Hello NASCAR fans! Welcome to FanSided Fantasy NASCAR coverage. My name is A.J. Fagerlin and I will be your best friend going forward when you are looking for fantasy advice as it relates to the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series. Each week I will outline which favorites, mid-tier, and lower-end drivers should be a part of your daily fantasy lineups, as well as my favorite to win the race if you are a betting person. Thanks for reading, now letâs dive right in.
First, we will outline a few drivers towards the top of daily fantasy salary lists that I think are worth the money to build your team around.
How can I start anywhere else? Hamlin has been on an absolute tear as of late, finishing in the top three in each of last his five races while winning two of them, including the seriesâ last race at Bristol. After a week off, Hamlin will look to pick up right where he left off at his best track.
Hamlinâs best career average finish and his best average finish at a track since the start of 2017 are both at Darlington. Hamlin is hitting his best track at the best time. Over his last six races, Hamlin is averaging a ridiculous 75.15 fantasy points per race on DraftKings and 74.05 on FanDuel.
Hamlin didnât light the world on fire in practice, but improved from first to second practice, having the second-best 10-lap average in final practice on Friday. He will be starting ninth on Sunday night, which means he could even grab a few position differential points if he manages another top finish.
Second, on the salary list on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Hamlinâs price has finally risen to the value of his recent performance. But if you decide to build your team around a driver at the top of the list, Hamlin seems like a no-brainer. He just won the Xfinity Series race on Saturday as well, so it doesnât get much hotter than Hamlin is right now.Â Maybe heâs due to come back down to earth, but I donât think that happens at this track at this point.
By Kyle Buschâs standards, heâs been off for quite some time. 10 races since his last win? Thatâs a cold streak for Kyle that he has rarely experienced in his racing career. After winning three of the first eight races, Kyle has won just once over the last 16 races.
Can Kyle finally get back on track this week and get back in victory lane? He has as good of a shot as anyone. And if he doesnât, his starting position should allow him a ton of fantasy points with a solid finish due to position differential.
After engine trouble in qualifying, Busch is credited with the 33rd starting spot. The 18 team made an engine change, so Kyle will start at the rear of the field when the green flag drops on Sunday. Kyle started 31st last race at Bristol, finished fourth, and still racked up 90.5 fantasy points on DraftKings. I expect a similar performance this week.
Kyle was mired in the middle of the pack on the speed sheet for both practice sessions but managed top three 10-lap averages in both sessions as well. If Kyle can stay on the lead lap early and pick up chunks of passes on his way up through the field on green flag runs, he should certainly be able to put himself in a good position to contend for the win at the end of the race.
Kyle is the most expensive driver on both DFS platforms, so building your lineup around him is a bit of a risk. His struggles have been real and he will start at the back, but heâs been showing signs of improvement lately. If you think that this is the week that the race plays into his hands and he finally overcomes his obstacles for a victory, I have no problem starting your team with him.
With that starting position, a big race could have a huge fantasy reward for those willing to take the risk, while many players way avoid Kyle due to his cost and starting position and go with another option at the top of their lineup. Heâs certainly not the safest option this week, but he could pay big dividends if he does perform at Kyle Busch level.
Larson has experienced a few rough patches this season with some poor finishes, DNFs, and zero wins, but Darlington could be a track where he finally breaks through. No other driver has led more laps than Larson at Darlington since 2017 (408 laps led).
Larson was second fastest in final practice and posted the fastest 10-lap average in final practice as well. Although track conditions may change the entire landscape of the race once the sun goes down, short-run and long-run speed in practice are always good signs for success on race day.
After an impressive practice session, Larson followed it up with a third-place starting position in qualifying. Although he hasnât won this season, Larson has finished in the top eight in each of his previous four races.
In the two races at one-mile tracks that the series has run so far, Larson has posted a third and a 33rd place finish. Fourth most expensive on DraftKings and sixth on FanDuel, Larson is kind of pricey for the season he has been having, but at a very good track for him, Larson could finally grab his first victory of the season and is a solid option in DFS.
Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski