Hollywood Casino 500
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / NASCAR / Fox: Quick Picks
The Sprint Cup Series returns to Kansas Speedway this weekend, and as the ninth race of the year at a 1.5-mile oval, you should already have a pretty good idea of what strategies to use when setting your season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups.
Drivers tend to enjoy success across all 1.5-mile ovals within a given year, and this season has been no exception. As a result, you are going to see a lot of the same names popping up on all of my season-long lineups, despite the different scoring systems used in each league.
In the Yahoo game, I'm still loading up my lineup with big names. I budgeted my starts for the top drivers in each tier all year, and I'm certainly not going to leave any starts on the table down the stretch.
In the NASCAR.com game, I'm building a somewhat balanced lineup. I'm still giving myself a great chance to pile up points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories, but unlike the last few weeks when there were 300 or more laps scheduled, I'm putting a little more emphasis on the place differential category for Sunday's 267-lap event.
In the FOX game, there were a few bigger names who qualified in the middle of the pack which I viewed as must-own options. Since so the only way to post big scores in this format is the place differential category, you have to own drivers who have a great chance of gaining a bunch of spots, even if it that means sacrificing some roster flexibility.
Check out a complete look at my season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups, and make sure to check out Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC.
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing
Jimmie Johnson (A)
I like Johnson for a couple of reasons this weekend. For one, he is a three-time winner at Kansas with 16 top 10s in 20 starts. He is also the only driver who is guaranteed a spot in the next round of the Chase, so there is no pressure on him or his team. He has the high floor and high ceiling I look for in an A-List play.
Kasey Kahne (B)
I still have some starts from Carl Edwards and Kyle Larson I plan on using, but I'm going to stay on the Kahne bandwagon again this weekend. His third-place run at Charlotte last weekend was his fifth top 10 in the last six races and his eighth straight top 15. He also has the fifth-best average finish in the last ten races at Kansas, so I'm sticking with the hot hand.
Martin Truex Jr. (B)
I still have a couple of starts remaining for Truex, and I'm using one of them this weekend at Kansas. He led 172 laps here in May and had led the most laps in two of the last three races here. He has also led 411 more laps at 1.5-mile tracks than any other driver. I want to maximize the value of his starts, and Truex has been the best in the business at 1.5-mile ovals all season.
Chase Elliott (C)
Alex Bowman and Ryan Blaney both make solid options, but since I have starts left for Elliott, I'm going to use them. He has five top 10s in eight races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and he has led at least 75 laps in the last two races at 1.5-mile ovals. He offers top five upside as a C-List play.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Matt Kenseth ($27.00)
Kansas has been one of his best tracks, and Kenseth has led more laps here than any other driver. In fact, he led the most laps at Kansas last fall. He grabbed the pole for Sunday's race, so Kenseth should at least lead a chunk of laps early on. There is also a good chance he dominates the race and finishes as the top scorer.
Martin Truex Jr. ($26.50)
Truex has been the driver to beat at 1.5-mile tracks all year, leading by far the most laps of any driver. One of his best performances came at Kansas in May when he led a race-high 172 laps, and he has led the most laps in two of the last three races at the track. Starting fourth, don't be surprised if Truex is out front early and piles up plenty of points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories.
Jimmie Johnson ($24.50)
His price tag is still lower than normal after his summer slump, but Johnson is coming off a win at Charlotte and has led more than 90 laps in three of the four Chase races. He also ranks in the top two in both laps led and fastest laps run at Kansas, and he is a three-time winner at the track. Starting 21st, Johnson also has plenty of room to pad his score through place differential. He is a safe bet to finish as one of the top scorers.
Aric Almirola ($13.00)
Almirola is running as well as he has all year, finishing 17th, 16th and 15th the last three weeks. He has also enjoyed some success at Kansas, logging an 18th-place run in May and finishing 11th or better in four of his last seven starts. Starting way back in 35th, he is an affordable low-risk addition to my lineup, and he has some legit upside through place differential.
Brian Scott ($6.50)
His price tag is an obvious benefit, but Scott could chip in a modest point total of his own. He starts back in 32nd, and in two starts at Kansas, he has finishes of 12th and 22nd. He has also managed top 25 finishes in the two races leading up to Sunday's event. Scott could be a sneaky top 20 scorer this weekend, and at the very least, he won't destroy my lineup with a big negative score.
FOX Fantasy Auto Racing
Jimmie Johnson ($11,100)
After qualifying 21st, Johnson has a ton of upside through place differential and has to be considered the top option in this scoring system. He has 16 top 10s in 20 starts at Kansas, including three wins. Not to mention that he has probably been the best driver since the Chase began. Expect Johnson to be one of the biggest movers and highest scorers Sunday.
Kasey Kahne ($10,300)
Kahne starts 20th, but if you have been paying attention to his recent results, you already know he should be moving forward when the green flag flies. He has eight straight top 15 finishes coming into Kansas, and he has five top 10s in the last six races. He also a 9.3 average finish in the last ten races at Kansas, and he finished fourth in the fall race here last season. The red hot Kahne could make a run at 50 fantasy points.
Kyle Larson ($10,000)
On the heels of a 24th-place effort in qualifying, Larson is one of my favorite plays this weekend. In five starts at Kansas, he has three top 15s, including a second-place run. Last weekend at Charlotte, he started 25th and finished fifth, and a similar charge through the field and similar hefty point total should be on tap Sunday. He is one of the best bets to top 50 fantasy points.
Chase Elliott ($9,500)
While he crashed last weekend at Charlotte, Elliott once again led a ton of laps, continuing his recent run of dominance at the 1.5-mile tracks. He doesn't have a ton of upside through place differential after qualifying 13th, but with Elliott challenging for top five finishes on a routine basis, he still has a great chance to eclipse 40 fantasy points Sunday.
Aric Almirola ($6,600)
I am typically leery of taking chances on mid-pack drivers starting deep in the field, but there is too much to love about Almirola. He has three straight finishes of 17th or better entering Sunday's race, and he has five finishes of 18th or better in his last seven starts at Kansas, including four finishes of 11th or better. Meanwhile, he starts 35th, so he will add 15-plus points to his final score through place differential simply by cracking the top 20. Throw in the cheap price tag, and he is a low-risk investment with legit upside.