NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Pocono Mountains 350
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 who crash out of the race is a must, of course!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
A 24-pound piece of rubber is what it took to stop Kyle Larson. Larson was leading and in sight of his fifth straight week in victory lane, and he blew a tire in Turn 3 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday. That handed the win to teammate Alex Bowman in a wild finish. That finish will be tough to top by NASCAR's best on Sunday, but another great race should be in store at the Pocono doubleheader finale.
The race on Saturday means that Sunday's starting lineup was set based on yesterday's results. NASCAR inverted the top-20 finishing positions from Saturday's race, which put Chris Buescher on the pole for Sunday's race and Michael McDowell on the outside of Row 1. That gives us a Saturday's best finishers starting a little back in the pack.
With that in mind, let's preview the Pocono Mountains 350 on FanDuel.
Kyle Busch ($13,000): Surprisingly, it was not Kyle Larson who dominated a 2021 NASCAR event on Saturday. Larson was still in position to win, but Busch led 30 laps and had the dominant car of the afternoon before getting shuffled behind Larson and Alex Bowman on the final restart. After Larson's incident, he will be credited starting 12th but will actually start in the rear with a backup car, whereas Busch will start 19th in his same, strong vehicle. That opens place-differential upside for Busch in what was the best car Saturday. Busch certainly can get it done at Pocono, as he is a three-time winner at this venue since the start of 2018.
William Byron ($11,500): At a substantial salary discount, Byron was in close proximity Saturday to teammate Larson. Byron led 13 laps to Larson's 15 after starting on the front row, and following his fourth top-five finish in the past five races, Byron will start 18th in Sunday's second leg. Byron now has six top-10 finishes in his last seven Pocono starts -- many of those not with the context of Hendrick Motorsports' total dominance of the Cup Series at the moment. He checks a lot of boxes in this one.
Others to Consider: Kyle Larson ($14,500), Denny Hamlin ($13,500)
Alex Bowman ($9,500): A fast Hendrick Chevrolet starting 20th would be in play in any normal circumstance, but especially after Bowman rallied late to capitalize on Kyle Larson's tire issue to win Saturday's event outright. Bowman led 16 laps on Saturday -- the most of his teammates -- in a win that was fairly surprising given that Bowman had just two top-10 finishes in his first 10 career Pocono starts. He will likely be enormously popular Sunday but comes at a mid-range salary that makes fading him far more of a risk than the reward would seem to hold with so many quality top options to differentiate outside of Bowman.
Matt DiBenedetto ($8,200): DiBenedetto's 32nd-place finish Saturday (and therefore his 32nd-place starting spot Sunday) is not exactly inspiring for his prospects in this race, but DiBenedetto had a top-20 average running position before back-to-back pit road penalties trapped him a lap down and ruined his afternoon. DiBenedetto also finished inside the top 15 in both Pocono races in 2020 and earned points in all four 2020 stages, so his speed is far better at this track than his Saturday result indicates. He has elite place-differential upside -- which can't be matched by others in this salary range -- and will likely be justifiably popular.
Others to Consider: Ryan Blaney ($10.300), Joey Logano ($10,000)
Ross Chastain ($6,000): Like DiBenedetto, Chastain was trapped a lap down for the entire final stage of Saturday's race and did not get the result he was hoping for with a 33rd-place finish. However, in my eyes, Chastain is the top play on the entire slate when factoring in salary, starting position, and Saturday speed, because Chastain led 10 laps before hitting the wall and spinning at the end of Stage 2. Chastain had been scorching hot entering Saturday's race, notching three top-seven finishes surrounding an engine failure at Charlotte, and with a Hendrick engine under his hood, as well, look for Chastain to make significant headway in his backup car from 33rd on the grid.
Cole Custer ($5,500): Hopefully Custer's team has gone to a convenience store and purchased some sage to burn in their garage stall before Sunday's event. Custer had a top-15 averaging running position last weekend in Nashville before his brakes failed and he crashed. Then, Custer arrived at Pocono, where he had two solid top-20 finishes a year ago, and the team failed inspection before getting wiped out by Brad Keselowski in an accident early on Saturday. Custer will start dead last in 38th for Sunday, which is maximum place-differential opportunity for a driver in fairly good equipment. His team has struggled with speed so mightily in 2021 that a top-20 finish may be his ceiling, but that kind of finish would be superb at this salary considering where he's starting.
Others to Consider: Austin Dillon ($8,000), Ryan Newman ($5,300), Chase Briscoe ($5,000)
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.