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NASCAR DFS: AAA 400 Lineup Tips

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking gives his final lineups tips before the AAA 400 is under way!

AAA 400

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The AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway is fast approaching, but before the green flag waves at "The Monster Mile," it is time to try to make some money at DraftKings playing DFS NASCAR.

With 400 laps on tap for Sunday's race, the laps led and fastest laps run categories need to be your main focus. Passing is difficult at Dover, so it is common for one driver to get out front and stay there for long stretches. In fact, one driver routinely leads more than 150 laps.

Unfortunately, many of the top candidates to lead the most laps this weekend carry enormous salaries, so it is going to be tough to own more than one high-priced driver and still field a competitive all-around lineup. You can probably get away with owning two studs and four mediocre sleepers in a cash game, provided your two studs perform as expected, but in a tournament setting, you are probably going to have to pick one driver to build around.

Remember to get your lineups finalized and locked in, and make sure to follow along with the action Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

Building Blocks

Kyle Busch ($10,500)

He has been red hot heading into the AAA 400, piling up three wins and two second-place finishes in the last six races. Busch has also been stout at Dover over the years, winning twice and ranking third among active drivers in laps led at the track. Starting third, another dominant showing in the laps led and fastest laps run categories from the defending champ could be on tap.

Kevin Harvick ($10,400)

Harvick has been tough to stop at Dover since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, leading 693 laps in four starts. Last year, he finished second and first in two races here, and he led 355 of the 400 laps in the fall event. Starting on the pole, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him dominate Dover once again.

Difference Makers

Kurt Busch ($9,100)

His record at Dover doesn't inspire much confidence, but Busch was one of the stronger cars in practice this weekend. He has also been running well all season, and momentum counts for something. Busch starts in the top 10, and with his ownership likely to be on the lower end among drivers in the $9,000 range, he could be a great contrarian play if he can back up his practice times.

Denny Hamlin ($8,300)

Luck has never been on his side at Dover, but Hamlin has at least started to show some speed at the track. In fact, he led 118 laps here last spring. He starts sixth this weekend with a car that was fast in practice, and his lackluster record at Dover has his price tag reduced. He could end up being an under-owned bargain.

Kyle Larson ($7,900)

Larson has spent his short Cup career frustrating fantasy owners with his inconsistency. Still, his upside undeniable and he has been particularly solid at Dover, finishing 11th or better in all four starts, and he was stout in practice this weekend. Starting 23rd, Larson has a lot of upside through place differential, and when you throw in his top five potential, this is one week when you have to think about taking a chance on him.

Paul Menard ($6,600)

If you are looking for an alternative source of cap relief, Menard deserves a look. He doesn't have as much upside through place differential as similarly priced options like Danica Patrick or Clint Bowyer, but he was better than both in practice, and he has back-to-back top 10 finishes in the spring race at Dover.

Chris Buescher ($5,400)

Any driver in this price range is going to be a major roll of the dice, but Buescher did win at Dover in the XFINITY Series last season, and he was a top 25 car in practice Saturday. He appears to have the best car among the drivers from the smaller teams, and starting 30th; he doesn't have much to lose in the place differential category. If you want to try to free up a bunch of cap space, Buescher is the driver I'm monitoring.

Drivers to Fade

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($9,400)

Junior is starting on the front row, so unlike many weeks where he has a lot to gain through place differential, he has no upside in that category this weekend. Meanwhile, he doesn't tend to lead many laps, and he has led just 85 over the last ten races at Dover. Sandwiched between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, I don't see Junior spending much time out front this weekend either, so I don't see how he lives up to his lofty price tag.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,000)

Last fall, Stenhouse had his best career run at Dover, finishing eighth. Even if he duplicates that performance this weekend, he is going to finish with negative points in the place differential category. Qualifying fifth destroys whatever sleeper potential Stenhouse, and if he has trouble, he could torpedo your entire lineup with a negative score.

My Favorite DraftKings Lineup

Kevin Harvick (10,400)
Joey Logano ($9,600)
Kyle Larson ($7,900)
Jamie McMurray ($7,600)
Tony Stewart ($7,400)
Clint Bowyer ($6,400)

With Harvick and Kyle Busch both carrying massive price tags, it is hard to own both and still field a decent overall roster. As a result, I'm going all-in on Harvick, who starts on the pole, was excellent in practice and has owned Dover since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. I expect him to dominate the laps led and fastest laps run categories Sunday.

A will complement Harvick with Logano, and while he hasn't led a ton of laps at Dover, Logano does have eight straight finishes of 11th or better here. Starting 22nd, he is a safe bet to gain at least ten spots Sunday, so he should provide around 50 fantasy points with the potential for more.

The rest of my lineup is loaded with upside through the place differential category. Teammates Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray both start outside the top 20, and both finished in the top 10 in both races at Dover last season. Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer both start outside the top 30, but they showed top 20 speed in practice Saturday. Between these four drivers, I could add 40 or more points to my final score through place differential alone.

Checkers-or-Wreckers Lineup

Jimmie Johnson ($10,700)
Kyle Busch ($10,500)
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,700)
Greg Biffle ($6,800)
Danica Patrick ($6,200)
Chris Buescher ($5,400)

While he wasn't dominant in practice, you can never count out Johnson at Dover. Between the ten wins and the ridiculous number of laps led, no one would be shocked if he ended up being the car to beat Sunday. Plus, he starts 21st, so he should at least deliver a strong score thanks to a positive place differential. In other words, he still has a high floor, and while you may be overpaying a bit if he doesn't end up leading many laps, few drivers have a higher ceiling.

If Kevin Harvick doesn't dominate Sunday's race, but Kyle Busch probably will, so he is a must-own option if you decide to fade the pole-sitter. I will pair Busch with Truex, who is my sneaky pick to dominate the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Keep in mind that Truex led the most laps at Texas and Kansas in recent weeks, and he led the most laps at Dover last spring.

Biffle could be a real X-factor for this lineup. He was quietly one of the stronger cars on long runs in practice Saturday, and he appears to have a decent shot at flirting with the top 10. I don't think he will be an overly popular pick since he starts 16th and doesn't have a ton of room to gain points through place differential, so Biffle could be a driver that separates you from the pack in tournament play.

Patrick and Buescher start 31st and 30th, respectively, so both have plenty to gain and little to lose through place differential. More importantly, both are cheap, so they help me afford the combination of Johnson and Kyle Busch. If both Patrick and Buescher can sneak into the top 25, which should be doable, I will be happy.

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