DraftKings NASCAR: Kolbalt 400

DraftKings NASCAR: Kolbalt 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Kobalt 400

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Course: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

Ford won its second race of the season last week with Brad Keselowski. The Penske Racing car took advantage of a late mistake from Kevin Harvick to swipe victory out from under his nose. Keselowski is also the defending Las Vegas winner. He led 24 of the 267 laps on offer there last year to beat teammate Joey Logano to the checkered flag. With just two races behind us, it appears as though the advantage Joe Gibbs Racing had in 2016 has been matched by the Ford-powered teams of Stewart Haas Racing and Penske. The Toyota contingent struggled in Las Vegas with Matt Kenseth being the only one finishing in the top five. None of the Toyota machines led laps either. The marque hasn't won at Las Vegas since 2013 (Kenseth) and only has two victories there in the last 10 races. While fantasy players shouldn't count them out, the momentum certainly has shifted to the Ford camp. The two protagonists from Atlanta also look set to renew their battle this week as the pair have won each of the last three Las Vegas races, while Jimmie Johnson has the most track wins with four.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 19
Winners from pole: 1
Winners from top-5 starters: 6
Winners from top-10 starters: 9
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 4
Fastest race: 154.633 mph

Last 10 Las Vegas Winners

2016 - Brad Keselowski
2015 - Kevin Harvick
2014 - Brad Keselowski
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Tony Stewart
2011 - Carl Edwards
2010 - Jimmie Johnson
2009 - Kyle Busch
2008 - Carl Edwards
2007 - Jimmie Johnson

Like much of 2016, mistakes on pit road had a huge impact on the results last week in Atlanta. Keselowski made his mistakes early enough in the race to recover while Harvick's came too late for him to rebound. Speeding and other infractions on pit lane cost many drivers wins last season and look likely to continue in 2017. While the teams will be ultra-focused on eliminating those missteps, they will also have to battle another slippery track with less downforce than in past seasons. The temperature this week is likely to be warmer, which means the cars should be expected to slide more. Despite overcast conditions in Atlanta there were still a handful of tire failures, which could grow in frequency this week. While the configuration of Las Vegas Motor Speedway doesn't produce as much speed as Atlanta the track is still a quick one, and teams and drivers will need balanced machines that allows them to carry speed through the center of the turns and onto the straights. There are multiple grooves for drivers to use this week, whereas the bottom was the preference last week. Pit strategy was what earned the No. 2 team the victory here last season, and teams will try to take similar gambles again this year with the new stage format that offers bonus points for stage wins.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,700
Jimmie Johnson - $10,200
Joey Logano - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Chase Elliott - $9,700
Martin Truex Jr. - $9,500
Kyle Larson - $8,800
Austin Dillon - $8,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Ryan Newman - $7,800
Jamie McMurray - $7,600
Ryan Blaney - $7,400
Erik Jones - $7,100

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

A.J. Allmendinger - $6,900
Trevor Bayne - $6,100
David Ragan - $5,800

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $10,200
Kyle Busch - $10,100
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $9,200
Ryan Blaney - $7,400
Paul Menard - $6,800
Trevor Bayne - $6,100

With four Las Vegas wins in his career, Johnson is the best option this week. He finished third at the track last season, too. The start of the season has been a rough one for Kyle Busch, and he will want to turn things around this week. It has been a good venue for him, too. He won here in 2009 and finished fourth twice in the last three races. Recently, Las Vegas also has been a good venue for Earnhardt. He hasn't failed to finish in the top 10 here since 2007 and is still looking to notch his first win at the track. The current season is showing a lot of promise for Ford drivers, and Blaney is no exception. Blaney finished second in the Daytona 500 and is searching for consistent top-10 finishes. He scored a sixth-place result here last year and should be in line for another top-10 this weekend. While Menard would probably prefer to forget last week, he did score a top-five in the Daytona 500. His team is on an upswing in terms of relative performance to the rest of the field, and he has finished in the top 15 in all of the last six Las Vegas races. Bayne is another great value this week; he has 10th- and 12th-place finishes under his belt already this season and should be a confident contender for another top-15 finish this week with Ford power.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,700
Joey Logano - $10,000
Austin Dillon - $8,200
Clint Bowyer - $8,000
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,900
Chris Buescher - $5,900

Mistakes cost Harvick the win in Atlanta, but the Stewart Haas Racing driver probably could have won in Daytona as well. Fantasy owners will see him fight with vengeance this weekend to redeem those last two results, which could be a second win at the track to add to his trophy cabinet. Logano is another driver who has risen to the top of the power rankings this season. He's one of the most consistent top finishers in the series, and finished as the runner up here last season. While Dillon doesn't have the finishes to prove that Richard Childress Racing is more competitive this season, his potential to grab a top finish is quite high. That is why fantasy owners should take advantage of his value this week at a track he finished fifth at last season. Bowyer is another driver with improved fortunes this season. His upside for fantasy rosters this week stands in stark contrast to what he was able to deliver most of 2016. He looks to have the potential to return to Victory Lane this season, which overshadows his four-straight Las Vegas finishes outside of the top 20. Finally, Allmendinger and Buescher should be expected to land top-20 finishes this week. Allmendinger finished third in the Daytona 500 three weeks ago and sixth at Las Vegas in 2015, while Buescher has taken a step to midpack with his change in teams for 2017.

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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