NASCAR DFS: Toyota/Save Mart 350 DraftKings and Fanduel Lineups Plays
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is visiting Sonoma Raceway this weekend for the first road course event of 2018, and now that the starting lineup for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 is finally set, we can focus our attention on assembling some winning NASCAR DFS lineups at DraftKings and Fanduel.
Road courses present a much different challenge for drivers and crews than a traditional oval track, and it is only fitting that we will need to make some adjustments to our typical strategy if we want to cash in this weekend.
At DraftKings in particular, the lack of laps combined with multiple pit strategies that can cause the lead to cycle around will lessen the impact of the dominator categories. There was also an issue in qualifying that resulted in several drivers waiting until the last minutes to try to turn a lap, and it created an overcrowded condition that prevented several fast cars from turning a strong lap.
As a result, I'll be going with a lot of one-dominator lineups at DraftKings, loading up the rest of my lineup with drivers who have a lot of place differential upside. At Fanduel, I will have lineups where I don't roster any obvious dominators who are starting up front.
In the end, I expect one of the top scorers to bolster their score through the dominator categories, but I expect the place differential category to be responsible for a majority of the big scores this weekend.
Make sure to check out all of my top NASCAR DFS plays for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma, and lock in your lineups at DraftKings and Fanduel.
DraftKings Must-Own Drivers
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)
While dominator points aren’t as valuable in a 110-lap race, they certainly won't hurt your cause. Truex will start on the front row Sunday, and he led the most laps in both road course races last year, winning at The Glen. He is positioned to be the top dominator again this weekend.
Denny Hamlin ($9,100)
Hamlin has finished fourth or better in each of the last four road races, leading double-digit laps in three of them. He was already a potential bargain at this price, and the fact that he qualified 21st and has plenty of place differential upside only bolsters his value. I'll have plenty of exposure this weekend.
Kurt Busch ($8,600)
He was massively underpriced from the get go, and after he qualified 23rd, he has even more upside. Busch has been the most reliable road racer the last few years, piling up a series-leading eight Top 10s in the last 10 races. He has also finished 12th or better in his last seven starts at Sonoma, posting a series-best 5.6 average finish and leading more laps than any other driver. You don’t typically see a driver with a high floor and high ceiling available for a midrange price.
DraftKings Cash Plays
Kevin Harvick ($11,700)
He is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and Harvick is starting sixth with a car that was great on long runs in practice. He has finished sixth or better in three of his four starts at Sonoma with Stewart-Haas Racing, leading laps in three of those races. He is once again poised to contend for the win while earning some dominator points. His salary is a little high for a road course, but Harvick is definitely one of the safest plays on the board.
Kyle Busch ($11,200)
Busch is the active leader in road course wins, and he has led laps in the last six road course events, posting a 4.7 average finish in that stretch. He starts ninth and should be a popular play, and the fact that he is a safe bet to contend for the win and provide some dominator points makes him a strong foundation for cash lineups.
Clint Bowyer ($9,300)
He is one of the best in the business at road courses, and Bowyer has eight Top 10s in his last 10 starts at Sonoma, including a second-place finish last year. He had one of the fastest cars in practice, but a crowded track in qualifying has him starting 19th. Dominator points could be tough to come by, but an excellent finish and plenty of place differential points are still in play.
Aric Almirola ($8,200)
Almirola hasn't managed great road course results to date, but he's never driven cars as good as the ones he has at his disposal at Stewart-Haas Racing. He qualified 24th, but he showed Top 10 speed in practice Friday, and he has been finishing in the Top 15 all year. He has a rock solid floor at a cap-friendly price, perfect for cash games.
Austin Dillon ($7,100)
His road course numbers are mediocre, but Dillon is set up nicely with the place differential category after qualifying 27th. He has a way of staying out of trouble, and while he has never cracked the Top 15 at a road course, he does have four Top 20s in eight starts and has never finished worse than 22nd at Sonoma. Dillon should be an affordable source of 25-plus fantasy points.
Michael McDowell ($5,900)
If you need a little cap relief, McDowell offers you exposure to a road racing ace for a bargain price. He has cracked the Top 20 in four of his last five starts at the road courses, picking up Top 15s at Sonoma and Watkins Glen a year ago. He has a little differential upside after qualifying 22nd, and McDowell has a great shot at 30 fantasy for a bargain price.
Ty Dillon ($5,700)
He's not a great road racer by any means, but starting 31st, Dillon can finish with a positive differential simply by staying on the track. He finished 28th and 19th in two road course starts as a rookie last year, and he can flirt with 20 fantasy points with a Top 25 Sunday. Worst-case scenario, Dillon is a safe source of positive points, and he frees up a ton of cap space.
DraftKings GPP Plays
Brad Keselowski ($9,800)
If you are looking for a contrarian option to build around, Keselowski gives you legitimate dominator potential and a little more salary flexibility. In the last five road course events, his 92 laps led are 36 more than any other driver, and he has led at least 17 laps in four of those five races. Starting in the Top 10, Keselowski has an outside chance to win the dominator categories this weekend.
A.J. Allmendinger ($8,000)
His road racing skills are off the charts, and no driver has led more laps in the last 10 road course events. In fact, Allmendinger has managed to lead laps in six races in that span, leading at least 20 laps four times. Starting fifth, he could absolutely finish as the top scorer at DraftKings and provide ridiculous value for the price, but he could also crash and burn as he desperately tries to secure a playoff spot at one of the few tracks where he can actually win. Allmendinger is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward play Sunday.
Daniel Suarez ($7,500)
Two races isn’t much of a sample size, but Suarez held his own at the road courses as a rookie last year. After a 16th-place run at Sonoma, and he led 14 laps and finished third at Watkins Glen. Starting 16th, he shouldn't be an obvious play among the lower-priced options, but he still has a little differential upside if he ends up in the Top 10. He could be an X-factor in GPPs.
Kasey Kahne ($6,600)
Kahne hasn't shown a lot of speed this weekend, but he has differential upside after qualifying 26th and a great record at Sonoma. He came out of nowhere to win here in 2009, and he hasn’t slowed down since. He has a 10.2 average finish in the last nine races here, logging six Top 10s and just one finish outside the Top 20. Kahne has also gained double-digit spots in three of the last four races here. Yes, he’s in weaker equipment, but road courses level the playing field between big and small teams to a degree. He's worth a flier this weekend.
Darrell Wallace Jr. ($6,500)
Man, Wallace looks absolutely lost so far in his Sonoma debut, and the rookie can barely make it around the track at times. That being said, he starts back in 35th, and laps are so long at Sonoma that he could hang on the lead lap. Through attrition alone, Wallace is probably going to gain spots Sunday. If he happens to find a rhythm or uses pit strategy to finish around the middle of the pack, he could win you a lot of money. He's not a bad Hail Mary pick.
Chris Buescher ($6,100)
Buescher was terrible in his first three road course starts, but after becoming teammates with A.J. Allmendinger last year, he managed a pair of Top 20s. I think teaming with one of the best road racers in the series has helped Buescher's performance, and I think he will move up from his 25th-place starting spot. He could be a sleeper among the cheaper plays Sunday.