NASCAR DFS: Coke Zero Sugar 400 DraftKings and Fanduel Lineups Plays
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Daytona International Speedway this weekend for some restrictor-plate racing at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Saturday night's Coke Zero Sugar 400 is a wild-card race that could produce a surprise winner, and you are probably going to have to get a little wild with your picks if you want to cash at DraftKings or Fanduel.
Most weeks, building a winning DFS lineup means building around a couple of big names who are going to go out and lead a bunch of laps. At Daytona, the place differential category needs to be your top priority.
With the draft allowing drivers to move up and down the running order with relative ease, starting in the back doesn't really hurt a driver's chance of a strong finish. More importantly, every driver has a decent chance of wrecking this weekend, so anyone starting up front could end up losing you points and single-handedly destroying your entire lineup.
Throw in the fact that the draft makes the fastest laps category is basically irrelevant and can spread out the laps led category, and that leaves the place differential category as the safest and the most effective avenue for scoring points this weekend.
I will probably roll the dice on a few drivers starting up front in some of my DraftKings lineups just to try to differentiate my lineups in GPP contests. At Fanduel, I will pretty much be ignoring the drivers who qualified up front completely. There just aren't enough points awarded for laps to justify the risk or to even be effective for that matter.
Load up on drivers starting deep in the field this weekend, and there really isn't any driver who is off limits if the starting spot is right. Check out all of my top options for DraftKings and Fanduel for Saturday night's Coke Zero Sugar 400, and let's make some money this weekend.
DraftKings Must-Own Drivers
Denny Hamlin ($10,300)
Among the elite restrictor-plate performers, Hamlin is the only one with a decent amount of differential upside. He starts 17th, and he has led laps in nine of the last 10 plate races, leading double-digit laps in four of the last five. Hamlin has a legitimate chance to score the most dominator points and earn 10-plus points through the place differential category.
Aric Almirola ($8,700)
Almirola has been the closest thing to a safe bet at the restrictor-plate tracks recently, posting a series-best 10.3 average finish over the last 10 races. He has just one finish outside the Top 15 in that span, and he has finished 11th or better in his last six starts. After qualifying 26th, he is in prime position to use the place differential category to post a big point total.
Paul Menard ($7,400)
He has been one of the most consistent performers at the plate tracks recently, finishing in the Top 15 in six of the last seven races. Menard has been particularly stout at Daytona during that stretch, finishing sixth or better in all three starts. Starting back in 30th, he has all the upside you could ask for in the place differential category.
DraftKings Cash Plays
Kurt Busch ($8,800)
He is coming off a second-place run at Talladega in April, and Busch's six Top 10s in the last 10 restrictor-plate races are the second most of any driver in that span. He qualified 23rd, making him one of the few upper-tier drivers starting in the back half of the field.
Jamie McMurray ($8,000)
McMurray has always been a high-risk, high-reward option at the plate tracks, but with four wins under his belt at Daytona and Talladega, he is an easy choice after his 27th-place effort in qualifying. If McMurray ends up challenging for another plate win Saturday night, he is going to finish as one of the top scorers at DraftKings.
Daniel Suarez ($6,900)
While he hasn't been a stud at the plate tracks by any means, Suarez has cracked the Top 20 in four of his six starts. More importantly, he is starting way back in 32nd, giving him more upside than any other driver from one of the powerhouse organizations. He's a low-risk, high-upside investment starting this deep in the field.
A.J. Allmendinger ($6,000)
He has bene locked in at Daytona, notching four straight Top 15s and three straight Top 10s at the track. During that stretch, Allmendinger has compiled an 8.5 average finish and gaining at least 10 spots in ever race. He will start 24th Saturday night, so he is once again positioned to use the differential category to his advantage.
Chris Buescher ($5,800)
Buescher has been riding a wave of momentum at the plate tracks, finishing 17th or better in four straight races while compiling a 10.8 average finish and an average place differential of +15.0. After qualifying 25th, he's in position to post another solid point total at DraftKings.
DraftKings GPP Plays
Brad Keselowski ($11,000)
He is one of the only drivers who is worth taking a chance on no matter where they qualify, and while his third-place qualifying effort makes him a dangerous play, there is a chance Keselowski leads and a chunk of laps and wins this weekend. His six plate wins are the most among active drivers, and he has led 20-plus laps in six of the last 10 plate races, leading more laps than any driver in that span.
Chase Elliott ($9,800)
Elliott is an all-or-nothing play after claiming the pole, but he was so much faster than every other car during qualifying that it wouldn't be shocking to see him lead the most laps Saturday night. At the very least, you should probably have him in one GPP lineup in case he delivers the rare dominating run at a plate track.
Erik Jones ($8,100)
He has been absolutely atrocious at the plate tracks, crashing and finishing outside the Top 30 in five of his six starts. That being said, he has too much upside in the differential category to ignore after qualifying 29th. Starting so deep, it is worth taking a chance on Jones in case he exorcises his plate track demons this weekend.
Trevor Bayne ($6,800)
Starting 20th should keep his ownership levels modest, but Bayne still has room to pad his point total with the differential category. He has four Top 10s and a couple of Top 5s in his last 10 starts at plate tracks, so Bayne could be a sneaky source of 40-plus fantasy points.
David Ragan ($6,600)
You'd like to see him start a little deeper than 21st, but the mid-pack starting spot should keep his ownership in check while still giving him some differential upside. Ragan is a two-time winner at the plate tracks with four Top 10s in the last five plate races. He could still make an excellent play this weekend.
Bubba Wallace ($6,400)
The sample size is small, but Wallace has finished 16th or better in all three of his plate starts, and he was the runner-up in this year's Daytona 500. Starting 22nd, he won't stand out as a must-own driver, but he still has enough differential upside to make a difference for your lineup if he can continue his restrictor-plate success.
Matt DiBenedetto ($5,400)
He's had some success at the plate tracks in recent years, cracking the Top 20 in four of the last six races and picking up a Top 10 at Daytona in 2017. Starting outside the Top 30, DiBenedetto could be an overlooked gem.
Landon Cassill ($5,000)
Although he drives for one of the smaller teams, Cassill can still be competitive at Daytona. In fact, he has a 22.2 average finish in the last 10 plate races and back-to-back Top 20s at Daytona. Starting back in 37th, Cassill has nothing but upside in the all-important place differential category.
Corey LaJoie ($4,900)
LaJoie is a true wild-card play, and there is a real chance that his equipment doesn't even make it to the finish. There is also a small chance that he pulls out a surprise finish like he did at Daytona last July when he started 36th and finished 11th. LaJoie starts 38th, and he is going to win you a lot of money if he manages another Top 15 Saturday night.