NASCAR DFS: First Data 500 DraftKings and Fanduel Lineup Plays
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits Martinsville Speedway this weekend for the second time this season, and Sunday's First Data 500 will also be the final short track race of 2018. The half-mile, paperclip-shaped oval can produce plenty of excitement and some chaotic finishes, but that doesn't mean you can't have a profitable weekend playing NASCAR DFS at DraftKings and Fanduel.
When assembling your lineups, the 500-lap distance of the race should have your full attention. All those laps mean a ton of points are available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories, so dominator points could produce a majority of the top scorers. Even at Fanduel where they only have the laps led category and don't value it as significantly, this is a race where you will want to utilize multiple dominators in some of your lineups.
The one potential curveball that still awaits is Sunday morning's qualifying inspection. The current starting lineup is not official, and if any drivers fail tech tomorrow, they will have their times disallowed and will be scored from the rear. If any big names go to the rear, they will become must-own drivers in cash games at DraftKings and at Fanduel in all contests.
Make sure to check back after inspection for any potential updates, but in the meantime, here are my top lineup plays for DraftKings and Fanduel for the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
DraftKings Must-Own Drivers
Kyle Busch ($11,900)
Busch was already going to be a popular play even before he won the pole. After all, he won this race last year and has six straight Top 5 finishes at Martinsville. Perhaps more impressively, he has led at least 184 laps in three of the last five races here. Starting up front, it could be one of those special Sunday when Busch clobbers the competition from start to finish. You are going to want tons of exposure to him this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)
Truex went from not being on my radar to being a must-own option when he failed inspection. He will now start outside the Top 30, giving him a chance to post one of the top scores based solely on his finishing position and place differential points.
Brad Keselowski ($10,200)
He has been one of the most dependable drivers at Martinsville, reeling off five straight Top 10s and leading more than 100 laps in two of the last three races. Keselowski showed excellent speed throughout both practices before qualifying eighth, putting him in great position to challenge for the win and pile up dominator points.
Clint Bowyer ($9,800)
Bowyer had himself an afternoon at Martinsville back in the spring, leading a race-high 215 laps and winning the race. With the speed he has shown this weekend, including his second-place effort in qualifying, he looks capable of a repeat performance. At the very least, Bowyer should provide some dominator points and challenge for a Top 5.
DraftKings Cash Game Plays
Chase Elliott ($9,200)
He hasn't shown the speed I was expecting so far this weekend, but Elliott was a little off in qualifying at Martinsville in the spring and rallied for a Top 10 finish. At worst, I expect a similar performance this weekend following his 21st-place qualifying effort, and I still wouldn't be shocked to see him charge to the front like he did here last fall. Either way, Elliott is a safe anchor for cash lineups.
Erik Jones ($8,700)
His resume at Martinsville doesn't jump of the page, but Jones has been able to challenge for Top 15s in his three starts here, and he appears to have a car capable of challenging for a Top 10 based on his practice times this weekend. Jones will start 21st on Sunday, giving him a safe floor and solid upside through the place differential category.
Jimmie Johnson ($8,100)
Johnson isn't the dominant force at Martinsville that he once was, but he has still managed six straight Top 15s here. Now that he starts outside the Top 30 thanks to failing inspection, he looks like a safe bet to gain 20-plus spots and finish around 50 fantasy points fantasy points. Johnson is an ideal mid-priced play for cash contests.
Paul Menard ($7,700)
A mechanical issue in qualifying has Menard starting back in 35th, so he is basically guaranteed to finish with positive points this weekend. He actually cracked the Top 15 at Martinsville in the spring, and his affiliation with Team Penske should give him a shot at another solid run Sunday. Menard offers nothing but upside at a great price.
Austin Dillon ($7,400)
He has made a habit of exploiting the place differential category at Martinsville, gaining an average of 7.6 spots per race in nine starts. After qualifying 25th, he is the perfect position to gain spots again Sunday. He should be a safe, affordable option for cash lineups.
DraftKings GPP Plays
Ryan Blaney ($8,900)
Blaney had an excellent run at Martinsville in the spring, leading 145 laps and finishing third. It was his first breakout performance at the track, but after qualifying fourth and posting strong practice times, a similar run could be on tap. Blaney doesn't have the established pedigree at Martinsville of some other drivers, but he could be a great alternative to guys like Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski.
Denny Hamlin ($8,500)
Let's face it. Hamlin is one trip down pit road away from a penalty that could put him multiple laps down and ruin his race and your lineup. On the flip side, he led 111 laps at Martinsville in the spring and is a five-time winner here. Starting third, he is more than capable of piling up dominator points and finishing as one of the top scorers.
Alex Bowman ($7,900)
Bowman qualified a respectable 14th, limiting his differential upside and likely his ownership. However, he had a solid car on long runs in final practice, and he finished seventh at Martinsville back in May. Bowman has been at his best at the flat tracks, and another Top 10 Sunday would yield around 40 fantasy points at DraftKings.
A.J. Allmendinger ($6,200)
His chances of being one of the most popular low-priced plays took a hit when he qualified in 15th, but that still gives Allmendinger some room to earn differential points if he stays hot at Martinsville. He has finished 11th or better in seven of his last nine starts here, finishing eighth in the spring race. Allmendinger is still capable of delivering 30-plus points for a great price, he is just a little riskier starting in the middle of the pack.
Bubba Wallace ($5,700)
He crashed in qualifying and will have to start in the back, but Wallace has had some success at Martinsville in other series, winning a couple of Truck races here. It's a gamble, but if Wallace can find some of that magic this weekend and land in the Top 25, he could help you free up some cap space this weekend and provide a decent point total.