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NASCAR DFS: Coke Zero 400 Post-Qualifying

NASCAR DFS Expert Brian Polking is giving you the top drivers to target on DraftKings following qualifying.

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Coke Zero 400

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The Sprint Cup Series is back at famed Daytona International Speedway this weekend, and at a track known for being unpredictable, it is fitting that Greg Biffle came out of nowhere to grab the pole. He turned a lap of 192.955 mph in the final round of qualifying to claim the top spot for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.

Biffle will be joined on the front row by Carl Edwards, and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, qualified third in a backup car. It was a strong showing for JGR overall with all four cars qualifying in the top eight.

The Ford teams also impressed. Led by Biffle, five Ford drivers made it to the final round of qualifying and will start in the top 10, including Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski, who completed the top five.

Of course for fantasy purposes, the drivers starting in the back of the pack this weekend are much more attractive than those that qualified near the front. After all, place differential is the most important scoring category at DraftKings at restrictor-plate races, and drivers that qualify deep in the field have the most points to gain and the fewest amount of points to lose in this category.

With all the wrecks that tend to occur in plate races, it isn’t uncommon for drivers to gain or lose 20-plus spots from where they start. Any driver starting up front could destroy your chances of winning by posting a big negative score if they wreck. On the flip side, a driver starting in the back could wreck and still finish with a modest point total, giving you a chance to still compete.

With the starting lineup locked in for Saturday night's race, it's time to take a closer look at the drivers to target for your DFS NASCAR lineups at DraftKings. Don't forget to check out the Coke Zero 400 at 7:45 p.m. ET on NBC.

Must-Own Drivers

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($10,600)

He has ten wins combined at Daytona and Talladega, and he has been one of the few drivers that has consistently led a lot of laps in plate races. In fact, no driver has led more laps in the last ten restrictor-plate events. He also starts 16th, so he also has some room to gain points in the place differential category. Junior has a chance to be a total package in the scoring system at DraftKings.

Kevin Harvick ($10,300)

Harvick is one of the best at staying out of trouble at the plate tracks, and he ranks second in driver points scored in the last ten restrictor-plate events. He has finished fourth or better in his last three starts at Daytona, and most importantly, he has plenty of upside through the place differential category after qualifying 21st.

Denny Hamlin ($9,800)

I try to avoid drivers starting in the top 10 in plate races, but Hamlin would be my one exception this weekend. He has finished sixth or better in five straight starts at Daytona, posting a series-best 5.2 average finish. Hamlin also won the Daytona 500 to open the year, leading a race-high 95 laps.

Value Plays

Chase Elliott ($8,800)

After torpedoing his fantasy value by winning the pole in the first two plate races, Elliott is much more appealing this weekend. He starts 24th so that he could gain 15 or more spots on his way to a big point total.

Jamie McMurray ($7,800)

McMurray has been an all-or-nothing fantasy option at restrictor-plate tracks, but with four plate wins under his belt, his upside is enormous. Throw in the fact that he is starting 29th with plenty of points to gain through place differential, and he has a chance to be a game-changer for your lineup.

Paul Menard ($7,400)

He has been one of the more underrated plate racers since joining Richard Childress Racing, and Menard has finished 18th or better in six of his last ten plate events. He will start 27th this weekend, so a solid finish and a place differential of around +10 is well within reason. He has plenty of upside as a mid-priced play.

Clint Bowyer ($6,900)

Bowyer has struggled with inferior HScott Motorsports equipment in 2016, but he will be on a level playing field this weekend thanks to the restrictor plates used at Daytona. He started 34th and finished seventh at Talladega in the spring, and after qualifying 31st for Saturday's race, a similar performance could be on tap. He has five finishes of 11th or better in his last seven starts at Daytona, including three top 10s in his last four starts.

Sleeper Special

Regan Smith ($6,000)

He started dead last Saturday night, so Smith has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain in the place differential category. He has also finished 16th or better in his last three starts at Daytona, logging a top 10 in this year's Daytona 500. If Smith ends up in or around the top 20, he will be a steal.

David Ragan ($5,900)

Ragan qualified back in 38th, so he is a low-risk sleeper with plenty of upside. He is a former winner at both Daytona and Talladega at the Cup level, so he has some legit potential. Plus, he only has to crack the top 25 to be a cheap source of 30-plus fantasy points by the time place differential points are factored.

2016 Coke Zero 400 Starting Lineup

Pos

No.

Driver

Sponsor

Make

1

16

Greg Biffle

Ford EcoBoost

Ford

2

19

Carl Edwards

Subway

Toyota

3

18

Kyle Busch

Interstate Batteries

Toyota

4

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fifth Third Bank

Ford

5

2

Brad Keselowski

Detroit Genuine Parts

Ford

6

3

Austin Dillon

Bass Pro Shops/NRA Museum

Chevrolet

7

20

Matt Kenseth

DeWalt

Toyota

8

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe's Patriotic

Chevrolet

9

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx

Toyota

10

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation

Chevrolet

11

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

12

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center

Ford

13

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

14

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield

Ford

15

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats

Toyota

16

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide

Chevrolet

17

42

Kyle Larson

Target

Chevrolet

18

5

Kasey Kahne

Great Clips

Chevrolet

19

14

Tony Stewart

Bass Pro Shops

Chevrolet

20

13

Casey Mears

GEICO Military

Chevrolet

21

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Beer

Chevrolet

22

10

Danica Patrick

Nature’s Bakery

Chevrolet

23

31

Ryan Newman

Florida Lottery

Chevrolet

24

24

Chase Elliott

SunEnergy1

Chevrolet

25

34

Chris Buescher

Love's Travel Stops

Ford

26

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger/Drumstick/Outshine

Chevrolet

27

27

Paul Menard

Duracell/Menards

Chevrolet

28

35

David Gilliland

Shaw's Southern Belle Frozen Food

Ford

29

1

Jamie McMurray

Credit One

Chevrolet

30

44

Brian Scott

Albertsons Co./Shore Lodge

Ford

31

15

Clint Bowyer

AccuDoc Solutions

Chevrolet

32

32

Bobby Labonte

OneOrlando.org

Ford

33

46

Michael Annett

Pilot Flying J

Chevrolet

34

38

Landon Cassill

Taco Bell

Ford

35

98

Cole Whitt

RTIC Coolers

Toyota

36

83

Matt DiBenedetto

Dustless Blasting

Toyota

37

95

Michael McDowell

KLOVE Radio

Chevrolet

38

23

David Ragan

Shriners Hospital

Toyota

39

55

Reed Sorenson

RoyalTeakCollection.com

Toyota

40

7

Regan Smith

Golden Corral

Chevrolet

FTQ

30

Josh Wise

Curtis Key Plumbing

Chevrolet


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