Coca Cola 600
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600, and while Sunday’s race will be the fifth of the season at a 1.5-mile oval, the length of this event is important to consider when building a NASCAR DFS lineup at DraftKings.
Plain and simple, more laps mean more points available in both dominator categories, and there are 400 laps on tap Sunday night. The first four races at 1.5-mile tracks this year have featured between 267 and 334 laps, it is a significant jump in the points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories.
With that in mind, it becomes even more important to own the dominant drivers Sunday night, and based on recent history, you can expect a couple of drivers to both led 100 or more laps. History also suggests that you expect these drivers to start inside the Top 15, if not the Top 5. As important as clean air appeared to be in last weekend’s All-Star Race, I think the trend continues.
I think it is a must to own a couple of studs starting near the front this weekend, and I I’ll even go with three drivers starting up front in some lineups. Even in cash games, I think you need to dedicate a couple of roster spots to chasing the dominator points in order to be competitive.
You still need to be smart with your mid-priced plays and cheaper picks, but hitting on the drivers who do the most damage in the dominator categories should be the top priority. If you pick right, you will at least put yourself in position to win big this weekend.
I’ve highlighted my top cash and GPP plays in order to help you cash in at DraftKings, and don’t forget to get your lineups locked in for the Coca-Cola 600.
Top Cash Game Plays
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)
The beatdown Truex put on the field in last year’s Coca-Cola 600 won’t be forgotten this weekend, especially since he has continued to own the 1.5-mile ovals in 2017. In addition to wins at Las Vegas and Kansas, Truex ranks second in laps led and first in fastest laps run at the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He should be one of the most popular plays, making him a safe option for going after the dominator points.
Kevin Harvick ($10,300)
Harvick is always a popular play to begin with, and after he claimed the pole, he is guaranteed to be one of the highest-owned drivers. He has been one the most consistent performers at Charlotte, and no driver has led more laps at the 1.5-mile ovals this year. Sunday’s race will actually be the third time he has started from the pole at a mile-and-a-half track this year, and he led a combined 369 laps in the first two starts. Harvick gives you a great chance to gain exposure to the dominator points without taking a big risk.
Kyle Larson ($10,100)
He’ll probably be the most popular pick this weekend, so while you may want to fade him in a couple of GPP lineups, Larson should be 100 percent owned in cash games. Issues in qualifying inspection have him starting 39th, so he is in position to exploit the place differential category to its fullest. Larson has been a Top 5 machine at the 1.5-mile tracks this year, and another strong finish this weekend will make him one of the top scorers at DraftKings, even if he doesn’t earn a single point in the dominator categories.
Joey Logano ($9,600)
Logano just didn’t have the speed in qualifying, but he should be just fine come Sunday. In the meantime, his 23rd-place starting spot makes him one of the safest plays at DraftKings. Logano has been a Top 5 threat at all the 1.5-mile ovals this year, and he has five Top 15s in his last six starts at Charlotte, including a win in 2015. With all that upside through place differential, Logano just needs a solid finish to be one of top scorers this weekend.
Kasey Kahne ($8,000)
When Kahne qualifies in the back half of the field at a 1.5-mile track, he has typically been a strong DFS play. He will start 24th Sunday, so that means he should be a staple of cash game lineups. Kahne has eight Top 15s in the last 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks, gaining an average of 8.3 spots per race. He has three Top 15s in four starts this year, gaining 16-plus spots twice. Look for Kahne to use the place differential category to deliver a solid point total.
Ty Dillon ($6,900)
All season long, Dillon has been returning decent point totals for a minimal cost, and the trend should continue at Charlotte. He qualified back in 27th, but he has finished 21st or better in all four races at 1.5-mile ovals, compiling a 16.8 average finish. Dillon should sneak into the top half and make a run at 30 fantasy points by the time his place differential points are factored in.
Chris Buescher ($6,300)
Buescher isn’t likely to be a difference-maker for lineups, but his safe floor at a cheap price makes him an ideal source of cap relief in cash games. He starts back in 29th, but he has a 21.5 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks in 2017 and has yet to finish outside the Top 25. It won’t be flashy, but look for Buescher to stay out if trouble and deliver around 20 fantasy points at DraftKings.
Top GPP Plays
Jimmie Johnson ($10,200)
Johnson is in an interesting spot since he qualified 14th. I think Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are going to more popular plays because they are closer to the front, and I think Joey Logano and Kyle Larson will be more popular picks starting deep in the field. Johnson could slip through the cracks a bit, and the eight-time Charlotte winner is always a threat to go out and dominate here. Make sure you have him headlining a couple of GPP lineups.
Kyle Busch ($9,800)
I don’t think Busch will be overlooked this weekend by any means, but I also think his ownership will lag behind that of Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. As a result, I think he is a great GPP option to try to counteract the Harvick and Truex stacks. Busch won the All-Star Race last weekend, and he starts on the front row at a track where he has led the third-most laps among active drivers. He could end up winning the dominator stats this weekend.
Chase Elliott (9,300)
If you want more of a true contrarian to win the dominator categories, Elliott could be worth a flier. Granted, he hasn’t led a single lap at the 1.5-mile tracks this year, but he has shown Top 5 speed. He also led 103 laps at Charlotte last fall. It could be time for a breakout performance for Elliott.
Ryan Blaney ($9,000)
Blaney has been on point at the 1.5-mile tracks this season, ranking third in both dominator categories. In fact, he has led a combined 239 laps in the last two races at the 1.5-mile ovals alone. Starting in the Top 10 with a car that topped the charts in practice, Blaney has a chance to add to his recent success in the dominator categories Sunday. He is worth owning in a couple of GPP lineups.
Erik Jones ($7,800)
I normally like my mid-priced options to have some upside through place differential, but I’ll make an exception for Jones. The rookie has shown Top 10 speed all year, and after qualifying fifth, this could be his first chance at really contending for a win. Even if he just settles for a strong finish, he should be a useful GPP option since his starting spot should keep his ownership down.
Austin Dillon ($7,600)
It has been a miserable year for Dillon at the 1.5-mile tracks, but he has had success at Charlotte in the past, logging five finishes of 16th or better in six tries. Starting 22nd, he has some room to pad his score through place differential, and he could be a sneaky mid-priced play this weekend.
Regan Smith ($5,600)
Smith was added to the player pool after being announced as the substitute for Aric Almirola, and starting 25th, he is worth a look at this price. He didn’t look too rusty in the Monster Energy Open last weekend, and if he just stays out of trouble over the 600 miles, a Top 20 isn’t unrealistic. If you need cap space, Smith should be on your radar.
Landon Cassill ($5,100)
After qualifying back in 31st, I think Cassill can help you out if you are trying to top load your lineup. He is dirt cheap, and he has a respectable 24.8 average finish in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season. He could deliver about 20 fantasy points at DraftKings, which is about all you need to justify the price.
Drivers to Fade
Clint Bowyer ($8,500)
Bowyer is having a rock solid year for Stewart-Haas Racing, and he has finished 11th or better in all four races at 1.5-mile tracks. On the flip side, he hasn’t finished better than ninth in these races, and he has led a combined three laps. He starts ninth this weekend, so I don’t see much potential for Bowyer in either the place differential category or the dominator stats. I don’t like him at this price.
Ryan Newman ($7,300)
He has been the model of consistency at Charlotte, reeling off eight straight Top 15s at the track heading into Sunday’s race. On the other hand, he has an ugly 29.5 average finish at the 1.5-mile tracks this season. Starting 17th, he has some upside in the place differential category but not enough that I’m willing to take a chance on him turning things around.
Michael McDowell ($4,900)
After I saw this price tag, I had my fingers crossed that McDowell would qualify toward the back. Unfortunately, he will start 21st, which all but eliminates any upside in the place differential category. McDowell has been able to challenge for Top 20s at the 1.5-mile tracks this year, but that’s only helpful when he is starting 30th or worse. You need to look elsewhere for a cheap punt play Sunday.
Favorite Cash Game Lineup
- Kevin Harvick ($10,300)
- Kyle Larson ($10,100)
- Joey Logano ($9,600)
- Kasey Kahne ($8,000)
- Chris Buescher ($6,300)
- Regan Smith ($5,600)
Favorite GPP Lineup
- Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)
- Jimmie Johnson ($10,200)
- Kyle Busch ($9,800)
- Trevor Bayne ($7,100)
- Ty Dillon ($6,900)
- Landon Cassill ($5,100)
Checkers-or-Wreckers GPP Lineup
- Kyle Busch ($9,800)
- Chase Elliott ($9,300)
- Ryan Blaney ($9,000)
- Matt Kenseth ($8,700)
- Jamie McMurray ($8,400)
- Corey Lajoie ($4,800)