DraftKings NASCAR: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400

DraftKings NASCAR: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400

Location: Joliet, Ill.
Course: Chicagoland Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

NASCAR Sprint Cup's field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup is set after last week's final regular-season race at Richmond International Raceway. The Joe Gibbs Racing cars dominated the weekend, and Denny Hamlin came out on top after a night of perfection on pit road and restarts. Ryan Newman narrowly missed the cutoff to keep his Chase hopes alive when he and former boss Tony Stewart tangled. That incident was the second week in a row that Stewart's anger boiled over enough to damage his car and chances of a strong finish. This week, the series tackles a somewhat unique 1.5-mile tri-oval in the first of the knockout rounds of the Chase format. Hamlin rolls into town as the defending winner fresh off of his triumph at Richmond.

Key Stats at Chicagoland Speedway

Number of previous races: 15
Winners from pole: 1
Winners from top-5 starters: 1
Winners from top-10 starters: 5
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
Fastest race: 145.138 mph

Last 10 Chicagoland Winners

2015 - Denny Hamlin
2014 - Brad Keselowski
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Brad Keselowski
2011 - Tony Stewart
2010 - David Reutimann
2009 - Mark Martin
2008 - Kyle Busch
2007 - Tony Stewart
2006 - Jeff Gordon

Unlike the track statistics we're used to seeing, Chicagoland winners traditionally do not start at the front. In 15 visits by Sprint Cup only one race was won by a driver starting on pole. That was Kyle Busch in 2008. In fact, only one driver in the last five years has won from the top-10 starters. Kenseth started 10th in 2013 to win, but the other four started 26th, 13th, 25th and 29th. Those are numbers fantasy players aren't used to seeing and those players should pay close attention to where drivers start this weekend. The circuit is a 1.5-mile tri-oval similar to Las Vegas, Kentucky and Kansas. The series only visits the circuit once a season, and the race marks the start of the Chase. Joe Gibbs Racing has been the dominant force for much of the 2016 season and the momentum should continue this weekend. Track position and fuel strategy will certainly be factors in this week's outcome, and, as we saw last week, having zero mistakes on pit road can make a driver exceptionally difficult to beat.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,800
Kyle Busch - $10,500
Brad Keselowski - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Joey Logano - $9,900
Denny Hamlin - $9,700
Kyle Larson - $9,600
Matt Kenseth - $9,400

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Chase Elliott - $8,500
Jamie McMurray - $7,800
Ryan Newman - $7,600
Ryan Blaney - $7,100

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Trevor Bayne - $6,800
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,400
Aric Almirola - $6,000
Michael McDowell - $5,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Larson - $9,600
Matt Kenseth - $9,400
Carl Edwards - $9,200
Kurt Busch - $9,000
Ryan Newman - $7,600
Michael Annett - $4,700

The lower-risk lineup for Chicago takes advantage of a number of top competitors priced in the $9,000 range. Leading off is Larson, who got his breakthrough win in Michigan and then followed it with consecutive top-fives. He finished seventh in this race last season. Kenseth finished fifth here last year and won the race in 2013. His teammate, Edwards, finished second to Hamlin here in 2015, which was one of his four Chicago top-fives. Another top-five finisher in last years race was Kurt Busch, who just rebounded into a top-10 finish last week at Richmond after a disappointing night in Darlington. The lineup also adds Newman to the mix. Before getting tangled with Stewart last week, Newman had been threatening to push his way into the Chase. He finished fourth in Chicago last season and should be eager to lock up the top non-Chase finishing position in the standings. Annett polishes off this lineup option by virtue of finishing higher than his starting position in every one of the last 11 races. That consistency gives valuable points to fantasy rosters in an otherwise challenging environment.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,500
Brad Keselowski - $10,100
Jimmie Johnson - $8,800
Tony Stewart - $8,100
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,600
David Ragan - $5,600

Kyle Busch is one of the smaller risks in the higher-risk lineup option for Chicago. The Gibbs driver hasn't had the best few weeks, but has four consecutive top-10s at Chicago, which includes his ninth-place finish last season where he led 121 laps. Keselowski's price is right for this lineup and makes him a confident option to balance some of the other driver risks in this lineup. He is a two-time winner at the track and finished eighth or better there for the last five seasons. Everyone knows that Johnson remains in a slump, but he's bound to snap the losing streak at some point. He has never won at Chicago but finished third at Las Vegas earlier this season when things were going his way. Stewart's anger has gotten the better of him in the last two races, but with a championship on the line in his final season of full-time racing, he should be more composed this week. He has won three times at Chicago, with the most recent victory coming in 2011. Stenhouse has visited Chicago three times, finished eighth in his first try and started in the top five twice. Finally, Ragan has been consistent this season and placed higher than his starting position in three of the last five races.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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