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NASCAR DFS: AAA Texas 500 Lineup Tips

As the drivers prepare to start the AAA Texas 500, Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking reveals his final DraftKings lineup tips!

AAA Texas 500

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The Sprint Cup Series visits Texas Motor Speedway, and if you are going to make some cash playing DFS NASCAR, you need an aggressive strategy to conquer the fastest 1.5-mile oval on the schedule.

The length of Sunday's AAA Texas 500 is critical, and with 334 scheduled laps, the laps led and fastest laps run categories are going to carry a lot of weight. In addition to sheer number of points available in both categories, history suggests that one driver is going to lead over 100 laps while two drivers will likely combine to lead a majority of the event.

History also suggests that the dominant drivers are going to start up front, probably in the top five. Unfortunately, the drivers that start up front at the 1.5-mile ovals tend to be the top drivers in the series, which means they won't come cheap.

You can afford to take a balanced approach in cash games, but if you want to hit it big in a larger GPP, you probably need to top load your lineup with a few big names while taking some fliers on a couple of low-priced options to fit under the salary cap.

Don’t forget to finalize your DFS NASCAR lineups for the AAA Texas 500, and be sure to check out the action Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

Building Blocks

Kevin Harvick ($10,900)

His practice times Saturday left a lot to be desired, but Harvick appeared to be focusing on long runs, and he has been happy with his car all weekend. He has finished third or better in three of his last four starts at Texas, and he ranks third in laps led at 1.5-mile tracks in 2016, winning the most recent event at Kansas. Starting third, Harvick could dominate the laps led and fastest laps run categories on his way to being the top scorer.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)

He has led by far the most laps at 1.5-mile tracks this season, and Truex led a race-high 141 laps in the spring race at Texas. He posted the best 10-lap average speed in Happy Hour, so he looks to have a car capable of leading more laps and contending for the win. Starting 12th, he could even pad his score a bit through the place differential category. Truex looks like the total package for Sunday's race.

Brad Keselowski ($9,600)

Keselowski has led his share of laps at Texas in recent years, leading 20-plus laps in five of the last six races and leading 312 of the 334 laps here last fall. He starts fourth with a car that topped the charts in Happy Hour, so Keselowski should score his share of points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories this weekend. Expect him to contend for the win and top scorer honors.

Difference Makers

Kyle Busch ($10,200)

His weekend started with a wreck in opening practice, but after qualifying 24th in a backup car, he showed top five speed in Happy Hour. Busch leads all drivers with a 5.0 average finish in the last ten races at Texas, and at the very least, he should pad his final score with plenty of points in the place differential category. If he can also get to the front and lead some laps, Busch could post a massive score.

Chase Elliott ($9,200)

The rookie has been solid at 1.5-mile tracks all year, but he has been particularly stout recently. He led more than 70 laps at Chicagoland and Charlotte, and he finished fifth in his Texas debut in spring. Elliott showed top five speed throughout practice Saturday, and if the recent results are any indication, he could be a serious player for the win and an excellent alternative to the top-priced drivers.

Carl Edwards ($8,900)

Edwards is enjoying a rock solid weekend, qualifying and practicing in the top 10. He is also a three-time winner at Texas, and he has four straight top 10s here, including a seventh-place run in the spring when he led more than 100 laps. He probably won't be as dominant this weekend, but he is certainly capable of finishing in the top 10 and logging a few points in the fastest laps run categories. He also has a puncher's chance at repeating his strong showing from the spring.

Austin Dillon ($7,900)

Winning the pole makes Dillon a much riskier pick. If he wrecks or struggles, he is going to destroy a lineup. However, his practice times have remained solid in race trim, and he has been a top 10 performer at 1.5-mile tracks all year. If he can lead some laps early and hang in the top 10 all day, he will still end up posting a great score for the price. He could be an underutilized stud, and I'm looking at him in GPPs.

Ryan Newman ($7,800)

Newman has been decent but not spectacular at Texas recently, but he showed top 10 potential throughout practice, and he has some upside through place differential after qualifying 18th. With many owners likely targeting sleepers starting outside the top 20, Newman could be a great contrarian play.

Ryan Blaney ($7,500)

He has been a boom-or-bust option at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and Blaney is even more of an all-or-nothing play after qualifying in the top 10. Still, he showed excellent speed in practice, and there is no doubt he can deliver a top 10 Sunday. He could be a great value in GPPs if you are willing to roll the dice.

Michael McDowell ($5,600)

McDowell has quietly found some speed in recent weeks, posting a 17.5 average finish over the last two races. He has delivered solid runs at two 1.5-mile tracks during that stretch, and he showed surprising speed in practice Saturday. He starts 28th, and with a car that shows top 20 potential, McDowell could be the seal of the weekend.

Drivers to Fade

Jimmie Johnson ($10,800)

Johnson can never be counted out completely, but despite his incredible record at Texas, including four straight wins in the fall race, he hasn't shown elite speed all weekend. His track record here will likely have his ownership high, and while I don't blame anyone for rostering him, fading him in a few lineups could be pay off if he ends up grinding out a top 10 rather than contending for another win.

Paul Menard ($6,600)

He showed decent speed in practice Saturday, and he has had several solid runs at Texas over the years. Unfortunately, his sixth-place effort in qualifying kills his appeal. Even with a good run, he is probably going to lose around ten spots, and if he struggles, he is likely going to finish with a negative score.

Casey Mears ($6,000)

Mears' price tag is appealing, but his 13th-place starting spot all but guarantees he will finish with a negative place differential. His ceiling is probably a top 25, so there is good chance he is only going to break even in points by the time place differential is factored. Look elsewhere for cap relief.

My Favorite DraftKings Cash Game Lineup

Kevin Harvick ($10,900)

Kyle Busch ($10,200)

Kasey Kahne ($8,400)

Alex Bowman ($7,400)

Trevor Bayne ($6,700)

Chris Buescher ($6,200)

With 334 laps on tap, I still need to be able to score points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories, and Harvick should do just that. He has been happy with his car all weekend, spending practice perfecting his long-run speed. He is my pick to dominate Sunday's event.

Busch is the ideal No. 2 driver for a cash lineup. Starting 24th, he can post a big point total simply with a solid finish. Meanwhile, his numbers at Texas are among the best in the series, so he could also chip in some points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories.

The rest of my lineup consists of drivers starting outside the top 15, and Kahne, Bayne, and Buescher all start outside the top 25. Starting 31st, Kahne is particularly valuable. He is one of the hottest drivers in the series, and I could see him gaining 20-plus spots and finishing as one of the top scorers without ever leading a lap.

As always, the overall focus on place differential should allow this lineup to be competitive even if one of my drivers has a lackluster effort.

Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)

Chase Elliott ($9,200)

Carl Edwards ($8,900)

Austin Dillon ($7,900)

Ryan Blaney ($7,500)

Michael McDowell ($5,600)

When the Cup Series visited Texas in the spring, Truex and Edwards dominated a majority of the event. I have both in my lineup, and based on practice times, a repeat performance isn't out of the question, especially from Truex.

Elliott and Dillon are also sleeper candidates to lead a chunk of laps, and even Blaney and McDowell showed impressive speed in practice.

Of course, every driver in this lineup aside from McDowell starts in the top 12, so I have to get solid finishes from my entire lineup to have a shot at cashing. On the flip side, this lineup has an excellent chance of earning a lot of points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories.

Equally as important, there probably aren’t going to be many people willing to take a chance on so many drivers with so much to lose through place differential, so I should have a shot at a big payout if this lineup delivers.


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