After an off weekend, the NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to action this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will also be in town for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, Austin Dillon is the only Cup Series regular scheduled to be in the field for Saturday afternoon’s Alsco 300.
Dillon’s been stout at Charlotte, but he’s not someone who comes in a dominates XFINITY races like Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and other Cup stars. As a result, I still expect a majority of the dominator points to be claimed by the top series regulars.
At mile-and-a-half tracks like Charlotte, you are probably going to want at least two dominators anchoring all your lineups. Even if someone goes out and leads 100-plus laps, there is a good chance another driver will record enough dominator points to be worthwhile owning.
Looking at the price tags this weekend, this may be a week when you have to go with a couple of punt plays to get the job done. A lot of the stronger mid-priced options are pushing $9,000 or more, and you are not going to be able to roster the high-priced studs and still build a balanced overall lineup with those price tags.
Unless several of these reliable drivers qualify way in the back and have a ton of place differential upside, I don’t see a balanced lineup outscoring a lineup with a couple of sure-fire dominators. I like the idea of pinpointing three or four drivers that I feel I have to own and then trying to fit in the final two pieces around them.
Make sure to hit me up after qualifying on Twitter @BPolking with any last-minute lineup questions. In the meantime, here is a closer look at the drivers I plan to target at DraftKings for the Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Tyler Reddick ($11,400)
The defending series champ has been even better in 2019, and he has really flexed some muscle at the mile-and-a-half ovals. Reddick has led at least nine laps in all three races, picking up a pair of Top 5s and posting a 7.0 average finish. He’s been the safest bet for a Top 5 finish all year, and at track’s like Charlotte, he has proven he will chip in with some dominator points.
Christopher Bell ($10,800)
No series regular can go out and dominate races the way Bell can, and another impressive performance could be on tap this weekend. He has cracked the Top 5 in both of his starts at Charlotte, and he has led laps in all three races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2019, leading more than 100 laps twice. In fact, Bell’s 272 laps led in those three races 182 more than any other series regular. His ceiling is on another level compared to the rest of the XFINITY drivers, and he’s honestly a little underpriced.
Cole Custer ($10,500)
Custer has been a DFS force at the 1.5-mile tracks since coming to the XFINITY Series, and over the last 10 races, he owns a series-best seven Top 5s. This year, he has led the third-most laps among series regular in the three races and mile-and-a-half tracks, and he shouldn’t slow down at Charlotte. Custer has a 4.8 average finish in four starts here, leading 29 laps and finishing second in this race a year ago.
Difference Makers and Value Plays
Austin Dillon ($10,200)
I’m typically not a big fan of Dillon in these XFINITY races. You usually end up paying for the name when the reality is that he can’t even outperform his less-experienced teammates in the same equipment. However, he’s been really strong at Charlotte, winning two of his 10 XFINITY starts here and finishing in the Top 5 in both races in 2017. Dillon will be on my radar this weekend heading into practice and qualifying.
Chase Briscoe ($9,400)
Depending on how you want to look at it, Briscoe has either been a bad qualifier or the master of the place differential category at the mile-and-a-half tracks this season. He has an average starting spot of 23.7 in the three races, but he has a 9.0 average finish and has gained an average of 14.7 spots, moving up double-digit position in each start. If Briscoe has another mid-pack qualifying effort, he becomes a must-own driver in cash contests, if not all contests.
Ryan Sieg ($9,200)
Sieg has been a sneaky DFS play all year after an offseason equipment upgrade, and he’s been great at the mile-and-a-half tracks. He has finished 11-th or better and gained at least seven spots in all three starts, posting a 9.0 average finish and an average differential of +9.3. If Sieg qualifies outside the Top 15, he has a strong chance to top 40 fantasy points.
Justin Haley ($9,000)
There is only one series regular who has cracked the Top 10 in all three races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and that driver is Haley. He has an 8.3 average finish in those starts, and while he is only gaining an average of 4.0 spots per race, this is steal a solid price for a driver who has been a lock for 30-plus fantasy points. Haley should at least be on your radar for cash contests.
Michael Annett ($8,600)
He’s having a strong 2019 overall, and Annett has been the model of consistency at the 1.5-mile tracks. He has finished 12th or better in all three races, posting a 7.7 average finish and gaining 7.3 spots per race. As long as he starts around 15th or worse Saturday, he should comfortably land between 30 and 40 fantasy points. Annett can be a great asset in cash lineups.
Jeffrey Earnhardt ($8,400)
Earnhardt has made two XFINITY starts at 1.5-mile tracks this year, finishing sixth at Atlanta with Joe Gibbs Racing and eighth at Texas for XCI Racing. He will be back with JGR this weekend, and while the sample size is limited, he has shown he can take advantage of the elite equipment. Earnhardt offers a Top 10 floor with a legitimate shot at a Top 5.
Gray Gaulding ($7,800)
His value will depend on is starting spot, but if he qualifies around 25th or worse, Gaulding becomes an intriguing option. He has finished 21st or better in all three of the races at 1.5-mile ovals in 2019, posting a 16.3 average finish in those starts. Gaulding has also gained at least 19 spots in two of those three races, so if he has the place differential upside available, he has proven he can capitalize.
David Starr ($7,300)
Starr is more of a luxury punt play at this price, but he’s looks like one of the safest ways to free up significant cap space this weekend. He has a 22.0 average finish at the mile-and-a-half tracks this year, gaining an average of 6.3 spots over the three races. Starr topped 25 fantasy points at DraftKings at both Las Vegas and Texas, and if he qualifies outside the Top 25, he should deliver a similar point total this weekend.
Jeb Burton ($6,800)
Burton will make his second start of the year in the JR Motorsports No. 8 this weekend, and if his first start with the team was a sign of things to come, you have to be intrigued. He picked up a Top 5 finish at Texas a week ago, and while Charlotte isn’t an identical track, it does have a similar 1.5-mile layout. Plus, the No. 8 team has seven Top 10s in the 10 races this year, so anyone driving this machine, needs your full attention at DraftKings. He looks like the steal of the weekend.
Stephen Leicht ($6,000)
There’s nothing in the way of upside here, but Leicht is cheap and has at least been consistent at the 1.5-mile ovals. He has a 24.7 average finish in the three races this year, gaining an average of 5.3 spots per race. Leicht has also started 30th or worse in all three of those races, and if that trend continues, he could provide around 20 fantasy points while freeing up a big chunk of cap space.
Mason Diaz ($5,300)
He only has a couple of XFINITY starts under his belt, but Diaz could surprise this weekend. He will be driving the Brandonbilt Motorsports No. 86 this weekend, and Brandon Brown has finished 17th or better in all three races at 1.5-mile tracks for that team this year. At this price, a Top 20 finish alone would be a great return on investment. Some place differential upside would only boost his value.
Dillon Bassett ($4,900)
Bassett made his XFINITY Series debut earlier this year, piloting the DGM Racing No. 90 machine to a 15th-place finish at Richmond after starting 33rd. The No. 90 team has been boom or bust all season, but we have seen multiple drivers contend for Top 15s when the equipment holds up. At such a cheap price, the risk could be worth the reward this weekend.