NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: AdventHealth 400

Kyle Larson led more laps at Kansas than any competitor last year. Does that make him the top driver to target entering the weekend?

If you are looking for an action-packed way to consume sports on the weekend, 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, though!

numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes takes a look at the best bets of the weekend in his betting guide. 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.

With all of this in mind, let's preview the AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway on FanDuel.

Weekend Primer

Event Time
Practice Saturday, May 14th
5:00 p.m. EST
Qualifying Saturday, May 14th
5:35 p.m. EST

The practice and qualifying sessions will be on Saturday night, providing a bit less of an emphasis than normal this season. The track conditions will be very different than the 3:00 p.m. EST starting time for the green flag on Sunday.

With that said, practice has been such a crucial determination of who has been viable at every configuration this season. It still should be weighted far more heavily than these pre-weekend rankings. Last week, Joey Logano was first in single-lap and 10-lap speeds in practice, and he was the clear dominant car of the afternoon.

General Lineup Strategy

Passing is possible at Kansas, which is a multi-groove, 1.5-mile oval. It should be even easier than seasons past marred by the 550-horsepower package.

Still, with 267 laps on deck (and 26.7 points available for laps led on FanDuel), finding one or two cars to dominate the afternoon and lead laps will still be the top priority. Those cars will likely be fastest in the single-lap, 10-lap, and qualifying speed charts throughout the weekend.

There was no qualifying, but last year's perfect lineups can tell us that there is no specific way to target the remaining lineup spots. Place-differential points weren't really necessary; only 1 of the 10 drivers across last year's two perfect Kansas lineups started lower than 17th -- Parker Kligerman, who started dead last in the fall.

The new car should make passing easier, so it's fine to be open to cars starting further back, but forcing cars starting toward the back into your lineup at the sacrifice of speed is not an optimal strategy.

Driver Rankings

Below are my pre-qualifying rankings for each driver based on equipment, track history, recent form, and overall talent level -- in that order. Only drivers with a win probability above 0% in Jim Sannes' win simulations were included.

As a great indicator of overall speed, MLT Rank is the driver's average median lap time ranking at the relevant sample of similar race tracks to this weekend's. The prior races in the sample this week are:

2022 Las Vegas (Spring)

For dominator viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale to potentially lead laps and win the race if they start up front. A "10" is among the favorites to win the race, and a "0" has no realistic chance to lead the race at any point.

For flex play viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale to finish in terms of potential to finish inside the top-15 spots. These drivers will be better daily fantasy plays the further back in the field they start for optimal place-differential points.

Driver Sannes'

1 Kyle
6.44% 8 10 10
2 Martin
Truex, Jr.
8.54% 1 10 10
3 Kyle
10.74% 6 10 10
4 William
9.10% 4 10 10
5 Ryan
8.42% 5 10 10
6 Ross
8.62% 3 10 10
7 Denny
7.48% 2 9 10
8 Chase
9.88% 13 9 10
9 Alex
3.98% 7 8 10
10 Tyler
3.64% 15 8 10
11 Joey
5.72% 12 8 10
12 Kevin
7.66% 11 7 9
13 Christopher
2.24% 10 7 9
14 Chase
0.82% 16 6 9
15 Austin
0.22% 25 6 9
16 Erik
1.64% 9 5 8
17 Austin
0.60% 20 5 8
18 Kurt
0.44% 17 4 7
20 Aric
1.06% 18 2 7
19 Ricky
Stenhouse, Jr.
0.50% 14 3 7
21 Daniel
0.42% 19 2 6
22 Justin
0.26% 24 1 5
23 Brad
0.38% 23 0 4
24 Noah
0.12% NA 0 4
25 Chris
0.50% 29 0 4
26 Cole
0.16% 30 0 3
27 Bubba
0.24% 21 0 2
28 Harrison
0.04% 28 0 2
29 Ty
0.08% 31 0 1
30 Michael
0.06% 27 0 1

The win by Kyle Busch ($13,500) last spring here at Kansas has very little to do with why he's atop my rankings this week.

Busch backed into the win that day as Kyle Larson ($14,000) dominated before problems on the race's final restart. Larson did that again in the fall. Busch, though, had more speed in Las Vegas earlier this season in this car. He was leading (with 41 laps led in total) before a late restart at Las Vegas in a backup car.

Las Vegas is the closest sister track on the circuit to Kansas. For me, given Busch was in that position on speed and teammate Martin Truex Jr. ($12,000) had the fastest median lap time at Las Vegas as well, I'm comfortable ranking the Joe Gibbs Racing tandem ahead of Larson entering this weekend.

With the fastest median lap time in Darlington last week, Larson's speed is improving. He's nearing the form that saw him lead 262 total laps at Kansas a season ago. He's over-salaried based on his overall 2022 form, but he's still firmly in this tier with the Gibbs guys.

Denny Hamlin ($13,000) will also pilot a Gibbs Toyota. Hamlin's a three-time Kansas winner, so he also is familiar with the circuit. Considering their 2022 speed as the only multiple-time winners, Ross Chastain ($11,000) and William Byron ($11,500) would round out the cars I'd peg as favorites to dominate this race.

Kevin Harvick ($9,000) has 8 top-five finishes in his last 10 Kansas starts, and after posting another survival-related top-five at Darlington last week, he's absolutely in flex-play consideration. Harvick is notoriously poor at qualifying, raising his potential to score place-differential points every week.

It might be surprising to see Erik Jones ($8,000) so high in salary, but he's earned it with another top-10 median lap time last week at Darlington. Jones is now appropriately salaried, so he's not a must-have value play, but with solid practice speeds, he's more than worthy of consideration. He's a playoff contender.

Austin Cindric ($6,500) led more than 130 laps and finished second in both of his last two Xfinity Series starts here in which he saw the finish. He's a clear standout in the value tier with the same equipment as Joey Logano ($10,000) and Ryan Blaney ($10,500).

In ECR Chevrolets that have shown plenty of speed this season, Austin Dillon ($6,000) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($5,500) are two others I'm likely to roster regardless of starting spot. Dillon finished third at Martinsville and ninth last week in Darlington. Stenhouse finished second at Dover. That's tournament-winning speed if the race breaks correctly for them.

Justin Haley ($5,000) finally cashed in on Kaulig's speed with a third-place effort last week. He and Noah Gragson ($4,500) have decent equipment for punts.

On the other side of the spectrum, I'm once again averse to using Brad Keselowski ($7,000) and Chris Buescher ($5,200) until we see more speed from RFK Racing on the larger tracks. Throw Cole Custer ($4,500) in that bucket, as well. Custer had just the 29th-fastest median lap time last week in Darlington. Unless total mayhem ensues, he's not viable in DFS until that improves.