Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season rolls on this weekend with a trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400. The race will be the first of a three-week West Coast swing, and it will also be the second race in a row at a 1.5-mile oval.
Granted, Vegas and last weekend's venue, Atlanta Motor Speedway, aren't identical tracks, but I still think you can look at the Atlanta results for potential preview of what's to come Sunday. With that in mind, I am taking a similar approach when assembling my rosters for my season-long fantasy NASCAR leagues.
For the second week in a row in the Yahoo game, I will be leaning on the bigger names in each tier. The 1.5-mile tracks tend to be the most predictable, so I don't mind using starts from the elite fantasy options. Equally as important, the top drivers from the top teams tend to excel because of the importance of horsepower and aerodynamics.
In the NASCAR.com game, I will be top loading my roster with three higher-priced options in order to maximize the points I earn in the dominator categories. This year, loading up on big names can be even more beneficial because the same drivers contending for the win and leading laps are also likely to earn a decent amount of bonus points for running up front at the end of the first two stages.
In the FOX game, I tried to target the drivers starting in the middle of the pack or deeper who have realistic chance to finish in the Top 10. Yes, drivers starting deeper have even more upside, but if they can't actually move forward, the upside is meaningless.
Get your lineups locked in for Sunday's Kobalt 400, and take a closer look at all my season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups.
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing
Brad Keselowski (A)
He is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and Keselowski has been locked in at Las Vegas. He has a 3.0 average finish and over the last four starts at the track, winning two of the last three races. After claiming the pole for Sunday's race, his hot streak looks poised to continue.
Kasey Kahne (B)
Kahne caught fire at the 1.5-mile tracks at the end of last season, and after a Top 5 run last weekend at Atlanta, it looks like the trend will continue. He has three Top 10s in his last four starts at Vegas, and starting seventh, another solid run seems likely.
Chase Elliott (B)
I'm using up another start from Elliott, but I want to capitalize on his upside at the 1.5-mile tracks. He was in the mix for wins at Chicago, Charlotte and Texas to end last season, and he was back in the thick of things at Atlanta last week. I see no reason he can't challenge for another Top 5 finish at Vegas this weekend.
Erik Jones (C)
I was very impressed with Jones last weekend at Atlanta, and his Top 15 finish was proof that he can deliver big results as a rookie. Vegas shares a similar layout to Atlanta, so I think the youngster can keep the momentum going, especially after a Top 10 effort in qualifying.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Kevin Harvick ($28.00)
After a mid-pack effort in qualifying, Harvick has so many avenues to score points. He should have no problem moving forward and taking advantage of the place differential category, and two years ago, he led the most laps and won here after starting 18th. Throw in the fact that he has been the best at earning stage bonus points, and Harvick has a high floor and a higher ceiling. Build around him.
Jimmie Johnson ($27.25)
Johnson has owned the dominator stats at Las Vegas, ranking first in laps led and fastest laps run by a sizeable margin. In fact, he has led 30-plus laps in five straight races here. After qualifying 16th, he should also be able to exploit the place differential category. Johnson has four wins at Vegas and has finished sixth or better in four of his last five starts at the track. He is a safe bet to be among the top scorers.
Brad Keselowski ($27.00)
Since I have two big names starting deeper in the field, want to make sure I get a piece of the dominator categories early in the race. Starting on the pole Keselowski should do just that. He is coming off a win at Atlanta, and he has won two of the last three races at Vegas.
Ty Dillon ($12.25)
Dillon was an excellent cap saver last weekend at Atlanta, starting 26th and finishing in the Top 15. He has a similar starting spot at a similar track this weekend at Vegas, so Dillon has a great chance to be a bargain for the second race in a row.
Cole Whitt ($5.25)
The sample size is small, but Whitt showed a ton of potential as a low-price sleeper last weekend, gaining 17 spots and finishing 20th at Atlanta. He remains dirt cheap, and since he is starting back in 33rd, he can only help himself in the place differential category. Given the low risk and the price tag, he is worth a flier.
FOX Fantasy Auto Racing
Kevin Harvick ($12,800)
Harvick is basically a must-own option in this format. He starts back in 19th, so there is a good chance he gains as many as 15 spots Sunday. In fact, he went from 18th to 1st at Vegas two years ago, and he has three Top 10s in his last four starts here. Harvick is the best bet to eclipse 50 fantasy points in this scoring system this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson ($11,200)
He has been one of the best at Vegas throughout his career, and with four finishes of sixth or better in his last five starts here, Johnson isn't slowing down. He starts 16th, and with his Top 5 potential, Johnson has a legitimate chance to reach 50 fantasy points.
Ryan Newman ($9,300)
Newman tends to be consistent, so I love to target him when he has a mediocre qualifying run. He starts outside the Top 20, but he has finished 13th or better in his last three starts at Vegas. Newman should be a safe source of 30-plus fantasy points by the time place differential is factored in.
Austin Dillon ($8,600)
Starting back in 22nd, Dillon has room to pad his score through place differential, and he has intriguing upside for a driver in this price range. He routinely challenges for Top 10s at 1.5-mile tracks, and he logged a Top 5 at Vegas last year. He has 40-point potential Sunday.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,700)
His price tag is definitely appealing, but Stenhouse has a chance to be more than just cap relief. He starts back in 29th, but he finished 12th at Vegas last year and 14th at Atlanta last weekend. If he can approach the Top 15 again Sunday, Stenhouse will be a cheap source of 30-plus fantasy points.