK $8,000, FD $10,000) is driving for his future. With the announcement that his contract won't be renewed for 2021, he knows he has to deliver the goods to find a new home next year. He has a best Michigan finish of third from 2017. Clint Bowyer (DK $7,600, FD $9,000) could be a value choice both days this week. He's low in the price range and brings a win at this track to the table. Austin Dillon (DK $6,500, FD $7,700) could also present some value. While Chevrolet hasn't been as quick as they were earlier in the season, Dillon has shown his team can call the strategy that can capitalize on late cautions.

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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