Typically, I try to avoid going top heavy in terms of salary in DraftKings, but with so many efficient options in the lower tiers, it’s the smart play this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. There’s no better option at the top than Matt Kenseth ($10,200), who’s recent history at Bristol is staggering. He’s won two of the last four Cup races run at BMS and has led at least 25 laps in each of his last eight starts. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Kenseth ranks second in Fastest Laps Run (582), so Fantasy owners can expect a few of those as well this weekend. And he’s coming off a win at Michigan. The one category Kenseth likely won’t contribute as much is in place-differential where he’s an average +12 in his last eight starts. Kenseth is a top flight option across all formats and can be safely started.
Kyle Larson ($8,600) is right in the price range of drivers I’m avoiding at Bristol, but that doesn’t mean every owner is moving forward with a top heavy lineup. In three career starts at Bristol, Larson has two Top 10s and three Top 12s with an Average Finish of 9.7. He owns a place-differential of +45 and led 90 laps in the April event. Larson ranks 21st in Fastest Laps Run (77), particularly impressive since some of the drivers below him on the list have put in many more years of service. Larson is a fantastic Tiered/Grouping format option this weekend, and he should be targeted by DFS owners looking to field a balanced lineup.
Speaking of balanced lineup, Kasey Kahne ($8,200) is another middle of the pack option, but he comes with much more risk attached than Larson. Kahne has led at least 16 laps in four of his last six Bristol starts, including 109 Laps Led in a 2013 win, but success has not been following him around as of late. He posted a 37th-place DNF in the April event and currently sits outside The Chase. If the scenario of being on the outside looking in late in the regular season sounds familiar in Kahne’s narrative, it’s because that’s exactly what happened in 2014. He ended up scoring that all important win and getting into the playoffs, but that seems less likely this season. The good news for Fantasy owners is that Kahne can still get in on points, so he will be heavily motivated for a good finish. He will have to add to his fourth-most Fastest Laps Run (474) if that’s going to happen. He should also be penciled into Tiered/Grouping format lineups.
Going down the list of balanced options, Jamie McMurray ($7,900) has been quietly solid at Bristol. He led 148 laps en route to an eighth-place finish in the August 2014 race. He’s finished outside the Top 20 just twice in his last 12 appearances, making him a quality option with very little downside. His value is very high in all formats.
This is the second straight week Paul Menard ($7,500) has gotten a mention, and for good reason. In his last nine starts at Bristol, Menard has one Top 5 and six Top 10s with an 11th-place finish in the April race. Bristol also represents one of the few tracks at which Menard has a legit shot at leading laps. He’s 22nd in Fastest Laps Run (72). His price isn’t as low as I’d like it to be in NASCAR Fantasy Live, but the price is exactly right in DFS and Tiered/Grouping formats, where Fantasy owners will collect on an excellent value.
Danica Patrick ($7,100) is becoming a mainstay in the value section, and for good reason. She’s logged three consecutive Top 25s on the Cup circuit and enters one of her more consistent tracks on the high of a newly secured sponsorship. Patrick owns a +10 place-differential at BMS and finished ninth in the April race at the site. She’s a terrific option for Fantasy owners looking to stack the top of their lineup, and as has been the case in most seasons, she’s the safest week-to-week start on the C-List. Use her if you can spare the starts.
For the second week in a row, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,500) has the longest consecutive Top 10 streak at the track. With three straight Top 10s at Bristol, what really stands out is the quality of the finishes. They were all within the Top 6, including a second-place finish in the March 2014 event. Overall, he’s never finished below 18th at Bristol. Now to the area of the greatest interest for Fantasy owners – place differential. Stenhouse Jr. has never started higher than 21st on the grid, meaning he’s churned out a positive place differential in every career start at BMS, compiling a sparkling +76 in that category. He’s a driver not likely to be used many more times this season, so he’s a solid Tiered/Grouping format play and my personal crown jewel for the top heavy strategy in DFS.
David Gilliland ($5,600) is one of the least flashy picks on the board this weekend, but when it comes to straight up finishes, he’s shown great consistency at Bristol. In his last 11 appearances, Gilliland has finished between 18th and 27th place. He’s only led laps in one race but is unlikely to get out front this weekend. Despite that, his price is so incredibly low that I simply can’t pass it up, considering a Top 25 is highly likely. He’s also a major consideration for me when stacking the top of my lineup.
Here are my Fantasy NASCAR lineups for this week:
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
NASCAR Fantasy Live
|Martin Truex Jr.|
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing
|Matt Kenseth||Kyle Busch|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Paul Menard||Kyle Larson|