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Ford EcoBoost 400
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The 2016 Sprint Cup season comes to a close this weekend, which means it is go- or go-home time for fantasy owners in season-long leagues. The strategy you adopt for Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway depends on where you stand in your league, but no matter how you approach the race, you will have the entire offseason to live the decision.
If you are lucky enough to be at or near the top of your league, the decision is a little easier. Stick with the popular picks, and you should be able to be able to secure a strong final ranking. If you have some significant ground to make up, you have to decide if you want to roll the dice with a high-risk, high-reward lineup.
In the Yahoo game, this means loading up on high-upside alternatives in each of the three driver tiers. If you pick the obvious choices, you might have a good week, but you have no chance of gaining ground. You have to go out on a limb and hope the popular picks have trouble.
In the NASCAR game, your best chance to make a move is to score as many points as possible in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Of course, this is the basic strategy most weeks, but you need to take it the next level. Consider punting two roster spots to load up on three drivers with a realistic chance to dominate the race.
The biggest opportunity to gain ground comes in the FOX game. With the main source of bonus points coming through place differential, any driver starting deep in the field has the chance to be a high scorer. The problem is that many of the drivers who start in the back end up staying there. It's a risk that could be worth taking, and you could end up posting a huge score if you happen to hit on multiple sleepers.
Check out a complete look at my season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups, and make sure to check out the Ford EcoBoost 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC.
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing
Joey Logano (A)
You can make a strong argument for Jimmie Johnson or Kyle Busch and even Kevin Harvick for that matter. However, Logano has momentum after his win at Phoenix, and he has been the best at 1.5-mile tracks down the stretch. He has three top-three finishes in four races at 1.5-mile tracks during the Chase, and he led the most laps at Texas a couple of weeks ago. Logano also led 72 laps and finished fourth at Homestead last year.
Carl Edwards (B)
Even if Edwards weren't running for the title, he would be a great option this weekend. He has finished 12th or better in nine of his last ten starts at Homestead, winning twice during that span. Starting in the top 10 with a title on the line, I'll be shocked if he doesn't end up in the top five.
Kyle Larson (B)
I'm going all out in the season finale, and Larson offers race-winning upside this weekend. He has cracked the top 15 in all three starts at Homestead, logging a top five finish last year. I'm not too worried about his 24th-place starting spot. He started 23rd last year before charging to a top five finish.
Alex Bowman (C)
I've used up all of my starts for Chase Elliott, but fortunately, Bowman has been running as well as any C-List driver has all year. He nearly won last weekend at Phoenix, and he has been a consistent top 10 driver at the 1.5-mile tracks. Expect him to end the year on another high note.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Kevin Harvick ($28.00)
Harvick grabbed the pole for Sunday's race, and two of the last three drivers to start on the pole at Homestead have led well over 100 laps. Harvick himself owns a series-leading 6.1 average finish in the last ten races here, and he has led 40-plus laps in both starts with Stewart-Haas Racing, winning in 2014 and finishing second last year. Don't be surprised if Harvick dominates the laps led and fastest laps run categories on his way to being the top scorer.
Martin Truex Jr. ($26.75)
He has been a force at the 1.5-mile tracks all year, leading by far the most laps in the series. Truex has also been excellent at Homestead throughout his career, so another dominant showing is a real possibility, especially after his sixth-place run in qualifying.
Kasey Kahne ($23.50)
I was tempted to focus solely on the laps led and fastest laps run categories, but Kahne looks like a slam dunk pick thanks to his upside through place differential. He starts 29th, but he has cracked the top 10 in all four races at 1.5-mile tracks during the Chase, posting a +13.5 average place differential in those races. Kahne could easily gain 20-plus spots and finish as one of the top scorers.
Ty Dillon ($13.25)
Going with a mid-priced option like Kahne allows me to spend up a bit on my cheaper drivers, and Dillon is a safe bet to post a solid scorer. He qualified back in 34th, but he has been able to run in and around the top 20 in a majority of his starts. He should provide an excellent point total for the price by the time place differential is factored in.
Regan Smith ($7.00)
He doesn't have a huge ceiling by any means, but Smith is as cheap as they come, and he should be able to finish with a modest point total. He starts 35th, but he finished inside the top 30 in the last three races at 1.5-mile tracks, finishing 26th or better twice. At the very least, I know he isn't going to lose a bunch of points.
FOX Fantasy Auto Racing
Kyle Larson ($11,500)
In three starts at Homestead, Larson has never finished outside the top 15 while posting a +12.3 average place differential. After qualifying 24th, he should fall right in line with those averages again this weekend. He should be one of the bigger movers, and 40-plus fantasy points is well within reach.
Joey Logano ($11,400)
Logano doesn't start deep in the field, but his 13th-place qualifying run does give him some room to pad his score through place differential. He finished fourth at Homestead last year, and he has finished third or better in three of the races at 1.5-mile tracks during the Chase.
Kasey Kahne ($10,500)
There is a good chance Kahne finishes as the top scorer this weekend. He qualified back in 29th, but he has cracked the top 10 in all four races at 1.5-mile tracks in the Chase, posting a combined place differential of +54 in those starts. Kahne is one the short list of drivers who could surpass 50 fantasy points this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,300)
He struggled a bit in qualifying, but starting 14th simply gives Johnson some added upside through place differential. He has seven top 10s in the last ten races at Homestead, including three straight, and I expect him to have one of his best runs at the track with a championship hanging in the balance.
Alex Bowman ($5,000)
For the minimum price, Bowman is a worthwhile option based only on his potential for a solid finish. The fact that he starts 19th and has some upside through place differential only bolsters his value. He has been a top 10 driver on a weekly basis as a sub for Dale Earnhardt Jr., especially at 1.5-mile tracks.