Go Bowling 400
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
After throwing the typical NASCAR DFS lineup strategy out the window for last weekend's race at Talladega, it is time to get back to basics when assembling a winning roster at DraftKings for Saturday night's Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.
With 267 laps on tap, you need at least on driver who has a chance to earn a lot of points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. When you can pair the dominant driver with the drivers who take advantage of the place differential category, you have the recipe for a profitable lineup.
However, the balance between dominator points and place differential points was skewed this weekend when a dozen drivers failed to make qualifying runs, putting several Top 10 caliber drivers starting outside the Top 25.
With more points likely available in the place differential category than expected, you have to alter your approach a little but, especially in cash games. In fact, I think you can completely ignore all drivers starting up front and still build a winning cash game lineup. That's how much talent is starting deep in the field.
That same approach probably isn't going to work in GPPs. History says that around two drivers are going to lead 60-plus laps in Saturday's race, and there is a good chance one driver leads 100 or more laps. History also says that these drivers are going to start in the Top 10, likely the Top 5.
For GPPS, I think you need to build around at least one driver starting up front, if not two. From there, you can mix in some of those big names starting at the back and possibly a contrarian option starting in the middle of the pack to try to separate your lineup from the rest of the pack.
I've got my final cash and GPP picks ready to help you cash in at DraftKings this weekend. Don't forget to lock in your lineups for Saturday's Go Bowling 400 at Kansas, and don't forget that Sunday is Mother's Day.
Top Cash Game Plays
Kevin Harvick ($10,400)
He tends to be one of the most popular high-priced plays week in and week out, and I don't expect that to change at Kansas. After all, he has led the most laps at the track since 2014, and he finished second and first in two starts here a year ago. Harvick is one of your best bets for gaining exposure to the dominator categories without taking a huge risk.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,100)
I think Johnson needs to be a part of all cash game lineups this weekend. Starting back in 29th, he can post of the top scores simply by posting a solid finish. Considering he has three wins and a series-best 8.9 average finish at Kansas, I think you can count on him finishing near the front. Plus, Johnson always has a chance to help out in the dominator categories. His floor is ridiculously high.
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,700)
The trick for going after the dominator points in cash games is to try to figure out who will be the popular plays among the drivers starting near the front. Starting third with an impressive record at the 1.5-mile tracks, I think Truex's ownership will be through the roof. He led 172 laps at Kansas last May, and he has led a combined 199 laps in the last two races at 1.5-mile ovals this year.
Clint Bowyer ($8,600)
Missing qualifying has Bowyer starting back in 30th, putting him in position to post a sizeable point total just by having a decent finish. He has been rock solid at the 1.5-mile ovals so far in 2017, compiling a 10.7 average finish through the first three events. A similar run Saturday should put him among the top scorers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,300)
It's been a rough year for Junior, but thanks to his 33rd-place starting spot, he doesn't exactly need a great finish this weekend to post a useful score. He has so much upside in the place differential category that a Top 20 finish will put him over 30 fantasy points. Based on his practice speeds, I think he is more likely to finish in the 40-point range. Either way, he is one of the safest bets to provide a helpful point total.
Kasey Kahne ($7,800)
Despite his struggles in recent years, Kahne has been able to consistently challenge for Top 15 finishes at the 1.5-mile ovals, and he already has a couple of Top 12 runs in three races at 1.5-mile tracks this year. Starting back in 31st, Kahne is in perfect position to exploit the place differential category at the type of track where he tends to be at his best.
Erik Jones ($7,700)
Rookies can be unpredictable, but there isn't much risk with Jones now that he is starting 32nd. He has shown borderline Top 10 speed all year, and he has cracked the Top 15 in two of the three races at 1.5-mile tracks. He should gain 15-plus spots, and his potential in the place differential category makes him a safe mid-priced play with upside.
Michael McDowell ($5,700)
If you are looking for a punt-type play in cash games, I think McDowell is the way to go. He starts back in 35th after being one of the drivers to miss qualifying, but he has a 23.3 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and he finished 22nd at Kansas last fall. I think you can count on a Top 25 run and 20-plus fantasy points out of McDowell this weekend.
Top Tournament Plays
Joey Logano ($9,500)
Logano hasn't had a true dominant performance yet this season, but he runs in the Top 5 almost every week and has been leading more laps recently. I think his breakout run could come at Kansas where he has five Top 5s, including two wins, in six races since 2014. Logano has also led 40-plus laps three times in that span, and I could see him winning both dominator categories Saturday night.
Kyle Busch ($9,400)
Kansas used to be one of his worst tracks, but Busch led 69 laps on his way to a win here last May, and he has four straight Top 5 runs at the track. He is always capable of delivering an impressive performance, and starting fifth, Busch is a great contrarian candidate to win the dominator categories.
Matt Kenseth ($8,400)
With so many quality drivers starting way back in the field, I think Kenseth will be overlooked this weekend. However, he hasn't finished outside the Top 15 at Kansas in more than five years, and starting 14th, he has a little room to pad his score through place differential. He has also led more than 100 laps in two of his last three starts here. I love him as a contrarian option for GPPs.
Ryan Blaney ($8,000)
Even before winning the pole Friday, he already solid numbers at Kansas, including three straight Top 15s and Top 5 effort here last May. Now, he has a legitimate chance to lead a bunch of laps and finish among the top scorers at DraftKings. The last time the series visited a 1.5-mile oval, Blaney led a race-high 148 laps at Texas. I similar performance could be on tap Saturday night. I think you need at least one lineup where you go with Blaney to win the dominator categories and surround him with all the big names starting at the back of the pack.
Ryan Newman ($7,600)
We already know that the popular mid-priced plays are going to be the drivers who missed qualifying, so if you want to build in some differentiation into your lineup, you need to look elsewhere. Newman starts 19th, but he has finished 12th or better in his last six starts at Kansas. He still offers decent exposure to the place differential category, and I think he is a smart option if you are building a contrarian lineup.
A.J. Allmendinger ($6,200)
Allmendinger is probably my favorite contrarian play for larger GPPs. His inconsistent results at the 1.5-mile ovals were already going to minimize his ownership, and now that so many solid options are starting 30th or worse, I don't expect him to be a popular play at all. That being said, he has actually been pretty good at Kansas, logging four Top 15s in his last five starts, including a pair of Top 10s last year. Allmendinger has gained nine or more spots three times in that same span, and starting 22nd Saturday, he has a chance to make a similar move.
Landon Cassill ($5,200)
If you are looking for a cheap punt play, I think Cassill can get the job done. He's super cheap, and starting back in 36th, he has the place differential category working in his favor. Cassill has a 26.0 average finish in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks, and he has cracked the Top 30 in all three events. I think he can approach 20 fantasy points at DraftKings.
Drivers to Fade
Kurt Busch ($8,200)
He has been solid at the 1.5-mile tracks with Stewart-Haas Racing and that includes Kansas, but a solid finish alone isn't going to be enough with Busch starting sixth. I don't see him doing much damage in the dominator categories, and since he has next to no upside through place differential, I think he is dead weight at this price. I'd either take a chance on Ryan Blaney starting up front or go with any of the quality drivers who missed qualifying and have to start in the rear.
Aric Almirola ($6,400)
Almirola has been one of the my favorite low-priced options all year, especially in cash games, but he ruined his appeal when he qualified 13th. His value at DraftKings has come exclusively from the place differential category, and when he is starting outside the Top 25, his mid-pack finishes can be helpful. The same can't be said when he is starting much higher than he typically finishes. You need to find a different source of cap relief this weekend.
My Favorite DraftKings Cash Game Lineup
- Jimmie Johnson ($9,700)
- Clint Bowyer ($8,600)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8,300)
- Kasey Kahne ($7,800)
- Erik Jones ($7,700)
- Trevor Bayne ($7,100)
Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup
- Joey Logano ($9,500)
- Kyle Busch ($9,400)
- Matt Kenseth ($8,400)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,300)
- Ryan Blaney ($8,000)
- A.J. Allmendinger ($6,200)