Last week featured another serving of unfortunate luck for some of the top drivers. It also offered another fresh face to take the checkered flag. Even more, it elevated several drivers into positions they may not have otherwise finished. All in all, it was a frustrating week.
Thankfully, we get to say goodbye to Daytona for a while. This week, the boys travel farther south to take on the oval at Homestead. With the change of scenery comes a change in race strategy. No more worrying about getting caught up in a major wreck with the potential to take out over half the field. No more worrying about right turns and silly chicanes. For the first time in the season, we get back to good old oval track racing.
Denny Hamlin is the favorite to cross the finish line first here. He did it last season and would love to do it again. Once again, the starting lottery has shuffled up the deck quite nicely. Many good drivers will need to put in some work if they want to find themselves at the front when they cross the finish line.
Here are some of my favorite plays from this week’s Monkey Knife Fight contests. Scoring in these contests is based on finishing positions inside the Top 20 with 20 points awarded to first place. An additional 0.1 points are tacked on for each lap led. Below are some picks to help you get started in your MKF contests.
Denny Hamlin More Fantasy Points Than Kevin Harvick (+1.5)
Working under the assumption that Denny Hamlin will be the winner of this race, it’s a solid bet he will win this prop. Hamlin walked away in first place last season in dominant fashion. Last year, he led 137 of Homestead’s 267 total laps. On top of all that, this week, he’ll roll off already perched at the top spot. It will be hard for Kevin Harvick to finish better than first.
As for Harvick, he’ll certainly be in the mix on Sunday and may even have you sweating this pick somewhat. That said, he’ll need to finish anywhere from third on to make this a winner. He’s done exactly this five years in a row. Last season’s 26th-place showing was the worst of the bunch. Before that, his best finish was third, which he did twice in four years.
Martin Truex Jr. (+1.5) More Fantasy Points Than Chase Elliot
Since Chase Elliot assumed a full time ride in 2016, Martin Truex Jr. owns the head-to-head of this prop by a 3-2 margin. Over the last three seasons, it’s quite literally been a battle at the top. In 2017, Truex Jr. won the whole thing. In 2018 and 2019, he finished in second. Elliot assumed the runner up position last season crossing the finish line right behind Denny Hamlin.
It’s been a wild start to the season for both drivers. After a strong second place finish in the 500, Elliot suffered a miserable day on the road course. He finished a disappointing 21st after beginning the day from the pole. As for Truex, he only managed to finish one spot better than he started in the opening race of the season. He moved up from the 26th to the 25th spot. Last week on the road course though, he enjoyed a 12th-place finish despite stating 19th. Two spots will separate these drivers as they begin on Sunday. Truex will start in ninth while Elliot from the 11th position. All they have to do is maintain this interval to make this a winning prop.
More Or Less
Denny Hamlin More Than 19.5 Fantasy Points
Once again here, this prop is banking on the belief that Hamlin will win this race. But in all actuality, if he even has a Top-10 finish and leads at least 100 laps, he could still make this work. The fact of the matter is that he will lead many laps and he is very likely to at least finish somewhere at the top of the leaderboard. Barring any catastrophe, he will have a fantastic opportunity to hit this prop.
Martin Truex Jr. More Than 16.5 Fantasy Points
As was stated earlier, Truex Jr. has enjoyed a certain level of success at this track over the last few years. From 2017-2019 he had a win and two second place finishes. Overall on this track, he’s finished fourth or better six total times out of 16 tries. He’ll need that same finish or a combination of laps led with a Top-5 finish to cash this prop. He’s fully capable of doing so and is hungry for a better run than he’s had to start the year. Look for him to hit his marks and hit this mark in the process.