Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
Although NASCAR officially returned last weekend with the Advance Auto Parts Clash, most season-long fantasy NASCAR leagues get going this weekend with the 59th running of the Daytona 500.
The season opener may be the most famous race of the year, but it is merely the first of a 36-race grind, especially when it comes to the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game. Over the course of the year, each driver can only be used nine times, and the biggest challenge is budgeting how you use your drivers.
Obviously, you want to score as many points as possible each and every week, but at the same time, you have to think about the big picture. You want to try to use drivers at their best tracks, and you want to avoid wasting the top drivers in all three tiers.
At a track like Daytona where wrecks tend to strike early and often, there is a high probability that at least one of the drivers in your lineup is going to wreck. With that in mind, Sunday's race is a perfect time to utilize some sleeper options.
The only thing worse than starting the season with a bad race is starting the season with a bad race and burning up starts from the top options while getting nothing in return. Any driver that survives the chaos at Daytona can deliver a solid finish, so target drivers who you don't plan on using very much over the rest of the year.
1. BRAD KESELOWSKI, #2 MILLER LITE, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
Keselowski won two of the four restrictor-plate races last year, and he was dominating at Talladega in the fall when he suffered an engine failure. In addition to the two victories, he led the most laps of any driver at plate tracks, leading 40-plus laps in three of the four races. He has five plate wins under his belt already, and a Daytona 500 win could be next.
2. DENNY HAMLIN, #11 FEDEX, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
He is the defending winner of the Daytona 500, and over the last few seasons, Hamlin has been one of the most dependable options at the plate tracks. In the last 10 plate events, he is tied for first with four Top-5s, tied for second with six Top-10s and ranks third in driver points scored.
3. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
Logano has become one of the dominant drivers in the series, and his success has extended to the plate tracks. He has scored more points than any other driver in the last 10 restrictor-plate events, and he has a series-leading three wins over the same stretch. His win in the Clash at Daytona could be a sign of things to come this Sunday.
4. KEVIN HARVICK, #4 JIMMY JOHNS, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
It's actually been a few years since Harvick has won a plate race, but he remains one of the most consistent performers. He has six Top-10s in the last 10 restrictor-plate events, and he has just two finishes outside the Top 15 during that span.
5. DALE EARNHARDT, JR., #88 NATIONWIDE INSURANCE/MOUNTAIN DEW, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]
Even though he missed the second half of last season, I don't expect much rust from Junior in his return. After all, he is one of the most decorated restrictor-plate performers in NASCAR history, and Junior's 10 plate wins are the most among active drivers. In 2015, he finished third or better in all four plate races.