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Denny Hamlin
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Cap Considerations

FireKeepers Casino 400 DFS Gems

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: August 5, 2022, 6:06 pm ET

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Five drivers extended top-10 streaks in last year's edition of the FireKeepers Casino 400, but that little bit of data might not be as useful as one might suppose. One of them, Kurt Busch, is sitting out his third consecutive race under concussion protocol and three are above the $10k mark. So why did we mention it? Because the consistency at Michigan International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway can be seen throughout the lineup.   

Drivers who finish in the mid-teens are solid values if they qualify poorly so as to collect place-differential points, or are rightly priced. As good as the DraftKings algorithm is, once manual adjustments are made for the top 10 drivers, astute fantasy players can take advantage of some of the holes.

There are drivers who develop an immediate affinity for a track, but most often there is a slow build to success. Players can also find success by getting in front of that curve.

Group A: Most Expensive (>=$10,000)

Denny Hamlin ($10,300)
The cap managers have done a good job of keeping up with the peaks and valleys for Hamlin. Eight of his last 17 races have commanded a price tag under $10k because Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has had difficulty in finding the handle on the NextGen car. The season has been unpredictable, but if any track type is going to break the cycle of dark horses, Michigan is a likely candidate. Twelve of the last 18 races on 2-mile tracks ended in top-10s for Hamlin and only one was worse than 16th.

Kyle Busch ($10,500)
We'll stick with the theme of redemption in Group A. Last week, Busch set a mark he is not happy with by finishing outside the top 10 for a seventh consecutive race. That has not happened since he joined the series full-time and it is unlikely to continue. He has 13 top-10s in his last 14 races on this track type. A top-10 won't be enough; Busch needs to seriously contend for the win to be a good enough value to warrant his price, but he won at Auto Club as recently as 2019.

 

Driver

Top-15
points

Top-10s

Top-5s

Most
points

Chase Elliott

5

5

4

2

Denny Hamlin

3

3

3

1

Tyler Reddick

3

3

3

1

Kyle Busch

4

2

2

1

Martin Truex Jr.

5

2

1

1

Erik Jones

4

3

2

 

Harrison Burton

2

2

2

 

Kevin Harvick

2

2

2

 

Austin Cindric

5

4

1

 

Bubba Wallace

4

4

1

 

Ross Chastain

4

4

1

 

Daniel Suarez

4

3

1

 

AJ Allmendinger

3

2

1

 

Christopher Bell

3

2

1

 

Kurt Busch

2

2

1

 

Michael McDowell

4

1

1

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

3

1

1

 

Aric Almirola

1

1

1

 

Justin Haley

1

1

1

 

Kyle Larson

4

3

  

Ryan Blaney

3

3

  

Cole Custer

3

2

  

Chris Buescher

2

2

  

Brad Keselowski

3

1

  

Todd Gilliland

2

1

  

William Byron

2

1

  

Austin Dillon

2

   

Corey LaJoie

2

   

Alex Bowman

1

   

Chase Briscoe

1

   

Joey Logano

1

   

Ty Dillon

1

   

Ty Gibbs

1

   

 

Group B: (Between $9,900 and $8,000)

Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,500)
We've said all week that JGR has the potential to sweep the front of the pack. Truex enters the weekend with the longest active streak of top-10s at five and four of these were top-fives. He has not yet won at Michigan, but in 2018 he scored his 16th career win at Auto Club in a car with less funding. To contend for a win, drivers need to complete all the laps and Truex has done so in his last 14 starts.

Kevin Harvick ($8,400)
We would be a little more enthusiastic about Harvick if he were a little cheaper this week, but at his current price tag, he is just a little over the average-cost-per-driver, which means he is a solid anchor if you manage the lower levels well enough and are confident in your marquee pick. While he has struggled on other track types, the 2-milers have been Harvick's bread and butter recently with four wins and nine results of ninth or better in his last 10 efforts.

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Group C: (Between $7,900 and $6,500)

Brad Keselowski ($6,900)
One of Keselowski's best performances this season came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the pressure of performing in front of part of his ownership group. The same dynamic will play out at Michigan after his manufacturer, Ford, expressed displeasure this week over the small number of wins for the Blue Oval. Limited resources mean you have to concentrate efforts on certain tracks and this is one RFK Racing likely had circled since Daytona's Speedweeks.

Ty Gibbs ($6,600)
Gibbs is cheaper this week than he was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. In that race, he was the 22nd-most expensive driver and he claimed the 14th-most points, which made him a good value. He finished 16th at Pocono Raceway in his debut and 17th last week. A top-15 is in the cards if the crew chief shuffles the deck correctly.

Group D: (Less than or equal to $6,500)

Todd Gilliland ($5,200)
At the lowest level, we will play by the numbers. Over the past 45 days, Gilliland has the best average points-per-thousand 32.76. In fact, that is the most in the field, making him a better value than Group A's Elliott (29.86), B's Erik Jones (32.19), and C's Bubba Wallace (30.57). A big part of that equation was earned with his fourth-place finish at Indy, but Gilliland has outperformed his salary cap in all but one race this season. He's been a top-15 value seven times so far.

Michael McDowell ($6,500)
McDowell has consistently outperformed his cap also by ranking higher in points than cap level in 18 of 22 races. He's often been more expensive than Gilliland, but he's been more productive with top-10 earnings six times and results of 16th or better in 13 races. His best DraftKings performance came two weeks ago at Pocono when he earned the fifth-most points (53).

The top-10 points' earners from the 2021 Michigan race were: 1. William Byron (73.75), 2. Kyle Larson (62.8), 3.      Denny Hamlin (54.5), 4. Chase Elliott (51.95), 5. Christopher Bell (50.25), 6. Ryan Blaney (49.9), 7. Brad Keselowski (49.3), 8. Kurt Busch (46.75), 9. Kyle Busch (43.85), 10. Chase Briscoe (43.8)

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Last 45 Days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group A

 

 

 

 

 

Chase Elliott

6.50

325.50

54.25

$10,900

        29.86

Denny Hamlin

11.67

263.15

43.86

$10,300

        25.55

Kyle Busch

14.67

228.80

38.13

$10,500

        21.79

Ross Chastain

14.33

207.30

34.55

$10,000

        20.73

Kyle Larson

16.17

179.25

29.88

$10,700

        16.75

Group B

 

 

 

 

 

Erik Jones

11.17

260.70

43.45

$8,100

        32.19

Martin Truex Jr.

11.67

284.45

47.41

$9,500

        29.94

Christopher Bell

13.83

233.05

38.84

$9,000

        25.89

Daniel Suarez

13.83

207.40

34.57

$8,600

        24.12

Kevin Harvick

17.67

180.05

30.01

$8,400

        21.43

Tyler Reddick

14.83

203.75

33.96

$9,700

        21.01

Ryan Blaney

19.50

128.60

21.43

$9,300

        13.83

Joey Logano

23.83

109.10

18.18

$8,800

        12.40

William Byron

22.50

102.05

17.01

$9,200

        11.09

Alex Bowman

27.33

34.50

5.75

$8,200

          4.21

Group C

 

 

 

 

 

Bubba Wallace

12.83

226.20

37.70

$7,400

        30.57

Austin Cindric

13.00

224.75

37.46

$7,700

        29.19

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

16.50

172.95

28.83

$6,700

        25.81

Brad Keselowski

20.67

134.10

22.35

$6,900

        19.43

Chase Briscoe

23.83

113.35

18.89

$7,500

        15.11

Austin Dillon

22.33

109.65

18.28

$7,300

        15.02

Aric Almirola

24.33

76.75

12.79

$6,800

        11.29

Chris Buescher

24.00

78.20

13.03

$7,100

        11.01

Ty Gibbs

19.50

52.00

26.00

$6,600

          7.88

Group D

 

 

 

 

 

Todd Gilliland

17.67

170.35

28.39

$5,200

        32.76

Harrison Burton

16.83

188.50

31.42

$6,000

        31.42

Justin Haley

17.17

177.70

29.62

$5,900

        30.12

Michael McDowell

16.00

186.15

31.03

$6,500

        28.64

Cole Custer

17.83

176.50

29.42

$6,200

        28.47

Cody Ware

22.17

124.45

20.74

$5,100

        24.40

Corey LaJoie

21.33

128.55

21.43

$5,400

        23.81

Ty Dillon

26.00

85.35

14.23

$5,700

        14.97

JJ Yeley

26.00

50.00

16.67

$4,900

        10.20

Josh Bilicki

29.20

41.00

8.20

$5,000

          8.20

BJ McLeod

29.50

29.00

7.25

$4,800

          6.04

Noah Gragson

29.50

14.00

7.00

$5,600

          2.50

Austin Hill

 

 

 

$6,400

             -  

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.