NASCAR DFS: Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway DraftKings Lineup Plays

The Cup Series returns for part of the Darlington doubleheader Wednesday night, and Fantasy NASCAR expert Brian Polking is here to help you build some winning lineups for the Toyota 500.

Feb 24, 2017; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) during practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

We are back at Darlington Raceway Wednesday night for the second race in a row at “The Lady in Black” and the second race since NASCAR was forced to go on hiatus as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

There still won’t be any practice or qualifying for the Toyota 500, but thanks to Sunday’s race, we at least have a decent idea of which drivers should have some speed to work with when constructing our NASCAR DFS lineups at DraftKings.

We also have a variety of appealing options to build around thanks to the procedure NASCAR is using to set the starting lineup. The Top 20 finishers from Sunday’s The Real Heroes 400 will be inverted, and all positions outside the Top 20 were set by where each driver finished over the weekend.

As a result, we have a ton of fast cars starting in the middle of the pack and sitting on a chunk of place differential points. We also have a few big names who had trouble on Sunday start way in the back. There are a lot of appealing combinations to play with, and this is the type of slate where I will go with several lineups in the bigger GPPs.

What we don’t have Wednesday is a ton of appealing bargain plays. Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek and Ty Dillon were all steals on Sunday, piling up plenty of differential points. Unfortunately, their efforts have them starting inside the Top 15 this time around, and Dillon is on the front row. The lack of place differential upside is a game-changer for their DFS value, and if you want to free up cap space this time around, you will need to roll the dice on a punt play.

Must-Own Drivers

Kyle Busch ($12,000)

Busch spent most of Sunday battling from the back of the field to the front before a loose wheel finally saddled him with a 26th-place finish. He is looking at 20-plus place differential points right off the top, and while he probably won’t lead the most laps Wednesday, dominator points are always on the table for Busch. He offers a high floor and high ceiling.

Kevin Harvick ($11,600)

Harvick put a beatdown on the field at Darlington over the weekend, leading a race-high 159 laps and logging a race-high 77 fastest laps on his way to the win. He will have to start back in 20th Wednesday, but as far as I’m concerned, that just gives him more place differential points to earn. I’m expecting Harvick to be one of the top scorers, if not the No. 1 option again.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,100)

Johnson gave away a potential win over the weekend when he essentially crashed himself while leading. It was brutal to watch, but it has him starting back in 37th Wednesday, and he is likely to have a strong car. Look for the seven-time champ to pile up 30-plus place differential points and top 60 points overall.

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Cash Plays

Chase Elliott ($10,300)

He battled a tight car early on Sunday, but Elliott and his team dialed in the No. 9 down the stretch and ended up fourth. He and Kevin Harvick have probably been the two most consistent performers in 2020, and starting back in 17th, Elliott’s floor is in the 50-point range.

Alex Bowman ($10,000)

Bowman left no doubt that the speed he showed prior to the break is legit, leading 41 laps and recording the second-most fastest laps (48) on his way to a second-place finish. Rolling off 19th, he adds a chunk of place differential upside to his elite speed. Bowman should be an all-around DFS stud Wednesday, making him a strong centerpiece for cash lineups.

William Byron ($8,900)

After winning Stage 1 Sunday, he got loose and smacked the wall, ruining his day. Byron will now have to start 34th Wednesday, but he clearly has plenty of speed and a bunch of place differential points to gain. Load up on Byron in cash contests.

Kurt Busch ($8,700)

Busch was a mid-priced stud Sunday, driving from 22nd to third. It was his fifth finishes of seventh or better in the last six Darlington races, and starting 18th Wednesday, he is positioned for another great day. He’s a must-own in cash lineups.

Chris Buescher ($8,100)

He had a rough afternoon at Darlington Sunday after a couple of incidents, but as a result, Buescher rolls off 32nd. Prior to this past weekend, he had finished 17th or better in all four starts a Darlington, notching a pair of Top 15s. With plenty of spots to gain, he should have a high floor through the place differential category.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,900)

Stenhouse lived up to his reputation as a wrecking machine, crashing out on Lap 1 at Darlington Sunday. He will start dead last as a result, giving him nothing but points to gain in the place differential category. If he just has a typical day and finishes in the middle of the pack, he will provide around 40 points for an affordable price.

GPP Specials

Martin Truex Jr. ($11,100)

While he struggled with the handling of the No. 19 for much of Sunday’s race, Truex climbed to sixth by the end and mentioned that the team hit on something with the setup. The price tag is hefty, but if he did find some speed, he could pile up some serious dominator points. I’ll have a couple lineups with Truex in the mix.

Brad Keselowski ($9,700)

His late-race fade Sunday wasn’t ideal, but Keselowski had plenty of speed for most of the afternoon. In fact, he ranked second with 80 laps led and third with 26 fastest laps. Starting eighth, he is closer to the front than the other drivers who ran up front over the weekend, so Keselowski could have the inside track on more dominator points. Meanwhile, his price tag allows you to load up on more of the mid-priced guys who start deep in the field. He is an aggressive alternative to Kevin Harvick.

Joey Logano ($9,400)

He had a lackluster run at Darlington over the weekend, but Logano has been hot and cold at the track throughout his career. I’m more interested in the fact that he will start third Wednesday, and he only has Ryan Preece and Ty Dillon sitting between him and the lead. I could see Logano getting to the lead in a hurry, piling up a chunk of dominator points in the process. I like his upside at this price, and you can pair him with multiple place differential-heavy options.

Erik Jones ($8,500)

Jones had a solid run at Darlington Sunday, gaining 12 spots and finishing eighth. He will start 13th Wednesday, but I don’t think the loss in differential upside hurts his value. For one, he probably would have finished in the Top 5 over the weekend had it not been for a loose wheel on the final run. Not to mention the fact that Jones won the last night race at Darlington. I think he can gain 10-plus spots and provide some dominator points. Use him as either a pivot to Kurt Busch or a much cheaper alternative to guys like Chase Elliott or Alex Bowman.

Tyler Reddick ($7,700)

He was a no-brainer play on Sunday when he was starting 29th, but the rookie becomes a little riskier for Wednesday’s race when he rolls off 14th. However, Reddick was able to finish seventh over the weekend, so a Top 10 finish and 40-plus fantasy points are definitely on the table. I love him as a pivot to Chris Buescher and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.