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Fantasy NASCAR DFS: Toyota Owners 400 Post-Qualifying

Following the qualifying round at the Richmond International Raceway, Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking points out who to target on DraftKings for the Toyota Owners 400!

Toyota Owners 400

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It has been an uneven start to the season for Matt Kenseth, but he took a big step toward getting things back on track during qualifying at Richmond International Raceway on Friday. With a lap of 121.076 mph in the final round, he claimed the pole for Sunday's Toyota Owners 400, his first pole of 2017.

He will be joined on the front row by Ryan Blaney, who will be making his third start from the front row this season. The red-hot Martin Truex Jr. will start third, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano completed the Top 5.

Richmond studs Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are lurking just outside the Top 5, and they will start sixth and seventh, respectively. Historically, the first seven spots have been a great indicator of who will end up in victory lane. Drivers who start seventh or better have accounted for 87 wins in 121 races at Richmond.

When assembling your NASCAR DFS lineups at DraftKings, you will want to pay close attention to the starting lineup. There has been a strong correlation between starting up front and leading laps at RIR. There have been nine drivers who have led 90-plus laps in six races at Richmond since 2014, and eight of those drivers have started sixth or better.

Seven drivers have led more than 150 laps in a race during that same stretch, and six of them have started in sixth or better. There have been three instances of a driver leading more than 200 laps at Richmond since 2014, and all three of those drivers started third or better.

In other words, you are going to want to anchor most of your DFS lineups with a couple of drivers starting up front. With 400 laps on tap, there are a lot of points available in the dominator categories. Expect at least one driver to score in triple digits at DraftKings, and you need to have that driver in your lineup.

Now that the starting lineup is set for Sunday's race, let’s take a closer look at my top NASCAR DFS plays for the Toyota Owners 400.

Must-Own Drivers

Kevin Harvick ($10,400)

He has one of the safest floors of any driver from one track to the next, and Harvick has been the model of consistency at Richmond. He has nine straight Top 15s at the track, and he has four Top 5s in his last five starts here. He also ranks in the Top 3 in both dominator categories. Starting sixth, he will have the track position to get to the front early on and post a huge score.

Martin Truex Jr. ($9,100)

All this guy does is score points in the dominator categories, and he enters Sunday's race ranked second in both laps led and fastest laps run. In fact, Truex has led 40-plus laps in five of eight races this year. He also led a race-high 193 laps at Richmond last fall. Truex will roll off third Sunday, so don't be surprised when he is back out front piling up points. As a bonus, you don't even have to pay a premium price to roster him.

Matt Kenseth ($8,800)

Kenseth has been on the mark at Richmond since joining Joe Gibbs Racing, logging six finishes of seventh or better in eight starts and leading the second-most laps of any driver in that span. More importantly, he starts on the pole, and the last two times he started on the front row at RIR, he led a combined 492 laps. Kenseth is in prime position to win the dominator categories and is one of the best bets to be the top scorer at DraftKings Sunday.

Austin Dillon ($7,400)

It's a been a wild weekend for Dillon already. He has a new crew chief, and since his car failed pre-qualifying inspection so many times, NASCAR forced the No. 3 team to forfeit pit stall selection and start at the rear of the field. On the plus side, he now starts 38th and has a ridiculous amount of upside through place differential and should be the biggest mover Sunday. He can post a big score simply by finishing in the middle of the pack, and he could easily finish as one of the top scorers. At the very least, you have to roster him in cash games.

© Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Value Plays

Denny Hamlin ($9,300)

If you are looking for a cheaper option to build around this weekend, Hamlin is about $1,000 less than the other top options, and his upside is on par with any driver in the field. He ranks first in both dominator categories at Richmond, and he won the fall race here last year. Starting 16th, he also has a little upside through place differential, boosting his value even more in cash games.

Erik Jones ($8,100)

All year, Jones has shown the ability to contend for Top 10 finishes and even run in the Top 5. His price tag keeps creeping up, but since he qualified 20th, he has enough upside in the place differential to justify using him this weekend. You will want him in a couple of GPP lineups in case.

Ryan Blaney ($7,900)

When Blaney started on the front row at Texas, I said he could be a cheap way to score points in the dominator categories, and he delivered by leading the most laps. He starts on the front row again Sunday, and I think he has the same type of upside. Make sure you have some exposure to Blaney in GPPs this weekend. You won't find another driver in this price range with his upside.

Trevor Bayne ($6,800)

After qualifying 29th, Bayne is going to be a popular pick this weekend, and he should probably be rostered in almost every cash game lineup. He finished 17th and 14th in two starts at Richmond last season, and Bayne has six Top 15s in eight starts this year and has yet to finished worse than 23rd. He has one of the safest floors of any driver this weekend.

Aric Almirola ($6,200)

He has been finishing in and around the Top 20 most of the year, and Almirola has finished 21st or better in eight straight starts at Richmond. Starting 25th, he should be able to capitalize on the place differential category, and Almirola looks like a cheap option with a safe floor this weekend. He is perfect for cash games.

Ty Dillon ($6,100)

Dillon was already underpriced, and now that he is starting 24th, he should be one of the safest options for freeing up cap space. He has finished between 15th and 22nd in every race since Daytona, and he usually lands in the Top 20. I'll be all over Dillon in cash games.

© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sleeper Special

Cole Whitt ($5,200)

Whitt has been an excellent short track sleeper this year, finishing 21st at both Martinsville and Bristol and gaining ten spots in both races. He starts 36th this weekend, so he once again has plenty of room to pad his point total through place differential. If you want to free up a bunch of cap space, Whitt is my top punt play.

2017 Toyota Owners 400 Starting Lineup

Pos.

No.

Driver

Sponsor

Make

1

20

Matt Kenseth

Circle K

Toyota

2

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

3

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats

Toyota

4

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fifth Third

Ford

5

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

6

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Light

Ford

7

18

Kyle Busch

M&M's

Toyota

8

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas Automation Demo Days

Ford

9

41

Kurt Busch

Mobil 1 Annual Protection

Ford

10

1

Jamie McMurray

Gearwrench

Chevrolet

11

19

Daniel Suarez

ARRIS

Toyota

12

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide

Chevrolet

13

31

Ryan Newman

Okuma

Chevrolet

14

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA Brakes

Chevrolet

15

2

Brad Keselowski

Detroit Genuine Parts

Ford

16

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx Ground

Toyota

17

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe's

Chevrolet

18

42

Kyle Larson

Credit One Bank

Chevrolet

19

5

Kasey Kahne

AARP Drive to End Hunger

Chevrolet

20

77

Erik Jones

GameStop/Prey

Toyota

21

10

Danica Patrick

Code 3 Associates

Ford

22

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger Click List

Chevrolet

23

37

Chris Buescher

Kingsford

Chevrolet

24

13

Ty Dillon

GEICO

Chevrolet

25

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield

Ford

26

27

Paul Menard

Rockstar Energy/Menards

Chevrolet

27

95

Michael McDowell

WRL General Contractors

Chevrolet

28

34

Landon Cassill

The Pete Store

Ford

29

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

30

38

David Ragan

Camping World/Good Sam

Ford

31

23

Gray Gaulding

sweetFrog

Toyota

32

32

Matt DiBenedetto

EJ Wade Construction

Ford

33

15

Reed Sorenson

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

34

83

Corey LaJoie

E.J. Wade Construction

Toyota

35

33

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Towne Bank

Chevrolet

36

72

Cole Whitt

TriStar Motorsports

Chevrolet

37

51

Timmy Hill

SleepFresh Mattress

Chevrolet

38

3

Austin Dillon

AAA

Chevrolet


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