This week Brian and I are back with more Monkey Knife Fight picks as NASCAR heads to the Music City for the reopening of the Nashville Superspeedway and the Ally 400. With practice and qualifying still to be completed, along with almost zero track history, picks this week are even more fun.
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As for our Monkey Knife Fight picks for the Ally 400? Check them out below.
Brian’s Pick – Rapid Fire
Chase Elliott -.5 vs. Denny Hamlin
Elliott has been chasing Kyle Larson each of the past two races but is clearly not taking a backseat to anyone else. He’s finished top 3 in four straight races and inside the top 5 during five of the last six. He holds the best average finish and 2nd best driver rating during this time as well.
Denny Hamlin on the other hand is by all accounts struggling to keep pace. Since placing inside the top 5 during eight of the first nine races, he’s done so just once over the last seven. Denny has led 19 laps to Elliott’s 40 and hasn’t been a legit threat in any of the last 6 races.
There isn’t much data to go on for the Ally 400, but Dover International Speedway is by all accounts quite possibly the most comparable track to Nashville. Chase has 8 T-5’s at Dover in 11 career Cup Series races and in fact, he has finished outside the top 5 (12th in 2018) just once during the nine races he didn’t crash out before completing even 10 laps.
Hamlin has seen success at Dover as well but over his last 11 races there, he’s finished T-5 just three times. Both Elliott and Hamlin are tremendous drivers but it’s Chase and Hendrick Motorsports who are riding shotgun right now. I expect Elliott to challenge for victory lane this week which almost surely means he finishes ahead of Denny.
Joey Logano +1.5 vs. Brad Keselowski
Two of my arch nemesis battling one another only screams disaster but here I am. I have avoided Joey Logano for most of the season which only means it’s his time to throw my dart.
I’ll stay with Dover as a means of comparison and amazingly enough, Brad and Joey have the exact same average finish (10.86) since 2018 there. Its Brad with the better driver rating (100) to 93.7 for Joey, but Logano has two T-5’s including this season compared to Keselowski’s zero. Looking at current trends also doesn’t do any favors for the number 2 car.
Brad has been bad over the last five races while not cracking the top 10 in any of them. The double deuces of Logano on the other hand has 3 T-5’s during the last four races. This matchup seems more like a pick’em than a 1.5 point spread and I’ll gladly reap the rewards. In this battle of teammates, give me the driver performing better of late and of course, the one who hasn’t burned me most recently.
Kyle’s Pick – More or Less
Kyle Busch MORE than 16.5 Fantasy Points
Kyle Busch continues to be one of my favorite options this week as NASCAR heads to Nashville. With the Cup Series heading to this track for the first time, we need to project more than usual. This track is owned by the same folks that created Dover. It also has similarities to Phoenix and Las Vegas.
This all points to Kyle Busch dominance. Not only has Busch have a track record of thriving at these tracks but he has also been in tremendous form finishing in the Top-10 in 5 of the last 6 races.
Monkey Knife Fight rewards finishing position heavily. Nashville will also give the drivers a chance to earn more points for laps lead. While .1 points for every lap lead may not seem like a ton, it could be just the ticket to help us clear 16.5 fantasy points.
William Byron LESS than 16.5 Fantasy Points
William Byron has been taking tremendous strides as a Driver this season, clearly trying to elevate himself into the upper echelon of drivers. However, despite his recent form at this style of track I will be fading Byron this week. Sorry Brian!
As I mentioned above, finishing position is key to scoring fantasy points. Byron would have to finish 5th and lead five laps to get to 16.5 points. I’m banking on a Top-10 and not Top-5 finish from Byron. I also expect him to not be able to lead laps this week. In similar tracks outside of Dover where he led 21 laps, Byron hasn’t led more than a handful of laps since 2018 at Phoenix.
Take Byron to go under 16.5 fantasy points this week in the second part of More or Less this week.
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