NASCAR DFS: Tales of the Turtles 400 Post-Qualifying Picks

Following the qualifying round at the Chicagoland Speedway, Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking points out who to target on DraftKings for the Tales of the Turtles 400

 

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs officially kicked off this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, and it was Kyle Busch who struck first, easily grabbing the pole for Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400 with a lap of 187.963 mph in the final round.

He will be joined on the front row by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. made it a sweep of first three spots for Toyota. Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski completed the Top 5, and playoff drivers claimed nine of the Top 10 starting spots.

When it comes to winning at Chicagoland, starting up front hasn’t been a necessity. In fact, you could argue that it has been a deterrent. Only one of the 16 Cup races here have been won by a driver starting in the Top 5, and just six races have been won by a driver starting in the Top 10.

It has been a much different story when it comes to leading laps at Chicagoland. In four of the last five races here, the driver who led the most laps started in the Top 10. The same trend can be seen at the 1.5-mile tracks this year. A driver has led 100-plus laps seven times in the six races at mile-and-a-half tracks this year. All seven of them started in the Top 10, and six of them started third or better.

When building your DFS lineups this weekend, you will want to include a couple of drivers starting up front to maximize your chances of gaining exposure to the dominator points.

Now that the starting lineup is set, it’s time to take a closer look at the top DFS options at DraftKings for Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400.

Must-Own Drivers

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)

He has owned the 1.5-mile ovals for more than a year, and Truex enters Sunday’s race as the defending winner at Chicagoland. This season, he has a series-leading 3.7 average finish at the mile-and-a-half tracks, and he ranks first in both dominator categories, leading more than 100 laps in four of the six races. After qualifying third, Truex could be primed for another huge point total at DraftKings.

Kyle Busch ($10,600)

Busch put a hurting on the rest of the field in qualifying to grab the pole, and I wouldn’t bet against him continuing to dominate Sunday. He has led 20-plus laps in the last four races at Chicagoland and the second-most laps at the track overall. Busch has also led at least 59 laps in each of the last three races at mile-and-a-half tracks this year, finishing in the Top 5 in all three races.

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Value Plays

Jimmie Johnson ($9,100)

If there is anything I have learned watching NASCAR over the years, it is to never bet against Johnson and the No. 48 bunch come playoff time. He qualified 14th, but he led a race-high 118 laps at Chicagoland last fall, and he ranks first in both dominator categories at the track. At the very least, Johnson should be thrown into a GPP lineup or two.

Jamie McMurray ($8,500)

It hasn’t happened very often this year, but McMurray has some upside through place differential this weekend after qualifying 19th. More importantly, he has been excellent at the mile-and-a-half ovals, recording five Top 10s in six starts. I think 40 fantasy points is well within reach for McMurray.

Erik Jones ($8,400)

A spin in qualifying has him starting back in 24th and looking like a no-brainer play in cash games. Jones has been on a tear in recent weeks, notching six straight Top 10s and four straight finishes of sixth or better. He should be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the place differential category this weekend.

Kurt Busch ($8,100)

A spin in qualifying has him starting back in 24th and looking like a no-brainer play in cash games. Jones has been on a tear in recent weeks, notching six straight Top 10s and four straight finishes of sixth or better. He should be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the place differential category this weekend.

Kasey Kahne ($7,700)

He continued his trend of terrible qualifying runs at the 1.5-mile tracks this year with a 25th-place effort, so the upside through place differential is there. Unfortunately, he has been completely unpredictable at the mile-and-a-half tracks, logging three Top 15s and three finishes of 35th or worse. He is a boom-or-bust option, but Kahne could be a key cog in a winning GPP lineup.

Trevor Bayne ($7,100)

Bayne has been a mid-pack driver the last several weeks, but he’s been pretty reliable at the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He has five finishes of 16th or better in the six races, and after qualifying 26th, he has a solid floor through place differential. Bayne should make a safe, cheap play this weekend. Use him for cap relief in cash games.

Sleeper Special

Michael McDowell ($5,800)

I love this recent trend of poor qualifying runs, and McDowell will roll off 30th this weekend. He’s been an underrated performer at the 1.5-mile track this year, compiling a 20.8 average finish in the six races and finishing 23rd or better five times. He looks like the safest option below $6,000 this weekend.