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NASCAR DFS: FireKeepers Casino 400 DraftKings Lineup Tips

NASCAR DFS Expert Brian Polking reveals his final tips before the big race!

FireKeepers Casino 400

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Building a winning DFS NASCAR lineup at DraftKings for Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan will require a balanced approach.

With a scheduled distance of 200 laps, Sunday's race at the speedy, 2.0-mile oval falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum regarding points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. While Michigan has more laps than a road course event or last weekend's race at Pocono, it has significantly fewer laps than a 500-mile race at a 1.5-mile oval or a short track event.

As a result, you can't ignore driver points and place differential and expect to make up the difference by picking the one or two drivers that spend the most time out front. With that in mind, I won't hesitate to spend up for one of the many big names starting deeper in the field to pair them with one of the drivers I fell can do some damage in the laps led and fastest laps run categories.

Get your final lineups locked in at DraftKings, and don't forget to check out the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

Building Blocks

Kevin Harvick ($10,600)

An ill-timed caution during his qualifying run has a lot to do with why he is starting 29th, and Harvick now has so much upside through place differential that he is a must-own in all DFS games. Keep in mind that he has five second-place finishes in the last six races at Michigan, and he has led the second-most laps during the same stretch. He has a high floor and the potential for a monster point total.

Joey Logano (9,800)

Logano's history of success at Michigan with Team Penske is undeniable. In six races, he has six top 10s in six starts, and he ranks first in both average finish and laps led. In fact, Logano has led at least 20 laps in four of the six races. Starting from the pole, a dominant performance could be on tap for Logano this weekend.

Difference Makers

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300)

He ranks outside the top 10 in laps led at Michigan, and even when he finished third in both races last year, he didn’t lead a lap in either event. However, Truex starts on the front row Sunday, and he was excellent on longer runs in practice. A breakout performance at MIS could be on tap, and he could make an excellent contrarian option to build your lineup around in GPP games.

Jimmie Johnson ($10,000)

His average finish at Michigan is a little disappointing, but bad luck has played a big factor. He ranks first in both laps led and fastest laps run at MIS, and Johnson was a top-five car throughout practice Saturday. He also has some upside through place differential after qualifying 16th. Johnson could log bonus points in a variety of categories and post a strong finish. The potential for a big point total is there.

Matt Kenseth ($9,900)

After qualifying 19th, Kenseth has solid upside through place differential this weekend. He also has a good chance to do some damage in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Kenseth currently ranks third in both categories, and he led 146 of the 200 laps in a win at MIS last August. He could be the total package in the scoring system at DraftKings.

Clint Bowyer ($6,700)

Bowyer starts 34th Sunday, so his upside through place differential is obvious. However, it is a big question mark as to whether he can capitalize on that upside or simply stay mired back in the pack all afternoon. With nine top 10s in the last ten races at Michigan, Bowyer could be worth a roll of the dice, especially if you are looking for a difference maker in GPPs.

Aric Almirola ($6,400)

I expect Ty Dillon and Paul Menard to be among the more popular cheap drivers this weekend, but Almirola could make a great contrarian option. He starts 30th, but he has cracked the top 20 in six of his last eight starts at MIS, finishing 14th last August. He could be a sneaky source of 30-plus fantasy points.

Chris Buescher ($5,200)

Although it would be nice if Buescher had qualified deeper in the field than 22nd, you would have a tough time finding another driver in this price range with more potential. Buescher has quietly reeled off three straight top 25s, and he was a top 20 car in practice this weekend. He could deliver around 30 fantasy points while opening up a ton of cap space.

Drivers to Fade

Austin Dillon ($8,200)

Dillon had a strong car in practice Saturday, but after qualifying eighth, he is going to have to contend for a win this weekend to justify his price tag. He has just one top 10 in seven starts at MIS, and with almost no upside through place differential, I will take my chances with one of the cheaper options starting deeper in the field.  

Ryan Blaney ($7,400)

He is normally one of my favorite mid-priced options, but qualifying fifth alters Blaney's appeal. As good as the rookie is, it is going to take a career day for Blaney to avoid a negative place differential. Even a solid top 15 will result in a lackluster score in the mid-20s. I just don't see Blaney helping out much this weekend.

Tony Stewart ($7,300)

If Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney hurt their value with strong qualifying efforts, Stewart obliterated his. He starts third, and he has shown no signs of being able to hang in the top 10, let alone the top five. With limited upside and the potential to destroy your lineup with a bad day, I'd avoid Stewart completely in all cash games and GPPs.

My Favorite DraftKings Lineup

Kevin Harvick (10,600)

Joey Logano ($9,800)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($9,400)

Clint Bowyer ($6,700)

Aric Almirola ($6,400)

Paul Menard ($6,300)

Starting so deep in the field, Harvick's ceiling is enormous, and Junior's value is nearly on par. Logano is my pick to score the most points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories, and my top three drivers all have a strong chance at being the top fantasy scorer this weekend.

I round out my lineup with three drivers starting 30th or worse. Starting 32nd with an excellent record at Michigan, Menard figures to be a popular pick. However, Bowyer and Almirola have similar upside through place differential, and neither should be as heavily owned as Menard.

Checkers-or-Wreckers Lineup

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300)

Jimmie Johnson ($10,000)

Matt Kenseth ($9,900)

Chase Elliott ($8,400)

Danica Patrick ($6,100)

Chris Buescher ($5,200)

Although he didn’t lead a lap in either race at Michigan last year, Truex did finish third in both events. He starts on the front row this weekend with a car that posted the best 10-lap average speed in Happy Hour. Among the expensive options, I expect him to have one of the lower ownerships. If he dominates Sunday's race, he will give me a huge leg up on the competition.

Johnson and Kenseth have very similar appeal. Both start outside the top 20, and both rank in the top three in laps led and fastest laps run at Michigan. At worst, they should deliver solid finishes and 10-plus bonus points through place differential, and both have the potential for much more.

Elliott doesn't have much upside through place differential, but as well as he has been running lately, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him earn his first win. Michigan has been one of Patrick's better tracks, and starting 25th; she could be a cheap source of around 30 fantasy points. Buescher could be a sneaky top 20 driver this weekend, and his price tag opens up a ton of flexibility under the cap.


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