Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR DFS: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Lineup Tips

Don't miss Brian Polking's final NASCAR DFS tips for DraftKings players!

This Week's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400

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

Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers

Yahoo / Fantasy Live / Fox: Quick Picks

When setting a lineup for Sunday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, you can thank the rain on Friday for making the task both simple and difficult at the same time.

Since the field was set by owner points, all the top drivers are starting at the front of the field, and all the potential sleepers are lumped together in the back. As a result, the value of the place differential category is somewhat negated because drivers with similar price tags and similar finishing potential all have the same upside in the category.

With that in mind, picking the one or two drivers who dominate the laps led and fastest laps run categories this weekend is a must, even in cash games, because there are not likely to be many drivers who earn a bunch of points through place differential.

When looking for sleepers, you should focus mainly on which drivers can deliver the best finish. Comparable drivers are likely to be starting within a few starts of each other, so the difference in finishing position is likely to outweigh the minor difference in place differential.

Make sure to get your final lineups locked in, and make sure to check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Building Blocks

Kevin Harvick ($10,800)

In each of the six races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, a driver has led more than 120 laps. Harvick has accomplished the feat twice while finishing in the top 10 in all six races. He led 79 laps at Chicagoland in 2014, and he led ten more last before a cut tire ruined his race early on. Harvick starts fourth, and not only is he a real threat to be the top scorer, but he is the safest bet to finish as one of the top scorers.

Kyle Busch ($10,500)

Busch checks all the boxes when it comes to being a top pick this weekend. He starts on the pole, so he has a leg up on everyone else when it comes to leading laps. He has also led more than 40 laps in each of the last three races at Chicagoland, leading a race-high 121 laps last year. Busch already has two wins at 1.5-mile tracks under his belt this year, and he has led the third-most laps in a race at 1.5-mile ovals. All signs point to Busch putting together a big point total Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300)

When looking for a driver to build your lineup around, you look for a driver with a proven ability to lead laps. No one has been better at leading laps at 1.5-mile tracks this season than Truex. He has led more than 140 laps in three of the six races at 1.5-mile ovals, leading 524 more laps than any other driver in those six events. Starting sixth with a car that performed well in practice, another dominating performance could be on tap.

Difference Makers

Brad Keselowski ($10,100)

He always seems to come away with a strong finish, but Keselowski doesn't always dominate races, even in the races he wins. However, he has five straight top 10s at Chicagoland and has led at least 60 laps in each of his two wins at the track during the stretch. He starts on the front row, and I like him as a contrarian pick to be the top scorer.

Kyle Larson ($9,600)

Larson enters the Chase with plenty of momentum, and he has cracked the top 10 in both of his Cup starts at Chicagoland. Perhaps most importantly, he was the fastest car in practice Saturday. It certainly looks like he has the speed to dominate Sunday, and he is a great contrarian pick to build around.

Jimmie Johnson ($8,800)

Johnson hasn't looked like a title contender this year, but if the No. 48 bunch was hiding anything; it is going show up this weekend for the start of the Chase. Johnson had one of the best cars in practice. In 14 starts at Chicagoland, he has 12 finishes of 12th or better, including seven top 10s. Let's face it, no one would be shocked if the six-time champ goes out and dominates Sunday, and he has the potential to be the steal of the weekend.

Alex Bowman ($7,900)

His price tag is flat out ridiculous given his lack of experience driving premier equipment at the Cup level, but that price tag should also ensure most people avoid him when building their lineups. Meanwhile, Bowman showed top 10 speed during practice, and he has shown top 10 potential when he has subbed for Dale Earnhardt Jr. this year, albeit without great finishes. If you are looking for a risky sleeper who could set your lineup apart, Bowman is worth a roll of the dice.

Greg Biffle ($7,300)

Given his struggles at Chicagoland recently, I don't blame anyone for wanting to avoid Biffle this weekend, especially when there are drivers priced under $7,000 with similar numbers. However, Biffle showed top 15 speed in practice, and he has a chance to pad his score through place differential since he starts outside the top 20. His price tag and recent history at Chicagoland should drive down his ownership, making him a great lineup addition in GPPs.

Ryan Blaney ($7,100)

He has been up and down at 1.5-mile tracks in his rookie season, but with two finishes of sixth or better in six starts, his upside is legit. Starting outside the top 20 with a car that cracked the top 10 in practice, Blaney has a chance to deliver a big score for a very affordable price. I wouldn't hesitate to use him in any lineup this weekend.

Drivers to Fade

Tony Stewart ($8,100)

His numbers at Chicagoland are excellent, but he has finished 18th and 25th in his last two starts at the track. In fact, Stewart has been average at best at 1.5-mile tracks the last several years. Starting in the top 15, he could easily finish with a negative place differential, and he simply can't match the upside of other drivers with a similar price tag.

Chris Buescher ($7,200)

Buescher has multiple factors working against his fantasy value this weekend. Since the owner points were reset for the Chase, he is starting 13th after qualifying was rained out. Unfortunately, he has struggled to finish in the top 25 at 1.5-mile ovals this year, and he didn't show much speed in practice. Even if he finishes in the top 20, he is going to finish with a negative place differential, and there are plenty of other options in this price range that have higher ceilings and are less likely to ruin your lineup with a bad run.

My Favorite DraftKings Cash Game Lineup

Kyle Busch ($10,500)
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300)
Chase Elliott ($8,500)
Ryan Blaney (7,100)
Paul Menard ($6,500)
Aric Almirola ($6,000)

Normally, I would target one or two bigger names starting deeper in the field as part of my cash game lineup. Unfortunately, the field being set by points makes that strategy impossible. Instead, I will build around Busch and Truex, who are two of my top bets to dominate the laps led and fastest laps run categories.

As one of the drivers in the Chase without a win, Elliott has more upside through place differential than most of the other top options. He also showed top five speed in practice. Blaney showed similar speed in practice, and he starts outside the top 20. If both rookies crack the top 10, my lineup should be in great shape.

Menard and Almirola are classic cash game targets. Both are affordable and start outside the top 25, and while Menard showed top 20 potential in practice, Almirola has finished in the top 20 in three of his four starts at Chicagoland. Neither driver has a ton of upside, but both should be safe solid lineup additions.

Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup

Kevin Harvick ($10,800)
Kurt Busch (9,000)
Jimmie Johnson ($8,800)
Kasey Kahne ($7,500)
Greg Biffle ($7,300)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,600)

I would love to be able to afford Kyle Busch, Truex, and Harvick in the same lineup; it's just not possible unless I completely punt the rest of my lineup. Instead, I will build this lineup around Harvick, who can dominate a race on any given week at any track.

I'm counting on Busch to my secret weapon. At this price, I don't expect him to be a popular pick, but he is one of only two drivers who has finished in the top 10 in all six races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, leading double-digit laps in three of those races. He also has a 5.0 average finish in his last three starts at Chicagoland.

Johnson has been slumping, but he showed a ton of speed in practice, and his numbers at Chicagoland are among the best in the series. He could break out of his slump in a big way at any moment, and I'm hoping the start of the Chase causes it to happen this weekend.

Kahne and Biffle are two mid-priced drivers who I'm counting on having lower ownership. Yes, they are a little pricey compared to some other potential sleepers, but both start in the middle of the pack, so they have room to pad their scores through place differential. Meanwhile, Kahne has run very well in recent weeks and has a solid resume at Chicagoland, and Biffle showed top 15 in practice.

Stenhouse has been a top 20 driver at 1.5-mile tracks this year and has never finished outside the top 20 in three starts at Chicagoland. He starts 23rd Sunday, so I like his chances of providing a solid score for a bargain price.


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