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Fantasy NASCAR DFS: STP 500 Post-Qualifying

Following the qualifying round at the Martinsville Speedway, Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking points out who to target on DraftKings for the STP 500!

STP 500

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Qualifying for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway was scheduled for Friday afternoon, but Mother Nature had other ideas. Bad weather washed out time trials, forcing NASCAR to set the field by owner points and putting point leader Kyle Larson on the pole.

He will be joined on the front row by rookie Chase Elliott, putting a pair of rising young stars up front. Martin Truex Jr. will start third, and Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano will round out the Top 5.

Having qualifying rained out complicates things a little bit when it comes to building DFS NASCAR lineups. With 500 laps on tap Sunday, there are a bunch of points available in the two dominator categories. Typically, drivers starting closer to the front tend to earn the most in those categories, but with the field being set by points, there are drivers up front who don't necessarily have the best cars.

Also, the field being set by points this early in the year has some big names starting deeper than they normally would, making more points available in the place differential category.

As appealing as it is to go after the safer place differential points, I don't think you can ignore the dominator categories and expect to win much, especially in GPPs. With one or two drivers likely to lead well over 100 laps, you can't make up those points with the place differential category alone.

There are still probably going to be a couple of drivers starting in the Top 10 who lead a lot of laps, so you will probably need to pair a few of drivers who start up front with a couple of the bigger names starting deeper in the field.

Now that the starting lineup for the STP 500 is set, the top DFS NASCAR plays start to become a little clearer. Check out my top picks.

Must-Own Drivers

Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)

His numbers at Martinsville are second to none, and in addition to his nine wins here, he ranks first in both dominator categories by an enormous margin. As a bonus, the bad weather has him starting 17th, so Johnson also has decent upside through the place differential category. He will be one of the most popular building blocks this weekend and rightfully so.

Kyle Busch ($10,300)

Setting the field by owner points has Busch starting 10th, putting him close enough to the front to continue his recent run of success at Martinsville. He was the top scorer at DraftKings in the spring race here last season, leading 352 of the 500 laps and logging a race-high 81 fastest laps on his way to the win.

Martin Truex Jr. ($9,400)

His numbers at Martinsville have been trending in the right direction, and starting third puts him in position to earn plenty of points in the dominator categories. This will be the fourth time in the last five Martinsville races that he has started third or better, and in his previous three starts from the Top 3, he led a combined 197 laps and led 20-plus laps in every race.

Matt Kenseth ($8,800)

Kenseth has been a stud at Martinsville since joining Joe Gibbs Racing, finishing sixth or better five times in eight starts and leading more than 500 laps. The field being set by points has him starting 25th, so he is in a position to post a strong score simply by delivering another solid finish. At the very least, you must roster him cash games.

Value Plays

A.J. Allmendinger ($8,300)

Heading into qualifying, I was planning on avoiding Allmendinger after seeing his price tag. However, the bad weather has him starting 30th, giving him a ton of potential in the place differential category at a track that has been one of his best. He has finished 11th or better in five of his last starts here, and I think his starting spot makes him a no-brainer addition to cash games.

Clint Bowyer ($8,000)

Starting eighth, Bowyer might not be the best cash game option, but he is certainly in play in GPPs. After all, he has seven Top 15s in his last ten starts at Martinsville, and he ranks in the Top 10 in both laps led and fastest laps run at the track. He could be a sneaky source of points in the dominator categories.

Austin Dillon ($7,000)

He has been hit and miss at Martinsville, but Dillon showed some upside at the track with a fourth-place finish last spring. His price tag is as low as it has been all year, and the weather has him starting 20th. The unusually low price and upside through place differential make him a potential steal.

Ty Dillon ($6,400)

Take out his crash at Daytona, and Dillon has finished between 15th and 21st in every race this season, establishing himself as one of the safest, most reliable lower-priced plays. Dillon starts 23rd, so there is a good chance he will pad his point total a bit through place differential. He should be a safe bet for 25-plus fantasy points.

Danica Patrick ($6,100)

Her price tag will give you some wiggle room under the cap, and she has some potential now that she is starting 29th. Patrick has finished in the Top 25 in three of her last four starts at Martinsville, finishing 16th and seventh in her last two starts in the spring race. I'm not counting on another Top 10 run this weekend, but a mid-pack finish and a solid point total aren't out of the question.

Sleeper Special

Chris Buescher ($5,200)

Buescher has been a major disappointment this season, but he has everything you look for in a punt play this weekend. He is super cheap, and since he is starting 33rd, he has the place differential category working in his favor. Buescher has managed to finish between 23rd and 27th in every race since Daytona, and a Top 25 finish Sunday would put him in the 20-point range at DraftKings and make him a useful source of cap relief.

2017 STP 500 Starting Lineup

Pos.

No.

Driver

Sponsor

Make

1

42

Kyle Larson

Target

Chevrolet

2

24

Chase Elliott

SunEnergy1

Chevrolet

3

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row/Denver Mattress

Toyota

4

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Ford

5

22

Joey Logano

Duralast GT

Ford

6

1

Jamie McMurray

Cessna

Chevrolet

7

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

8

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas Automation

Ford

9

4

Kevin Harvick

Jimmy John's

Ford

10

18

Kyle Busch

M&M's

Toyota

11

31

Ryan Newman

Chevrolet

Chevrolet

12

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx Express

Toyota

13

5

Kasey Kahne

Great Clips

Chevrolet

14

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation

Ford

15

77

Erik Jones

5-Hour Energy

Toyota

16

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

17

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe's

Chevrolet

18

43

Aric Almirola

STP

Ford

19

19

Daniel Suarez

ARRIS

Toyota

20

3

Austin Dillon

Okuma

Chevrolet

21

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Axalta

Chevrolet

22

27

Paul Menard

Duracell/Menards

Chevrolet

23

13

Ty Dillon

GEICO

Chevrolet

24

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal

Ford

25

20

Matt Kenseth

Tide Pods

Toyota

26

95

Michael McDowell

WRL General Contractors

Chevrolet

27

34

Landon Cassill

FR8 Auctions

Ford

28

32

Matt DiBenedetto

Keen Parts

Ford

29

10

Danica Patrick

TaxAct

Ford

30

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger Click List

Chevrolet

31

72

Cole Whitt

Bad Boy Mowers

Chevrolet

32

15

Reed Sorenson

Premium Motorsports

Toyota

33

37

Chris Buescher

Bush's Beans

Chevrolet

34

38

David Ragan

Camping World/Good Sam

Ford

35

83

Corey LaJoie

RMC Events

Toyota

36

33

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Little Joes Autos/Curtis Key Plumbing

Chevrolet

37

23

Gray Gaulding

SunFrog.com

Toyota

38

51

Timmy Hill

Go-Parts.com

Chevrolet


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