NASCAR DFS – The Fastest Get Paid – The Lady In Black

Welcome back to Fakepigskin’s coverage of NASCAR Daily Fantasy! With the final stretch to the Playoffs going on, it’s time to tune-up your lineups for the back end of the season. This week NASCAR returns to Darlington Raceway, also known as “The Lady In Black” and the track “Too Tough To Tame”.

Darlington Raceway is a 1.3 mile egg-shaped track (turns 3-4 are narrower than turns 1-2 due to the track being designed to avoid a pond just outside the back straightaway. The track surface is highly abrasive due to the sand blown in from the South Carolina coast that chews up tires as quick as they are put on the car. During long green flag runs, cars will slow down two to three seconds more than they do at the beginning of the run due to the high tire wear. Teams that create the most balanced setup for their car and that produce the least amount of wear on their tires, will be the team who will be sitting in victory lane come Sunday night. However even with the time drop off, this track is fast! You will see cars running right against the wall, which really gives you the sensation of speed. Due to the optimal racing line being against the wall, drivers constantly make contact with the wall, known as the “Darlington Stripe” due to their paint job being scraped up and leaving a long black line on the side of their car.

For the last year, I’ve given readers multiple options in various categories to choose from to set their lineup. Beginning this weekend, I will put my money where my mouth is and begin providing the most optimal lineup for you to enter in your fantasy leagues or daily fantasy contests, such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Think of it as FakePigskin is starting it’s own race team, Pigskin Performance, and we are ready to begin burning rubber on the track! (Anyone else smell bacon?)

Pigskin Performance Lineup

Lead Cars: Denny Hamlin ($9,900) and Ryan Blaney ($9,600)*

Denny Hamlin has averaged a 2nd place finish in his last two Darlington starts with a win and a fourth place finish. Denny has also led 137 laps and was fifth fastest in the 10-lap averages during practice today. 10-lap averages are very key to this weekend due to the tire wear factor from the abrasive surface. Ryan Blaney has only averaged a 22nd place finish in his latest two Darlington starts, however this year with Team Penske, his equipment has greatly improved to to the point where Blaney is a threat weekly. Many forget that in the legendary Busch-Craven photo finish in 2003, Ryan’s father Dave Blaney, finished third as he was closing in on the leaders fast! With a $50,000 salary cap and trying to fit six drivers under that cap, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney provide great value in order to provide greater depth in the lineup.

Top 10 Threats: Kurt Busch ($8,500) and Alex Bowman ($7,600)

Kurt Busch has averaged an 18th place finish in his last two Darlington starts. However this elder Busch was 5th quickest in his 10-lap average. His #41 Stewart-Haas Ford has greatly improved the last two years from being a top-10 threat to contending for top-5s and wins weekly! Alex Bowman, replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr, has had a quiet, yet solid year in his first full season with great equipment. Bowman currently sits on the bubble for the playoff, 16th place, yet he has a safe distance from 17th place. Bowman should be a safe bet to make the playoffs as long as he keeps the fenders straight and there is not a new winner from outside the playoff standings. Bowman has had a great start to the weekend, placing second in the 10-lap average only behind Kyle Busch.

Top 15 Hopefuls, Surprises, and Sleepers: Ryan Newman ($7,000) and Matt Kenseth ($6,800)

If you’re looking at two drivers who you feel will bring the car back in one piece, two of your picks would be Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth every week. Both now cagey veterans, both drivers know that to finish the race, you must first finish. Newman has an average finish of 7th place in his last two races, placing 7th and 8th, and Matt Kenseth has averaged a 6th place finish. Kenseth, in a part-time ride, evaluating the #6 Ford for Roush-Fenway Racing this year, has not had an outstanding performance this season. However look for Matt to outlast the competition and possibly bring home the 6 car’s first non-short track, plate-track, top-10 of the year.

This lineup leaves us with a spare $600. Let’s take that money to buy us an extra set of tires for this weekend because all of our cars will be sliding everywhere after five laps!

For more NASCAR insight, opinions, and analysis, follow me on Twitter @ScottYoungLV and let’s talk about the races this weekend!

 

References:

*Driver values taken from DraftKings.com

*Driver average finishes taken from Driveraverages.com

*Practice speeds taken from Nascar.com

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