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NASCAR DFS: FireKeepers Casino 400 Post-Qualifying

Following the qualifying round at the Michigan International Speedway, Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking points out who to target on DraftKings for the FireKeepers Casino 400!

FireKeepers Casino 400

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Michigan International Speedway is a big, wide and fast track, and during qualifying Friday, Kyle Larson rocketed to the pole for Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 with a lap of 202.156 mph in the final round of qualifying.

He will be joined on the front row by Martin Truex Jr. Clint Bowyer will start third, and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin rounded out the Top 5. Kevin Harvick won the first two rounds of qualifying, but he didn't nail his lap in the final round. He will start 11th.

Starting up front has been a plus at Michigan in recent years, but it hasn't been a prerequisite for winning. Over the last ten races, four drivers have won from the pole, but five winners have started outside the Top 10 in that same span.

When it comes to leading a lot of laps at Michigan, there has been a much stronger correlation with starting up front. In six races here since 2014, six drivers have led 60-plus laps in a race. All six of those drivers have started on the front row.

Factor in both trends, and you will want plenty of exposure to the drivers on the front in your DFS lineups this weekend. However, you will also want to take advantage of any quality options starting outside the Top 10 or deeper. While they might not lead the most laps, fast cars can get to the front at Michigan by the time the checkered flag waves.

Now that the field is set for Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan, I've highlighted the drivers you will want to target to cash in playing NASCAR DFS at DraftKings. You can catch the race Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

Must-Own Drivers

Kyle Larson ($10,200)

He has owned the 2.0-mile ovals, winning at Michigan last August and leading more than 100 laps from the pole and winning at Auto Club back in March. After grabbing the pole, it appears that another dominant performance could be on tap this weekend. Larson has to be considered the favorite to win both dominator categories and finish as the top scorer. His ownership is going to be through the roof.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000)

Truex has been a force in the dominator categories all year, and he led 73 laps in the first race of the year at a 2.0-mile oval. He also led multiple laps in both races at MIS last year, and starting on the front row; he has a great chance to lead a bunch of laps again this weekend. Truex is in prime position to finish as one of the top scorers at DraftKings Sunday.

Kevin Harvick ($9,900)

All he does is deliver Top 5s at Michigan, and he has a series-best seven over the last eight races here, including five second-place finishes. Harvick has also led the second-most laps of any driver at MIS since joining Stewart-Haas Racing and starting 11th; he is close enough to the front to score some points in the dominator categories while also adding a few points through place differential.

Chase Elliott ($9,400)

Elliott qualified 10th for Sunday's race, which is exactly where he started last June before leading 35 laps and finishing second. Elliott led 31 more laps and finished second again in the August race, chipping in a combined 68 fastest laps in those starts. The two drivers starting on the front row should be the most popular plays at DraftKings, but I think Elliott is one of the best alternatives to win the dominator categories.

© Jasen Vinlove / USA Today Images

Value Plays

Joey Logano ($9,200)

He has been slumping for sure, but I wouldn't write off Logano completely after his Top 10 qualifying run. Not only is he the defending winner of this weekend's race, but he has eight straight Top 10s at the track and has led a series-high 356 laps in that span. You should at least roster him in a GPP or two.

Clint Bowyer ($6,800)

The ideal scenario would have been Bowyer starting in the back of the pack, but he did the exact opposite, qualifying third. Despite the lack of upside through place differential, you still have to consider him for such a low price. He has seven Top 10s in his last ten starts at Michigan, so he can deliver a solid score on his finishing position alone. Meanwhile, he is starting close enough to the front to help out a little bit in the dominator categories.

Paul Menard ($6,500)

It has been a disappointing season for Menard, but he has a solid track record at Michigan. In his last six starts here, he has a 10.7 average finish, gaining an average of 6.8 spots per race in that span. Menard gained a combined 16 spots in two starts at MIS last year, and on the heels of a 30th-place qualifying effort, he is in a position to exploit the place differential category again Sunday.

Trevor Bayne ($6,400)

While his overall record at Michigan leaves a lot to be desired, but he does have back-to-back Top 15s in the June race. More importantly, he has a 16.6 average finish this season, so he should be able to pad his score through place differential after qualifying 27th. At the very least, he should finish in the Top 20 and flirt with 30 fantasy points. He should be one of the safest lower-priced plays. Take advantage in cash games.

Ty Dillon ($6,100)

He was slated to start 24th, but after his qualifying time was disallowed, Dillon will be forced to start dead last. While it's a bad break for Dillon in real life, it is a huge boost for his fantasy value. He now has a ton of upside through place differential, and he is a low-risk, low-cost play. He is a must-own option in cash games.

© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sleeper Specials

Landon Cassill ($5,200)

His record at Michigan has been hit and miss, but starting 36th, Cassill offers nothing but upside in the place differential category. On the season, he owns a 26.4 average finish, and he finished 25th at Michigan last June. If he just stays out of trouble, he will deliver a decent score for the price.

Cole Whitt ($4,900)

Whitt has been able to exploit the place differential category at Michigan consistently, and after qualifying 33rd, he is in position to do the same again. He has a 28.8 average finish over the last six races here, gaining an average of 8.9 spots per race. Whitt could provide around 20 fantasy points for next to nothing, and I love him as a punt play.

2017 FireKeepers Casino 400 Starting Lineup

Pos.

No.

Driver

Sponsor

Make

1

42

Kyle Larson

Cars 3 Target

Chevrolet

2

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Auto-Owners Insurance

Toyota

3

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas-Automation

Ford

4

18

Kyle Busch

M&M's Red, White & Blue

Toyota

5

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx Office

Toyota

6

21

Ryan Blaney

Omnicraft Auto Parts

Ford

7

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

8

1

Jamie McMurray

McDonald's

Chevrolet

9

20

Matt Kenseth

Freightliner

Toyota

10

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA

Chevrolet

11

4

Kevin Harvick

Jimmy John's

Ford

12

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Ford

13

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe's

Chevrolet

14

77

Erik Jones

5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength

Toyota

15

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation

Ford

16

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance

Chevrolet

17

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Mountain Dew

Chevrolet

18

3

Austin Dillon

Dow Salutes Veterans

Chevrolet

19

31

Ryan Newman

Velveeta Shells & Cheese

Chevrolet

20

19

Daniel Suarez

Stanley

Toyota

21

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fifth Third Bank

Ford

22

95

Michael McDowell

WRL General Contractors

Chevrolet

23

10

Danica Patrick

TaxAct

Ford

24

13

Ty Dillon

Twisted Tea

Chevrolet

25

37

Chris Buescher

Kingsford

Chevrolet

26

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger Click List

Chevrolet

27

43

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Smithfield

Ford

28

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

29

32

Matt DiBenedetto

Keen Parts

Ford

30

38

David Ragan

Shriner's Hospital for Children

Ford

31

27

Paul Menard

Nibco/Menards

Chevrolet

32

23

Ryan Sieg

Dr. Pepper

Toyota

33

83

Corey LaJoie

JAS Expedited Trucking

Toyota

34

72

Cole Whitt

RTIC Coolers

Chevrolet

35

15

Reed Sorenson

Corrigan Oil

Chevrolet

36

33

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Hulu

Chevrolet

37

34

Landon Cassill

MDS Transport

Ford


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