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DraftKings NASCAR: Apache Warrior 400

C.J. Radune

Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Apache Warrior 400

Location: Dover, Del.
Course: Dover International Speedway
Format: 1-mile oval
Laps: 400

Race Preview

Two races into the playoffs and the two strongest competitors all season are assured positions in the round of 12. Kyle Busch joined Martin Truex Jr. in the next round with his victory at New Hampshire last week. These two Toyota drivers have been the class of the field all season, and are showing no sign of deterioration as the championship finale grows closer. The pair dominated the running on record hot day at the northeast oval, leaving the rest of the field to pick up the scraps as other championship contenders faltered. The battle to remain in the top 12 to advance to the next playoff round is as intense as ever as just one point separates three drivers from the cutoff. Drivers like Kurt Busch, who was widely predicted to advance from the first round, have their backs against the wall and face must-win situations. The race that will determine the field for the next three-race playoff round is on another 1.0-mile oval, but this time it is on the intimidating concrete of Dover International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson won here in the spring to tie Cale Yarborough on the all-time wins list after starting at the rear and overcoming an overtime finish.

Key Stats at Dover International Speedway

• Number of previous races: 95
• Winners from pole: 13
• Winners from top-5 starters: 54
• Winners from top-10 starters: 73
• Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
• Fastest race: 132.719 mph

Last 10 Dover Winners

2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2016 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 spring - Matt Kenseth
2015 fall - Kevin Harvick
2015 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2014 fall - Jeff Gordon
2014 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2013 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2013 spring - Tony Stewart
2012 fall - Brad Keselowski

Dover races typically produce a caution-filled event. Jimmie Johnson used that to his advantage in the spring to capture his 11th victory at the circuit. Restarts and swift work on pit road could hold the key to coming out on top this week. Drivers will be busy making sure they don't spin their tires or miss a shift as the field returns to green-flag racing, while their pit crews will work to gain optimum track position off of pit road. Tire degradation is always a factor on the rough concrete surface, too. Drivers will pit for fresh rubber nearly every opportunity they have, but fantasy owners should expect drivers needing to make up ground in the playoffs to take a gamble by staying out if a caution happens with just a few laps remaining at the end of the stages. Fuel mileage could be a concern for teams depending on how cautions fall, but tires will likely be the determinant factor of when a driver decides to pit. This rough track could be the perfect venue for the desperate battle to scrape through to the next round of the playoffs.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $11,000
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,000
Kevin Harvick - $10,300
Kyle Larson - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Brad Keselowski - $9,700
Matt Kenseth - $9,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,400
Chase Elliott - $9,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Erik Jones - $8,600
Kurt Busch - $8,400
Ryan Blaney - $8,300
Jamie McMurray - $8,100

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Daniel Suarez - $6,900
Ty Dillon - $6,700
Trevor Bayne - $6,300
Aric Almirola - $5,800

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,300
Kyle Larson - $10,200
Matt Kenseth - $9,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,400
Landon Cassill - $5,600
Matt DiBenedetto - $5,000

Fantasy owners looking to spread their salary budget across as many top drivers as possible may wish to choose this week's lower-risk lineup. Kevin Harvick has been a consistent top-five runner this summer, and finished in the top 10 at Dover earlier this year. Kyle Larson led 241 of that race's laps, but ultimately finished second to Jimmie Johnson who is also in this selection. He is aiming to capture his 12th win at the circuit, which would truly be a remarkable feat. Matt Kenseth is still winless in 2017, but sits a comfortable sixth in the championship standings and has three wins at the track. Landon Cassill and Matt DiBenedetto close out the roster. Cassill crashed out here earlier this season, while DiBenedetto finished 29th. Neither has scored a top-10 at Dover, but both have significant track experience and should present fantasy players with positive finish differential points, with Cassill being the more likely of the pair to work his way into a top-20 finish this weekend.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,000
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,000
Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Ty Dillon - $6,700
Aric Almirola - $5,800
Michael McDowell - $5,700

I can't remember a race where DraftKings priced the two favorites the same. That is the case this week, which could force some fantasy players to choose one driver over the other. However, there are some creative ways to choose both. This option does that, but also relies on drivers with more questionable consistency at the track to continue their above-average ways this weekend. Certainly, you can't go wrong choosing either Busch or Truex this weekend. They appear destined to battle for the championship in Miami, and combine for four Dover victories. They both spent time in the lead here earlier this season, too. With Denny Hamlin you get the next level of top competitor this season. He finished eighth at Dover earlier this year and has three consecutive top-10s at the track heading into this week's race. Ty Dillon, Aric Almirola, and Michael McDowell all fall inside the top 15 according to rough calculations using the Draft Kings points scheme through the last five races at the track. The risk is that these three fail to live up to those previous results this week. Almirola missed the previous Dover stop this season, but Dillon and McDowell were both top-20 cars. All should be capable of matching that again.

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.