NASCAR DFS: KC Masterpiece 400 DraftKings Preview

Brian Polking

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway for a Saturday night showdown at the 1.5-mile oval. The track will host the KC Masterpiece 400, the fourth event of the 2018 season at a mile-and-a-half track.

After a few short track events, a trip to Talladega and a 400-lap event at Dover, we will have to dial back up the tried-and-true method for building DFS lineups for 1.5-mile tracks. You need to attack the dominator categories with one or two big names and fill out the rest of your lineup with any quality options who have a little differential upside. Any big names starting deeper in the field are also must-own drivers.

There’s just no denying the fact that the top drivers from the top teams tend to separate from the pack at mile-and-a-half ovals. This year has been no exception as the two top drivers in the series, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, have combined to win all three races at 1.5-mile tracks so far. The duo has also combined to lead 617 of the 926 laps in these races.

Qualifying will go a long way to revealing the other top options for Saturday’s race, but no matter how the starting lineup shakes out, you need to make sure to attack with the dominator categories with one or two heavy hitters, no matter the cost.

In the meantime, here is a closer look at the drivers who I’ll be targeting ahead of the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway.

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Must-Own Drivers

Kevin Harvick ($11,700)

His record at Kansas speaks for itself, and in the last 10 races here, he has a series-best 5.9 average finish and has led a series-best 513 laps. Harvick has also been in a league of his own at the 1.5-mile tracks in 2018. He has two wins and a second-place finish in the three races so far, leading a combined 482 laps and recording 224 fastest laps. Perhaps more impressively, Harvick has led more than 80 laps and logged more than 60 laps in all three of those races. You can pretty much pencil him in for a bunch of dominator points Saturday night.

Kyle Busch ($11,200)

Busch has been coming on strong at Kansas, finishing in the Top 5 in five of his last six starts at the track and leading 50-plus laps in three of his last four. He’s also been one of the premier options at the mile-and-a-half ovals this year. Busch led 116 laps and went to victory lane at Texas a few weeks ago, and he has a 3.3 average finish in the three races thus far, leading laps and logging more than 20 fastest laps in each.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,800)

He is no stranger to leading laps at Kansas, and last year, Truex finally sealed the deal and swept both races at the track. He led 104 laps in his victory in the spring and 91 laps in his win in the fall race, and he has led more than 90 laps in four of his last six starts while topping 50 fastest laps in three of his last four. At the very least, Truex should provide some dominator points this weekend, and this could be the track where he reasserts his dominance of the 1.5-mile ovals.

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Value Plays

Ryan Blaney ($8,800)

If you are looking for an alternative dominator driver, Blaney has a chance to be the steal of the weekend at this price. He has finished in the Top 5 in three of his last four starts at Kanas, leading 83 laps here last spring. He’s also coming off back-to-back Top 5s at Las Vegas and Texas, so speed at the 1.5-mile tracks hasn’t been an issue this year.

Kurt Busch ($8,400)

Busch is another driver who could be a mid-priced gem this weekend. He has six straight Top 15s at Kansas, picking up four Top 10s in that span. More importantly, he has shown plenty of speed at the1.5-mile tracks this year, leading 52 laps at Atlanta and 40 laps at Texas. Busch could be a sneaky source for some dominator points this weekend.

Erik Jones ($8,100)

It has been a rough stretch for Jones, but the trip to Kansas could be just what the doctor ordered. Yes, he has an ugly 32.3 average finish in three Cup starts here, but you he’s been locked in at the mile-and-a-half tracks in 2018. He has finished 11th or better in each of the first three races, leading 64 laps and finishing fourth at Texas a few weeks ago. At worst, he should run in the Top 10, and Jones offer Top 5 upside with a shot at some dominator points.

Austin Dillon ($7,400)

Dillon will need to qualify deeper in the field to be a worthwhile pick, but if he does, he could provide some nice value. He has cracked the Top 15 in two of the three races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and he has finished 16th or better in four straight starts at Kansas.

Daniel Suarez ($6,800)

It was a slow start to 2018 for Suarez, but he finally has a little momentum. He rolls into Kansas with four straight finishes of 11th or better, and he finished in the Top 10 here last spring. Suarez could provide around 30 fantasy points on finishing position alone, and that’s not a bad return at this price. If he has a little differential upside after qualifying, he becomes an even more appealing option.

Kasey Kahne ($6,300)

I’m not really concerned with the solid numbers he put up with Kansas while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. I’m focused on the consistent results he has delivered at the 1.5-mile tracks for Leavine Family Racing this year. Kahne has finished 21st, 19th and 17th, respectively, in the three races, so a Top 20 finish is certainly reasonable. If he ends up starting outside the Top 25, Kahne should be one of the safer low-priced plays.

Sleeper Special

Chris Buescher ($5,800)

Buescher has put together a decent resume at Kansas, cracking the Top 25 in all four of his starts and gaining an average of 6.6 spots per race. In fact, he’s finished with a positive place differential in each race here. This year, Buescher has managed Top 15s in two of the three races at 1.5-mile tracks, gaining an average of 5.0 spots in those three events. He looks like your best bet when dipping below the $6,000 threshold.

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