NASCAR DFS: Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway Fanduel Preview

Brian Polking

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs wraps up the second round of the playoffs this weekend with a return trip to Kansas Speedway. In addition to Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 being the second race at the track, it will also be the ninth race of the season at a mile-and-a-half oval. The correlation between how drivers perform and the trends we see within a given season at these 1.5-mile tracks is undeniable, and it is what you should focus on when building your NASCAR DFS lineups at Fanduel this weekend.

It is no coincidence that the six drivers currently positioned to advance to the Round of 8 based on points all rank seventh or better in terms of points scored at the 1.5-mile tracks. The top drivers from the top teams always seem to have an edge at these high-speed, intermediate ovals, and the new rules package being used in 2019 really hasn't changed that.

However, this year's reduced-horsepower, high-downforce package has put even more of an emphasis on track position, pit strategy and restarts. As a result, we are seeing the lead change hands among these top drivers a little more frequently in race at mile-and-a-half tracks. In the May race at Kansas, seven different drivers led double-digit laps.

With Fanduel already valuing dominator points to a lesser extent than DraftKings and the laps led points being spread out among more drivers, I believe balance will be the key to cashing this weekend. The days of paying up for two high-priced studs and simply filling in some cheap options around them are over for the most part. Instead, you need to focus on making sure all of your picks have a good chance at contending for solid finishes while also having a little dominator potential or place differential upside.

Check back after qualifying for updated picks and lineup strategies, but until then, I have highlighted my favorite DFS options at Fanduel for this weekend's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

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Must-Own Drivers

Kevin Harvick ($14,500)

You want a high floor and a high ceiling if you pay up for a driver at Fanduel, and Harvick offers both in spades. He leads all drivers in points scored (322) and laps led (430) in the eight races at mile-and-half-tracks this season, and he led a race-high 104 laps at Kansas in May. If not for debris on the grill that forced him to pit under green, Harvick would have led even more laps. Of course, running up front at Kansas has been the norm for him. He owns a 6.5 average finish in his 11 starts here with Stewart-Haas Racing, and he has led double-digit laps in 10 of those races, leading 70-plus laps in three straight.

Martin Truex Jr. ($13,500)

Truex has been strong at the 1.5-mile tracks in his own right, and he heads to Kansas ranked third in points scored in the eight races this year. He is also one of just two drivers with multiple wins at the mile-and-a-half tracks in 2019, including a win at Las Vegas in the most recent race. His Kansas numbers are equally impressive, and Truex has notched four Top 5s in his last five starts here, sweeping both races here in 2017.

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Difference Makers and Value Plays

Joey Logano ($13,000)

Logano has a couple of Kansas wins under his belt already, and he led 100 laps in the fall here a year ago. He is also tied for second with a 9.6 average finish in the eight races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and he has led the second most laps. He had a dominant showing in the most recent race at a mile-and-a-half track when he led a race-high 105 laps at Las Vegas. He has shown he is capable of that type of dominance at Kansas, as well.

Chase Elliott ($12,500)

Bad luck in the first two races of the Round of 12 have put Elliott in a must-win situation, but he could do just that at Kansas. After all, he is the defending winner of the fall race here, and he has three Top 5s in the last four races, leading 45 laps and finishing fourth back in May. Elliott has also been one of the more reliable options at the 1.5-mile tracks in general in 2019, scoring the fourth most driver points and posting a 9.9 average finish in the eight races.

Brad Keselowski ($12,000)

He will try for a season sweep at Kansas after grabbing the win here in May, and Keselowski is one of just two drivers with multiple wins at the 1.5-mile ovals this year. In fact, he leads all drivers with five Top 5 finishes in those eight races. This isn't a bad price tag for a driver who has shown as much upside at the mile-and-a-half tracks as any driver in the series.

Alex Bowman ($9,700)

Bowman can be boom or bust as a DFS option, but the 1.5-mile tracks have been his bread and butter this year. His 9.6 average finish in the eight races is tied for second among all drivers, and his numbers have been trending up. Bowman has finished seventh or better in four of the last five races at mile-and-a-half tracks, which includes a second-place run at Kansas in May when he led 63 laps and a win at Chicagoland when he led 88 laps. We are talking about a driver with a legitimate chance to win the race and lead a chunk of laps, and he is available at a midrange price. Take advantage.

William Byron ($9,400)

He has improved across the board in his second season in the Cup Series, and Byron has really made strides at the mile-and-a-half tracks. He has managed to finish in the Top 20 in all eight races while compiling a 12.6 average finish in those starts. Byron has also led laps in six of those eight races, logging three Top 10s in his last four starts alone. He could be sneaky source for a Top 10 finish and some bonus points for leading laps. The upside for a mid-level price makes him a great option for GPPs.

Erik Jones ($9,000)

Jones has been a consistent Top 10 threat at the mile-and-a-half ovals since joining Joe Gibbs Racing, and the trend has continued this season. In the eight races at 1.5-mile ovals this year, he has notched five finishes of seventh or better. Jones has been particularly stout at Kansas, reeling off three straight Top 10s here and finishing fourth in the fall race last season and third in the spring race earlier this year. You have to love his Top 5 upside at this price.

Jimmie Johnson ($8,500)

Johnson has quietly regained his form at the 1.5-mile tracks over the course of the season, finishing 11th or better in five of the last six races. During that stretch, he picked up a sixth-place finish at Kansas. With Top 10 floor at this price, Johnson looks like a great driver to target for cash lineups.

Aric Almirola ($8,200)

What he lacks in upside at the mile-and-a-half ovals, Almirola makes up for with an affordable price tag and a safe floor. He hasn't finished worse than 16th in the eight races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2019, posting an 11.0 average finish. He has also finished 12th or better in each of his last four starts at Kansas. At the very least, he should deliver a Top 15 without killing your cap situation.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,500)

It has been a rough year for Stenhouse overall, but he has actually been decent at the 1.5-mile tracks. He has compiled a respectable 13.2 average finish in the eight races, logging five finishes of 12th or better five times. He had a solid showing at Kansas back in May, leading 11 laps and finishing 11th. With borderline Top 10 upside as a cap-friendly price, Stenhouse could be worth a look for GPP contests.

Chris Buescher ($6,600)

If you are looking for the potential steal of the weekend, look no further than Buescher. He owns a 13.6 average finish in the eight races at 1.5-mile tracks this season, logging four Top 10s and cracking the Top 20 in all of them. As a bonus, he has gained an average of 10.9 spots per race, never gaining fewer than eight positions. Buescher has been a DFS All-Star at these intermediate ovals.

Sleeper Special

Ty Dillon ($5,000)

Dillon has been enjoying the most consistent stretch of his career in recent weeks, slipping into the Top 20 in seven of the last nine races and finishing 16th or better in four of his last six starts. Granted, there has only been one race at a 1.5-mile oval during that span, but Dillon did gain 11 spots and finish 16th at Las Vegas in the playoff opener. You may want to try to ride the hot hand if you are looking to free up a big chunk of cap space.

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