The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series championship moves to Dover International Speedway Sunday afternoon for the Citizen Soldier 400. It’s the second race of the season at the Delaware track nicknamed the ‘Monster Mile’. In mid-May it was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth ($9,700) taking checkers, snapping a six-race winning streak for Chevrolet. Kenseth was the first driver to steer a Toyota to Victory Lane since teammate Kyle Busch ($10,300) won at Dover in May 2010, a string of 11 races.
Normally Dover has been Jimmie Johnson ($9,300) territory, as he has won seven of the past 15 races at DIS. However, over the past five races he has a 107.4 Driver Rating, which is a tick off from the leaders. While Johnson has 299 laps led over the past five stops, second-most on the circuit during the span, he had an uncharacteristic 25th-place showing in May, showing he isn’t an automatic at the track every time. Still, given his enormous success in the past with 10 wins in 29 starts, and rather soft pricing, he will be a very popular DFS target. And Dover is one of the races you save him for in Yahoo! Sports with a limited amount of times you can start a driver.
(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses)
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick ($10,900) won last weekend in New Hampshire, and he’ll look for another checkered flag on the concrete surface at Dover. He was a rather ordinary 15th in mid-May at DIS, but over the past five starts at the track he has been dominant. Harvick has led 810 laps during the span while posting a 9.6 Average-Finish Position (AFP) with 82.6 of his laps turned inside the Top 15. Harvick won the AAA 400 last fall at Dover, and he has 14 Top 10s and 25 Top 20 finishes in 31 career starts with a 14.3 AFP.
Teammate Tony Stewart ($8,200) is on the ropes in terms of his Chase championship dreams, and he needs a victory at the Monster Mile if he hopes to join Harvick and avoid elimination in this final leg of the Round of 16. Stewart had a rather ordinary 16th at Chicagoland, and slipped to 23rd at New Hampshire, and he hasn’t recorded a finish better than 16th in six consecutive races. He picked a tough time for his worst stretch of the season. Smoke has three career wins at the track with 1,075 laps led in 34 starts, but he is a risky play given how he has gone off the rails since a fifth-place run at Watkins Glen.
Veteran Jeff Gordon ($8,400) will be back behind the wheel subbing for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. (concussion). It’s his first race since Richmond when he finished 16th. Gordon hasn’t looked terribly comfortable driving the No. 88, and he has zero Top 10 finishes since returning in a sub role. While he is still a great Fantasy option in Yahoo! Sports as a C-list driver, DraftKings and NASCAR Fantasy Live players will want to go another way.
Hendrick’s Kasey Kahne ($7,600) did not make the Chase, but had he raced like he has over the past month he would have easily qualified. Kahne has recorded six straight finishes of 14th or better, including four straight Top 10 showings. At this price level he is a great play in DraftKings. In NASCAR’s Fantasy Live he is a bit less attractive at $23.00, or 23 percent of your allotted salary. Plus, Kahne isn’t among the Top 10 in Driver Rating at Dover over the past five starts, so he could be in line for a fall. Teammate Chase Elliott ($8,900) was third in his first-career Cup attempt in Dover and will be a more attractive play from the Hendrick stable.
Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. ($10,500) picked up his first Sprint Cup Series victory at the Delaware flat back in June 2007, but he hasn’t won there since. However, he does rank fifth in Driver Rating at 102.1 over the past five starts, leading 178 laps while posting a 7.8 AFP, fourth-best of all drivers during the span. With 10 Top 10s in 21 career starts and a 14.8 AFP, he is a safe Fantasy play across the board.
Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson ($9,900) has ascended to elite-level salary in DFS thanks to his outstanding run in August and early September to get into the Chase. He also had a runner-up finish at the first Dover race this season, his second Top 5 in five career starts at the track. He has never finished lower than 11th while posting a 6.2 AFP with 85 laps led, so Larson is a steady option with a good chance at breaking through for a win in Delaware. He has run 82.6 percent of his career laps inside the Top 15.
Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski ($9,100) is always a threat, and he has shown well at Dover in the past. He ranks sixth in Driver Rating at 100.9 over the past five races, and he has a win in 13 career starts at the track while posting a solid 12.8 AFP. He has finished outside of the Top 20 just twice, and he was sixth back in the mid-May race this season. Teammate Joey Logano ($9,400) has had mixed results at the track, posting three Top 5s in 15 starts, but also finishing outside of the Top 20 on four other occasions. That includes a 22nd-place finish in the first race at Dover this season. Normally Logano is rock solid, but he isn’t someone you’ll want to make a centerpiece in your lineup this weekend.
If you plan to run a high-low lineup strategy you will need lower-priced drivers, and there were plenty of those type drivers doing big things at Dover in May.
Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney ($8,000) has posted 10 Top 10 finishes in 29 starts this season. He had a little bit of a bump in the road in late July to mid-August, but he is back in solid form. He finished fourth in Chicago, and recorded a decent 12th-place at New Hampshire last weekend to make him an attractive No. 4 or 5 driver choice again. Blaney looked comfortable in Dover in May with an eighth-place finish, so he is also a nice C-list driver in Yahoo! this weekend.
Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne ($6,900) surprised with a 10th-place finish at the first stop in Dover this season. Using him this weekend requires a leap of faith, however, as he has been awful for the past month. He has finished 40th at Darlington, 14th at Richmond, 23rd in Chicago and 38th in New Hampshire, posting negative Fantasy points in two of those outings. He looked good in May at Dover, and if he has strong practice and qualifying sessions you can trust him for DFS purposes at this salary level, but wait until Friday or Saturday to decide.
Richard Childress Racing’s Paul Menard ($6,200) has recorded only three Top 10s this season, but he just missed a fourth in the first Dover run. He brought it home 11th in mid-May, and could be a nice sleeper heading into the weekend. Outside of a disastrous last-place finish at Richmond he has at least been serviceable over the past five races, posting a 20.0 AFP in the four other races during the span. As a No. 6 driver at DraftKings you can do much worse.
HScott Motorsports driver Clint Bowyer ($7,100) is nearly done with his lame duck season, and ready to move into a more favorable situation with Stewart-Haas Racing. He has done some decent work lately, and has one of the more unique streaks this season. Over the past four races he has finished exactly 22nd in each race, posting 30 or more Fantasy points at DraftKings in the process. Hey, he has been consistent, and as a No. 5 or 6 driver option that’s all you can ask.
Danica Patrick ($6,100) finished 13th in the May race at Dover, just ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,700). Neither has really dominated in their career at the Monster Mile, but Stenhouse is particularly attractive with six Top 20s in eight starts, posting a 20.1 AFP. Danica has been less steady with a 22.3 AFP and just two Top 20s in eight tries. However, both did well in May and could be decent salary savers if they turn in similar finishes.
If you need to save even more salary, Front Row Motorsports driver Landon Cassill ($5,700) might be your guy. He was 19th in the first race at Dover, although it was his first Top 20 in 12 career starts at the track. And Chris Buescher ($6,400) is actually in the Chase, but getting very little respect. He finished 18th in the first Dover race.
NASCAR FANTASY LINEUPS FOR DOVER
|No.||Driver||DraftKings Salary||No.||Driver||Fantasy Live Salary||No.||Yahoo! Sports Driver|
|1||Kevin Harvick||$10,900||1||Kevin Harvick||$28.75||1||Kevin Harvick|
|2||Kyle Larson||$9,900||2||Kyle Larson||$25.00||2||Kyle Larson|
|3||Jimmie Johnson||$9,300||3||Jimmie Johnson||$23.75||3||Martin Truex Jr.|
|4||Kasey Kahne||$7,600||4||Chris Buescher||$11.50||4||Ryan Blaney|
|5||Chris Buescher||$6,400||5||Landon Cassill||$8.75|