Fantasy NASCAR DFS and Seasonal Preview: Quaker State 400
The Sprint Cup Series moves to Kentucky for the Quaker State 400 for one of the newest races on the circuit. This will be just the sixth Sprint Cup Series race at the track roughly halfway between Cincinnati and Louisville.
As mentioned, there have been just five races, and a Chevrolet has yet to visit Victory Lane. Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch ($10,200) has burned up the track with two wins in five starts. As if that's impressive enough, four of his five starts have resulted in Top 5 finishes, with his worst finish coming in 10th place. With a 3.8 Average-Finish Position (AFP), he'll be an overwhelming favorite to win at the track. He has led 437 laps while running 95.1 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 and turning in a 129.1 Driver Rating, according to NASCAR's Loop Data.
Busch's teammate Matt Kenseth ($8,700) has one win at the track while posting a 106.7 Driver Rating with 92.1 percent of his laps turned inside the Top 15. He is right on his teammates' heels with a 4.6 AFP, three Top 5s and five Top 10s. Since he has never finished lower than seventh at the track, Kenseth is a must-have option, although he isn't as great a bargain in NASCAR's Fantasy Live at $27.50 as he is in DraftKings at a mid-tier salary.
[caption id="attachment_93159" align="alignright" width="300"] Matt Kenseth has never finished worse than seventh in five career starts at Kentucky. Photo Credit: Robert Laberge[/caption]
(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses)
In the NBA, teams are putting together Big 3s, with superstars dominating their starting lineup. In NASCAR's Fantasy Live you can put together your own Big 3 with Kyle Busch, Kenseth and Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski, who will set you back $27.00, or $9,800 in DraftKings. Unfortunately in Yahoo! Sports you will have to decide between the three, as they're all A-list drivers. Keselowski has the other two wins at the track, posting four Top 10s and four Top 20s with 408 laps led. He has a 117.8 Driver Rating with a 9.6 AFP in the five starts.
Keselowski's teammate Joey Logano ($10,100) hasn't won at the track, but he has two Top 5s and three Top 10s with a 10.2 AFP to rank fifth among all drivers. He has led just 60 laps while turning 70.1 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. A one-two Penske punch is one strategy to use in DFS.
While a Chevy hasn't won at Kentucky, they have certainly been close. Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson ($10,000) has a third-place finish under his belt at the track, and five Top 10s with a 7.4 AFP. He has led 203 laps and never finished worse than 10th. He has a 111.9 Driver Rating while running 86.8 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. A one-two Hendrick duo between J.J. and Kasey Kahne ($8,100) isn't a bad start to your DraftKings lineup, as Kahne has a 94.0 Driver Rating to rank seventh among all drivers.
Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick ($10,600) is the highest-priced driver on the board at DraftKings, but he has never led a lap in Kentucky. Despite the fact he hasn't been out in front, he has a third-place finish in five starts and he has never finished lower than 16th, posting a 10.4 AFP. Teammate Kurt Busch ($9,400) has managed three Top 10s with five Top 20s and an 11.2 AFP. Many DFS pros like to play multiple lineups per race, and going with an SHR combination of Harvick and the elder Busch isn't a bad idea. Their boss Tony Stewart ($7,700) hasn't solved Kentucky yet, posting a 21.6 AFP in three starts, finishing 11th, 21st and 33rd in his three runs in Sparta.
Going back to JGR, Carl Edwards ($9,600) showed well in a Ford in the past, and he has been solid for his current team, too. He has two Top 5s, two Top 10s and four Top 20s with 36 laps led and a 13.4 AFP in his five starts. He has never finished lower than 21st, so Edwards is a safe Fantasy play. Denny Hamlin ($8,500) hasn't won at Kentucky, either, but he does have two Top 5s under his belt while also lead 76 laps, fourth-most among all drivers. While he has finished as high as third before, and he checks in with an 18.8 AFP, he also leads all drivers with two DNFs in Kentucky.
Kyle Larson ($8,300) has appeared to improve at many tracks, and appeared right on the verge of breaking through for a win. But he has finished 35th and 40th in two tries in the Sprint Cup Series in Kentucky, and he isn't a recommended DFS option or play in season Fantasy NASCAR formats. Aric Almirola ($6,500) has just one Top 10 in 20 starts this season, and it isn't likely he'll break through for a second in Kentucky. He has four starts at the track with just two Top 20s and no laps led while averaging a 23rd-place finish.
If you're looking for a low-priced sleeper check out Roush-Fenway Racing's Trevor Bayne ($6,900), who finished third at the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona last week. Couple that finish with the fact he was 13th at Kentucky in his only Cup start there, and he has plenty of experience from his Xfinity Series days, and he is quite the sleeper across the board. His teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,800) is also an attractive Fantasy play, as he comes off a fifth-place showing at Daytona last weekend. He is 16th or better in six of his past eight races, and he has finished 11th, 17th and 25th in three Sprint Cup Series starts in Kentucky to make him an attractive mid-tier Fantasy play.
Richard Childress Racing's Ryan Newman ($7,500) is another attractive lower-priced option, posting five Top 10s in 20 starts this season. He has finished 18th or better in seven straight outings, and he has two Top 5s and a 15.0 AFP in five Kentucky starts.
If you want to go with that Big 3 lineup strategy in NASCAR's Fantasy Live, you'll need a dirt-cheap option for your No. 6 wheel man. Matt DiBenedetto ($5,300) isn't the answer, as he was 42nd in his only previous Cup start at Kentucky. Josh Wise ($4,700) hasn't been much better, posting a 37.0 AFP with three DNFs in four career starts.
David Ragan ($5,600) is a quality play at this price level, as he has one Top 10, two Top 20s and three career laps led at the track while posting a respectable 22.4 AFP. Michael Annett ($4,900) is also a steal at this price, posting finishes of 18th and 30th in two previous tries at Kentucky. At $5.25, Annett is also an attractive option in NASCAR's Fantasy Live.
NASCAR FANTASY LINEUPS FOR KENTUCKY
|No.||Driver||DraftKings Salary||No.||Driver||Fantasy Live Salary||No.||Yahoo! Sports Driver|
|1||Kyle Busch||$10,200||1||Matt Kenseth||$27.50||1||Kyle Busch|
|2||Jimmie Johnson||$10,000||2||Kyle Busch||$27.00||2||Kasey Kahne|
|3||Brad Keselowski||$9,800||3||Brad Keselowski||$27.00||3||Ryan Newman|
|4||Matt Kenseth||$8,700||4||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$13.00||4||Ryan Blaney|
|5||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$6,800||5||Michael Annett||$5.25|
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