Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
After rain had washed out qualifying at Martinsville Speedway Friday, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams were able to get a couple of practice sessions on Saturday ahead of Sunday's STP 500. Now, it is time to get your DFS NASCAR lineups locked in.
The challenge for Sunday's race is going to be finding the proper balance between the dominator categories and the place differential category. The 500-lap distance of Sunday's race demands that you have at least a couple of drivers who are capable of leading a ton of laps. If someone leads 200-plus laps and you don't have them in your lineup, you won't be winning much.
On the flip side, the bad weather Friday has the field starting by owner points, so some strong options are starting deeper in the field, and I expect a few of the top scorers to come from the group starting toward the back.
In cash game, you can lean a little more heavily on the place differential category, but you still can't completely ignore the dominator stats. In GPPs, I would recommend going with two or three guys who can lead a chunk of laps, even if it means pairing them with a punt play or two.
Check out all my top cash and GPP plays and my favorite lineup combinations for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville.
Top Cash Game Plays
Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
With an outstanding resume at Martinsville, Johnson was likely to be one of the most popular plays regardless of how qualifying played out. Now that he is starting 17th, he becomes a no-brainer option in cash games. He can post a strong score simply through place differential and a solid finish, and Johnson is always capable of owning the dominator categories at Martinsville. He has a lot of avenues to score a lot of fantasy points at DraftKings.
Kyle Busch ($10,300)
Among the drivers starting in the Top 10, I think Busch is likely to be the most popular pick. I also think he is the most likely candidate to win the dominator categories. Busch had one of the strongest cars in practice Saturday, and last spring, he was the top scorer at Martinsville, leading 352 of the 500 laps on his way to the win. A repeat performance could be on tap.
Denny Hamlin ($9,700)
Hamlin offers a blend of reliability and upside at Martinsville. He has 17 Top 10s in 22 starts, including five wins, and he has finished third or better in three of his last four starts here. He also ranks second in both of the dominator categories at the track, and starting 12th gives him a little extra upside through place differential. He has the potential to dominate Sunday's race, and he has a safer floor than the drivers starting in the Top 5.
Matt Kenseth ($8,800)
Setting the field by points forces Kenseth to start 25th. It also forces you to roster him in cash games. He has just one finish outside the Top 15 in eight starts at Martinsville with Joe Gibbs Racing, logging five finishes of sixth or better and leading the second-most laps of any driver in that span. Kenseth can be one of the top scorers simply be finishing in the Top 10, and he might even chip in with some points in the dominator categories.
A.J. Allmendinger ($8,300)
Setting the field by owner points has Allmendinger starting 30th, and it puts him in a position to exploit the place differential category to the fullest. He has five finishes of 11th or better in six starts at Martinsville with his current team, so he could end up being the biggest mover Sunday. He is worth every penny in cash games.
Austin Dillon ($7,000)
His salary is as low as you will find it, and while Dillon has been inconsistent at Martinsville, he also managed a Top 5 finish here last spring. He has more upside than most of the other drivers in this price range, and starting 20th gives him room to pad his score through place differential. Dillon should at least provide decent production, and the price tag doesn't break the bank.
Ty Dillon ($6,400)
Dillon has been an excellent low-priced play all year, and I expect the trend to continue Sunday. Since Daytona, he has finished between 15th and 21st in every race. He starts 23rd, so he will finish with around 30 fantasy points with another mid-pack finish. Dillon offers the safe floor you look for in cash game cap saver.
Chris Buescher ($5,200)
I think the winning roster is likely going to include a punt play, and Buescher is your best bet. He starts 33rd, and while he hasn't done much this year, he has finished between 23rd and 27th in every race since Daytona. He should be able to flirt with a Top 25 finish and provide around 20 points at DraftKings for near the minimum price.
Top Tournament Plays
Kyle Larson ($10,000)
Larson doesn't have a history of dominating at Martinsville, but he is the hottest driver in the series right now, and he starts on the pole after qualifying was rained out. He was also excellent on long runs in practice. It wouldn't be a shock to see Larson dominate Sunday's race, especially in the first stage. I think you have to have some exposure to him in tournaments.
Brad Keselowski ($9,500)
Looking at the practice times Saturday, Keselowski appears to have one of the strongest cars. He also boasts an impressive record at Martinsville, logging seven Top 10s in his last ten starts and three Top 5s in his last four. Keselowski hasn't piled up a ton of points in the dominator categories here, but I think a breakout run could be on tap this weekend. He has top-scorer potential.
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,400)
Truex has been one of the faster cars week in and week out, and he looks to have another strong piece for Sunday's race. He starts third thanks to qualifying being rained out, and in three previous starts from the Top 3 at Martinsville over the last two years; he has led a combined 197 laps. Truex is a contrarian candidate to win the dominator categories this weekend.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,600)
While Matt Kenseth is likely to be the popular pick in this price range, Junior could be an effective alternative. He starts 21st, so he has almost as much upside in the place differential category as Kenseth. Junior has also been solid at Martinsville, logging five Top 15s in his last six starts, including three Top 5s.
Clint Bowyer ($8,000)
Starting in the Top 10 makes him a risky cash game play, but Bowyer has a strong track record at Martinsville and posted solid times throughout both practices Saturday. I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in the Top 5 this weekend, and I think his price tag and starting spot keep his ownership down.
Ryan Newman ($7,400)
Starting 11th, Newman doesn't have the upside through place differential that you normally look for in a cheaper option. On the flip side, he was a Top 5 car in both practice sessions, and if he runs in the Top 10, he will earn a decent amount of fantasy points from his finishing position alone. I think his starting spot will keep his ownership low, making him a potential difference-maker for tournament lineups.
Cole Whitt ($5,100)
The biggest surprise of Saturday's practices had to be Whitt. He showed Top 15 speed in both sessions, and among the options below $6,000, he appears to have the best car. Starting 31st, he will be an absolute steal if he can even come close to backing up his practice times.
Drivers to Fade
Chase Elliott ($9,100)
Elliott earned a spot on the front row after qualifying was rained out, but he has never finished better than 12th in three starts at Martinsville and looked like more of a mid-pack driver in practice. I think he can end up with a solid finish, but I expect him to lose some points through place differential, and I don't see him doing much in the dominator categories.
Daniel Suarez ($6,800)
There are bound to be learning curves for the rookie, and it looks like Sunday's race is going to be one of the times. Suarez was awful in practice Saturday, looking lost at times in the morning session. He starts 19th, and I'll be shocked if he doesn't lose spots over the course of the race. Suarez looks like no help this weekend.
My Favorite DraftKings Cash Game Lineup
- Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
- Denny Hamlin ($9,700)
- Matt Kenseth ($8,800)
- A.J. Allmendinger ($8,300)
- Austin Dillon ($7,000)
- Chris Buescher ($5,200)
Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup
- Kyle Larson ($10,000)
- Brad Keselowski ($9,500)
- Martin Truex Jr. ($9,400)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,600)
- Ryan Newman ($7,400)
- Cole Whitt ($5,100)