NASCAR DFS: Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway Fanduel Preview

Brian Polking

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Dover International Speedway this weekend, and in addition to being the second race of 2019 at "The Monster Mile," Sunday's Drydene 400 will also be the first race of the second round of the playoffs. Just 12 drivers remain in the championship hunt, and the pressure for these drivers to perform each and every week is only going to intensify.

From a DFS standpoint, my strategy at Fanduel for Dover will be significantly different than it was for the Charlotte road course last weekend. With just 109 laps on tap at the Roval, I wasn't too concerned with going after laps led points, opting instead for a balanced lineup of drivers with Top 10 potential and a little place differential upside.

Well, there are 400 laps on tap this Sunday at Dover, which means the laps led category is going to carry a lot more weight. Back in May, both Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. led over 130 laps here, and Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson are among the drivers who have led more than 200 laps in recent races at Dover.

You are probably going to need to anchor your lineups with a couple of drivers who have the ability go out and lead for long stretches, even if it means paying a premium and rounding out your roster with a cheaper option or two.

Qualifying could always throw us a curveball, and if any big names start in the rear, I may opt to pair them with a dominator candidate or two and round out my roster with a all-out punt play.

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Must-Own Drivers

Martin Truex Jr. ($14,500)

He has been on one of his hot streaks in recent weeks, and I don't expect Truex to slow down at all this weekend. After all, he came from the back to win at Dover in May, leading 132 laps in the process. He also owns a series-best eight Top 10s in the last 10 races here, notching five Top 5s and a pair of wins in the last six races alone. Truex has led more than 40 laps six times in that stretch, leading 100-plus laps four times.

Kevin Harvick ($14,000)

Harvick has piled up plenty of strong finishes at Dover, including a couple of wins and a fourth-place run back in May, but his ability to lead laps here really stands out. His 1,274 laps led in the last 10 races are 624 more than any other driver, and Harvick has led more than 90-plus laps six times in that span. In fact, he has led more than 200 laps in two of the last three races here. Harvick could easily finish as the top scorer at Fanduel Sunday.

Chase Elliott ($13,000)

Fresh off his win at the Roval, Elliott will try to defend his win in the fall race at Dover from last season. In addition to the win, he has logged six Top 5s in seven starts at the track while also posting a series-best 4.4 average finish. Elliott led a race-high 145 laps in the May race earlier this year, marking the third time he has led double-digit laps at Dover and the second time he has led more than 100 laps here. I'll gladly build around a driver with a Top 5 floor and the potential to lead the most laps and visit victory lane.

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Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Difference Makers and Value Plays

Kyle Larson ($12,500)

In 11 starts at Dover, Larson has notched eight Top 10s, five Top 5s and an 8.0 average finish, and he only has one finish worse than 12th at the track. He has also been able to spend time out front, leading more than 80 laps three times and topping 100 laps led twice. Thanks to his blend of reliability and upside at Dover, Larson needs to be on your radar as a contrarian dominator option.

Brad Keselowski ($12,000)

Although Keselowski hasn't piled up a bunch of wins at Dover, he has led plenty of laps at the track. Not only has he led laps in eight of the last 10 races here, but Keselowski has also led more than 25 laps in six of those starts. He led 58 laps in the first trip to Dover back in May, and with his proven ability to get to the front here, he is going to be high on my list of pivots to the popular dominators.

Alex Bowman ($10,000)

He has made three starts at Dover for Hendrick Motorsports, and Bowman has led double-digit laps in two of them. In fact, he led 16 laps and finished second in the May race earlier this year despite having to start at the rear of the field. Bowman is a high-upside mid-priced driver who could be a real X-factor for GPP lineups.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,200)

Johnson owned "The Monster Mile" for much of his career, and even as his numbers have dipped in recent years, he has remained competitive here. He has five Top 15s in his last six Dover starts, logging four Top 10s with one win in that stretch. At the very least, Johnson should be able to challenge for a Top 10 at a price that won't break the bank.

Erik Jones ($9,000)

A run of bad luck knocked him out of the playoffs in the opening round, but I am surprised to see Jones available at this price. After all, he still offers Top 5 upside every time he gets behind the wheel, and in five starts at Dover, he has four Top 15s and an 11.0 average finish. Jones finished fourth at Dover last fall and sixth in the May race earlier this year, and he flat out seems underpriced this week.

Daniel Suarez ($8,000)

One of the cheapest options with a decent floor and legitimate Top 10 upside is Suarez. In five starts at Dover, he has a 7.6 average finish and has never finished worse than 11th. Suarez could end up being one of the best value plays this weekend.

Sleeper Special

Ty Dillon ($5,000)

He will need to qualify around the 30th spot, but if he does, Dillon should be one of the safer sources of cap relief this weekend. He has made five starts at Dover in the No. 13, cracking the Top 25 in four of them. More importantly, Dillon has finished 22nd or better and gained at least six spots in three of his five Dover starts.

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