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NASCAR DFS: Coca-Cola 600 Lineup Tips

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking delivers his final advice before the Coca-Cola 600 begins later today!

This Week's Coca-Cola 600

DraftKings: Post-Qualifying | Lineup Tips | Lineup Tips: Prevew

Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers

Yahoo / Fantasy Live / Fox: Quick Picks

The longest race of the year begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on FOX, but before the marathon that is the Coca-Cola 600 goes green, it is time to lock in your lineups at DraftKings.

Despite Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile layout, the 400-lap distance will make it seem a lot like a short track event from a strategy standpoint. After all, only races Bristol and Martinsville have more points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories, so make sure to lock in on at least two drivers that can deliver in those all-important categories.

The length and nature of the race also make it easy to roll the dice on drivers starting deeper in the field, especially if they have shown decent speed in practice. Not only do these drivers have ample time to get to the front, but the constantly changing track conditions that result from the falling temperatures will cause some drivers to improve greatly throughout the night.

The basic blueprint is the same as it is most weeks, but the Coca-Cola 600 amplifies it even more. Top load your lineup with a couple of studs, and don’t be afraid to load up the bottom of your lineup with drivers that have a ton to gain through place differential.

Building Blocks

Kevin Harvick ($10,500)

Harvick is always one of the safest options to build a lineup around at DraftKings, and with a top 10 starting spot and strong long-run practice speeds, he should deliver another big point total this weekend. He owns a series-leading 5.2 average finish in the last ten races at Charlotte, and he has led at least 100 laps in two of the last three races here. Expect Harvick to log plenty of points in the laps led and fastest laps run category and make a run at 100 fantasy points.

Jimmie Johnson (10,200)

While he hasn't been as consistently dominant at Charlotte in recent years, Johnson has still managed to lead at least 130 laps in two of the last five races here. He is also a seven-time winner at the track overall, and he had one of the two best cars on short and long runs during practice Saturday. A vintage Johnson performance could be on tap.

Martin Truex Jr. (9,800)

He dominated the 1.5-mile tracks of Texas and Kansas, and Truex looks well on his way to a similar performance Sunday. He starts on the pole with a car that showed incredible long-run speed in practice, and after leading 131 laps in last year’s Coca-Cola 600, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him surpass that total this weekend. Truex looks like the frontrunner to reach victory lane and finish as the top scorer at DraftKings.

Difference Makers

Matt Kenseth ($9,900)

He is starting 27-th, so at the very least, Kenseth figures to pile up plenty of points in the place differential category. The question is whether he can take his score to the next level by also leading some laps. Considering no driver has led more laps at Charlotte in the last ten races, the potential for a big point total is there.

Kurt Busch ($9,000)

Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, Busch has three finishes of 11th or better in four starts at Charlotte, and he led 118 laps in the Coca-Cola 600 last year. Busch posted excellent times in race trim during practice, and he could be a sneaky factor for the win Sunday. The downside is that Busch doesn't have a ton of points to gain through place differential, so you may up overspending if he isn’t able to get to the front and lead some laps.

Chase Elliott ($8,600)

While he doesn’t have a ton of upside through place differential starting 12th, Elliott could earn his point in the other categories this weekend. He has been one of the best drivers in the series over the last couple of months, and his practice times suggest that he has one of the cars to beat this weekend. A top five finish and some bonus points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories aren’t out of the question. Granted, he is one of the pricier middle-tier drivers, but his high ceiling and potential to contend for the win make him a great driver to target in GPP play.

Kyle Larson ($8,400)

He is a boom-or-bust driver that can make or break your lineup, but he is worth the risk if you plan on winning larger GPPs. Larson has the talent to win on any given week, and he nearly did so at Dover two weeks and in the All-Star Race last weekend. Starting 24th, Larson has plenty of points to gain through place differential, and his practice times indicate that he is at least a top 10 driver this weekend.

Aric Almirola ($6,700)

Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon are sure to be popular mid-priced options, but Almirola could be a sneaky alternative. He doesn’t have as much to gain through place differential since he is starting 20th, but on the flip side, he will save you more than $1,000 compared to either Kahne or Dillon. He has also managed two finishes of 11th or better in his last four starts at Charlotte, so a top 15 is a real possibility.

Trevor Bayne ($6,300)

While I normally like my low-priced drivers starting deep in the field, Bayne is cheap enough that he could be worth a look despite his top 10 starting spot. Keep in mind that he has some momentum on his side with three top 10s in the last five races, and in practice Saturday, he was a solid top 15 performer. He is a risky pick because of all the points he could lose in the place differential category, but he could also be a cheap source of around 30 fantasy points.

Drivers to Fade

Tony Stewart ($7,800)

Stewart qualified and practiced as a middle-of-the-pack driver, and that is exactly where I expect him to finish. He may grab a handful of points through place differential, but not an amount that significantly boosts his score, and certainly not enough when you consider he is one of the more expensive mid-priced options.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,900)

His practice times have been solid, but by qualifying third, Stenhouse lost much of his sleeper appeal. Unless he is planning on winning, which I highly doubt, he is going to lose points in the place differential category. I don’t even expect him to score points in the laps led or fastest laps run categories. Rather than bank on Stenhouse having the best run of his career, I’ll take my chances with another cheap option starting deeper in the field.

My Favorite DraftKings Lineup

Jimmie Johnson (10,200)

Martin Truex Jr. ($9,800)

Austin Dillon ($8,200)

Kasey Kahne ($8,000)

Ryan Blaney ($7,500)

Trevor Bayne ($6,300)

Based on the practice sheets, Johnson and Truex appear to have the two best cars this weekend, and I am counting on both to pile up a ton of points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Truex in particular appears poised to dominate.

Dillon and Kahne are on the more expensive end of the mid-priced drivers, but with both starting outside the top 25 with the potential to finish in the top 10, I can’t pass up their upside. Both could surpass 50 fantasy points.

Blaney starts 18th with top 10 potential of his own, and he is fully capable of providing around 40 fantasy points for a reasonable price. Bayne is the biggest gamble because he will start in the top 10, but his price tag is a great selling point. If he can just hang in the top 15, which he has been doing a lot lately, he will be a worthwhile pick.

Checkers-or-Wreckers Lineup

Kevin Harvick ($10,500)

Kyle Busch ($10,200)

Kyle Larson ($8,400)

Kasey Kahne ($8,000)

Jamie McMurray ($7,300)

Brian Scott ($5,200)

While Truex and Johnson dominated the practice sheets, Harvick was plenty fast in his own right, and you can never go wrong building around the driver that has been the best in the series for the better part of two years. Not to mention the fact that Harvick has been among the best in Charlotte for the last five years.

Busch hasn’t jumped off the practice sheets this weekend, but he does own the second-best driver rating at Charlotte and has led the most laps here since joining the Cup Series. His numbers at 1.5-mile tracks are impressive, as well. He is the only driver with top-five finishes in all four races at mile-and-a-half ovals, and he has two wins to go along with an average place differential of +18.6, and he has led the second-most laps.

Larson, Kahne, and McMurray all start outside the top 20, and while Kahne and McMurray have both won multiple races at Charlotte, Larson nearly won the All-Star Race at Charlotte last weekend.

Scott’s main appeal is his low salary, but starting 30th, he doesn’t have to do much to finish with a positive place differential. He has been a top 25 driver the last few weeks, and I am hoping he can top 20 fantasy points while the rest of my lineup does the heavy lifting.

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