NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Hollywood Casino 400
Elimination strikes NASCAR's playoffs again this week in America's heartland. After a wild race at Talladega left Aric Almirola with his second career win, he and Chase Elliott are now the only two locked into the Round of 8. The other six spots will be settled on Sunday, and big names like Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney currently sit below the cut line and will likely need a win to advance.
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Kevin Harvick ($14,200): Happy Harvick has been a mainstay all season, and he's a driver to target yet again. He will start 2nd, and he was top five in both 10-lap average times in Saturday's practices. He also led 79 laps in winning the Spring race at Kansas, which was not even one of his strongest performances at a 1.5-mile track this season. The most interesting point working in Harvick's favor Sunday? NBC's broadcast booth has access to NASCAR timing and scoring, which reveals additional 20-lap averages not available to the public, and they were astonished by his times later and later into the run. Put shortly, expect a long green flag run to result in Harvick finding the front, and if he is there for a while, he will easily pay off this high price tag.
Kyle Larson ($12,000): Larson is currently 36 points below the cut line after an aerodynamic penalty at Talladega last week, and he needs a win -- period. If there is good news, Larson is absolutely capable of getting to victory lane at Kansas. He led 101 laps here in the spring before a late wreck. Larson is searching for speed this weekend, still not having cracked the top five in either 10-lap average. He is also in a backup car after a practice wreck and will start in the back, despite his starting position being listed as 27th. If Larson can get a semblance of speed, he could be a home-run play with huge pass-differential upside. If he finds his way into the top 10, he'll be a solid complement to Harvick.
If you are looking for another dominator, maybe Martin Truex Jr ($13,400) is a better option than Larson. He's led 380 laps in the last four races at Kansas, but he comes with significantly less upside. Truex appears to have a fast car over the short run, posting top-10 times in both practices on Saturday, but he did not have the same 10-lap average speed. Larson is awfully appealing, but Truex warrants consideration.
Ryan Blaney ($11,500): Whenever you get a driver saying he is at his favorite race track, that is a type of confidence you love to hear as a potential fantasy play. Enter Blaney, who is in the position of desperately needing a win at his favorite race track. Blaney led 54 laps and won Stage 1 here in the spring before he wrecked. Blaney has been quick this weekend, posting top-10 clips in both single-lap and 10-lap average in Saturday's sessions. While his upside could be limited since he's starting fourth, Blaney is in the running for the win he needs Sunday.
Kurt Busch ($11,000): Oh so close. Busch needed a half-a-lap of gas at Talladega to be sitting where his teammate Aric Almirola is -- safe and sound. Busch still is in great shape, sitting 44 points above the cut line, and appears to be on his way to the Round of 8. Busch, though, is looking to start building race-winning momentum that would lead him to a championship. He had a great start Saturday as he won final practice and posted the third-best time in the 10-lap average. Busch is starting 11th after a ho-hum final round in qualifying, so even just a top-five finish will still give him some minor pass-differential upside. He appears to be a solid cog for our lineups, whether pairing him with Harvick at the top of a cash line or by fading Harvick in a GPP and combining him with Blaney and polesitter Joey Logano ($11,800).
Jimmie Johnson ($9,500): Johnson finds himself in a similar situation to many race weekends this year. He didn't appear to have much raw speed, qualifying 22nd, but that will increase his fantasy floor as he slowly ascends Sunday. Johnson, despite not advancing past the first round of the playoffs, actually has three top 10 showings in his last four races and is starting to build momentum. He'll look to keep it going as he approaches his fifth-to-last race with long-time crew chief Chad Knaus, but do not be mistaken -- Johnson has speed this weekend. He was 8th in final practice on the 10-lap average, and 15th in single lap, so Johnson could outrun his starting spot Sunday.
Paul Menard ($7,600): Menard has the best equipment in the price range (by far), and as a result, he should be a weekly recommendation until his salary is adjusted. Some may prefer the incredibly high floor of Bubba Wallace ($7,200), but Wallace has had trouble keeping race cars in one piece since the playoffs started and is in inferior equipment. Menard has a couple factors working in his favor, but chief among them is how bad fast his Ford appears to be. He was seventh in first practice and fifth in final practice, which makes him a steal at this cost. Menard is all about avoiding trouble, and if he can do that, he should be a great value play.
David Ragan ($5,500): Rarely would you expect to be this deep in the bargain bin on FanDuel, but with so many high-priced drivers worth paying up for, relinquishing some upside for some cap relief might be worth it. But Ragan gives you a chance to avoid compromising on either. He finished 13th here in the spring after starting 20th. Starting 28th this weekend, if he can replicate his spring climb up the ladder, he could be a GPP-winning type of play. However, Ragan has yet to demonstrate that same speed this weekend as he has not cracked the top 20 in either practice, but a crazy, wreck-filled race like the spring one could leave Ragan with another great finish.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. 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.