Draft Kings: Federated Auto Parts 400

Dan Beaver

Two-day shows are becoming the rage in NASCAR. All practice and qualification occurred on Friday with a Saturday night show on the books, so fantasy players have a short window to make their selections.

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to overthink things – and short, flat tracks are perfect for this approach. Richmond Raceway is a rhythm track, prone to streaks. Qualification is important, but not the only factor involved in the decision. Still, one should note that seven of the top-10 finishers this spring started on the first five rows.

Place-differential points are not going to be an overriding concern this week for most, but there are some drivers deep in the field who will make that a big part of their productivity. Joey Logano qualified 28th; he should finish in the top 10. Likewise 25th-place starter William Byron should be able to come to the front.

Group A: Most Expensive (>=$10,000)

Denny Hamlin ($10,600)


We’re sure dominant performances like this have happened in the past, but now that NASCAR.com is making average speed data available for five-lap increments up to 30, we have proof. Hamlin topped every chart in Happy Hour, and in doing so showed he has both short and long run speed. He qualified sixth, so he’s close enough to the front to establish track position immediately and yet will still earn place-differential points when he wins.

Group B: (Between $9,800 and $8,600)

Chase Elliott ($9,400)
Elliott looked good through practice and qualification. He came up a couple of positions short of winning the pole after first getting edged by Kevin Harvick and then blistered by Brad Keselowski, but his car was steady. That is what’s needed on a short, flat track. Finishing fourth last week, Elliott now has five top-10s in his last six races and momentum is on his side. We’re not ruling out the potential for a win if he gets track position late.

Ryan Blaney ($8,800)
Starting Blaney will not be for the faint of heart. It’s widely known by now that he has not scored a single top-15 on this track and that Richmond is his worst in terms of average finishes. He was among the top five on short and long runs (on the 5- to 25-lap chart) and should be able to stay on the lead lap until the critical final stage. Blaney qualified 15th this week and can earn a top-10. If he does that, he will be one of the better values at this level.

Group C: (Between $8,400 and $7,200)

Matt DiBenedetto ($7,400)
It’s hard to go against DiBenedetto lately. He has performed incredibly well over the past 45 days with 6.26 points per thousand dollars spent. That makes him the best value in the game. There have been peaks and valleys of course – but the best news is the peaks have come on drivers’ tracks like Richmond. His average points’ total of 46.3 per race since Watkins Glen will most likely be surpassed this week.

Jimmie Johnson ($7,600)
Johnson has struggled on a variety of tracks over the past few years. Richmond is not one of them. On this .75-mile oval, he has a current streak of 10 top-12 finishes with an average finish of 7.9. His name has been called several times this weekend as the best among the non-playoff drivers including during qualification when he was the only one from that rank who posted a top-10 lap.

Group D: (Between $7,000 and $6,000)

Austin Dillon ($6,800)
Often when a team makes the news, they run well that same week. The announcement that Daniel Hemric ($6,100) will not return to the No. 8 next year has a spotlight on Richard Childress Racing. The rookie is too unpredictable to activate, but his more experienced teammate has a few compelling stats in his favor. He enters the weekend with back-to-back sixth-place finishes on this track. Last fall’s came after he qualified 26th; this week he’s closer to the front in 17th. If Dillon misses to top 15 it probably won’t be by a wide margin because he has six lead lap finishes in his last seven Richmond starts.

Paul Menard ($6,900)
Menard is driving like a man with a weight lifted from his shoulders. We don’t know exactly when the decision to retire from racing was made because he has not told us, but one can see an improvement in his results from the summer until now. Menard has been consistent; lately he’s also been fast with a current three-race streak of top-15s that includes a pair of top-10s.

Group E: (Less than or equal to $6,000)

Michael McDowell ($5,400)
McDowell was bumped from the top 10 in qualification by one spot when Johnson went out and edged him by .016 seconds. Last week the No. 34 earned 31.5 points for his 24th-place finish in the Draft Kings game despite losing ground in place-differential. His top-25 was respectable and more importantly repeatable if he stays out of trouble. McDowell has cost fantasy players on a couple of occasions with problems at Darlington Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway, but five of his last eight outings netted more than 20 points.

The top-10 points’ earners from this spring were: Martin Truex Jr. (113.5), Kyle Busch (84.75), Joey Logano (78.5), Kevin Harvick (69.5), Denny Hamlin (68), Clint Bowyer (62.5), Jimmie Johnson (56), Erik Jones (55.5), Brad Keselowski (54.75), and Ryan Newman (51.5).

NASCAR Fantasy Live Preview

 

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group

Martin Truex Jr.

9.20

287.75

57.55

$11,100

          5.18

A

Kevin Harvick

10.40

269.75

53.95

$11,500

          4.69

A

Kyle Busch

12.40

280.75

56.15

$12,000

          4.68

A

Joey Logano

10.80

238.00

47.60

$10,200

          4.67

A

Denny Hamlin

13.60

221.00

44.20

$10,600

          4.17

A

 

Kyle Larson

11.00

266.25

53.25

$9,600

          5.55

B

Chase Elliott

9.60

240.50

48.10

$9,400

          5.12

B

Ryan Blaney

13.20

201.75

40.35

$8,800

          4.59

B

Brad Keselowski

13.40

211.50

42.30

$9,800

          4.32

B

Clint Bowyer

20.60

116.00

23.20

$8,600

          2.70

B

Erik Jones

24.40

122.50

24.50

$9,200

          2.66

B

Kurt Busch

23.20

114.50

22.90

$9,000

          2.54

B

 

Matt DiBenedetto

11.20

231.50

46.30

$7,400

          6.26

C

Daniel Suarez

14.00

177.75

35.55

$7,200

          4.94

C

Ryan Newman

13.20

190.00

38.00

$8,000

          4.75

C

Alex Bowman

19.00

153.50

30.70

$8,400

          3.65

C

William Byron

20.80

143.21

28.64

$8,200

          3.49

C

Aric Almirola

25.80

75.75

15.15

$7,800

          1.94

C

Jimmie Johnson

24.60

60.75

12.15

$7,600

          1.60

C

 

Ty Dillon

11.80

190.00

38.00

$6,200

          6.13

D

Bubba Wallace

14.40

169.00

33.80

$6,400

          5.28

D

Chris Buescher

14.00

179.25

35.85

$7,000

          5.12

D

Ryan Preece

19.20

151.00

30.20

$6,000

          5.03

D

Austin Dillon

16.40

158.50

31.70

$6,800

          4.66

D

Paul Menard

17.40

159.25

31.85

$6,900

          4.62

D

Daniel Hemric

26.00

59.50

11.90

$6,100

          1.95

D

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

34.00

9.00

1.80

$6,600

          0.27

D

 

JJ Yeley

24.00

88.00

22.00

$5,100

          4.31

E

Ross Chastain

22.20

115.75

23.15

$5,800

          3.99

E

Corey LaJoie

22.20

112.00

22.40

$5,700

          3.93

E

Quin Houff

28.00

32.00

16.00

$4,900

          3.27

E

Reed Sorenson

27.25

65.00

16.25

$5,000

          3.25

E

David Ragan

26.80

77.00

15.40

$5,300

          2.91

E

Landon Cassill

25.80

73.00

14.60

$5,200

          2.81

E

Austin Theriault

28.00

13.00

13.00

$4,800

          2.71

E

Matt Tifft

27.60

73.50

14.70

$5,600

          2.63

E

Michael McDowell

29.00

53.50

10.70

$5,400

          1.98

E

Spencer Boyd

35.00

4.00

4.00

$4,700

          0.85

E