Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
Qualifying and practice for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 are in the books, but before the green flag flies, it's time to build some winning DFS NASCAR lineups.
Unlike last weekend at Daytona when it was all about finding drivers starting at the back who could survive the wrecks, it is going to require a much more balanced approach to cash on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The place differential category is still going have some value, especially when it comes to finding cheaper options. However, the laps led and fastest laps run categories deserve even more attention, and you are going to want to anchor your lineups with a couple of big names.
Even with NASCAR's new stage format, there is a good chance that one or two drivers are going to lead a bulk of the laps. Having at least one of these drivers on your roster is going to be a must if you plan on winning big.
Top Cash Game Plays
Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
Johnson has started outside the Top 15 in his last two starts at Atlanta, and he has gone on to lead 50-plus laps and win both of those races. He starts 18th this Sunday, so he should at least be able to score a chunk of points in the place differential category. Johnson has a high floor and an even higher ceiling.
Kevin Harvick ($10,200)
Harvick has dominated Atlanta since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, leading 100-plus laps in all three races. He started in sixth or better in all three of those races, and after grabbing the pole, he is in position for another dominant run. Harvick had his car dialed in on long runs in practice, and he should be the popular pick to build around.
Matt Kenseth ($8,600)
His 9.3 average finish over the last 10 races at AMS is the best in the series, and over the last three races, he has two Top 5s and has led a combined 110 laps. Starting 16th, he has potential through the place differential category, and he could also do a little damage in the dominator stats. He is a bargain at this price.
Clint Bowyer ($8,400)
Atlanta has never been his best track, but Bowyer is a relatively low-risk play after qualifying in the 25th spot. Based on his practice times, he should be able to at least crack the Top 20 and log some positive points in the place differential category. His safe floor should have him on your radar in cash games.
Kasey Kahne ($8,000)
He is going to be a popular play, but Kahne is basically a must-own driver in cash games. He starts 29th, but he posted a Top 10 time practice and has traditionally run well at Atlanta. Kahne gained at least nine spots in four of the final five races at 1.5-mile tracks last year, and he could gain 15-plus spots Sunday. He should be one of the biggest movers and highest scorers among the mid-priced options.
Aric Almirola ($6,700)
Almirola normally has a limited ceiling, but he has run well at Atlanta. He has four straight Top 20s, including three straight Top 15s. Starting 30th, he can post a solid score simply by extending his streak of Top 20s. If he ends up in the Top 15, he will be an absolute steal. Either way, he is a safe, solid cash game play.
Michael McDowell ($5,700)
He was unable to make a qualifying run, but his 36th-place starting spot makes him a perfect cash game cap saver. He has nothing but upside in the place differential category, and last year, he closed the season with four Top 25s in the final five races at 1.5-mile ovals, gaining an average of 10 spots in those races.
Top Tournament Plays
Kyle Busch ($10,400)
While Kevin Harvick is my favorite to be the top scorer, I also expect him to be a very popular play. However, Busch also starts near the front, and he has an excellent record at Atlanta. He could easily end up winning the dominator categories, and if you're fading Harvick in GPPs, Busch is one of the top alternatives.
Chase Elliott ($9,300)
He made an immediate splash at Atlanta last year, finishing in the Top 10 in his track debut. Meanwhile, he closed the year with a couple of dominant runs at 1.5-mile ovals, and he has shown a ton of speed again this weekend. He is a dark horse to win the dominator categories, and he be could be a great contrarian pick to build around this weekend.
Austin Dillon ($8,200)
Both his price tag and his starting spot have him in mid-pack no man's land this weekend, but it could keep Dillon's ownership numbers down. Dillon starts 19th, but he finished 11th at AMS last year and was a consistent Top 10 threat at 1.5-mile tracks. An ideal GPP sleeper not only has upside, but they aren't a popular pick. Dillon could check both boxes Sunday.
Erik Jones ($7,400)
Jones has been searching for a little speed this weekend, but starting in the middle of the pack, he has enough upside to take a flier on in GPPs. Don't forget: Jones is arguably the top young talent in the Cup Series, and he has the equipment to make an immediate splash. He should only get better as he logs more laps, and by the time the checkered flag waves Sunday, Jones could be challenging for a Top 15 finish.
Ty Dillon ($6,100)
He doesn't have a ton of experience at the Cup level, but he did make a start at Atlanta last year, and he finished 17th. Dillon showed solid long-run speed in practice Saturday, and starting back in 26th, he has room to gain some points in the place differential category. There are some other potential cheap options starting a little deeper in the field that could drive down Dillon's ownership, but I think Dillon has a higher ceiling than guys like Michael McDowell, Aric Almirola and Chris Buescher.
Drivers to Fade
Brad Keselowski ($10,000)
I expect Keselowski to have a solid run this weekend, but solid isn't good enough when you are paying $10,000 for a driver. He has just one Top 5 in eight starts here, and he has led just 38 total laps in those races. Among drivers priced at $10,000 or more at DraftKings this weekend, Keselowski is averaging the fewest fantasy points per race. I won't have a ton of exposure to him this weekend.
Jamie McMurray ($7,800)
He has shown decent speed this weekend, but McMurray's history at Atlanta is far from inviting. In 23 starts, he has never logged a Top 5 finish, and he only has four Top 10s. In addition to having a low ceiling, I'm very concerned about his Top 10 starting spot. He has started in the Top 5 in the last two races at AMS and lost a combined 56 spots in those races. I'm avoiding McMurray in all formats.
Ryan Newman ($7,600)
Newman has been consistent at Atlanta, and he actually has three Top 10s in his last four starts here. However, he only has one Top 5 in his last 10 starts at AMS, and since he is starting second, he is almost certain to lose points in the place differential category this weekend. In fact, he is going to destroy lineups if he has major trouble. At the very least, he needs to be avoided in all cash games, and I don't really love his upside in GPPs either.
My Favorite DraftKings Cash Game Lineup
- Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
- Kevin Harvick ($10,200)
- Matt Kenseth ($8,600)
- Kasey Kahne ($8,000)
- Aric Almirola ($6,700)
- Michael McDowell ($5,700)
Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup
- Kyle Busch ($10,400)
- Joey Logano ($9,700)
- Chase Elliott ($9,300)
- Austin Dillon ($8,200)
- Chris Buescher ($6,200)
- Ty Dillon ($6,100)