NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Bojangles' Southern 500
With just two races left before the cutoff, time is running out on some of these Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers to get into the playoffs. Darlington represents some of the last ounces of hope for those on the outside looking in.
As far as the fantasy outlook is concerned, just like Bristol from two weeks ago, it is a good idea to prioritize the laps-led points a tad bit more than you would during an intermediate track race with 367 laps being the scheduled distance. Also, remember that this week you will have a little bit more time to set your lineups with lock not until 6 pm Eastern on Sunday. Keep an eye out for some of these sexy throwback designs that will make you realize why they are throwback designs and not still in style. Now, let's talk about the very nice 69th edition of our beloved Darlington.
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Our track preview gives you more information about this track, our driver preview helps bring you up to speed on drivers' recent history here and elsewhere, and our Heat Check Podcast with Jim Sannes gives you insight how he is approaching this weekend's slate.
Kevin Harvick ($13,400 on FanDuel): I did just say that my plan is going to be to weigh laps led more than I normally would, but getting a top-two driver on the circuit starting in 22nd is a no-brainer. I'll admit, the short run times could've been a little better for Kevin Harvick, but he still had the 13th-fastest single-lap time in final practice and the 3rd-best 10-lap average in both practices. Forget the struggles that Harvick had at Bristol with a 10th-place finish after being pinned a lap down for most of the race; how often is that going to happen to arguably the best driver in the series driving for one of the best teams? Harvick is an easy place-differential play this week, and there is no reason to believe otherwise.
Denny Hamlin ($11,600): Normally, it is very risky to play Denny Hamlin on the pole. He's often at risk of falling down the ranks quickly and getting passed by drivers like Harvick and Kyle Busch. But at a shorter track such as Darlington, Hamlin becomes better than normal. He was last year's race winner, tying Kyle Larson for the most laps led with 124, and had the second-most fastest laps with 47. This highlights how much more speed that Hamlin was able to produce over his competitors. Looking at practice, Hamlin dominated the first practice, generating the fastest single-lap and 10-lap average speeds. His second practice wasn't quite as good, but it was good enough to allow us to count on Hamlin to lead some laps from the pole and finish well.
Ryan Blaney ($9,500): Blaney has been having himself a quietly decent season so far, but he has yet to grab a win. That is something that I believe he can do here if he keeps his car safe from heavy damage, even while starting in the 21st spot. Blaney showed a lot of the speed that he is capable of here at Darlington in second practice where he put up the ninth-best single-lap time and the fourth-best 10-lap average. Blaney makes for a solid place-differential candidate, who, like Harvick, also has the ability to lead laps.
Ryan Newman ($9,300): This clearly is a tournament-only play that I believe has merit to it. Otherwise, why would I be wasting my time talking about him?
Starting in the 6th spot, you would think that Ryan Newman is starting too far ahead to warrant being playable. However, in 19 career races at Darlington, Newman has posted 13 top-10 finishes and 7 top-5 finishes. And including races that he has not finished, Darlington is the track where he has posted his best average finishing position of 11.7. Of course, he conveniently needs to lock in his spot in the playoffs. So what have we learned? This is one of, if not the best track for Newman, and he is racing in need of a playoff spot. Don't be surprised if Newman can take advantage of the some of the chaos that ensues, lead laps, and possibly even win this thing.
Jamie McMurray ($7,900): Whether you want to classify Jamie McMurray as a mid-range or low-priced driver, the answer is clear: McMurray is a must in cash games and a very worthwhile GPP play. He might not be the greatest driver, but he is way better than his 31st starting position. Just take a gander at some of the drivers that he is going to get to pass early on. If McMurray doesn't have 10 spots of place differential in the first 10 laps, then I will eat my hat on a Periscope on the 11th lap. His engine dying in spectacular fashion during practice is surely not the best sign, but if the car is all right, then McMurray is fine from a fantasy perspective.
Kasey Kahne ($6,200): In order to fit guys who are going to lead laps in your lineup, you need at least one driver in this lower pricing tier. Introducing none other than the amazing Kasey Kahne. There's two reasons he comes to mind for me here. One, he's a handsome stallion who is on his last legs, and the racing gods should be blessing him this weekend because of it. And two, his second practice numbers were not that bad, which is pretty much the standard for "punt" range drivers. Kahne was 7th in final practice on single-lap speed and had the 16th-best single-lap average. As long as Kahne's 95 car can stay on the track, I think that he will be the best punt you can roster at Darlington.
Evan Cheney is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Evan Cheney also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username theman90210. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.