Goody's Fast Relief 500
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The Sprint Cup Series is at Martinsville Speedway, and setting your season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups for a short track event can require a variety of strategies depending on the scoring format.
In the Yahoo game, it's all about finishing position. As a result, you can focus solely on targeting drivers with solid track records at Martinsville and solid speeds in practice this weekend. Starting up front also tends to be a benefit here, and it is no coincidence that all my drivers are starting in the top 15.
In the NASCAR.com game, the laps led and fastest laps run categories need to be your top priorities. With 500 laps on tap, Sunday's race is tied for the most points available in these categories of any race all season. Drivers routinely lead over 200 laps in races at Martinsville, so you will want to take at least two drivers who have a chance to dominate the race. With so many points up for grabs, having a bad week at Martinsville can having a significant impact on your standing.
For the FOX game, I tend to let qualifying dictate my lineup strategy. Place differential is the main way drivers can post big point totals in this system, and this weekend, several quality drivers are starting in the middle of the pack or deeper. As a result, I'm going with a balanced approach, focusing on drivers who can challenge for solid finishes and gain 10-plus spots in the process.
Check out a complete look at my season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups, and make sure to check out the Goody's Fast Relief 500 from Martinsville Speedway Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing
Jimmie Johnson (A)
It was just a couple of years ago when Johnson was a must-start option at Martinsville. His numbers have dipped slightly, but after seeing his resurgence in the Chase, a similar return to form could be on tap at Martinsville. He starts third, and I expect the eight-time Martinsville winner to be a major contender for the win Sunday.
Ryan Newman (B)
With higher-ceiling B-List drivers like Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne owning mediocre numbers at Martinsville, I'll save them for another week and go with Newman. His driving style if perfect for this track, and he has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts here. He qualified in the top 15, and I expect him to hang there all afternoon.
Jamie McMurray (B)
Sticking with my B-List sleeper strategy, I'll opt for the safe floor of McMurray. He has seven top 20s in his last 10 starts at Martinsville, finishing 16th or better in five of his last seven starts. He also has four top 10s here since 2013, including a second-place run last fall, so has some upside. A top 15 starting spot should help ensure another solid performance.
Jeff Gordon (C)
Gordon is a no-brainer play this weekend. Not only does he offer a quality C-List alternative to Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, but he is also one of the best ever at Martinsville. He won here last fall for his ninth win at the track, and in 46 starts, he has 37 top 10s. He qualified in the top 10 Friday, and he should finish there Sunday.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Martin Truex Jr. ($27.50)
Kevin Harvick or Matt Kenseth would be safe choices, but with 500 laps on tap, I need to make sure to do as much damage as possible in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Truex starts on the pole with a car that has been fast all weekend, and he is in prime position to lead plenty of laps Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson ($26.00)
He is back to dominating races since the Chase began, and Johnson has always been one of the best in the business at Martinsville. In addition to his eight wins, he ranks first in laps led and second in fastest laps run. Starting third, he should pad his totals in both categories on his way to a massive point total.
Austin Dillon ($22.75)
Dillon has been a master of the place differential category at Martinsville, and he should continue the trend this weekend after qualifying 32nd. He has gained seven or more spots in four of his five starts here, including 25 in the spring race this year. Look for him to be one of the biggest movers and highest scorers this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($15.50)
His record at Martinsville isn't attractive, but his 39th-place starting spot certainly is, at least from a fantasy standpoint. Stenhouse has a ton to gain and nothing to lose in the place differential category, and he only needs a mid-pack finish to post a big score.
Brian Scott ($6.75)
I had my eye on David Ragan heading into the weekend, but his 12th-place qualifying run gives him unappealing place differential potential. Instead, I'll opt for Scott, who comes at a similar price tag and has been better in recent weeks. He has finished 22nd or better in three of his last four races, and he finished 26th at Martinsville in the spring. Starting 35th, he only needs to approach the top 25 to post a decent score.
FOX Fantasy Auto Racing
Brad Keselowski ($11,800)
It kills me not to own Kevin Harvick, but Keselowski offers similar upside, and the money I save allows me to build a balanced lineup on a week when several bigger names qualified deeper in the field. He starts 19th, and he has finished in the top 10 in six of his last nine starts at Martinsville, including two top five finishes in his last three starts.
Matt Kenseth ($10,200)
He has six top 15s in seven starts at Martinsville since joining Joe Gibbs Racing, and the lone exception came last fall when he was dumped by Brad Keselowski. More importantly, he has four finishes of sixth or better in the last six races here, giving him serious upside through place differential after qualifying 17th.
Kurt Busch ($10,200)
Although he tends to be an all-or-nothing play at Martinsville, it is a lot easier to take a chance on Busch since he is starting 23rd. He is a two-time winner here, and few drivers have been as consistent since the Chase began. He just needs to challenge for a top 10 to top 40 fantasy points, and his ceiling is even higher.
Austin Dillon ($10,000)
Dillon is a pricey No. 4 driver, but history says he will be well worth it. He starts 32nd after a spin in qualifying, but he is no stranger to charging through the field at Martinsville. He has gained at least seven spots in four of his five starts here, and he gained a race-high 25 positions on his way to a fourth-place finish in the spring race. He should pile up bonus points through place differential this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,200)
Stenhouse is a roll-of-the-dice play given his ugly record at Martinsville, but with a qualifying wreck relegating him to the 39th starting spot, he has too much upside through place differential to ignore. He can reach 40 fantasy points simply by sneaking into the top 20, and even a top 30 finish will result in a serviceable point total.