There were two types of daily fantasy lineups last week: those that started Kyle Busch at Indianapolis, and those that didn't. I think it was split about 50-50.
Busch led 149 of the 170 laps and was never really challenged for the win at Indy. In fact, for how dominant he was, I was surprised that he had only 48 fastest laps run (out of a possible 128, since only green flag laps are counted).
On one side for the weekend, Busch was my best play both early in the week and post-qualifying. It was hard not to like him; he paced final practice and qualified on the pole in a track where passing is difficult, as was clearly evident if you watched the race.
My other top high-cost pick, Carl Edwards, was running in the top five all day until he wrecked, setting a theme with my picks.
In the mid-value, Kyle Larson finished in the top five for 45 points, second best in this salary class. Ryan Blaney wrecked. Ryan Newman, my honorable mention pick in that category, was in that same wreck.
This week, NASCAR rolls back to Pocono, where they also raced back in early June. Don't let the triangular-versus-rectangular shapes fool you -- there's a lot in common with Pocono and Indianapolis. Both have long straightaways, meaning lots of horsepower is necessary to produce high speeds. Both have flat corners. In fact, one of Pocono's three turns is actually modeled after Indianapolis.
So that will mean this is the third time in an eight-race, two-month stretch that we'll race at this track type. So I'm looking at high performers from those two races to really carry over.
It looks as if this weekend will pick up with the recent Joe Gibbs Racing dominance. Although Kyle Busch is coming off a kick-butt kind of weekend, you won't see him below (spoiler alert) until he shows me in practice he has kicked some of his past Pocono issues. He has finished ninth or worse in five straight Pocono starts for a 23rd-place average finish.
Here are my early picks, but check back after Saturday qualifying to get my final picks and fades for the week.
I'm starting my team with
Elsewhere in the Joe Gibbs Racing camp, Matt Kenseth is coming off a runner-up finish at Indianapolis and a seventh-place finish at Pocono earlier this season in which he led 31 laps and had a race-high 22 fastest laps run.
Over the past two seasons at Pocono and Indianapolis, Kenseth has a 4.6 average finish, and his 55.25 fantasy points per race leads all drivers. He has finished in the top seven in each of those races, despite starting anywhere from third to 23rd.
Keep an eye on these four
Martin Truex Jr.: The Clam Prince finished eighth for 44.5 fantasy points at Indianapolis, but I'm more interested in the 17 fastest laps he had, third best in the field and best among the drivers who didn't start on the front row. It continues a great run on these tracks for Truex, who won last year at Pocono and had 23 fastest laps in this race last year.
Kyle Larson: Larson had a top-five finish in last Sunday's race, one of the best-performing non-Gibbs cars. Larson now has eight career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis and Pocono, and he has finished in the top 12 in all of them. That gives him the third-best average points total, trailing only two drivers who didn't run all eight of those races.
Greg Biffle: Biffle finished 26th at Pocono earlier this year, but he showed some speed with seven fastest laps run. In the previous seven Pocono races, he finished 16th or better, including a fifth-place finish in this race last year after starting 25th. Two years ago in this race, he had the same start and finish, averaging 60.9 DraftKings points per race.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Despite taking some damage at Indy, Stenhouse still finished 12th. Earlier this season at Pocono, he finished 15th after starting 25th, good for 39 points. In his first three seasons in the Cup Series, Stenhouse averaged less than 10 points per race on the long, flat tracks, but he's averaging 37.5 this season.