NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Verizon 200 at the Brickyard

Kyle Busch will start in the middle of the pack, giving him big appeal for Sunday's Cup Series race on the Indianapolis road course. Who else should we build around for NASCAR DFS on FanDuel?

If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers who crash out of the race is a must, of course!

numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, he also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.

Too many mistakes unraveled Chase Elliott at Watkins Glen in his quest for a seventh win in nine road course appearances, and in his wake, his teammate Kyle Larson captured his second road course win of 2021, and fifth overall for the current regular-season points leader. Both Elliott and Larson will be heavy favorites as NASCAR heads to its second straight road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In lieu of the oval, this will be the first Cup Series event on the 2.439-mile road course layout that F1 made world-renowned between 2000 and 2007.

Due to the inaugural appearance at this track, practice and qualifying have taken place this weekend. The lone practice session was run Saturday when Martin Truex Jr. was fastest for the day. Time trial qualifying set the starting lineup for Sunday, which handed the front row to William Byron and Chase Briscoe.

The general strategy for the road course events in daily fantasy is to use one "assumed" winner in a lineup and surround them with drivers who may present place-differential upside if possible in a good finish. There are only 8.2 FanDuel points available for laps led in this race, making it less critical than normal to find a dominant driver throughout the afternoon.

With all of this in mind, let's preview the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on FanDuel.

High-Salaried Drivers

Chase Elliott ($14,000): The battle between Elliott and Kyle Larson ($13,500) for a spot in a single-entry lineup returns on the road course this weekend. Larson prevailed at Watkins Glen, but it was Elliott who recorded the fastest lap on the afternoon and made up over 10 seconds on Larson in the final green-flag run. In short, Elliott likely had the speed to win with a single caution flag, which should come as no surprise for the driver with six wins in the last nine road course races, including most recently in July at Road America. The popularity distribution should be much closer this weekend between Larson and Elliott, and they start together in row two, so in essentially a straight pick for daily fantasy purposes, the nod goes to Elliott on overall body of work and the fact he logged 62 crucial laps in Saturday's Xfinity Series event.

Kyle Busch ($12,500): Even with the qualifying session, Kyle Busch found a return to his growingly familiar "place-differential" option in this stud tier. Busch will start 21st again after a poor time trial, but that should be a familiar home given that he started outside the top-20 spots and scored top-5 finishes at both Road America and Watkins Glen in the past two road course races. There is an alternative in this department with Christopher Bell ($11,500) also starting deeper in the field, but Busch has navigated new configurations at both COTA and Road America to top-10 average running positions this season already, and Indianapolis should be the latest, similar challenge.

Others to Consider: Kyle Larson ($13,500), Martin Truex Jr. ($13,000), Christopher Bell ($11,500)

Mid-Salaried Drivers

Alex Bowman ($9,200): Qualifying opened the door tremendously to place-differential upside, and that starts with Bowman. There were some underperforming drivers at Watkins Glen compared to other 2021 road courses, and Bowman fit that bill as he failed to secure a top-15 average running position last week for the first time since Daytona in February on a road course. Still, with Elliott and Larson dominating -- and his teammate William Byron on the pole -- there is plenty of speed packed into this mid-range option with a 24th-place starting spot. Bowman has less road course experience than much of the Cup field, and that may be why his best finish came at COTA (8th), and his best average running position was at Road America (11th). On yet another new course, Bowman's relative lack of experience should matter a bit less.

Kurt Busch ($8,200): Busch underperformed significantly at Watkins Glen, as well, as last week marked the first time in seven road course starts Busch failed to secure a top-12 average running position. Too many mistakes on pit stops and mechanical issues held back the strong road-racer, but he should be primed to rebound despite having no experience at this Indianapolis configuration. Busch certainly is fighting growing pains after finishing just 28th in practice on Saturday, but an improvement to 20th in time trials is encouraging without taking all of his place-differential upside away. Busch certainly brings plenty of daily fantasy appeal this week, as well, considering a $2,300 decrease in salary on FanDuel after the one poor weekend.

Others to Consider: Joey Logano ($10,000), Kevin Harvick ($9,500), Austin Cindric ($9,000)

Low-Salaried Drivers

Brad Keselowski ($8,000): There is a substantial gap in situation this week with Brad Keselowski in DFS, and that context is key before just "crossing him off" at what his essentially a value salary. Last week, Keselowski started on the pole, caused four on-track incidents, and finished 35th as the worst play on the slate due to brake issues. This week is an entirely different story. Keselowski will start 31st at Indianapolis, which brings significant place-differential upside for a driver that has fine road-course results in 2021 for a value play. Keselowski finished 5th at Daytona in February, 15th at Sonoma, and 13th at Road America, and any of those positions are a solid outcome for him this weekend should he be able to replicate them. Keselowski is now appropriately salaried, and that vaults him from a terrible DFS play to an intriguing one.

Austin Dillon ($5,500): The starting lineup not being available before salaries were released included some assumptions, and one of them was likely Dillon starting much higher than 23rd on speed alone for the limited, but improving, road course racer. Dillon posted his fifth straight top-20 average running position at a road course, and while that is a small hurdle to some, it is a monstrous improvement for him recently on this track type. Like Bowman earlier, Dillon is just less experienced on road courses than many in the field, and that also makes it not terribly surprising that his two best finishes on road courses this season (11th at Road America, 12th at COTA) came on new tracks to the circuit. Indianapolis could be a third good finish added to the list as he, like Chase Elliott, already has 62 valuable laps on track this weekend from yesterday's Xfinity Series race.

Others to Consider: Tyler Reddick ($7,800), Ross Chastain ($7,500), Chris Buescher ($6,000), Erik Jones ($5,000)

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.