This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600.
(DraftKings salaries in parentheses).
Charlotte Motor Speedway is an intermediate mile and a half oval known for hosting two Sprint Cup races per season. CMS is also well known for being nicknamed “Jimmie’s House”, as it is one of the absolute best tracks for Jimmie Johnson ($10,200 DraftKings salary). Fantasy owners should plan on locking him into their lineups, as he has the best Driver Rating in the series at 109.0.
Johnson has seven victories at Charlotte as well as 13 Top 5 finishes and an Average Running Position of 8.563 according to NASCAR’s loop data. The data also points out that Johnson has an Average Green Flag Speed of 177.226, which is best in the series. The driver of the #48 ran 699 of the Fastest laps at Charlotte (fifth best) and he leads all drivers with 1,102 Quality Passes. Look for Johnson to be a major threat to win the Coca-Cola 600 and he is a pick all Fantasy NASCAR owners should play, especially in DraftKings and on Yahoo.
Other strong top-tier picks for this week’s race include Carl Edwards ($10,300), Kevin Harvick ($10,500), and All-Star race winner Joey Logano ($9,700).
For those looking for a great Johnson alternative or Fantasy partner, you can’t go wrong with Edwards at Charlotte. He has been one of the strongest performers at the site in recent memory, with an Average Finishing Position of 4.8 within the last four Charlotte races, which is only second behind Harvick. Edwards also is the defending race winner and finished in the Top 5 in the All-Star race last week. With 961 Quality Passes (third most at Charlotte) and 64.9 percent of his laps in the Top 15 (sixth best), Edwards is a pick that Fantasy owners can’t go wrong with. He is the best choice to start this week out of the JGR cars in Yahoo, especially due to the fact he appears on the B list.
Edwards’ teammates in JGR, such as Denny Hamlin ($8,800) have been strong performers at Charlotte as well. Hamlin has 13 Top 10 finishes, a Driver Rating of 94.9 (fifth best), and he has run 73.9 percent of his laps in the Top 15 (third best) in 21 starts. Kyle Busch ($10,400) has 10 Top 10 finishes, an Average Running Position of 9.732 (second only behind Jimmie Johnson), and an Average Green Flag Speed of 177.151 (second best) in 24 starts at Charlotte. Matt Kenseth also has seen success at CMS, with two victories, 17 Top 10 finishes, 939 Quality Passes, which is fourth most in the series, and 428 of the Fastest Laps (also fourth) in 33 starts. Edwards is the strongest DFS play this week at Charlotte, but you can’t go wrong with any of his Gibbs teammates.
Harvick and Logano both are two drivers to watch this week at Charlotte due to their recent success, making them top DFS plays alongside Johnson and/or Edwards this week. Harvick and Logano have Average Finishes of 3.5 and 7.5 respectively in the last four Charlotte races. Harvick is a three-time winner at Charlotte with 27 positions gained within the last 10 percent of CMS races.
Logano may only have one win compared to Harvick’s three, but Logano is coming off the victory at the All-Star race last week and has a Driver Rating of 93.6, which is better than Harvick and also sixth best of all drivers. Harvick will be best utilized in DraftKings. Logano will complement Johnson or Edwards perfectly in DraftKings and he could be the best A driver in Yahoo other than Johnson.
One of the best options for a B-list Yahoo or mid-tier driver is Kasey Kahne ($8,000). He has the third best Driver Rating at Charlotte (97.4), four wins, nine Top 5 finishes, and an Average Finishing Positon of 13.267, which is fifth best. Look for Kahne to be a sleeper pick that will bring success to a lot of owners this week. Ryan Blaney ($7,500) has been running on a streak of three consecutive Top 10 finishes with a positive place differential in the last two. Blaney also finished 14th in his last race at Charlotte and can be a solid value pick for DraftKings and NASCAR Fantasy Live players.
As for drivers that should not be picked this week, avoid Paul Menard ($6,500) and Michael McDowell ($5,300). Menard has an overall Driver Rating of 66.6 at Charlotte with only one Top 10 finish at CMS since he has been with Richard Childress Racing. He also has an overall pass differential of -3. McDowell has a Driver Rating of 37.3 with a best finish of 29th and an Average Finish of 35.38 at Charlotte in 13 starts.
Instead, fantasy owners searching for bargains should look to use Greg Biffle ($6,600) or David Ragan ($5,400). Biffle has nine top 10 finishes, 313 of the Fastest Laps run (third best) and a Driver Rating of 88.0 (eighth best) in 26 starts at Charlotte, making him a solid value play. Ragan has been better at Charlotte compared to most drivers around his value range, with 2,197 laps ran in the Top 15, 463 Quality Passes, and an Average Running Position of 25.4. Biffle and Ragan work best to help fill out lineups in DraftKings and Fantasy Live but are not the prime picks for Yahoo in their respective lists. Go with Blaney or Chase Elliott for sure this week from the C list.
Sean Engel’s Fantasy Lineups for Charlotte:
1. Jimmie Johnson ($10,200)
2. Carl Edwards ($10,300)
3. Joey Logano ($9,700)
4. Kasey Kahne ($8,000)
5. Greg Biffle ($6,600)
6. Brian Scott ($5,200)
NASCAR Fantasy Live Lineup:
1. Carl Edwards ($27.25)
2. Joey Logano ($26.00)
3. Kasey Kahne ($20.00)
4. Ryan Blaney ($17.25)
5. David Ragan ($7.25)
A. Jimmie Johnson
B. Carl Edwards
B. Kasey Kahne
C. Ryan Blaney