NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Pocono Organics 325
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers that crash out of the race is a must, of course!
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Every week, in addition to this helper, we have a current form and stats breakdown to dive deeper into this weekend's action. Our track preview breaks down this week's venue, and we also have The Heat Check Fantasy Podcast, where Jim Sannes breaks down his favorite plays for Sunday's slate.
A wild, emotional race that started with a stunning display in support of Bubba Wallace ended with a bang. Ryan Blaney cut off Erik Jones into the wall and carried just enough momentum to edge Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for his second straight win at Talladega Superspeedway. Blaney has had an excellent season, but that win officially enters him in NASCAR's playoffs. He will look to keep his hot streak alive, while 39 others will try to cool him down as NASCAR heads to Pocono Raceway for an inaugural doubleheader weekend in Pocono. The Cup Series will race both Saturday and Sunday in what is an interesting twist to this tricky 2.5-mile, triangle-shaped track where track position is of the utmost importance.
With this being a different track than Talladega, the starting lineup for this race was determined by a tiered draw that awarded Aric Almirola his first pole of 2020. The pit stalls were selected in the order of Monday's finishing order in Talladega, however, which will put Ryan Blaney in the premier first pit stall at this track. There will be no fantasy-relevant penalization of inspection failures on Saturday.
With that, let's preview the Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway on FanDuel.
Kevin Harvick ($14,000): Harvick's end-of-race statistics may not have the wins of Kyle Busch ($13,500), who has two of the last four victories at Pocono, or the laps led of Denny Hamlin ($13,000), who has led 694 laps and won last July the last time the series was here. But "Happy" Harvick's peripherals at Pocono are too solid to ignore despite the lack of results. Harvick has led at least 30 laps in three of the last four at Pocono, and since stage racing was introduced in 2017, Harvick has finished outside the top five in a stage only twice. Harvick has always been the bridesmaid of sorts at this track, with four second-place finishes since 2014, but being consistently in the mix despite several rules packages makes him a reliable option at the top of the player pool, and his ownership may be reduced compared to others with more recent wins and great finishes.
Ryan Blaney ($11,800): Blaney won last week at a very different track, but that comes as no anomaly. Blaney has six top-five outings in the last seven Cup races, and the only exception comes when he crashed running second. He returns this weekend to the site of his first career win back in 2017, but he still holds an average finish at Pocono of 10.0 in his last four starts. The issue in those races for Blaney was track position, where started worse than 30th twice, but Blaney will be on the front row for Sunday's race. On arguably the hottest race team in 2020, Blaney should be stronger than polesitter Aric Almirola early on and will have a great chance to keep that lead with the top pit stall choice by virtue of winning on Monday. Blaney led 11 laps from the pole and finished sixth in this race two years ago, but he is looking for much more than that Saturday.
William Byron ($10,400): Young drivers tend to struggle at this challenging race track, with so many different technical styles of braking in three distinct corners. William Byron has been the rare exception, with top-10 showings in three of four Pocono events. He has led 35 laps, as well. Those results came long before the revival of Hendrick Motorsports that has seen Byron teammates Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman already win in 2020. Byron could be next in line at one of his best race tracks, and he still has some pass differential upside from 16th on the grid. Worth noting -- without practice at any of these events, Byron's strong iRacing regiment may have led him access to extra laps at "The Tricky Triangle" to prepare for such a unique test.
Erik Jones ($10,000): It should come as no surprise Jones has ran well at Pocono, with teammates Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin all finding victory lane in the last couple of years. Jones is looking to add a trophy of his own after finishing inside the top five in the last three races here. Still shaking off some early-season poor finishes, Jones continues to draw in the pool with drivers 13th through 24th in points, and as a result, he starts a nearly perfect 19th on Saturday. From that spot, Jones has plenty of pass-differential upside, and he can still give us access to a top-10 finish in Stage 1. Jones has a great deal of winning upside from this far in the pricing bin.
Christopher Bell ($8,000): Bell is the highest-priced player on some fantasy sites, and the reason why is the length of the race being so short (130 laps), which places an emphasis on pass differential. Bell has top-20 equipment in an alliance with Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, and the rest of JGR, and he will start deep in 36th -- giving him amazing pass-differential upside. Expectations for the rookie Bell should be tempered. He led just seven laps in last year's Xfinity Series event in very limited laps at this track, but his pass differential upside -- and therefore floor -- are too high to ignore at this price tag. Bell also won a Truck Series race here in 2017. Fade at your own risk in tournaments, as his ownership should be high.
Cole Custer ($6,900): When speaking about last year's Xfinity Series event, Bell did not run nearly as well as fellow rookie Cole Custer. Custer appeared to take a liking to NASCAR's most unique track, leading 58 laps and winning last June. Custer also scored a top-five finish here in his only truck start, so the rookie has passed his exam with flying colors. With long straightaways and flat corners, equipment is at a premium at Pocono, and while Custer has struggled and been outrun by other cars with lesser equipment in previous weeks, he will have a good-running Stewart-Haas Racing machine and is starting from a fairly deep 25th on the grid. Custer is unlikely to be in any danger of going a lap down due to the length of this event.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.