DraftKings NASCAR: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

DraftKings NASCAR: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

Location: Hampton, Ga.
Course: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Laps: 200

Race Preview

Last week's Daytona 500 got the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series season off to a wild start. After multiple crashes and a last-lap pass for the win, things should settle down a bit this week at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This race should be the first true gauge of which teams have come out of the winter with an advantage over the competition. The track is a traditional 1.5-mile quad-oval, which is very similar to the tracks in Charlotte and Texas. Brad Keselowski won last year's race after Kevin Harvick dominated most of the distance until a speeding penalty allowed Keselowski to take the helm. Both of those Ford-powered drivers were favorites in Daytona, but neither capitalized to take home the victory. Keselowski's Atlanta win in 2017 was just the first win for Ford at that circuit since Carl Edwards in 2008. Jimmie Johnson won both visits to the track in 2015 and 2016. While Chevrolet took the win last week, the true test of their new Camaro body style will come this week with the high speeds of Atlanta. Early indications show that the new body style is paying dividends, too. Four Chevrolet drivers made it into the five fastest times set in Friday's first practice.

Key Stats at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 110
Winners from pole: 14
Winners from top-5 starters: 61
Winners from top-10 starters: 86
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 8
Fastest race: 166.633 mph

Last 10 Atlanta Winners

2017 - Brad Keselowski
2016 - Jimmie Johnson
2015 - Jimmie Johnson
2014 - Kasey Kahne
2013 - Kyle Busch
2012 - Denny Hamlin
2011 - Jeff Gordon
2010 fall -Tony Stewart
2010 spring - Kurt Busch
2009 fall - Kasey Kahne

The NASCAR Cup series visits Atlanta just once a season, but the track still produces some of the best racing. Every 1.5-mile oval is a bit different than one another, and Atlanta is no different. The track's pavement is the second-oldest on the calendar, and a scheduled resurfacing after last year's race was delayed until at least after this weekend. The older surface is rougher and harder on tires, but produces more grip that can allow drivers to battle side-by-side more frequently. Drivers praise the multiple grooves and can use the different lines to their advantage as handling changes throughout a fuel run. Maximizing corner speed is a key attribute, as the cars rocket down the straights and approach speeds close to 200 miles per hour before braking hard into the long turns. Fans should be treated to plenty of on-track action. As with most other tracks, mistakes on pit road must be avoided at all costs. Harvick lost a near certain victory last year because of one, and high lap speeds mean going down a lap to the leaders will make it tough to stage a comeback. Fantasy players should consider those drivers who turn in the top 10-lap runs in practice as early lineup selections.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,400
Kevin Harvick - $10,100
Kyle Larson - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kyle Busch - $9,700
Chase Elliott - $9,500
Denny Hamlin - $9,300
Joey Logano - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Erik jones - $8,600
Ryan Blaney - $8,400
Aric Almirola - $7,800
Daniel Suarez - $7,400

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Paul Menard - $6,800
Trevor Bayne - $6,700
Darrell Wallace Jr. - $6,300
Chris Buescher - $5,900

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,100
Kyle Busch - $9,700
Jimmie Johnson - $8,800
Kurt Busch - $8,200
Paul Menard - $6,800
Kasey Kahne - $6,200

Harvick won in his first Monster Energy Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and was on his way to victory there again last year when a speeding penalty on pit road took him out of the lead. He has led more than 100 laps in five of the last six Atlanta races, which make him one of the safest options available this week. Kyle Busch has two Atlanta wins from his 19 career starts. He only finished 16th last year but he didn't hit full stride until later in the season, too. Busch is consistently fast on these types of circuits, and fantasy players need to give him consideration. Another top performer on tracks like Atlanta is Johnson. He has five circuit wins from 26 starts and led laps in each of the last three races there. Kurt Busch wasn't able to repeat at Daytona, but with no finish worse than 13th in the last eight Atlanta races, he makes a great choice given his price tag this week. Menard's switch to Wood Brothers Racing showed early potential for success last week at Daytona. Atlanta is an entirely different kind of race, but Menard looks to be having a nice bounce due to his change in scenery. The final choice in this lineup makes a strong statistical play. Kahne has been very good in Atlanta, with three victories and a fourth-place finish last season. How much of that success he will be able to replicate with Leavine Family Racing remains to be seen, but this week could be one of the best opportunities to take a chance on him.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,400
Joey Logano - $9,000
Erik Jones - $8,600
Aric Almirola - $7,800
Daniel Suarez - $7,400
Trevor Bayne - $6,700

Truex was the king of the 1.5-mile ovals last year and will be itching to improve upon his 18th-place finish from last week. He was eighth in this race last season and has four top-10 finishes in the last five at the track. Logano's Atlanta career hasn't taken off until just recently. He started out with a best finish of 18th in his first six races here but has added two top-fives and three top-10s in the five Atlanta races since. Jones will be coming to this week's race knowing that he scored a top-15 finish here last season. He should be a driver to watch this season, and fantasy owners should snap him up at this low price. Another driver with a change of scenery that could pay big dividends is Almirola. He was in contention to win last week's Daytona 500 and could have many more opportunities at the front of the pack with his new Stewart-Haas Racing ride. The second half of 2017 saw improvement from Suarez as he visited tracks for the second time. His second shot at Atlanta is this week, and he should outperform his bargain price on Sunday. Competitively, Roush Fenway Racing took big steps backward last season, and this week could be the first we see their potential in 2018. Bayne should be leading that charge, and he continues to offer fantasy players upside versus cost.

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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