NASCAR at Homestead DraftKings Picks: DFS Strategy & Analysis for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford, pits
NASCAR heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, which has been the site of the season finale every year since 2002. However, this year it’s a mid-season race, but don’t let that lack of championship excitement fool you. Homestead is a fantastic track and usually provides excellent racing.
For DFS purposes, it’s also a relatively unique track, with Darlington as its most similar comparable track. Fortunately for DFS players, there have been two races at Darlington already this year, and the tire combo they are using at Homestead is the same one used at Darlington. We can certainly lean on Darlington results, as well as past Homestead history to guide our choices.
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NASCAR at Homestead DraftKings DFS Strategy
Laps led at Homestead tend to be spread out. Every year since 2014 there have been at least three drivers leading 40 or more laps. There have been 17 drivers to score at least 27.5 dominator points during that span, for an average of 2.8 per race. Twelve of the 18 drivers who finished in the top three also scored at least that many dominator points. At Homestead, the dominant cars tend to finish up front.
Denny Hamlin ($10,400) starts on the pole thanks to the tiered random draw. He had the best average green flag speed rank (3.5) over the two Darlington races, and the second-fastest average green flag speed in total behind only Alex Bowman.
Hamlin should be favored to lead the early laps with Joey Logano ($10,700), Brad Keselowski ($9,500) and Kyle Busch ($10,100) starting second through fourth. Each of these three drivers placed outside the top eight in average green flag speed when combining the two Darlington races.
However, don’t count out Busch from this group. Busch starts on the favored outside line, and has been dominant at Homestead with top-six finishes each of the last five years, including two wins.
Kevin Harvick ($11,800) and Martin Truex Jr. ($11,400) should also be considered favorites to dominate. Harvick has six straight top-four finishes at Homestead, while Truex has a win and two second places in his last three trips to the track.
One amazing statistic I need to point out: Since 2015, the quartet of Busch, Logano, Harvick and Truex have combined for two finishes outside the top six at Homestead in 20 total starts between them.
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NASCAR at Homestead DraftKings DFS Picks
Tyler Reddick ($7300): It seems like I write up Reddick every week, but he’s consistently underpriced while starting mid-pack. He starts 24th at one of his best tracks. In Trucks he finished sixth, third and second. In XFINITY he finished fourth, first and first.
He’s averaged a 10th-place finish in the two Cup races at Darlington earlier this year. A top 10 equates to a minimum of 48 DraftKings points. That’s more than enough to end up in the winning lineup.
Erik Jones ($6500): In eight Cup starts, Jones has four top-five finishes at Darlington and Homestead combined, as well as two other eighth-place results. He rolls off 15th, so an eighth-place finish would net him a minimum of 43 DraftKings points. That is enormous value at his price tag.
Cole Custer ($6000): Custer is a chalk play starting back in 35th. He has amazing results at Homestead in his XFINITY career, finishing first or second all three times he’s raced at the track. However, a word of caution: he had a first and second in his two most recent XFINITY Darlington races, and ran poorly at Darlington this year.
He’s a great cash game play, and you’ll definitely want some exposure to Custer in a multi-entry portfolio. But I like being underweight to the field on Custer in tournaments.
Ryan Preece ($5700): Preece is the pivot play off of Custer. Custer should draw higher ownership by starting two spots further back and having better equipment. However, Preece was significantly better at Darlington than Custer despite a lack of finishing results. Preece had the 19th- and sixth-fastest green flag speeds in the two Darlington races, and while the sixth-fastest result is a bit flattering, he certainly was better than Custer all race.
Meanwhile, Custer had lackluster 22nd- and 29th-ranked average green flag speeds. Preece starts 33rd, so if he performs like a top-20 car and finishes there, he’ll be a big asset to your fantasy day.
NASCAR at Homestead DraftKings DFS Fades
Brad Keselowski ($9500): To get a useful DFS day out of Keselowski you’ll need him to dominate and finish well. He’s only dominated once at Homestead in 12 career races, and he was mediocre at Darlington this year. I can comfortably count at least seven drivers more likely to dominate than Keselowski.
Ryan Blaney ($8800): The bigger steep tracks have not been good for Blaney. I previously documented his struggles at Darlington, but at Homestead he hasn’t fared much better. He has no finishes better than 11th, and he starts 11th.
JJ Yeley, Josh Bilicki, Brennan Poole, Joey Gase, Quin Houff: Thanks to the tiered random draw, these back-marker drivers all start too far forward.