DFS: Michigan (Summer)
Typically we like to start at the bottom and work our way up when setting a Draft Kings roster, but the two-mile unrestricted, intermediate speedways have a notable list of favorites and they should be considered heading into the weekend.
In the last three Michigan International Speedway races, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have been one another’s closest competitors and fantasy players really need to try and find a way to get one of them on their roster. Both drivers have had some difficulty in recent weeks developing consistency, but that has never really seemed to make much of a difference when they come to this track.
Larson will set a player back $10,300 with Elliott $500 cheaper at $9,800 and that is going to make a difference when it comes time to pick the bargain basement drivers. There is also the matter of Larson’s sprint car effort. He won night one of the Knoxville Nationals and after a groundswell of support, Chip Ganassi gave him permission to head back down to Iowa to compete Saturday night for what is scheduled to be his last sprint car race. It is a minor concern, but he could be just a little tired when he returns.
Team Penske has been strong on this track in the past. Joey Logano enters the weekend with a nine-race streak of top-10s. Two of those efforts ended in Victory Lane and that is going to be needed if he is going to make this year’s playoffs. It is impossible to call one’s shot in NASCAR, but even if he misses, he should be a good value at $9,000.
Ryan Blaney should also benefit from the Penske set of notes. This is the type of track that suits him and a fourth in this race last year was followed by a ninth at Auto Club Speedway in the spring. He performed better than expected last week at Watkins Glen International and should be able to carry that momentum with him into the Pure Michigan 400.
Taking those drivers means one is going to absolutely have to take some bargains to achieve an average of $7,500 for the final three drivers. Enter Trevor Bayne with a price tag of $6,700. He has a worst finish of 24th in his last seven attempts on two-milers. His average finish is 18.6, but that comes with a top-10, another top-15, and a 17th that makes him consistent and occasionally strong.
That puts Daniel Suarez in range and anytime a player can get one of the Joe Gibbs Racing guys, he should take the opportunity. The rookie is still getting comfortable behind the wheel of these heavy cars and he finished only 24th this spring at Michigan. He was seventh at Auto Club, however, and that outperformed his teammate Kyle Busch (priced at $10,500 this week) by one position.
We are going to go with another bargain basement pick this week to finish off the roster. Danica Patrick has been erratic, but she has shown a lot of promise on oval tracks in recent events with several top-15s. She earned two top-15s and four more top-20s in her first nine races on two-mile tracks, which shows a certain affinity for this type of race course.