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Fantasy NASCAR: Federated Auto Parts 400 Quick Picks

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking reveals the top drivers to target in the Yahoo, Fantasy Live and Fox NASCAR games!

Federated Auto Parts 400

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Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers

Yahoo / Fantasy Live / Fox: Quick Picks

Short track racing can be tough on drivers and fantasy owners alike, and Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway is no exception. There is simply more bumping and banging at a short track event, and even little problems can result in drivers losing multiple laps and falling out of contention.

On the plus side, we are late enough in the season that my long-term strategy in the Yahoo game can start to pay off. I have been saving the top drivers in each tier for the stretch run when the cream tends to rise to the top, and I can now start to load up my lineups on a routine basis.

In the NASCAR.com game, I am making sure to pay up for a few studs, including at least one starting near the front, to maximize my potential to score points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. There are 400 laps on tap, and with so many bonus points available in these categories, a bad lineup is going to have far-reaching consequences.

In the FOX game, several attractive options are starting deeper in the field that I will use to load up my lineup. However, you will have to get a little creative with some sleepers to be able to afford the top options, and the right sleepers could transform a great lineup into an elite one.

Check out a complete look at my season-long fantasy lineups, and make sure to check out the Federated Auto Parts 400 Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing

Kevin Harvick (A)

The season is winding down, and I have spent all season budgeting my starts from the top drivers. It is time to start unleashing the studs, and I'll start with Harvick at Richmond. His 7.9 average finish in the last ten races at RIR is tops in the series, and he has three top-five finishes in the last four races here.

Kyle Larson (B)

Larson has never finished worse than 16th in five starts at Richmond, and he has been one of the hottest drivers in the series in recent weeks, routinely challenging for wins. After qualifying second, I expect the hot streak to continue, and I'm going to try to ride Larson's momentum to another top five.

Jamie McMurray (B)

He has shown a safe floor and solid ceiling at Richmond, logging six straight finishes of 16th or better at the track and cracking the top five three times during the stretch. He qualified fourth, so at the very least, I expect McMurray to challenge for a top 10.

Jeff Gordon (C)

Although I don't have to save any starts from Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney at this point, I still like Gordon as an option this weekend. He has a 7.3 average finish in his last nine starts at Richmond, and he has finished 11th or better eight times in that span. He starts 11th, and he is a safe bet to finish in the top 15.

NASCAR.com Fantasy Live

Kevin Harvick ($28.00)

Harvick offers the best of both worlds in this scoring system. He starts 19th so that he can post a big point total through the place differential category. Meanwhile, he ranks in the top three in laps led and fastest laps run at Richmond, so he could also pad his score in those categories, as well. Either way, Harvick looks poised to be one of the top scorers.

Denny Hamlin ($25.75)

Since 2005, no driver has led more laps at Richmond than Hamlin, and he has led more than 200 laps a track four different times. He starts on the pole Saturday night, and the last time he led the field to the green at RIR, he led 381 of the 400 laps. Hamlin is in perfect position to deliver another dominant performance at Richmond.

Chase Elliott ($24.50)

It's not often that a driver with top-five potential qualifies outside the top 30, which is why it is hard to pass on Elliott after he qualified 34th.

Chris Buescher ($11.00)

Buescher needs a solid finish to guarantee himself a spot in the Chase, and he has been reeling off solid finishes recently, finishing 17th or better in four of his last six starts. He qualified back in 32nd, so if he makes another charge into the top 20, the place differential bonus points will result in a solid score for a great price.

Brian Scott ($5.75)

He is a risky play, but on the heels of a 35th-place qualifying effort, Scott is a relatively low-risk source of cap relief. At the very least, he can't lose many points through place differential, and if he manages to crack the top 25, he will end up providing a modest point total while helping to free up plenty of roster flexibility.


FOX Fantasy Auto Racing

Kevin Harvick ($13,900)

He has been the most dependable driver at Richmond recently, logging three top-five finishes in his last four starts at the track and posting a series-best 7.9 average finish in the last ten races. He rolls off 19th, so 15-plus bonus points and 50-plus total points are reasonable expectations. Harvick should be well worth his hefty price tag.

Brad Keselowski ($12,100) 

Keselowski has enjoyed several strong runs at Richmond recently, including a win in 2014. He has legit top five potential, and since he starts 17th, 35-plus points for his finishing position and another 10-plus point for his place differential could be on tap. Keselowski could flirt with 50 fantasy points this weekend.

Chase Elliott ($8,900)

He is an absolute must-own in this format at this price. Elliott had a poor qualifying run, but he is now a prime candidate to be the biggest mover of the race. He starts 34th, but he has finishes of 16th and 12th in two Cup starts at Richmond, and a 2.5 average finish in four XFINITY starts at the track. The rookie his 60-point potential this weekend, and he could easily finish as the top scorer.

Jimmie Johnson ($8,600)

Johnson doesn't have a ton of upside through place differential after qualifying 10th, but the three-time Richmond winner is still a solid value at this price. He has four straight top 10s at RIR, and at the very least, Johnson should be able to surpass 30 fantasy points based on finishing position alone. 

Paul Menard ($6,500)

His cheap price tag will help me afford Harvick and Keselowski, and he also has some decent potential in his own right. He starts back in 30th, but he has a 19.3 average finish over the last ten races at Richmond. Menard should be able to flirt with a top 20 finish and provide around 30 fantasy points.

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