The D.E.N.N.I.S System - Foxwoods Resort Casino 301
Welcome to the second edition of The D.E.N.N.I.S System! We are fresh off a predictable week at Kentucky, but look to head to another week of predictability in New Hampshire. Now, predictability is not a bad thing, especially if we can leverage that into winning money each week. There is little doubt that the edge exists more on weeks at tracks like Daytona and Talladega, but we can still eek out wins at these calmer tracks.
I must admit, I was a bit nervous as the race started Saturday night. It is always intimidating when you produce content that is predictive in nature. Will it work out or will I look like a moron when it is all said and done?
I am happy to say that the race played out exactly how I thought, with Martin Truex Jr. dominating. I mentioned that my builds were likely to be mostly one dominator (MTJ), some 2 dominator (mostly MTJ and Kyle Busch) and no Harvick. While 2/3 of those things were totally spot on, I did get the last name of the second dominator (well, kind of dominator) correct. My chalk pick one and my off the radar pick to win in Ryan Blaney came in second. Here is how everything else fleshed out:
Demonstrate Value – Hamlin – yes, was great value.
Engage Physically – fading Stenhouse – yes, worked correctly.
Nurture Dependency – Truex – yes, no money without Truex.
Neglect Emotionally – Elliott – yes, did not finish high enough.
Inspire Hope – DiBendetto in cash but not tournaments – yes, right on the nose.
Separate Entirely – Newman – yes, finished well lower than he started.
I am happy with the results, but also cautious in knowing that this is not always going to go 6/6. I do think this week is highly likely to produce a 6/6, as New Hampshire is not a track that I really see producing out of the blue winners, like in coming weeks where a track like Pocono, Michigan, Watkins Glen or The Brickyard could.
It is important to note that Kentucky was the last cookie cutter 1.5 mile intermediate track prior to the start of the playoffs. While I am not expecting the unexpected to pop off at Loudon, it could be right around the corner.
ADVICE ON LOUDON FROM DR. TOBOGGON… MANTIS TOBOGGON!
I like to look at a variety of information for each race. It allows me to build at least some kind of idea on how past races went. This is a race for Loudon the Lobster. I am not really into lobster, but I can certainly stand toe to toe with you on bird law.
Here are some of what I am looking at each week. These tables are reflective of the last 5 races in New Hampshire.
Top 10 Finishers (bold appears in all 5)
|Larson||Stewart||Keselowski||Kyle Busch||Kyle Busch|
|Kurt Busch||Kyle Busch||Austin Dillon||Hamlin||Edwards|
|Johnson||Stenhouse Jr.||Kurt Busch||Earnhardt Jr.||Gordon|
Most Points (not including fastest laps which are typically spread through field)
|Larson (79.25)||Kenseth (72.5)||Keselowski (75)||Keselowski (86.5)||Johnson (75)|
|Truex Jr. (73.25)||Kyle Busch (63.25)||Kyle Busch (73)||Newman (58)||Vickers (62)|
|Hamlin (66.5)||Biffle (62)||Harvick (64.75)||Kyle Busch (56.5)||Kyle Busch (57.25)|
|Kyle Busch (50.75)||Newman (55)||Earnhardt Jr. (53)||Larson (54.5)||Almirola (51)|
|Bowyer (49)||Stewart (52)||Dillon (52)||Kenseth (54)||Harvick (48)|
|Patrick (48)||McMurray (51)||Gordon (49.5)||Earnhardt Jr. (52)||Burton (47)|
Most Fantasy Points by Starting Position
Cars that Did Not Finish
Best Average Points (* means only 1 race)
|1. Kyle Busch (60.15)||6. Austin Dillon (41)|
|2. Brad Keselowski (52.25)||7. Kyle Larson (39.94)|
|3. Matt Kenseth (50.55)||8. Kevin Harvick (39.75)|
|4. Daniel Suarez (46)*||9. Ty Dillon (37)*|
|5. Martin Truex Jr. (42.8)||10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (33.6)|
Before getting into the actual article, and attempts at humor, a few notes on these stats:
1. As I was going through them, it seemed like there was a positive correlation from success in Kentucky to success at New Hampshire. I did not (and will not) run any type of model to determine if that is true, but as I was changing top ten lists, most fantasy points lists and all that, the names in the columns from last week seemed to mostly stay the same.
2. Matt Kenseth has finished top ten in the last five years. He is not in the same equipment, however.
3. Kyle Busch might be more dominant here, at least from a fantasy point perspective, than in Kentucky. He has lead at least 50 laps in the last 5 races. In the last three, he has lead over 95. It has been done from the 7th, 2nd, 4th, 1st and 4th starting positions.
4. The top 10 list leads me to believe that driver rating might actually be something to consider here. It will not be a stand alone measure, but when considering it based off starting position, I think we can make a lot of decisions better with it.
5. The last 3 years differ from the first two in that the amount of DNFs is cut in half. I am entirely unsure if that is better equipment, as a lot of the issue was technical in nature.
This was all written prior to qualifying. Now that we have that completed, lets talk about The D.E.N.N.I.S System!
I highlighted Matt Kenseth as being the only driver who finished in the top 10 in all of the last five years. While he is highly unlikely to do that this week, there is certainly a situation exists that he makes it into the top 20. Starting at 31st this week, you have to feel pretty good about Kenseth as a strong value play, both in terms of price and point per dollar. If he hits the 20th finishing spot, and does not have any fastest laps, he will finish with 35 points. Rock, flag and eagle, and Matt Kenseth as a value play this week.
Kurt Busch won some people some money last weekend being an underowned somewhat dominator. This week, he went out and grabbed the pole in rather dominating fashion! Can he manage to stay there? Think there is no answer? You’re so stupid! There is!
In my mind, I can see this being a year where the pole sitter leads under 20 laps, as we have seen a few times in the past 5 years. Jimmie Johnson led 1 lap in 2016, Carl Edwards led 19 in 2015 and Brad Keselowski led 14 in 2013.
Why do I see this happening? Joe Gibbs Racing and friends. Kurt will have to deal with a Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin filled top 4, and with all of them being teammates or aligned, there is an easy path to see Kurt being pushed out of the way earlier than most might think. While I will have some ownership on Busch, I will in all likelihood go well under the field on ownership of him.
We could just as easily put Matt Kenseth here, but his upside is muted due to the fact that he is in different equipment this year than in the last five years of dominance at Loudon. Fortunately, we have Kyle Busch who has just been a monster at this track. In the last five years, he has yet to have less than 50 fantasy points, and has managed to lead laps at Loudon regardless of where he has started. At the 4th position this week, I am putting his floor at 50 laps led, with potential for over 100 and the win. He is someone I would strongly consider for all formats and will be my highest owned of all the top tier drivers.
Kevin Harvick. He has been the guy who everyone wants to play in 2018, but as the season tails on, and we move away from the mile and a half tracks, I can see there being some disappointment for Harvick owners. At the end of the day, at the 14th starting position, there is plenty of upside for Harvick. We know he is going to have a strong car. The problem is that I see a tough path to laps led for the second week in a row. While he is a solid place differential play that I am not going to argue with, why would you not just go with the safer and cheaper Kyle Larson? I have been spot on with my Harvick fades this year, including last week, and I am going to tempt fate once more.
The season is winding down, a lot of guys need to do something to make it into the playoffs, and one guy in particular sets up well here: Daniel Suarez. I am 100% sure that is not the name you expected to see here. This is not an overreaction to the fact that he finished high here in 2017. This is a reaction to the fact that in 8 races on this track type, he has 8 top 20s, 7 top 10s and 1 top 5. Sure, things can always go sideways for Suarez, but this is a prime spot for him to try to pull off the win. Either way, with his starting position, he is likely to fly under the radar completely, setting him up as a solid tournament play.
Kurt Busch is an easy candidate for this section, but as a result of being on the pole and the off chance he stays at the top, I have to go another direction. Alex Bowman seems to just have qualified too high for this race. While he has done fairly well from a drivers rating perspective on this track type, he really does not have a lot of upside, and provides a significant amount of downside. There are at least half a dozen guys behind him that I can see passing him, giving him a scary low floor. With the ceiling not being very high in my opinion either, I think this is a week I do not mind fading Bowman.
Staying with the theme of track dominance from last week, I am going Kyle Busch as the winner for this week’s race. I can there being a significant amount of Toyko drifting here. And you know what happens with Tokyo drifting? It leads to bickering. Which, of course, leads to karate. All jokes aside, there is no reason to believe that Busch should not continue his dominance at this track and pick up yet another victory in 2018.
While last week was another one of the better tracks for Brad Keselowski, Loudon provides another return to a favorite of his. He and Paul Wolfe constantly work differing strategies than the field, and we have seen it work out many times. It has yet to materialize this year, but it is not hard to believe that we will see it happen soon. Starting sixth gives him the upside to be a solid tournament play, but there is still a lot of risk there in terms of playability in cash games. I can see him weaving his way to the front by the third stage and staying there to get to Victory Lane for the first time in 2018.
CASH FAVORITES: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray, Austin Dillon
TOURMNAMENT FAVORITES: Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Michael McDowell, David Ragan